For openers….

How often is a novice chess player honored by having his analysis of an ongoing game published? As often as he likes … if he has a weblog….

The following are the opening moves of a game I’ve just started with an old college buddy who lives a long way away. We’re playing over email, allowing “infinite” time to play each move, and we’re allowed to consult computer chess programs to avoid blunders and generate some ideas. The game is not meant to be a masterpiece of strategy and tactics. The regular email moves are a conduit for us to pass along news and happenings to each other. It is a way for us to keep in touch.

Still, for anyone who might be interested, I submit the following analysis. By the way, should you come up with a great idea, that’s what the “comments” section is for. You should do the same for Bill. Oh yeah, that’s right. Bill doesn’t have a weblog. Too bad….

Bill
Todd Bill
1. e4 Nf6

Alekhine’s Defence. Not an opening I’m very comfortable with. Let’s see how it develops.

2. e5 Nd5
3. d4 d6
4. c4 Nb6
5. Nf3

Continue reading For openers….

Common sense

I’m putting the finishing touches on my grades now!  Tomorrow is the last contracted day of the 2003-04 school year, and I’m bringing things to a dignified close.  Dignified.

Then I read this story.  I am speechless.  I find it embarassing that people in my profession would show school children a beheading (and even more confounding, one teacher showed it during a pizza party).  This kind of act shows no regard for young minds and demonstrates a complete lack of mature judgement on the teachers’ part.

A message to any educators who decide to criticize heros and positive role models and instead emblazen graphic images of the very worst atrocities humanity is capable of into children’s minds.  Think about what you are doing!  Use your common sense!

You are dismissed.

Quote – ‘One of my fun sites’

From The Quotation Page‘s Quote of the Day for the last week.  Ponder and enjoy them.

Cecil Baxter. “You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty.”

John A. Wheeler. “If you haven’t found something strange during the day, it hasn’t been much of a day.”

Alan Kay. “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Unknown. “Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function.”

Paul Harvey. “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”

What is a planet?

Old news, but I’ve been following the debate. In astronomy circles, the discussion about what can and can not be called a planet has flared up again with the discovery of Sedna last fall. Pluto, discovered in 1930, has always been an oddity. When it was discovered, it was thought to be about the size of Mercury and followed Bode’s Law, so it deserved “planet status.”

It wasn’t until about 70 years later that some other solid objects like Pluto were discovered beyond the orbit of Neptune. Quaoar, with an orbit that is much like that of the other planets, and most recently Sedna are not as big as Pluto (which itself is much smaller than was thought at its discovery), but they are thought to have more in common with Pluto than Pluto does with the other planets in our solar system.   Continue reading What is a planet?

Online play

When I was a young’un teaching myself the game of chess, I remember coming across a chess dictionary that mentioned something called postal or correspondence chess.  (Trivia:  the first postal chess match was played in 1824.)  What struck me about postal chess was that you could play with anyone, no matter how far away they lived.

This was before the Internet had entered my consciousness.  Since then, I’ve used the ‘net as a conduit to play turn-based games that lasted from half a year (Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri) to real time games that have lasted, well, nearly five years and counting (EverQuest).  The games I’ve chosen are themselves fun, but interacting with old college friends and relatives who live far away is the real excitement.

Now, it seems to me I’ve gone full circle.  Am I playing the latest, greatest new multiplayer game out there?  No, I’ve just started playing chess by email with my grad school chum.  Wish me luck!

T. S. Eliot. “Humor is also a way of saying something serious.” [Quotes of the Day]

A hundred-dozen cookies

My computer is infested.  No, not with viruses or worms.  And I’m not talking about the adware that I have to regularly scrape off my hard drive like barnacles from a ship.  The more I dig around my computer recording settings I want to keep beyond my planned system upgrades, the more I find “junk.”  Like twelve hundred cookies.  Twelve hundred.
I’m not a complete “anti-cookie” rebel, either.  I enjoy not having to sign in to select sites every time I visit.  But there has to be a better way to manage these little files.  I can guarantee that of the twelve hundred, there are less than twenty I consider helpful to me.  I changed my browser settings to prompt me before it accepts any cookies, but at the rate I’m going, I’ll get carpal tunnel syndrome from clicking my mouse all the time to block the cookies I don’t want.  The modern realities of the worldwide web, I guess.

Salvador Dali. “There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.” [Quotes of the Day]