The new game has been moving slowly. Complicating matters, someone accidentally knocked over the chessmen and I had to rebuild the board from my notes. Here’s how things stand:

I opened the game by moving White KNight to c3. Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger moved the Black KNight to f6.

I played White pawn to e4. Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the Black pawn to e5.

White pawn to f3.

Geiger moved Black pawn to d6.

White pawn to d4.

Mangone moved the Black Bishop to g4.

White Bishop to e2.

Geiger moved the Black pawn to d4, capturing my pawn and claiming first blood of the game.

White KNight to d5.

As it stands, the Black KNight at f6 could capture my KNIght at d5—or vice versa. (In either case, a pawn would quickly avenge the attack.) The Black Bishop at g4 could attack my pawn (only to be captured by either my Bishop or my KNight) or I could use my pawn to capture the Black Bishop.

I’ve been tempted to check the Black King with my Bishop, but then Black would block the attack with a pawn and force me into a retreat. That would give Black the long term advantage. As much as it would please my slightly bruised pride to attack at this point, I would gain nothing. Besides, it’s Black’s turn.

My King is vulnerable to attack at one point, but it would be a short-lived attack because there are enough chessmen nearby to repel the attack and force Black into retreat. I doubt any of my adversaries to date would be that foolish.

So I’ll wait. Your move, Sun Region.

This is just embarrassing: I lost the latest game before I had a chance to tell you about it. Seal Beach’s Matt Murphree won the game with a short series of bold moves, aided by one monumental blunder on my part. Here’s what happened. The good news is that it’s a mighty short story.

I started Game 5 by moving a White pawn to d4. Alois Geiger of Huntington Harbour moved a Black pawn to d5. I moved White KNight to f3.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the Black KNight to f6. I moved my White KNight to 35.

Then Murphree got into the game. Matt moved the Black KNight to e4. He made no secret of his intention to achieve a swift victory.

My notes don’t say and I cannot recall what move I made next. Alois Geiger moved Black pawn to d6. I countered with a White pawn to e3.

Murphree moved the Black Queen to h4. The move threatened the pawn in front of my King, which in turn threatened me with a Checkmate. It was a gutsy move–all the books tell you that using the Queen too quickly can cost you a powerful piece. Yet Murprhree took the risk. I blocked the attack, moving my White pawn to g3. Murphree countered with Black Queen to f6.

Then I made the mistake of moving White KNight to c3. If you look at the illustration of the endgame, you’ll see the other White KNight on the upper right side of the board. That is the KNight I should have moved. I should have moved that piece from e5 to f3. That move would have blocked Murphree’s next move and allowed me to stay in the game awhile longer.

But I made the move I made which, you’ll forgive me for repeating myself, was White KNight to c3. Murphree countered with the final move: Black Queen to f2, capturing the White pawn and placing the White King in Checkmate. The only piece in a position to attack the Black Queen was the White King—but that move wasn’t allowed because the Black Queen was covered by the Black KNight.

So now I’m zero for five and Matt Murphree’s picture will appear in the May 24 issue of the Sun as the latest winner of Chess with Charles.

Maybe the fifth time will be the charm, because the fourth time sure wasn’t it.

On Wednesday, May 9, Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone made the winning move: Black Queen to c1—Checkmate.

I’m updating the blog early this week because Sunday will be Mother’s Day and I’ll be visiting my stepmother.

Meanwhile, does anyone have any suggestions for improving my game? Losing a fifth game in a row would just be monotonous.

Confession: I’m frustrated. I’m going to lose, even though I theoretically could checkmate the other side with one move. The problem: I will never be allowed to make the move. The rules of the game guarantee that. I’ll explain after I’ve summarized where we left off.

On Monday, April 30, Seal Beach resident Paul Mangone moved the Black Rook to d8. This move was an obvious prelude to inflicting checkmate on White.

I moved my White pawn to f3, threatening Black’s Queen.

Alois Geiger of Huntington Harbour made the expected counter move: Black Queen to f3, capturing the pawn.

On Wednesday, May 2, I moved the White King to e1. .

Geiger moved the Black Queen to c3, placing my King in check. I wasn’t moving back and forth between the same two squares any more, so I decided to continue fighting in the forlorn hope that someone would make a bad move for the other side. Otherwise, I was toast.

I moved the White King to e2.

Geiger came back and moved the Black Rook to d2—once again checking the King.

I moved my King to e1 and there I wait for the end. If you look at the board you’ll see two things: First, you’ll see that Black needs only to make a single move to place me in Checkmate, thus ending the game.

Second, if you look up to my lonely White Queen standing calmly next to the enemy’s Black KNight, you’ll see that the Queen could with a single move to e8 place the Black King in Checkmate. It’ll never happen. Here’s why: the rules require you to move your King out of check. If you cannot, the game is over. No one playing for Black is going to make the sort of mistake that could result in my winning the game. It is not possible for someone who knows how to move chessmen to make that mistake.

So here I wait, knowing I’m going to lose and unwilling to surrender.

But I’m going to come back to play yet again.

Your move, Sun Region