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Member since May-19-08 · Last seen Jul-22-14
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 5023 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Jul-22-14 A Suarez Real vs A Alonso Alvarez, 2014 (replies)
Once: <En prise: What if 20.QXF6. .....b4Xa3. I don't see why black has to play 20......BXf6.> This is the position after 20... bxa3 [DIAGRAM] White has mate in one on g7 - 21. Qxg7# Or he could play 21. Rh8+ Bxh8 22. Qxh8#, but that would just be showing off.
   Jul-19-14 Carlsen vs Wang Hao, 2013 (replies)
Once: Well, yes, d3 and push the passed pawn. Hmm, it's a nicely played endgame but a slightly disappointing puzzle. How much of this would we reasonably need to see before playing 64...d3?
   Jul-18-14 Le Quang Liem vs Karjakin, 2013 (replies)
Once: <Mrcomputer55> Good spot! Your move (52...Rf2+) is mate in three. Karjakin's move (52...Qf4+) is mate in six - although three of those moves are useless piece-chucks. After the game continuation of 52...Qf4+ 53. Kh1 Qc1+ we get to here: [DIAGRAM] Now black threatens 54. Kh2 Qg1#
   Jul-18-14 Wang Yue vs Karjakin, 2013 (replies)
Once: <ninja warrior> Black makes three pawn moves after the main POTD combination - 22... h5, 23... h4 and 24...h3+. The third of these pawn moves is essential. It seems to be the only way for black to win. But the overall plan of h5-h4-h3 does not seem to be obligatory. After all, ...
   Jul-16-14 Najdorf vs E Reinhardt, 1955 (replies)
Once: Once you've got 27. Qxg6? out of your head, you've simply got to look at 27. Rfxf7. Rooks on the seventh threatening mate and Qxg6+ - what's not to like? Never mind that it offers the queen. She can join in the party when the pieces are back in the box. Fritzie finds a defence I hadn't
   Jul-15-14 Stockfish vs Rybka, 2013 (replies)
Once: <gerryrulloda: Ya, what was the logic behind 14. Bc1?> Some random thoughts ... We have a relatively fluid and open position which ought to favour bishops over knights. So I guess that Stockfish didn't "want" to give up the bishop pair. White would be "happy" if he (she? it?) ...
   Jul-15-14 Chigorin vs Burn, 1905 (replies)
Once: <gaffchick> 9...Bxf5 10. exf5 e4! [DIAGRAM] If the white knight runs away black plays exd3, pinning and winning the white queen. Naturally, 10. dxe4 Rxe4 doesn't help either. So white has to submit to the loss of his Nf3 and he still has to do something about the pin on the e ...
   Jul-12-14 Potkin vs Kamsky, 2010 (replies)
Once: This isn't calculation. It's not a symphony. It's jazz where everyone in the band is playing a different choon but somehow it all sounds great.
   Jul-09-14 D Zaslavsky vs Botvinnik, 1926 (replies)
Once: Ah, the power of the passed pawn. One of the most surprising and delightful things in chess, a miraculous metamorphosis from grunt to Royalty with a free gender realignment thrown in for good measure. From humble footsoldier to the strongest piece on the board, with lady bits. Or as ...
   Jul-08-14 Kamsky vs L Dominguez, 2013 (replies)
Once: The thing I find interesting is why white played 43. h4 in the first place. He didn't do it to set up today's POTD tactic, because the tactic didn't work when he played it. So why? Here's the position after 42...Rh5, just before 43. h4 [DIAGRAM] The Rxd6+ tactic is three half moves ...
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Thanks - I have used google play a couple of times. We're quite a varied family when it comes to tech, with a mixture of apple, Microsoft, google and Samsung. It all mostly works. Mostly!

You don't need to have a kindle to read kindle books. I have the kindle software on my Samsung phone, ipad and a couple of pcs.

Odd how technology has taken over our lives. I had an odd experience earlier today. I wrote an email in gmail (a google product). When I went to press send, a warning box came up. It said that my message included the word "attach" but I hadn't added an attachment. Did I want to attach something?

Now that is seriously spooky. Not only was google reading my email but it also (correctly) worked out that I was about to make a classic email gaffe.

For that matter, my phone has a similarly spooky trick. It reads my diary and sends me a warning when it thinks I need to leave to get to my next appointment. All without me asking to do this.

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: Please let me take the liberty of posting on your forum my post on yesterday's GOTD.

Your post - a brilliant take, did we go to the same school?

< .... "mark my words">

There is a technical term a "Blake" (no, not 7, but quite possibly Yohan) for this. An assertion made with absolute conviction which turns out to be completely wrong, even spectacularly wrong.

Apparently this game went on very late and at 3 am they were the only two still playing. The tournament referee was groaning because he wanted to go home and muttering "it's never over, it's never over :("

Just then the white player's wife arrived, really angry because hubby hadn't come home. She looked very worked up and ready for some very physical action.

And just then the referee shouted "that's enough you two, or it's Neverova for me!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: Like it!

Actually when I saw the "Never say Never" pun, I couldn't help thinking of the poor James Bond film of the same name where a much too old Sean Connery creaked back into the old DJ.

I've not heard the expression a "Blake" before. Although I do remember Blake's seven very well. A British attempt to do a Star Wars.

Mind you, it did have one or two redeeming features...

Premium Chessgames Member
  scormus: <redeeming features> Yes, Jacqueline Pearce aka Servalan, my favourite character from the series. What a team she and Avon might have made, unbeatable! Just imagine what they'd be like to play chess against :O

Actually she looks a lot like several of my daughter's chums. Probably is one now I think of it ;)

World Athletics championship 100 and 200 m men's sprint in 2011. Of course, everyone knew who would win. Usain Bolt of course, the fastest man ever <mark my words>. Nobody else need turn up. But he didn't win. They were both won by a man called ..... Blake

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....

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