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Member since May-19-08 · Last seen Aug-01-14
It's an exciting time. I have just published a collection of my chess stories as an e-book on kindle.

It's called "Once upon a chess game" (naturally). It has 40 puzzles and 40 stories drawn from our very own puzzle of the day.

More details here:

At the time of writing (20 October 2013), it's only available in Kindle format. The plan is to bring it out in other formats shortly. There is a kindle app for most devices anyway.

It's priced at $5 / 3.22.

I also have a comic novel available as an e-book. This one is called "Love, Death and Tea". There is no chess in it (sorry about that) but as compensation there is the world's friendliest zombie, the end of civilization as we know it, revolution, a timeless love story and more than one William Wallace.

You can find it here ...

Project #3 is coming soon. A James Bond spoof where the bad guy is the hero. I thought of calling it "A View from a Volcano", but settled for "Global Domination: a Beginner's Guide." That will be published later this year.

>> Click here to see Once's game collections. Full Member

   Once has kibitzed 5048 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Aug-01-14 Vallejo-Pons vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008 (replies)
Once: <gerryrulloda: What was 8....b4 for?> In the Sicilian (1. e4 c5), white is generally going to attack on the kingside and black is going to grab territory on the queenside. The plan for white is usually to grab black's king by the throat in the early middlegame. Black usually ...
   Jul-31-14 Judit Polgar vs A Rasmussen, 2013 (replies)
Once: <ajk68> Actually I think you have nailed the finish perfectly. Fritz 11 says that the finish (with best play ) is precisely as you have said: 40. h7+ Kh8 41. Qe5+ Rg7 42. Rxe7 Qxe5+ 43. Rxe5 Rxh7+ [DIAGRAM] White is two connected passed pawns up and the black rook is going to ...
   Jul-31-14 E Torre vs Timman, 1982 (replies)
Once: What a delightful little puzzle! The usual prescription for a position like this is for the attacking side to play 27...Bh3 to pile up on the misplaced white fianchetto bishop. But that loses to the brutal 28. Nc3 which protects f1 via an xray. So we have to act fast. A check to ram ...
   Jul-29-14 T Wedberg vs J Ljungdahl, 1974 (replies)
Once: An unusually large number of solutions today. Fritzie doesn't give quite the same numbers as Dr J: 29. Rxh7+ (mate in 3) 29. Ng6+ (mate in 4) 29. Qh6 (mate in 6) 29. Be4 (+20.8) 29. Qb3 (+11.6) 29. Qg4 (+11.3) 29. Qxe5 (+6) 29. Qa2 (+4.3) And on it goes. All in all, ...
   Jul-28-14 M Gerusel vs D Werner, 1984 (replies)
Once: <team kids can win> Yes, that does look to be a stronger line. For the price of a knight, the black position comes under a lot of pressure, with weaknesses at e6 and d8. I do wonder though. 18. Nxe6 may be the line that silicon likes but a human would probably worry about the ...
   Jul-28-14 Euwe vs Colle, 1924 (replies)
Once: A nice attack and somehow fitting that Euwe feints towards the colle opening (which wasn't really popular at the time that this game was played). Fritzie doesn't know why black didn't play 14...cxb5 either. Presumably Euwe's idea is that it would deprive the black king of the right to ...
   Jul-27-14 Pachman vs Bronstein, 1946 (replies)
Once: Sometimes we throw away our own pawns in order to open lines of attack against the enemy. In this game, Bronstein sacrifices material in order to gobble his enemy's pawns so that his own long range pieces can torture the white king. Odd that pawns can be both precious and worthless, ...
   Jul-27-14 F A Hoffmann vs A Petrov, 1844 (replies)
Once: Too well known to be a puzzle, but a fun thing to play through all the same. As to <Phony>'s castling conundrum. Here's how you castle with your king adjacent to an enemy queen... First you need to choose a board with narrow edges. The thinnest edges that you can find. Then, in ...
   Jul-26-14 Szabo vs Benko, 1951 (replies)
Once: I think this one falls into the category of "hey, I thought I was the one doing all the attacking?". It's a theme we often see in the Sicilian. White often gets the first attack right from the opening or the early middlegame, but if this doesn't work then he often has to suffer a black
   Jul-26-14 A Galkin vs I Kovalenko, 2013 (replies)
Once: I have gathered you all in the drawing room for a very special reason. The killer is in this very room. You gasp and look around. That is not surprising, for the foul deed of murder has been committed this day. Straight away I had three suspects. My suspicion first fell on sweet ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

The story shop

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Yes, it's funny how sure things sometimes don't happen. Not heard the story about Blake, but it's a good one.

Somehow I struggle to get too excited about athletics. Unless there is a story (say Bolt, Coe & Ovett or Zola Budd)it all feels a bit samey. Or maybe that's a philistine thing to say?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Hi,

I want to get your kindle book but I gave back to my daughter my kindle Christmas present.

A truly awful thing, you cannot swot a fly with a kindle, nor can you rip out a page to roll a cigarette.

My family wants me to read electric books and smoke electric cigarettes!

I know nothing about these things, nothing at at all. If I get it downloaded from a friend (I'll pay for it) can his kindle print it out?

Your posts are a breath of fresh air on here.

Premium Chessgames Member
  hms123: <Sally Simpson>

You can't print it out but you can get the Kindle app (free) on your laptop or desktop or phone or tablet (even iPad) and read it there.



Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: That's just what I was about to say!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: Thank you - I'll try it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Sally - let me know if you run into problems. It should all pretty painless. I've now got the Kindle emulator running on my PC, phone and I-pad.

