chess-start1Paul Mangone, my arch nemesis, drew first blood in the new game today by moving his Black pawn to d4, capturing my White pawn. Black’s pawn threatened one of my KNights.

I saw that coming and wasn’t surprised by the move itself. I was surprised when I returned to the office from working with my editor on another assignment to find a pawn on my desk along with a note (that I had prepared weeks ago) informing me that it was White’s move.

I wrote down Mangone’s move and then made mine: White KNight to d5.

I feel compelled to remind readers that anyone can make a move for Black, anyone at all. (Maybe I should just ask Mangone to coach me. If you can’t beat them, recruit them.) Anyway, it’s your move, Sun Region.

chess-325My arch nemesis Paul Mangone struck again. Mangone returned to move the Black pawn to e5. I must confess I half expected him to bring his second KNight into the game just as I’d brought both my KNights into the action. I’ve got to stop making predictions—I’m so bad at them it isn’t funny.

Ahem. My next move was White pawn to e4. That stopped the advance of the Black pawn—which can be promoted to a stronger piece if it reaches my side of the board—and created opportunities to move other pieces into the action.

If I was expecting Mangone to move his other pawn to d5, I was sadly mistaken. He moved the Black Bishop to c5. This immediately placed pressure on the White pawn nearest my King. If I don’t do something, Mangone is going to have control of the center of the board. I was rather hoping to achieve that with my KNights.

No problem. The immediate threat was easily countered. I moved my White pawn to d4. That move threatens the Black Bishop. Mangone is in no real danger of losing anything, though. His Black pawn and his Black Bishop are both positioned to take that White pawn. If either of his chessmen takes my pawn, Mangone will be positioned to capture my White KNight. I see several options, but I think I know what I’ll do when the time comes.

The next move belongs to the next person to come into the Sun office to make a move for Black.

Your move, Sun Region.

chess-startRoughly 24 hours, give or take a few, after he defeated me, Paul Mangone returned to see if the third Chess with Charles game had begun.

I frankly planned to wait until Mangone’s victory was announced in the March 29 print edition of the Sun, but Editor Dennis Kaiser chided me into setting up the board for another game.

Having lost two games in a row, I decided to break from my usual opening featuring the middle pawns. Instead, I moved my White KNight to f3. Mangone moved his Black KNight to c6. After he left the office, I moved my other White KNight to c3.

Having lost two games in a row, I’m now certain that my future success lies in marketing rather than strategy or tactics. I figure that the more players are working against me, the better my odds because it will be more difficult for multiple adversaries to put together a working strategy. (Shake your head all you like, but remember that I’m getting clobbered in public.)

Which brings me to the reminder that anyone—anyone at all—can come into the Sun Newspaper office during regular business hours and make a move for Black.

Your turn, Sun Region.

chess-march-20Seal Beach resident Paul Mangone made the final, ultimately winning moves, begging with Black pawn to g7. The move captured a White pawn and exposing the White King to Check by the Black Rook.

It would have been possible to move the White King toward the right side of the board, but that would have exposed the White Rook without giving the White side much chance of pulling out a victory.

So White moved to d4. Looking back, I probably made the wrong move here.

Mangone returned Tuesday, March 20, to deliver the final blow: Rook to d4. As you can see from the graphic, there was simply no place left for the White King to move.

This brings the Sun Region/Charles chess match to a score of 2 to zero, Sun Region’s favor.

I’m going to wait a bit, then start another game.

This time, I’m going with two new approaches: a different opening from previous games—and I’m going to try to recruit more adversaries. The more opponents I have, the more difficult it will be for Black to come up with a winning strategy.

Well played, Mr. Mangone.

chess-march-17

When last you heard from me, my arch rival Paul Paul Mangone of Seal Beach was trying to put me in a corner. My last reported move was placing the White King at d3.

Mangone next moved Black Queen to d4, placing my King in Check. Any plans I had at that point were, well, pointless. I had to get my King out of check. I moved the King to e2. For the moment, the Rook and the King are providing each other with some small protection. Mangone’s plan, I gather, is to move the two pieces away from one another.

Mangone moved the Black Rook to d8. I’d been wondering when he’d bring the Rooks into the game. His Rook now protected his Queen, making at attack on her extremely unsafe at a time when I just can’t afford to lose any pieces.

I moved my white pawn to g6, threatening two of the Black pawns near the Black King. A useless gesture, but one I felt I had to make. When in doubt, attack—especially if you’re doomed anyway.

Mangone’s next move was Black Queen to d2, checking the White King once more.

I moved the White King to f3.

Your move, Sun Region.

Back in October, I wrote that my stepmother was criticizing me for not having a wife or at least a girl friend. Helen, a Leisure World resident, brags about me when I’m absent and complains about me when I’m present. Naturally, I try to spend one night a week at her place.

Recently, on the occasion of her 93rd birthday—I could have sworn that was last year—she informed me that she was going to hire a matchmaker to set me up on a date.

“That doesn’t sound like my kind of thing,” I said. I’ve always preferred to leave my personal life to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune while I concentrate on work.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” she said.

I could have sworn I’d just said quite the opposite.

Helen then informed me that this was going to happen whether I liked it or not.

She is determined to see me paired off before she dies and—let’s face it—she doesn’t have a lot of time left.

I mentioned this to Sun Editor Dennis Kaiser in the hope of receiving helpful advice or at least a little sympathy. I should know better, right?

Dennis laughed and said: “You should do this, Charles. You can write about it.”

When did I lose control of my own life? Never mind. I have to accept the fact that I can’t win. I suppose when next my stepmother brings this up, I’ll have to talk to her about the type of women I’m attracted to—assuming that has anything to do with it.