Saturday, June 30, 2007

I was considering writing a long post about some of my recent games. Why bother when the soul of those games is masterfully captured in this clip from Conan O'Brien.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Humilitas occidit superbiam

PBS had a special on Caravaggio the other night. He was a brilliant painter and thus a brilliant man. It is said that "He was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behavior was commonplace." Caravaggio died of a fever, most likely malaria, shortly after he finished this painting. The painting is of Caravaggio's own severed head being displayed by a common man. He had sent it and others to the church in Rome to ask forgiveness for his many crimes and perhaps be allowed to return. His most notable crimes were two counts of murder. He died while his works were in transit but when they were received, his plea for forgiveness was rejected.

On the hilt of the sword reads "Humilitas occidit superbiam." Humility kills pride. A fine lesson for everyone especially chess players. We will all win glorious victories where the other player is swiftly torn apart or mated by a brilliantly executed series. We will all lose by the same hand. In either case, humility is what seperates the honorable from the conceited. Something Caravaggio took a lifetime to learn.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

1st Annual State of the Blog Address

Happy One Year Anniversary!
Thanks to everyone who reads Knight Skewer regularly and to those who read it randomly or just stumble on it. Youve helped to make this blog a little more friendly. Special thanks to Dutch Defence and Chessloser for having truly inciteful blogs with wiley antics. They are great for reflecting off of and generating new ideas.

Knight Skewer will continue on the current path for now, focusing on chess as art, strategy, tactics and psychology, keeping up with the times and the on going list in my head. It seems to have drawn in some of the chess community on the web and stayed on target to the Manifesto... The summer session of school has started this week. Seven weeks of class for six credits. Needless to say posting will be lighter, but will carry on. Ill also keep up reading other blogludites ramblings, though I cant dedicate endless hours to trolling anymore.

Yearly Stats:
Hits: 2024
Comments: 25
Links to Knight Skewer: 4
Posts: 74 published with 14 drafts waiting

Friday, June 22, 2007

Lateral Rook Trap

My winning streak was crushed today with a clever lateral rook trap on the 4Th rank. It was almost worth it just to see such a brilliant maneuver like this played out. Greed took a brief hold during a middle game combination that I could have come out ahead on and I tried to bate him into a couple stalemate positions but he was to adept to bite.

Also, I added a link to a PGN Viewer in the side bar. Highlight the game, copy it, click the link and paste it in the PGN Viewer. It's all vanilla and worth it to watch yours truly in action. I tried finding a PGN viewer to paste in the sidebar or posts, but it is a serious p in the a and not worth the headache. I'm surprise no one has come up with something easy to use and distributable given that so many chess nerds are also math and computer nerds.

[White "PawnShaman2"]
[Black "RoriAllus"]
[Result "0-1"]
1.c4 d5
2.cxd5 Qd8xd5
3.Nb1c3 Qd5d8
4.Ng1f3 b6
5.d4 Bc8b7
6.e3 e6
7.Bf1e2 c5
8.Be2b5+ Nb8c6
9.d5 exd5
10.Nc3xd5 a6
11.Bb5e2 Nc6e7
12.Nd5xe7 Qd8xd1+
13.Be2xd1 Bf8xe7
14.O-O Be7f6
15.Rf1e1 Bb7e4
16.Nf3d2 Be4g6
17.Nd2c4 b5
18.Nc4d6+ Ke8e7
19.Nd6b7 Ra8c8
20.Bd1g4 Rc8c7
21.Nb7a5 Ng8h6
22.Bg4f3 Rh8c8
23.e4 Bf6e5
24.Ra1b1 Nh6g8
25.Bf3g4 Rc8d8
26.g3 h6
27.Kg1g2 Ng8f6
28.Bg4f3 Nf6d5
29.exd5 Bg6xb1
30.Na5c6+ Rc7xc6
31.Re1xe5+ Ke7f6
32.Re5e1 Rc6c8
33.Bc1g5+ Kf6xg5
34.Re1xb1 Rd8d6
35.h4+ Kg5f5
36.Rb1e1 Rc8d8
37.Re1e4 Rd6xd5
38.Re4f4+ Kf5g6
39.Bf3e4+ f5
40.Be4xd5 Rd8xd5
41.Kg2h3 Rd5d2
42.h5+ Kg6g5
43.f3 Rd2xb2
44.Rf4h4 Rb2xa2
45.g4 Ra2a1
46.f4+ Kg5xf4
47.g5+ Kf4xg5
48.Kh3g3 Ra1a3+
49.Kg3f2 Kg5xh4
50.Kf2g2 c4
51.Kg2f2 c3
52.Kf2e3 f4+
53.Ke3d3 f3
54.Kd3e3 c2+
55.Ke3d2 f2
56.Kd2xc2 f1Q
57.Kc2b2 Qf1a1+
58.Kb2c2 Qa1c3+
59.Kc2d1 Qc3b2
60.Kd1e1 Ra3a1++

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A decent game on pogo. Using some new clock skills to weasel my way to victory and continue my winning streak to eight consequtive games.

