Thursday, February 21, 2008

Happy New Year Asians!

Alas, it is the year of the Rat and in the spirit of curiosity I did some research worthy of most major news outlets utmost respect. Wikipedia.

"Being the first sign of the Chinese zodiac, rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors. They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking. Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust."

One question comes to mind in regards to the year of the Rat. What the f#*@ does any of this have to do with Rats? I'm disappointed in you Asians. First rice and now this. Is it too much to ask to get a zodiac symbol that makes some sense?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Being unprepared... Mount Elden and the looming battles

Admittedly I was totally unprepared for the hamburger in a can. Not that Ive eaten one or would. No... I would.

Mostly unprepared for a man who wears a singlet and acts like a wolf. Pleasantly unprepared but unprepared none the less.

Mount Elden looks like a smaller mountain from the bottom. You can barely distinguish the look out tower at the top.

Their is a tournament on Saturday at NAU. This will be my second tourney ever, although it seems like Ive been to a million of them. Perhaps its the long evenings with large groups of players or the lack of nervous intimidation usually associated with social events.

The mountain side is covered with boulders, random escalating foliage and androgynous jogging Native Americans.

Im just not rattled by nerds even when they travel in packs. In a worse case scenario I can just roll up my sleeves and ramble on about the osmolarity of my blue Gatorade.

The view gets wider on the way up. Its hard to capture the sky but its very blue and the temperature is a scorching 60ish.

But as the title suggests, I dont have a clue what Im going to do at this tourney. I havent studied much, save for a few weekly puzzles, Mondays chess club and some wiley games with my roommate. My opening repertoire is stagnant at best and my vision of the board is mired in a cataract fog.

Below you can see the "east side" of Flag. For a city with so few inhabitants it has a remarkable ability to section areas off and unofficially name them.

So Ive put together a list of fundamentals that address some of my greatest weaknesses. What will happen at the tournament? I dont know. Really Im just going for the hell of it. It might make a good story. How could it not with a couple hundred characters gathered around to mull over a game in the hopes of leaving their daily lives and thought processes.

Its getting colder and snowier on the way up. The clouds gather near the peak in some bizarre meteorological formation.

Hundreds of people. Who am I kidding. It will probably be thirty moderately uncomfortable dudes, most of whom have long unkept hair that give them clout in the world of role playing hippies.

Lots of mountains in the distance.

Alas, it doesnt matter. It will be a good time in one way or another. So back to the list.

1. Eliminate the ego. Once the ego is in play commitments get squirrely. Ownership of moves is bad, moves are, the game is. Keep emotions free and think of the game.

Sideways view. It started getting steep. So steep in fact that I got worried about getting back down in my trusty New Balance.

2. When five minutes is left on the clock keep the moves to approximately five seconds. I like to mull. And mulling doesnt do a lot of good when the clock is spiraling through time at an awaiting flag.

This is about as far as I could get in a tshirt with running shoes on. The look out will have to wait for another day.

3. Be a tactical savage. Scalp the opponent and take the advantage. Artistic play is brilliant but tournaments arent an awaiting canvas. They are a battlefield of small squares containing plastic soldiers with high morale.

Back at the bottom the mountain grows tall again.

4. Keep your vision. Dont let your mind stray and pay attention to knight jumps and sniping bishops. Play book openings as far out as possible and save time so the endgame can contain good strategy.

This picture captures the feel of Mount Elden, perhaps better than all of the others.

The tourney is five round Swiss. I dont even know what that means.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Borderline Retarded

I started feeling about as retarded as Amy Whinehouse when it comes to chess. If you dont think shes got issues watch the video without sound and tell me she didnt recently climb out from the depths of a special needs class. After fourteen straight losses discouragement is an understatement. And it seems like Im not the only one. A couple people have posted on the levels of rising apathy and how its all part of the improvement cycle. This was the give up type of apathy though. Some of the losses were so horrendous I felt like I had just started learning the game and everything that the opponent was doing was a giant cosmic mystery. Blitz, untimed, didnt matter. Book openings played by memory were getting smoked. Sooo....

I go to the chess club tonight after climbing a nearby mountain (pictures coming soon)and get my ass handed to me once again. I start playing this guy who seems pretty cool. He sets up for a blitz game of 5 mins and I take a deep sigh. Then I lose. Then I lose again. I start thinking about whats going on so I make some conversation. Maybe digging in to some psychological well will reveal something thats clearly missing. It does. Ive been playing against masters. Not fake ones. Masters rated over 2200, including the highest rated player in Arizona. I felt somewhat justified. In a weird sort of way, like when you eat a frozen pizza and spend two hours on the toilet. Then when your wiping your chafed butt you remember your lactose intolerant. It doesnt make things better but you see the light and its the annoying environmentally friendly kind.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Bowl Commercials

I didnt watch the superbowl for the commercials. I watched it for cheesehead vindication. But the commercials were still funny so they are posted in the correct order of humor. If you havent seen them you need to.

Audio Fischer

NPR covers Fischers life with past audio clips and an interesting interview with Kasparov. Worth listening too once you get past the carbon copy reiteration of what Fischer was like. Their is a second program further down the page. Its not too bad but probably nothing you havent heard before. Except that his parents were Jewish and if Im not mistaken Jewish law states that if you are born of a Jewish mother you are always considered to be a Jew. Hmm.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Drew Carey and the rebirth of reason.

I always liked Drew Carey. His first couple shows were so/so but it seems as though the more he does the more likable he becomes. He definately doesnt take a partisan veiw and in this day and age thats a welcome relief.

Youll notice a couple changes on the side bar. I added a bunch of links cause Im tired of the pretentious blog roll. It was getting annoying and didnt give credit to all the blogs out their that are worth some time. So check'em out and if your not on it give knightskewer a heads up and you will be. Thanks again to all the bloggers who have me on their blogroll.