Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Marty Chess

So my girlfriend and I have been playing a lot of chess recently, and I have begun teaching her Philidor's Defense. Basically, Philidor's Defense is a system for Black. Anyone who plays chess knows that many games open with White pushing his king's pawn two squares forward, to e4, and Black responding by pushing his own king's pawn, also two squares, to e5. Usually—again, if you are even the least bit familiar with chess, you have probably seen this before—White will then bring his king's knight to f3, attacking Black's pawn on e5. If Black responds to this threat by moving his queen's pawn one square, to d6, in an effort, of course, to support his center pawn on e5, then the opening moves of Philidor's Defense have been played. 

Anyway, Marty and I have been playing games in the Philidor's Defense recently (with her as Black), and below is a game we played tonight. In my opinion, Marty had some great moments. Her first impressive move was 9…knight to c5. She was going after my dangerous bishop and eventually got it! 11…pawn to b5 was also new for her (with this move she grabbed some space on the queenside), and 14…queen to b6 was also impressive, as it stationed her powerful female monarch on a good attacking square. 

Marty's best move in my mind, though, was undoubtedly 19…knight to f6. Marty was under heavy attack at this point, and she had the presence of mind to ignore the threat on e6 and instead go after my queen on g4. This was a high-class move because it both attacked my queen and brought her knight to a much better square. 

In the end, I did win, but, hey, Marty put up a heck of a fight. 

Go Marty! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Chess Rival

When I used to play chess on, I had a rival, "mcrat." This guy and I, man, we used to tear it up. We would play game after game after game, and our games would always be super sharp and exciting. He was the yin to my yang or something. 

Anyway, years went by before I realized that his handle wasn't mcrat. It was mrcat. 


I got up from my desk, turned on the radiator, went into the kitchen and filled the electric kettle up with water. I then went over to my bed and grabbed a bag of beef jerky that was lying among several other things that I had dumped out of my backpack earlier. As I was about to sit down at my desk again, I noticed that I had forgotten to turn on the electric kettle.  


I went for a run last night. The running paths were sludgy. I couldn’t see much, and I was just praying that the muck under my feet was just mud—not mud mixed with dog shit. At one point, I lept over a puddle that I swear was in the shape of Australia. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Here's a Memory

When I was about 10 years old, I went with Zhong, my best friend at the time, to his cousins’ apartment in Manhattan to celebrate the Chinese New Year. The apartment was somewhere in Chinatown, but this was a long time ago, so I can’t say exactly what street. 

When we arrived at the apartment, Zhong’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and a slew of other family members were in the living room. I remember one of Zhong’s cousins, a woman in her 20s, came over to me and handed me a gift: a red envelope with a little bit of money in it. Exchanging small red, cash-bearing envelopes, I learned, was a custom of Chinese New Year.  

Anyway, at some point during the gathering, I found myself in the bedroom of the apartment, alone. For whatever reason, I took a seat on the bed, and as I was looking around, my gaze happened to fall on a bottle of whiskey. The bottle, which was more like a carafe in shape, was among several other bottles on a fancy-looking trolly next to a long wooden bureau.

Being 10 years old, I got it into my head that it might be interesting to try the whisky. I had never drunk alcohol before, and I guess my curiosity just got the best of me. So when I felt the coast was clear, I went over to the trolly, removed the bottle's stopper, took a sip, and...

Was immediately repulsed: IT WAS PERFUME.

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Beating "Beth Harmon" (at 2500)

I finally beat "Beth Harmon" (rating 2500). I must have played 100 games against "her" on But today I finally won. I have the black pieces. The opening in this game is the "four pawns attack" variation of the Kings Indian Defense.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Dance Me to the End of Love...

 The song “Dance Me to the End of Love” comes on, and Martina laughs. 

“What is that?” 

“That's good shit," I say.

I think about going online and looking for a cover version of “Dance Me to the End of Love.” Perhaps a cover might be a little easier.

But I decide not to. Let’s let this version roll. 

Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin

Dance me through the panic 'til I'm gathered safely in

Touch me with your naked hand, touch me with your glove

Dance me to the end of love

Monday, November 30, 2020

Beating Beth Harmon

Have you seen that Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit"? Well, the chess website that I play on,, created a bot for Beth Harmon. I beat her at age 17, when, according to, she was rated at around 2400. It took me about 40 games to get a win. I have the white pieces.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Chess win

 Another chess win against a "master." Granted, my opponent is a bot. But "his" score is 2450. I have the white pieces.