1.c4 Ng8f6
2.Nb1c3 e6
3.g3 d5
4.cxd5 Nf6xd5
5.Bf1g2 Nd5xc3
6.bxc3 c6
7.e4 Nb8d7
8.Ng1e2 Nd7f6
9.e5 Nf6d5
10.c4 Nd5b6
11.Qd1c2 Bf8e7
12.O-O O-O
13.Bg2e4 g6
14.d4 Qd8c7
15.a4 Bc8d7
16.a5 Nb6c8
17.Bc1h6 Rf8d8
18.c5 Be7f8
19.Bh6g5 Rd8e8
20.Ne2f4 Nc8e7
21.Bg5f6 Ne7d5
22.Be4xd5 exd5
23.Rf1e1 Bd7f5
24.Qc2e2 Bf8g7
25.Bf6xg7 Kg8xg7
26.g4 Bf5e6
27.h4 Qc7d7
28.f3 Re8f8
29.h5 g5
30.Nf4xe6+ fxe6
31.Qe2e3 h6
32.Re1f1 Qd7f7
33.Kg1g2 Qf7f4
34.Qe3f2 Rf8f7
35.a6 bxa6
36.Ra1xa6 Ra8f8
37.Ra6xc6 Rf7e7
38.Rc6a6 Rf8f7
39.c6 Re7c7
40.Rf1e1 Rf7e7
41.Qf2e3 Qf4f7
42.Re1f1 Qf7f8
43.f4 Re7f7
44.Kg2g3 gxf4+
45.Rf1xf4 Rf7xf4
46.Qe3xf4 *

Visual span and ratings

An interesting and long study on visual span and chess players ability. Read it if you have some time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The game unravels

Two of us walked in from the crisp fall wind. Leaves kicked up on the sidewalk outside. The cafe was almost too bright. The Node it was called. I knew the place. We went way back to before it even existed. Their was a place where all the kids used to hang out. A grassy area outside the forest. We gave it a name, The Node. We all grew up, went our separate ways. Some of us learned to hate each other. Some of us deserved it. The guy who ran the joint was a douche. Daddy bought him three businesses to run. One by one he sank them. At the time the shop wasn't too bad. Big windows, good coffee and a dozen computers to pretend we were kids again. Women, betrayal, cops. I didn't know it yet but they were all around the corner waiting to ambush me like hyenas in the night. But the unforgiving light of the future hadn't blinded me yet. I was just their to get some games in.

We sidled up to the counter and ordered. Rob got coffee and I got a hot chocolate. Perfect for onsetting Wisconsin winters. Homeless Charlie was no where to be found. The two pictures he sold me hung proud on my apartment wall. I worried about him. We settled into our game. Banter back and forth. I caught shifting eyes from the high school pricks escaping the confines of suburbia. Headlights from passing cars scanned the room again and again. The game dragged on. The only clock was picturing our girlfriends sitting on the couch or the patio, waiting. Rob was in poor form and the endgame had started sneaking in. The bells on the door jingled and half the place looked up, part scared. Two spooks walked in nonchalant. Dressed to the nines and highlighted by the traffic rays in the night. This doesn't happen in Milwaukee. Its the most segregated city in the nation for a reason. The hippie government divied up the place for fair representation. AKA cheesed in politicians and corruption. The whole city is an almost perfect grid, rivers and highways included. Ideal for separating everyone by class and race. Everyone keeps to their own neighborhoods and the cops keep it that way. So when two black guys in slick suits with hats to match strolled in, the cafe got a little nervous. One man rolled into the back for the restroom. The other stood next to our table. "are you a chess player?" I asked. "From time to time." the man said in a confident mid forties voice. Robs mind wandered to tacos and snuggling on the couch in front of the television. Our game was ending fast, revealing an awkward silence between the three of us. Rob cut out. "I gotta go." he said while he gathered up his pride. "Why don't you two get a game in?" he rattled it off half heading for the door. I opened my hand over the board as an offering to take a seat. He sat down mellow and we both breathed easy. We opened up dialogue while setting up the pieces. I don't play that often, good luck, that sort of thing. Cordial and respectful. We came from different worlds and we both knew it. We set a leisurely pace in the opening. Both a little hesitant, but confident. It didnt take long to recognize this was going to be a feirce battle. I knew he saw my plans and he knew I saw his. Time ticked on. Patrons came and went to the sound of the jingling door. The middle game closed in on us. Plans within plans within plans. Shifting chairs and eyeballing the same bishop for five minutes so as not to give a psychological inch. His friend emerged from the back expecting to book pronto. He hovered a while and bolted, irritated. "Ill be in the car." "ok. Ill be out in a few minutes." my opponent half mumbled, not breaking his focus. I wondered where they came from and where they were headed. The board opened up to an end game filled with ambushes and promotions. It was nobodys game. Candidates made breaks for the edge of the board and kings swiftly blocked their path. In the end I caught him in the quicksand and it was all over. We eagerly reenacted the game trying to keep our cool. Revealing our precious traps and long thought strategies. "You are a good chessplayer!" I complimented. "No, you are a very good chessplayer!" he shot back. We looked up from the board and shook hands firmly. That, my friends, was the best game Ive ever played for one reason that cant be faked or contrived. Respect.

