This time, I’m playing Black. So far, I haven’t made a huge blunder. White has a slightly better position, but neither side can claim perfect control of the center.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone opened the game for White, moving a pawn to e4.

I moved Black Knight to f6 to provide cover for the future advance of a pawn.

Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger: White Knight to c3.

Black pawn to e5.

Mangone: White pawn to f4, a move that threatened a Black pawn.

Black pawn to d6, a move designed to protect the other Black pawn.

Geiger: White pawn to d3.

Black Knight to c6.

Mangone: White Knight to f3.

Black Queen to e7.

Mangone: White Knight to f3.

Black Bishop to e6.

Mangone castled, placing the White King at g1 and the White Rook at f1.

Black castled, placing the Black King at c8 and the Black Rook at d8.

Geiger: white pawn to h3.

Black pawn to g7.

Mangone: White pawn to e5, capturing Black pawn.

Black pawn to e5, capturing White pawn.

Geiger: White Bishop to e3.

Black Bishop to g7.

Mangone: White Queen to e1.

Black Rook to d7.

Your move, Sun Region.

I can’t say I was surprised, but I was disappointed to lose again.

The endgame came after I moved the Black Rook to c8. Actually, the endgame began long before that.

Alois Geiger of Huntington Harbour moved the White Bishop to c8, capturing the Black Rook.

Black King to c8, capturing the Bishop. (If you’re going to go down, go down fighting.)

Paul Mangone of Seal Beach moved White Rook to e8, placing the Black King in Check.

Black King to b7.

Mangone: White Rook to e1.

Black Bishop to d4.

Mangone said he would Checkmate me in two moves. (Frankly, I was grateful for the swift execution. I’d expected a three or four turn wait.) Mangone moved White Rook to e7, Check.

Black King to a6.

Mangone: White Rook to a8, Checkmate.

Only one thing to do. Play another game.

Your move, Sun Region. But you knew that, didn’t you?

White is now winning the game. Unfortunately, I’m playing Black. I lost the initiative that I had regained at the end of our last installment.

I moved the Black Bishop to d8, placing the White King in Check. This was an attempt to regain my earlier advantage in the game. It didn’t work, but I stand by the decision.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone moved the White King to d2.

Black King to b8.

Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger moved the White pawn to b4.

Black pawn to f5.

Mangone: White Bishop to d3.

Black Bishop to g5, placing the White King in Check.

Mangone: White King to c3.

Black pawn to a5.

Old Town’s Matt Murphree moved the White Bishop to f5, capturing the White pawn.

Black Bishop to c6.

Geiger: White pawn to d5.

Black Bishop to f6.

Mangone: White King to b3.

Black Night to c5, placing the White King in Check. The Knight was now doomed to be captured, but it was the only way to save the Black Bishop from being captured by the enemy pawn. The rules require White to save the King. There were only two moves that could save the White King and the best of those would be to capture the Black Knight with a White pawn. It should not have come to that, but I allowed my Bishop to come under attack and the only way to save the Bishop was to sacrifice the Knight. Of the two, the Bishop was the most powerful piece and so it was a good trade off as far as it went.

However, the momentum now belonged to the other side.

Mangone: White pawn to c5, capturing the Black Knight. See? (The “material” advantage definitely goes to White in this game. White has more chessmen and more powerful chess men than Black has. Black’s chances are diminishing at this point.)

Black Bishop to a8, now safely out of the reach of the White pawn.

Geiger: White Rook to e1, threatening Black’s Rook. (In theory, I could have taken the White Rook—but then the other White Rook would have captured it. I can’t afford any more losses this game, so I had to preserve that chessman.)

Black Rook to c8.

Odds now heavily favor White. The Sun Region players must advance the forward most pawns slowly in order to defeat me. Mangone will take his time. I need to pick off the forward most pawns and avoid more losses. I can’t win this game without the two Bishops and the Rook. White would have a hard time winning without those three forward most pawns. But there are three pesky pawns at the far side of the board that could come into the game at any time.

Your move, Sun Region.


In war games like chess, the most important decisions are often the blunders. In my last report, I described how I threw away an excellent chance at victory with one blunder that allowed White (representing the Sun Region) to capture the Black Queen (my Queen).

Well, last week the Sun Region players failed to protect their Queen and the advantage has now shifted back to me.

When Game 8 began, Black chessmen were concentrated at the center of the board, most of Black’s chessmen were well developed and Black had partial control of the center. White had only developed the Queen. When I lost the Black Queen, White gained the initiative and I was in trouble. But, as I said, that has changed. Here’s what happened.

