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Thursday, November 14, 2019

Chess Weather and a Beating at the Hands of a Sailor

The back yard
     It’s hard to believe that just a few days ago the temperature was pleasantly in the mid-60s, it was sunny and I was out cutting the grass for the last time this year. Then the last couple of days the bottom fell out...the temperature dropped into the mid-teens, it was overcast and then it snowed. 
     Here it was only enough to cover the ground, but yesterday further east conditions were so bad that a woman was killed in a 16-car pileup on the Ohio Turnpike and the day before whiteout conditions resulted in a pileup involving as many as 85 vehicles near Akron, Ohio. 
     A bus bound for New York City flipped on its side on a snowy highway in Syracuse, New York, early Tuesday injuring seven passengers and jackknifed tractor-trailers shut down a section of Interstate 90 in Pennsylvania overnight. All together this storm claimed at least six lives stretching from Kansas to Ohio.
     Not that it in any way compares to the tragedies on the highways, but last night we took our 12-year old nephew out to Olive Garden for dinner and it was a disaster. 
     My wife ordered the Tour of Italy (chicken parm, lasagna and fettuccine Alfredo) and the lasagna was disgusting. It had a thick, black, badly burnt crust on the bottom. Seriously, it was about 3/8 of an inch thick and you could barely cut it with the knife. When she pointed it out to the waitress, she knew it was bad and offered to replace it. My wife told her no, not if it’s from the same pan. The waitress replied, “We have lots of lasagna...it’ll be from a different pan.”
     Eventually the waitress brought out a large bowl of glop that was supposed to be fresh lasagna, but it tasted burnt and had no pasta on the bottom. When my wife informed the waitress that it was the same stuff and they had just scooped off the top layers that weren't burnt to a crisp, the waitress just smiled and said, “Sorry about that.” No offer to bring something else or adjust the bill even though one third of the meal was not fit to eat. 
     Since the weather hasn’t been so good, it’s been a good time to play some online chess, but that hasn’t gone very well either. I did a lot of experimenting with the Wing Gambit against the Sicilian. I know the Wing Gambit Deferred is better; the straight Wing Gambit (1.e4 c5 2.b4) is played with the idea of deflecting black's c-pawn, then dominating the center with an early d4. GM Joe Gallagher called it "a forgotten relic, hardly having set foot in a tournament hall since the days of Frank Marshall and Rudolph Spielmann. White sacrifices a pawn for...well, not a lot." Be that as it may, I still wanted to play 2.b4. 
     The following game against some guy in the US Navy was typical of the way we rating challenged players conduct a game...I came out of the opening with a decent position, went astray tactically and then ended up blowing the ending. A perfect example of how not to play chess.

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