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I’m going down swinging, but I’m going down all the same.

Paul Mangone of Seal Beach returned Monday, March 5 to capture the White Bishop by moving the Black Queen to c1. This wasn’t a surprise. It was, frankly, the logical move to make. I was tempted to use the White Rook to capture Black’s remaining Bishop. However, I instead moved a pawn to g5.

Later that day, Robert Goldberg, of Seal Beach’s Bridgeport neighborhood, moved the Black Queen to h1, placing the White King in check. The White King could not capture the Black Queen because her majesty was protected by the Black Bishop. So I made the only possible move: King to g3.

On Tuesday, March 6,  Mangone returned to move the Black Queen to g1. The White King was now in check.

I moved the King to f4. Mangone moved the Black Queen to f2. I moved the White King to e4, capturing the Black Bishop. I said I was going down swinging.

On Thursday, March 8, Mangone moved the Black Queen to h4, capturing my remaining White Knight and checking my King. I moved the White King to d3. Right now, my Rook and my King are protecting each other. My three remaining pawns are really rather useless. The limited moves available to pawns mean that while two of my White pawns stand next to the Black Queen, neither can attack her majesty. The Black Queen, however, can theoretically capture either of my pawns. But one of those pawns is protected by my White Rook—so I predict the next move will be fore Black to capture my forward most pawn. That last is only a prediction. Take a look at the above graphic to see where the game is. Meantime … I’m already planning my opening for the next game.

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A lot has happened since I placed Black King in check.

Paul Mangone of Seal Beach, apparently the only person brave enough to play chess in public, placed his Black Night in front of the King, fending off the attack by my White Rook. Then I moved my remaining White Rook to e3. The move protected the White Knight. The Rook was  in turn protected by the White pawn at f2.

This situation freed up the White pawn at g2 so that it can attack the Black Bishop.

Mangone returned on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to castle, a move that placed the Black Rook at f8 and the Black King at g8.

I moved after he left. I moved my White pawn to g4, threatening the Black Bishop.

When Mangone returned, he moved the Bishop to e4, easily slipping out of harm’s way.

I moved my White Knight to h4. I had an attack in mind. But would I have time to implement it?

Mangone returned Friday, March 2, and moved the Black Queen to d1. This placed my White King in check.

I had only one safe move to make that would save my King without exposing a chessman to attack. I moved White King to h2. My White bishop is now vulnerable to attack.

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I’ve place the Black King in check.

I don’t expect this advantage to last very long, but at the moment I’ve taken the initiative away from the other side of the game. That’s always to your advantage. Here’s what happened since the last blog update.

My arch nemesis, Paul Mangone of Seal Beach, moved the Black Bishop to b1, capturing one of my White Rooks. I saw that coming. Black’s Bishop was positioned to threaten both of my Rooks. Black could only capture one of them and the Rook that Mangone captured was not protected. The other Rook stood proudly next to the White King, which could capture any piece that attacked that second Rook.

I had originally planned to move my White Bishop, but Magone’s move on behalf of the Sun Region indicated my White King was in potential danger of being trapped behind a wall of White pawns. I moved a pawn to h3, creating a potential escape route for my King.

Magone returned later and made another move, placing the Black Bishop at f5. The Black Bishop now threatens the White pawn I had just moved. The pawns could become critical players now. I have fewer chessmen than Black and fewer powerful chessmen than Black. Only pawns can be promoted—so I may have to take some bold risks to have a prayer of winning or at least making a good showing.

It was only after Magone left the office on Friday, Feb. 24, that I realized I had a chance to threaten the enemy King. So I moved my surviving Rook to e1. I am now attacking the Black King. It isn’t checkmate, but the other side is now required to protect the King. In chess, there are only three ways to protect a King from check: capture the attacker, move the King or block the check. Black doesn’t have any chessmen in a position to capture my White Rook. That leaves moving the King or blocking the check. Unfortunately, I count nine possible moves that Black could make to accomplish either of those goals. Some of the moves would be risky. Other moves would not. Black can afford to lose a few chessmen just now. Will Magone return to make the next move or will another resident of our circulation area come by to represent the community? I don’t know. The only thing I know is,

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I’m getting pessimistic about this game. Paul Mangone of Seal Beach, moving for Black (the community’s side of the board) captured one of my Bishops. I’m vulnerable to multiple attacks. I considered a move that would save one piece from attack and capture an enemy pawn, but that move would do nothing to advance or alter the game. I decided instead to move my surviving White Bishop in a series of moves that I believe could hurt Black’s side of the game. I’m also planning potential evasions in case my King is attacked—which I expect will happen quickly. So my remaining White Bishop stands at c1, waiting for orders.

