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Monday, January 7, 2013

Adjournment: An indefinite hiatus for SOTS

It is with regret that I must inform my readers that this blog is going on indefinite hiatus.

Over the past few months (just about 16 weeks, to be more exact), I have found blogging on this site to be a very enjoyable experience. During this time some of these pages gained some recognition as well: through connections formed from this blog, I was offered to write a few book reviews for I owe a special thanks to Michael Goeller, a friend and author of the amazing Kenilworthian blog, for his help and occasional reposts.

Unfortunately, as foreshadowed in some recent posts, I simply do not have the time to make this blog all it could be. Rather than be reduced to posting (exclusively) biweekly the Freeze Chess, ChessWords, and Scrambled Chess problems (of which I have quite a few), I decided to simply put the entire operation on hold.

I am currently in a period of significant transition in my life. I am nearing the end of my doctoral studies in biochemistry. In fact, the end to this chapter might come rather quickly, in the order of few months. A great deal of effort might be required to ensure a quick and successful conclusion to some final experiments (not to mention polishing the writing of my manuscript and thesis).

On top of that, my impending graduation necessitates that I intensify my career search. I have been searching for gainful employment for several months. In fact, this blog is partly a piece on the board in that larger struggle, a way to showcase my writing (as well as didactic) abilities in advance of a scientific publication. For my readers that have some connections to science (or otherwise are / or know somebody looking to hire a newly minted PhD), I would be very interested in hearing from you! My resume can be viewed at my LinkedIn profile. 

Hopefully, after I am settled in the next phase of my life, I can return to this blog and resume posting interesting chess stories and analysis, as well as commentary on science. The transition period is bound to be an interesting one, and I look forward to recounting the experience (as well as relating experiences from my graduate career) on these pages.

While I will not be making any new posts for awhile, there is some other work that needs to be done to update some older entries. In particular, I will be fixing some broken links and images in the near future. Also, you should be on the lookout for my favorable review of Dan Heisman's excellent The Worlds Most Instructive Amateur Game Book I recently completed (but not yet featured) for When I return, you can expect that I will finish my inconceivable moves series. As a sneak peek, I think that 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e5!?* and 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Qb6 5.Be3! are both marginally playable. I actually have did some preliminary analysis for the latter line (which is essentially a gambit variation in the Grivas Sicilian) at my older blog at, which you should definitely check out if you haven't already :)

*Intending 3.Nxe5 Qe7 4.d4 Nc6!? (not 4…d6 5.Bb5+ ouch!) 5.Nxc6 Qxe4+

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Worst Blunder of 2012

In 2012, I played quite a few chess games. I was active on, playing 41 turn-based correspondence style games (with a 28-8-5 Win-Loss-Draw record), as well as countless blitz games. The story was similar with my over-the-board (in person) play; I had numerous casual blitz and slow games at the Stony Brook Chess Club as well as the Bayshore Chess Club this year. Finally, I participated in 3 different Chess tournaments this year: The Long Island Open (where I placed second in the U1700 section), the Manhattan Open, and the Empire City Open (The last two were played in the New Yorker Hotel, in Manhattan. The facade of the building is shown below). My overall record in these events is 11-5-2 (18 games total, six in each event).

From this collection of games, I could choose several that have egregious blunders, as well as good moves, with varying levels of instructive value. To me, at least at time of writing, my worst blunder of 2012 is clear. This, surprisingly, wasn't even a chess move, but rather my failure to use two half-point byes in the Empire City Open.

Read on the find out why, and see what I learnt about tournament Chess in the process. Have you had tournaments where you wished you took a bye?

To my regular readers, I apologize for the delay in posts, and the fact that there was no Scrambled Chess Sunday Puzzle this past week. In addition to playing in the Empire City Open, I celebrated New Years with my beautiful and wonderful girlfriend at Hunter Mountain. Unfortunately, I became sick the next day! Once I recover and finish some work obligations, you can expect more regular posts and progress.