My last reported move was Black pawn to c6, capturing the White Knight. (See the blog at for details of the early part of this game.)

Alois Gieger of Huntington Habour moved the White Queen to c6, capturing the Black pawn.

Black Rook to c8.

Paul Mangone of Seal Beach, the best chess player I’ve encountered so far, moved the White Queen to a4.

Black Knight to b7.

Aubrey DeSouza of Orange moved White pawn to c4.

Black Rook to e8.

Geiger: White Bishop to d2.

Black Bishop to d7.

Mangone: White Bishop to a5.

Seal Beach businessman Matt Murphree moved White pawn to a4. I hate to say this because Murphree is a good friend and a smart man—smarter than I am in many ways—but this was a critical blunder. Why? Because I now had the Black Bishop positioned to attack the White Queen and no one playing for White had bothered to protect her.

I moved Black Bishop to a4, capturing the White Queen. The balance of power was shifting.

A player I won’t name out of kindness confused the White Bishop standing next to my Black Bishop with the White Queen and made an illegal move to capture my Bishop. This happened while I was on deadline and I didn’t discover the error until after the other player had left—or I would have given that person the chance to make a legal move. Instead, I put the two chessmen back in their proper places and waited for a Sun Region player to move a White chessman.

Geiger: White Bishop to c7, capturing the Black Rook. Bad for me—my chessmen are outnumbered and outgunned.

Black King to c7, capturing a White Bishop. I’m still outnumbered, but the enemy has suffered reduced firepower.

Geiger: White pawn to a3. This is obviously a prelude to an attack on my Black Bishop at a4—which prevents the White King from castling to the left. A White Bishop prevents the White King from castling to the right.

Black Bishop to d8, placing the White King in Check to the Black Rook at e8. That move won’t win the game, but the next Sun Region player can only make one of two legal moves to protect the King. That gives me a tactical advantage. You never want the other guy to decide what your options are.

Your move, Sun Region.


Having lost seven straight games playing White, I figured I should try playing Black. I couldn’t hurt, I thought.

Hasn’t helped so far, I don’t think.

I’m down six chessmen to the Sun Region’s three. I’ve lost my Queen, one Knight and four pawns. White, on the other hand, has lost two Knights and a pawn. The enemy is deep in my territory. I’ve lost the chance to castle, an important defensive tactic.

Huntington Harbour’s Alois Geiger opened the new game, moving the White pawn to e4.

Black Knight to f6.

Seal Beach’s Paul Mangone: White pawn to e5.

Black pawn to e4.

Geiger: White Queen to e2.

Black pawn to d5.

Mangone captured the pawn “en passant” (in passing,) moving the White pawn to d6.

Black Knight to d6.

Seal Beach’s Matt Murphree moved the White Knight to c3.

Black pawn to e5.

Geiger: White pawn to d3.

Black Bishop to f5.

Mangone: White Queen to e5, placing the Black King in Check.

Black Bishop to e7, protecting the King.

Geiger: White Queen to g7, capturing a pawn.

Black Rook to f8 in order to prevent the White Queen from capturing it.

Mangone: White Knight to f3.

Black pawn to c5.

Geiger: White Queen to e5, pinning the Black Bishop to the Black King.

Black Knight to C6, threatening the White Queen.

Mangone: White Queen to c5.

Black Queen to d7.

Murphree: White Knight to e5.

Black Queen to e6. At this point, the two sides were converging on horizontal row six. White’s King was (and remains) exposed to a frontal attack.

Then Mangone came into the Sun office. While he pondered his next move, Geiger also came in. The two men discussed their plans for the next two moves in the game.

Mangone: White Knight to b5.

Black pawn to f6. This was blunder. I was paying more attention to my plans than my adversary’s likely attack.

Geiger: White Knight to c7, placing the Black King in Check. It was a perfect “fork” maneuver. The White Knight threatened the King, the Queen and one Rook. The rules require me to save my King, so one of the other two pieces was doomed. The Queen is considered the most powerful piece on the board.

Black King to d8.

Mangone: White Knight to e6, capturing the Black Queen.

Black Bishop to e6, capturing the White Knight.

Geiger: White Knight to c6, capturing the Black Knight and placing the Black King in Check.

Black pawn to c6, capturing the White Knight.

The game isn’t over yet. White has massively damaged Black, but White has not deployed either of the two Rooks or either of the two Bishops.

I’ve got to launch an attack on White—and soon—if I want to regain the initiative and have a prayer of winning.

Your move, Sun Region