The Black King is in Check, placing Black on the defensive.

At last report, Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger had moved the Black Queen to f7, capturing the White Knight.

I castled, placing the White Rook at f1 and the White King at g1. Now I was poised to get a Rook into the game and start attacking. This is usually where I get into trouble.

Geiger: Black Queen to h5, capturing the White Queen.

I moved the White Knight to h5, capturing the Black Queen.

The move opened up the board and left the center open for whoever could claim it. My victory was, however, expensive in that it cost me one of my most powerful pieces. The fact the opposition paid the same price was small consolation.

Geiger: Black Bishop to f8.

White Rook to e1.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone: Black pawn to d6.

White Bishop to d2.

Mangone: Black Bishop to e6.

White pawn to e5.

Geiger: Black pawn to e5.

White Rook to e5, capturing Black pawn.

Geiger: Black King to d7.

White Rook to d2.

Mangone: Black Knight to c7.

White Rook to e4.

Mangone: Black pawn to c5.

White pawn to f4.

Geiger: Black Bishop to g4.

White pawn to h4.

Geiger: Black pawn to f4, capturing White pawn.

White Rook to f4, capturing pawn and threatening the Black Bishop. (Unfortunately, this move also left the White Knight under attack from the Black Bishop.)

Mangone: Black Bishop to h5, capturing the White Knight. (See?)

White Rook to h5, capturing the Black Bishop.

Mangone: Black Rook to e8, shoring up the defense of the Black King and protecting the remaining Black Bishop.

White Rook to f7, placing the Black King in Check. Black is on the defensive and isn’t yet in a position to attack my barely protected King. (I mean, really, one pawn is hardly any protection.) But I have to move with caution and Black can afford a mistake or two. I can’t. Just two wrong moves and I will be unable to do anything except postpone a defeat.

But while the game is now mine to lose, it is definitely a game.
Your move, Sun Region.

Right now, the Black and White queens are staring at each other. Each can capture the other—but will then be captured in turn by the opposition. Here’s how that came about.

At the end of the last installment, I said I moved white pawn to e4.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved Black Bishop to c5.

I moved White pawn to d4, threatening the Black Bishop and the Black pawn.

Mangone: Black Bishop to c5.

White pawn to d4, threatening a Black Bishop.

Mangone: Black pawn to d4, capturing White pawn.

I moved White Knight to d5, a defensive move that may have cost me momentum.

Mangone: Black pawn to h6. White pawn to b4.

Hungtington Harbour’s Alois Geiger, winner of game 6, moved Black Bishop to c5, capturing another White pawn.

White Bishop to c4.

Mangone: Black pawn to c6, threatening the White Knight.

White pawn to a3, threatening the Black Knight. (This was a delaying tactic on my part.)

Geiger: Black Knight to a6.

White Knight to e5.

Geiger: Black Knight to a6.

White Knight to e5.

Geiger: Black Rook to h7.

White Knight to f4.

Geiger: Black pawn to g5, threatening the White Knight.

I then moved the White Queen to h5, threatening the Black pawn at f7. This was a risky move—if you bring in your Queen too early, she could be captured by the enemy.

Gieger: Black Queen to f6.

White Bishop to f7, placing the Black King in check. This was partly a diversion to protect my Knight from immediate danger.

Mangone: Black Rook to f7, capturing the White Bishop and rescuing the Black King.

I had expected something like that. I moved White Knight to f7, capturing the Black Rook.

Geiger: Black Queen to f7, capturing the White Knight.

The Black Queen now threatens the White Queen, but if the Black Queen captured the White, then the White Knight could capture the Black Queen. The Black Queen can’t capture the White Knight in its current position because that would expose the Black King to check.

Conventional wisdom holds that losing a Queen is bad—she really is the most powerful piece on the board, being much more mobile than the King. However, Black has more chessmen overall than I do and has lost only one other significant piece, a Rook. All in all, Black could afford to “trade” a Queen for a Queen.

Me, I’m in a much more vulnerable position. (Gee, so what else is new?) I know what I want to do in terms of attacking the opposition. The question is, what will Black do next? I’ll have to wait and see. If I lose my Queen … well, I’ll take the Black Queen off the board and then decide on my next move. If Black doesn’t try to take my Queen … well, I have a couple of moves in mind.

Your move, Sun Region.

 

It’s on again.

The new game began on Monday, Jul 2, with a move by White (your all too frequently humbled chess servant Charles), with Knight to c3.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved Black pawn to e4.

White Knight to f3. This wasn’t really part of a grand strategy on my part. I simply want to move as many strong chessmen as possible as quickly as possible and the Knights are the only chessmen that can jump over other chessmen—which means I don’t have to maneuver my pawns just to get them out of the way of my Knights.

Huntington Harbour’s Alois Gieger, who graciously posed for his victory picture for the previous game, moved a Black Knight to c6. I don’t know if he planned it or not, but that little move complicated a plan I was forming to attack the pawn at f7. (When I can’t attack the King, I frequently plot an attack on the King’s nearest neighbor. Given I’ve lost six games in a row, the effectiveness of this approach is questionable.)

I moved white pawn to e4.

Your move, Sun Region.

I lost again, but I can’t say I mind.

At the end, it was a single move by a pawn that brought my King down. Alois Gieger of Huntington Harbour delivered the fatal blow. The move, delivered early afternoon on Monday, July 2, concluded a brutal week on the chessboard. Both sides lost chessmen as the end drew near. Here’s how it played out:

When I last reported on the game, I had moved White King to d1. The White King is positioned near a potential escape route and covered by the White Rook at h1, which threatened the entire “h” row.

Monday, June 25. Seal Beach’s Matt Murphree moved Black Knight to d3.

White Queen to d3, capturing Black Knight.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone: Black Rook to d2, capturing White Bishop and placing White King in Check.

White King to d2, capturing Black Rook.

Alois Geiger came in and moved Black Bishop to f4, a “fork” that threatened both the White King and the White Rook.
White King to c2.

Geiger: Black Bishop to g5, capturing the White Rook.

White pawn to g6, capturing the Black pawn.

Mangone: Black pawn to h6.

White Rook to f1. This may have been a fatal mistake. At the time, however, I felt it was my best shot at victory.

Geiger: Black Queen to h2, placing White King in Check.

White King to c3.

Geiger: Black Bishop to f6.

White King to b3.

Mangone: Black Queen to a2, capturing White pawn and placing White King in Check.

White King to b4.

Monday, July 2. Geiger: Black pawn to a5, placing White King in Check. As you can see from the illustration, there was no place for the White King to go.

It appeals to my sense of irony to see a pawn bring down a King. (I dislike monarchy, period.) I would have preferred to see the other side’s King fall to my pawn, but if I had to lose I’m glad I lost this way.

There’s only one thing to do when you lose a chess game. Start another. So you’ll excuse me while I set up the board for Chess with Charles 7.