It somehow feels a little bit naughty (in a good way) to be reading Kindle books on an Apple product. It feels as if you are telling two fighting children to shake hands and be nice to each other.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Sally Simpson: I'm getting a friend to download it and lend me his kindle thing.
Premium Chessgames Member
  LIFE Master AJ: <<Apr-22-14 Once: Thanks for your kind words on yesterday's POTD. It's good to have you back.>>

Thanks, and you are very welcome.

Actually, more than once, you have analyzed the key part of the game for me ... which is good, because then I don't feel I have to! :)

Congrats on the book. Maybe I will get the Kindle thingie and buy your book ...

Premium Chessgames Member
  juan31: Once; Thank you for the answer, was complete.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Glad I could help.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Saw your comment on today's GOTD that you are writing a book about simuls.

In case you don't have it already, please check out my all time favorite simul game. Tal vs Miller, 1988

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: That's a fabulous game - Tal at his most aggressive and creative!

I'm thinking of at least three different sections for the book. The first will be when the master steamrollers the NN easily with better technique. My personal opinion is that we can sometimes learn more from one-sided master v NN contests than we can from GM v GM games. If nothing else, the games are more straightforward and easier to follow.

The second section will be about those games when the GM really lets rip and produces a masterpiece. I think your Tal game would fit well into that category.

The third section will be when the NN bites back and nearly or actually defeats the better player.

Sounds like unexplored territory, I think. Most simul games tend to get overlooked or stuck at the back of game collections almost as an afterthought.

Many thanks for pointing this one out. I think it deserves a place. I'll try to do justice to it in the annotations.

Premium Chessgames Member
  crawfb5: I don't have a specific game to recommend, but John Donaldson has two books out on Alekhine simuls <Alekhine in the Americas, Alekhine in Europe and Asia> and one out on Fischer simuls <A legend on the road>. Nick Pope includes quite a few simul games in his book on Pillsbury. Also, a number of newer game collections try to be exhaustive, including as many simul games as can be found (for example, Gordon's book on Reshevsky).

Just a few ideas. Good luck with the project.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Glad you liked that Tal game. If I run across another interesting simul, I'll be sure to let you know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Thanks, guys. My plan is to cherry pick the most interesting or instructive games. I'm particularly interested in the "lazy" games where a strong player wins almost without any calculation.

I think we can learn a lot from games like those.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Mating Net: Here are two simuls for your consideration.

The first one is an effortless GM crush that is quite pleasing to the eye. It clearly fits into your first category.

The second one, shows that even a World Champion can fall for a simple tactic and lose a piece. Granted it was a blindfold simul, but it may fit into your third category.

Bronstein vs NN, 1950

Alekhine vs NN, 1925

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Many thanks - both seem like excellent examples. The idea of a 28 board blindfold simul boggles the mind!
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: If I remembered I forgot my anniversary, does that count as remembering the anniversary?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I suspect that there is a sliding scale of anniversary-remembering.

At one end of the scale, there is the gold-plated "hit it out of the park" memory trick. That's where you spend months before your anniversary planning exactly how to surprise your significant other. A surprise weekend break in Venice or Paris, tickets to that Abba tribute band concert that she's always wanted to go to, a moonlight hot air balloon ride over the plains of the Serengeti.

We might call that the gold standard. Almost guaranteed to get you a lot of bedroom action as a reward with a freedom pass to the dressing up box.

Then we have the silver standard. You remember a few days before and buy her a nice thoughtful card plus a decent bunch of flowers. That still earns a visit to the bedroom but the extras are a little harder to negotiate.

Slipping further down the scale, you remember but only the evening before on the way back from work. The card says "happy birthday" with the birthday crossed out and replaced with "anniversary" and the flowers came from the local petrol station. I guess that means that you'll be watching the television on your own, but at least you're still married.

Down, down, down we go. Next comes the awkward early morning conversation on the day of your anniversary when she says "haven't you forgotten something?" and you gradually realise that ... OMG, you have.

A little bit below that is the same situation but where you don't remember what you have forgotten.

And I guess in both those situations the real question is how long the bedroom ban will last for until you are forgiven.

Coincidentally, the thing that you hope for is where you remember and she doesn't. Because then her forgetting comes with a price that somehow doesn't transfer when the situation is reversed.

Me? The Mem and I found a way to get around the problem by getting married on the 12 February 2000. That means that you never forget the anniversary itself. As soon as the card shops are full of Valentine's Day cards you know it's time to arrange something for the anniversary.

And you always know how many years you have been married by looking at the date.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Once> That was a way too generous response. Your scale made my day, especially the petrol-station level.

I too thought I had a fail-safe mechanism in place: Our anniversary is 12 April, the same day Lee surrendered at Appomattox in 1865, effectively ending the Civil War. I enjoy reading and writing about the Civil War, so my reasoning was I couldn't possibly forget since I surrendered on the same day that Lee did.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I must confess that I would not have known the significance of 12 April if you hadn't told me! Happy Anniversary for about a month ago.

Don't tell me that you forgot....

Jul-22-14  mworld: Happy Birthday Once!

I hope the lovely lady brings you a nice bottle of something - if not that then at least an HP 15yo :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Cheers!

Funnily enough, this morning's festivities did involve the presentation of a bottle of 10 year old Laphroaig.

And this evening's merriment necessitated the sharing of a cheeky little prosecco.

It's a hard life being 50!

Premium Chessgames Member
  hms123: <Once> It is still your birthday here in the USA. Happy Birthday!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Thanks!
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