As it stands, the enemy is deep in my territory and I haven’t launched an attack. Last game, I started attacking but lost the initiative. This game, I never had it.

Meanwhile, my co-workers in Orange County Neighborhood Newspapers (of Community Media Corporation) have begun giving me advice on how to play. They haven’t been suggesting specific moves, that’s up to me, but they are clearly concerned with the company’s pride. Part of me says, it is only a game. Part of me says, people will lose interest if this isn’t a serious contest. For now, all I can do is play the rest of this game as best I can. For the future … it may be time to check out chess books from my local library.

I wonder if “Chess Openings for Dummies” is still on the shelves at the Rossmoor/Los Alamitos Library branch (which for some strange reason is located in Seal Beach). Never mind. Maybe I’ll pick up “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Chess” at the Mary Wilson Branch of the library in Old Town.

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I think I’m in trouble. Here’s what happened. Monday afternoon, Feb. 14, Paul Mangone of Seal Beach came in and made a series of moves that devastated White’s side of the board. Good for him, good for the Sun Region, but as I’m playing White that doesn’t work out too well for me. Here’s what happened.

Black pawn captured the White pawn at d4. White moved a pawn to b4. Black Bishop moved to b4, placing White’s King in check. White pawn moved to c3, blocking check. Black pawn captured White’s pawn, taking control of c3.

White pawn then moved to a3. Black pawn moved from c3 to c2, once again placing the White King in check from Black’s Bishop at b4. White Queen moved to d2. Black Bishop captured the White Queen. Of course the White Bishop took the Black Bishop. (In chess terms, this was not a good trade for White.) Black pawn then captured the White Knight and became a Queen—placing the White Queen in check. White Rook captured the promoted Queen at b1.

Black pawn moved to d5. White pawn moved to d5. Black Queen moved to d5. White Bishop moved to 32. The black Bishop moved to f5. White’s latest move was to castle.  It’s Black’s turn to move. White is in a defensive mode and mired in the first three rows of the board.  Black commands the center of the board and holds most of the territory. It isn’t over by a long shot, but I better get very smart very quickly or I’m going to lose this game.

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The woman we couldn’t identify last week returned to make another move for Black and the Sun Region. Seal Beach resident Jean Parks moved the Black Knight to c6, a move that protects the Black pawn from my White Knight. If my Knight takes that pawn, Black’s Knight takes my Knight. No, thank you. Instead, I moved my White Queen’s pawn to d4. This moves threatens Black’s pawn, but doesn’t accomplish much else—and seeing as it is now Black’s turn, the move could cost me a pawn. Never mind. The important thing is that now I can move a lot of strong pieces. I still want to castle as soon as possible—I always do—but my next move ill be influenced by Black’s next move. One drawback to my last move: my King is exposed. The Black Bishop could be moved into a position to attack the King. If that happens, it will be an easy attack to block. However, the attack would force me to delay castling my King and would force me to make moves based on my adversary’s agenda.

Thinking on it, Black’s move was actually a pretty good one. There are not many moves my Knight can safely make just now unless I move away from the center of the board. You want to command the center as much as possible. However, it is early yet.

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An Unidentified Woman came into the office while I was out and made the first move for Black. The move was pawn to e5. I responded for White by playing Knight to f3.

I don’t know what the woman was up to, but her move was a good one. It blocked any further advance of my pawn while creating opportunities for either the Queen or the Bishop to get into the game. My move threatens Black’s pawn, but would it really profit me to take that chessman? It’s really too early to tell and as I recall, one of the reasons I lost the first was that I became too confident of victory too soon.

It’s anyone’s game.  Your turn, Sun Region.

Previously:

I lost. I deserved to lose. Defeated but undaunted, humbled yet not humiliated, I’m challenging the Sun Region once again to a chess match. This is my first move.

So come to the Sun office at 216 Main St., Seal Beach. If I’m there, we’ll trade a few moves before I update. If I’m not there, you’ll only get one move. I play White, the Sun Region plays Black. Leave your full name at the front desk and I’ll report your name with your move when I update. The winner’s name and photograph will appear in the Sun when the final results are known.

In chess tournaments, a winning game results in a point. So far, the score is Sun Region 1, Charles 0. Let’s see how this game plays out.sptschess-2move-1