We have entered the endgame.

On Monday, June 18,m Alois Geiger of Huntington Harbour moved the Black Rook to g8. I moved my white Pawn to h4. The pawns have played an interesting role in this game—not inflicting damage so much as creating or thwarting opportunities for the more “important” chessmen to attack the other side.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the Black Rook to e8. I moved White pawn to h5.

Mangone: Black Knight to h5, capturing the White pawn.

White Rook to h1.

Geiger moved Black Bishop to g4.

White Rook to g4, capturing the Black Bishop.

Geiger: Black pawn to f4.

White Rook to g5.

Geiger: Black Rook to g7. The action was shifting to the right side of the board (my right, anyway), rather than the center.

White pawn to g4, threatening the Black Knight. Black’s Knight, a Rook and several pawns posed potential threats to my plans to attack the Black King with two Rooks. So far, the plan has not been executed and efforts to move pesky obstacles have only cost me chessmen.

Mangone moved the Black pawn to f3, threatening the White Knight. My options: rescue the Knight or continue my attack, leaving Knight to almost certain doom.

White Bishop to g6, capturing a Black pawn. Geiger: Black pawn to g7, taking a White Bishop.

White pawn to h5, taking a Black Knight.

Mangone: Black Rook to e2, placing the White King in check. This was not a fatal attack, but it took the initiative away from White. You always want your moves to be based on your plans, not the other guy’s plans.

White King to d1. I couldn’t attack the Black Rook, much as I’d like to, because it is protected by a Black pawn. However, the White King is now positioned near a potential escape route and covered by the White Rook at h1, which is threatening the entire “h” row.

This game could go either way, but I’m down more “material” than Black is. The Sun Region has lost two pawns, a Knight and a Bishop. I have lost five pawns, a Bishop and two Knights. My King has virtually no protection. The center of the board belongs to no one—which means it belongs to the enemy.

If I win, it will be a close contest and I’ll likely lose two or three more chessmen before it happens. If i lose more than three chessmen, I’ll be doomed. Black can afford to suffer a few loses and still bring home a victory.

Your move, Sun Region

I was recently informed by my arch adversary, Seal Beach resident Paul Mangone, that I lost my momentum when he captured my White KNight, the result of a failed attempt to move a Black Knight so I could launch an attack on the Black King. I may also have lost control of the center board. Everything is going to be much more difficult from here on.

I last reported moving a White pawn to e5. Mangone moved a Black pawn to e5.

White KNight to h5.

Mangone moved Black KNight to h5, capturing the White KNight. He thanked me for the gift.

White KNight to e2. Mangone moved a Black KNight to f6.

White Rook to f1. Mangone said I should have castled. Could be he was right. Conventional wisdom holds you castle as soon as you can. Mangone is a more experienced and skilled player than I am. But the move was made and at the time I made it, I believed castling would be more dangerous in the long run than not castling. If I win the game—which history says is unlikely—then I’ll be proved right. If I lose the game, I’ll be proved to have lost the game.

Mangone moved a Black KNight to a6. The Black KNight now threatened one of the White Bishops and further threatened to derail a planned attack on the White King.

White Bishop to c2. This was basically a retreat, but it protected my attack plan.

Alois Gieger of Huntington Harbour moved a Black pawn to g6. This complicated my original attack plan against the Black King. Sigh. Best laid plans of mice, men and newspapermen.

White pawn to f4. I was trying to clear a path to get my Rooks into the action. It’s during these set ups for future attacks that I most often lose ground.

Mangone: Black Bishop to d6.

White Rook to b3.

Then Mike Hashem of El Segundo, a visitor to the Sun office, moved a Black KNight to c5.

White Rook to g3. I almost moved the Rook to h3, which would have left it exposed to an attack from a Back Bishop.

It appears Black is slowly gaining control of the center board, limiting White’s ability to move chessmen safely across the board. Now I just need to find a way to resume an attacking posture while protecting my surviving chessmen from the other side.

Your move, Sun Region. Remember, any resident or visitor to West Orange County is free to play the game.

When last I updated the blog, I had moved White Rook to B1 as a prelude to an attack. I’m thinking I may make a different attack now, but the set up will be nearly the same for both the old plan and the new.