Monday, June 11, 2007


My brother convinced me to play some blitz games on pogo on the 8th. He took the pressure out of it by making it unrated and setting the time to 2min with 10sec added fischer time. I got wholloped for the first two games. He basically captured everything worth while and then cut my throat. Just when I thought all was lost I won the third game and played this super fantastic combination to finish off the fourth. These dont come around everyday.

1. Pe2-e4 Pe7-e5
2. Pd2-d4 Bf8-b4+
3. Pc2-c3 Bb4-d6
4. Pd4xe5 Bd6xe5
5. g1-f3 b8-c6
6. Bf1-b5 Be5-f6
7. Bb5xc6 Pb7xc6
8. Pe4-e5 Bf6-h4
9. o-o Bc8-a6
10. Rf1-e1 g8-e7
11. Bc1-g5 Bh4xg5
12. f3xg5 Ko-o
13. Qd1-c2 Pf7-f5
14. Pf2-f4 e7-g6
15. Pe5-e6 Qd8-b8
16. Pc3-c4 g6xf4
17. Pe6-e7 Rf8-e8
18. Qc2xf5 f4-g6
19. Qf5-f7+ Kg8-h8
20. Pb2-b3 Qb8-b6+
21. Kg1-h1 Qb6-d4
22. b1-a3 Qd4-c5
23. a3-c2 Qc5xg5
24. c2-d4 Pc6-c5
25. d4-f5 Qg5-f6
26. Qf7-d5 g6xe7
27. f5xe7 Re8xe7
28. Qd5xa8+ Ba6-c8
29. Qa8xc8+ Re7-e8
30. Re1xe8+ Qf6-f8
31. Re8xf8++

Friday, June 08, 2007


I found this revealing quote while reading Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy. It reminded me of some of the threads on musics relationship to chess and how everyone has a different emotional state they like to get into when they play. Admittedly I dont understand more than twenty five percent of what Nietzsche is trying to say. So discovering two lines that dont reference an obscure ancient Greek philosopher and relate to the blog is no less than a miracle.

"In accordance with Schopenhauer's doctrine, we interpret music as the immediate language of the will, and our imaginations are stimulated to embody that immaterial world, which speaks to us with lively motion and yet remains invisible. Image and concept, on the other hand, gain a heightened significance under the influence of truly approprate music."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Quizzing Glass

"Nothing is more transparent than transparency." - Rob (who is probably mildly retarded)

I just played a game against my friend Rob. I won. It turns out if you stop playing or studying chess for weeks or months at a time your game goes to hell. But it inspired this quiz. Step right up...

Take My Quiz on

Can you Ace my quiz?
Let's Find Out!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The steadfast infantry stood their ground, hurriedly digging their trenches. While the generals of calvary drew up cunning plans for the days ahead. The clergy whispered clever rouses and the queen hardened her heart with the resolve of the faithful. The castle gates dropped with a chain link thunder. The skies brewed the darkest green. The ornamented king collected his past watching fearful imagination engulf them all.

The vanguard took their places, digging in deep as planned. Enemies maneuvered quietly in the night beyond the reach of combat. Church bells stretched along the sweat morning air. Taught ropes on catapults prepared to support the advancing infantry. Cavalries of both armies navigate the landscape, their shimmering swords hungry for blood but their minds calm and cool. A bishop spots the enemy advancing on the edge of the battlefield and signals. The queen agrees. Frightened archers deftly assemble in the distant towers, eyeing the domain for careless victims. The enemy flanks, charging headstrong outside the castle. Muffled cries of strong men killing the weak amidst a torrential rain can faintly be heard. In the distance the dark knights gallop strong avoiding and confusing defenders, preparing themselves for death. Infantrymen are gripped with fear, thrusting their remnants of courage into the hearts of the attackers. The earth rumbles beneath the feet of both kings, an acknowledgement of respect and honor.

1.d4 e6 2.c4 d6
3.Ng1f3 h6 4.e3 Nb8d7
5.Bf1d3 Bf8e7 6.O-O a6
7.Rf1e1 e5 8.Nb1c3 Ng8f6
9.Bc1d2 b6 10.Qd1c1 O-O
11.e4 Nf6h7 12.Bd2e3 c5
13.d5 Nd7b8 14.Re1f1 Bc8g4
15.Bd3e2 f5 16.h3 Bg4xf3
17.Be2xf3 f4 18.Be3d2 Nh7g5
19.Qc1d1 Nb8d7 20.Nc3b1 Nd7f6
21.Rf1e1 Qd8e8 22.b4 Qe8g6
23.Kg1h1 Ng5xf3 24.Qd1xf3 Nf6h7
25.bxc5 bxc5 26.Nb1c3 Nh7g5
27.Qf3g4 Kg8h7 28.f3 Ng5f7
29.Qg4xg6+ Kh7xg6 30.a4 Be7d8
31.a5 Ra8b8 32.Re1b1 Rb8xb1+
33.Nc3xb1 Bd8h4 34.Nb1c3 Rf8b8
35.Nc3a4 Bh4f2 36.Na4b6 Bf2d4
37.Ra1b1 Rb8b7 38.Bd2e1 h5
39.Kh1h2 Kg6h6 40.h4 g5
41.hxg5+ Nf7xg5 42.Be1h4 Bd4c3
43.Bh4e1 Bc3d4 44.Rb1c1 Bd4e3
45.Rc1c2 Ng5h7 46.Be1f2 Be3d4
47.Bf2xd4 exd4 48.Rc2d2 Kh6g6
49.g3 Nh7g5 50.Rd2d3 fxg3+
51.Kh2xg3 Ng5f7 52.f4 Kg6f6
53.Kg3h4 Nf7d8 54.Kh4xh5 Rb7h7+
55.Kh5g4 Rh7g7+ 56.Kg4f3 Rg7h7
57.Kf3g3 Nd8f7 58.Nb6d7+ Kf6e7
59.Nd7b6 Rh7h1 60.Rd3a3 Rh1e1
61.Kg3f3 Nf7h6 62.Kf3f2 Re1h1
63.e5 dxe5 64.fxe5 Nh6g4+
65.Kf2g2 Rh1h2+ 66.Kg2g3 Rh2e2
67.Kg3xg4 Re2xe5 68.Nb6c8+ Ke7d7
69.Nc8b6+ Kd7c7 70.Kg4f4 Re5h5
71.Ra3g3 Rh5h4+ 72.Kf4f3 Rh4h7
73.Rg3g6 Rh7f7+ 74.Kf3e4 Rf7e7+
75.Rg6e6 Re7h7 76.d6+ Kc7d8
77.d7 Rh7e7 78.Re6xe7 Kd8xe7
79.Ke4d5 d3 80.Nb6a4 d2
81.Na4c3 Ke7xd7 82.Kd5xc5 Kd7c7
83.Kc5d5 Kc7b7 84.c5 Kb7c7
85.c6 Kc7d8 86.Kd5c5 Kd8c7
87.Kc5d5 Kc7d8 88.Kd5d6 Kd8c8
89.c7 Kc8b7

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Thank God For My Heart Attack

That is the title of one of the books I picked up at the used bookstore along with Blitz Theory. One was supposed to be about medicine and the other about chess. It turns out they each offer a little of both and the Ruy Lopez is the healthy choice of openings. I recommend Thank God for my Heart Attack by Charles Yale Harrison to anyone who studies any type of medicine or has known someone dear to have had cardiac disease. Harrison writes eloquently about his own experiences with cardiac disease in the 1950's. Its quite interesting to see just how much time has changed us and just how much it has not.

"For several months after my own attack, when I was morbidly searching for symptoms, I discovered that I felt no pain of any kind when I was deeply engrossed in my work or when I was in the presence of amusing or stimulating people.

I discovered the same to be true when playing a game of chess. After making the first ten moves in the Ruy Lopez game, I'm beyond the capacity of feeling neurotic cardiac pain. At such moments it never comes through. What really has me concerned is how to capture my opponent's queen's knight without playing too dearly for it. I've never experienced the slightest twinge of pain when I'm perfecting a mating combination. The same is true of all sedentary games: bridge, cribbage, mah-jongg. When you're deeply absorbed in mating, trumping, or skunking your adversary, you'll never feel neurotic cardiac discomfort of any kind."