Seal Beach’s Matt Murphree, who won the last game, moved the Black Queen to a5. This was a good move—it “pinned” one of my pawns to the White King. That is, Murphree created a situation where I could not move my pawn without breaking the rules—which in effect gave him partial control of one of my chessmen. Pinning is a fine tactic and I wish I used it more often myself.

I moved my White Bishop to d2, placing the Bishop between my White pawn and White King. Now if the Black Bishop attacked, the other side would gain a measly pawn and lose a Queen. This was the first step in a two step plan to move the Queen back.

Alois Geiger of Huntington Harbour moved the Black Bishop to d7. This was basically a retreat. It was also irrelevant to my plan for the Black Queen.

I moved my White pawn to c4. This meant that the pawn no longer stood between my White Bishop and the Black Queen. I could now attack the Black Queen if I wished. There was no chessman nearby to protect the Black Queen and, frankly, I would have been willing to accept the loss of a Bishop to capture an enemy Queen.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the Black Queen to c7. Another retreat.

Time to resume my attack plans. I moved the White Rook to b2. Step one accomplished.

Mangone castled, moving the Black Rook to f8 and the Black King to g8.

No problem. Attacking the enemy King is the goal of the game. It was not, however, part of my immediate strategy. I moved the White Queen to b1. Step two accomplished. My goal, if I could pull it off, would be to send my Rook deep into the other side’s territory. Either Black would move the Queen back again or Black would have the Queen capture the White Rook—and my White Queen would then capture the Black Queen before capturing the Black Bishop at a8.

Geiger moved the Black pawn to b6. My dream of pushing or capturing the Black Queen was temporarily lost. No problem. A small adjustment to the plan in progress would allow me to take another run at another enemy chessman.

I moved the White Bishop to d3. If you look at the board, you’ll see that the White Queen now protects the White Bishop. But there was an obstacle in my path—my own pawn. I had to wait to solve that problem.

Geiger moved the Black King to h8. This will complicate my plans, but not enough for my to change them.

I moved the White pawn to e5. Now there is nothing—or am I jinxing myself by writing these words?—now there is nothing between my White Bishop at c4 and the Black pawn at h7. There’s still a pesky Black KNight at f6 that would capture any chessman that captured the h7 square. So I need to push that KNight somewhere else and fast.

Interestingly, my White pawn that is now at e5 is positioned to capture the Black KNight. Unfortuately, there’s a Black pawn positioned to capture my pawn before it can make a move. No problem. I’m willing to sacrifice one of my White Knights to simply move—never mind capture—that one particular enemy Black Knight.

Chess is a war game. I’m perfectly willing to lose chessmen to improve my chances of winning.

That said, I’m down a couple of pawns. I’ve lost five games to the same core group of players for the Sun Region. I have influence over the center of the board, but not true control. Not yet. I don’t yet see a way to deliver the fatal blow.

Your move, Sun Region.

So far, Black has lost a pawn and I’ve lost two pawns. In other words, it’s too early to assess the game—though with a track record of five failures in succession behind me, I’d be foolish to feel over-confident.

Following my decision to move the White KNight to d5, Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the Black Bishop to 36.

I moved a pawn to c3.

Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger moved the Black pawn to c3, capturing my pawn.

I moved a White pawn to c3, capturing the Black pawn in turn.

Geiger moved a Black pawn to c6.

My White KNight was now threatened by both a pawn and a Bishop. I moved the White KNight to f4. No Black pieces are in place to attack the KNight and the KNight is poised to attack the Bishop—though I’m reluctant to do that when the Bishop is protected by a pawn.

Geiger then moved the Black Bishop to e7. I confess I’m not clear on the strategy at work—but I’d have to go through two Bishops to threaten the Black King with a frontal assault.

Conventional wisdom says you work to control the center—which presently doesn’t belong to either side—and you avoid time wasting moves. I’m not sure I see any good moves at this point. I see some moves I’d like to make, but the set up might take too long and I’ve been there, done that, and have five lost games to show for it.

I moved the White Rook to b1. My plan: attack as soon as possible. If need be, I’ll sacrifice a couple of pieces if I can mess with Black’s defenses.

Your move, Sun Region.