March 28, 2010

Aftershock: good news for a former opponent!

I just discovered that my opponent from the first round of the US Amateur Team East this year, Mac Molner, just earned his final IM norm in Chicago! There's an article about this. And it also doubles as a GM norm!

For my main article about the USATE and my small role in that event, see my post on the subject at the ENYCA blog.

March 21, 2010

Triodion is almost over... *snif*

The three hymns that in some measure define the liturgical period of the Triodion have become real favorites of mine this year. I'll miss them when we go back to the normal liturgical cycle. Though the bare text hardly captures the flavor, here they are:

Open to me the gates of repentance, O Giver of Life, for early in the morning my spirit hastens to Your holy temple, bringing the temple of my body all defiled. But as one compassionate, cleanse me, I pray, by Your loving‐kindness and mercy.

Guide me in the paths of salvation, O Theotokos, for I have befouled my soul with shameful sins and I heedlessly squandered all of my life’s resources. By your intercession deliver me from every uncleanness.

When I ponder in my wretchedness on the many terrible things that I have done, I tremble for that fearful day, the Day of Judgment. But trusting in the mercy of Your compassion, like David I cry to You, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy.”
I'm the chanter at my church, and for some time now I've been carrying out Matins each Sunday (except when I'm out of town at a tournament, of course). I usually get at least a little bit of a late start on it, so sometimes I feel the need to rush through so I can get at least most of the material in. It's too bad so few people are there to hear it until the last few minutes. But today, even though I started late as usual, I made a point of slowing down a bit so as to express the readings and hymns more accurately, which really does help accentuate their content.

Over time, there have been certain hymns that I've taken such a liking to that I give them my own stamp in certain details, and these three are some of those. I actually do most of Matins in Greek, which makes it harder to really shape them with complete understanding of the hymns' contents, simply because I'm not really a Greek speaker. But that's where the music helps--it can express things inaccessible to the mere words. I understand the contents of these services much more than I did when I began all of this.

And in a few days, we start Holy Week. Please, don't let my coworkers sneeze on me for another week!

March 20, 2010

2009-10 Schenectady CC Championship final section to date

Hello out there. I thought I might try posting a crosstable of the chess club championship as it's progressed so far. Hopefully it will be more or less obvious from the title of this post which chess club I mean.

Let's see if I can just plug in the HTML directly...

Schenectady CC Ch finals 2009-10

1 Mockler,Michael 1917
0112.0 / 3
2 Sells,Philip 1986 1
12.0 / 2
3 Phillips,John 1883 0
½11.5 / 3
4 Howard,Dean 2000 0½
11.5 / 3
5 Chi,Patrick 1978 00
0.0 / 2
6 Rotter,Bobby 1930 0
0.0 / 1

Generated with ChessBase 8.0
Well, that sort of worked the first time... let me fix this up a bit if I can.

Update 1:15am: Stripped out the rather useless tiebreaks column and performance ratings to get a cleaner table. A success.

As you can see, the competition is rather intense so far. One can't afford to waste rounds in a 5-round event, so there's been a lot of metaphorical bloodshed. Still too early to tell what will happen, but I feel good about my chances. See the ENYCA blog for more details about the games.

March 10, 2010

absurd thought

I was eating some leftover mushrooms from a church function the other day and was wondering at one point how long it would take for these to go bad. (No, don't worry, they were still quite fresh. It was just an academic question.) The notion that mushrooms could get moldy tickled me to bits... fungi growing on other fungi! That's just hilarious. It wouldn't surprise me if that were to happen, but in a case like this, it would probably be mold growing not so much on the mushrooms as on the oil or whatever solution in which they're stored. But just the idea of moldy mushrooms... what a hoot!

March 02, 2010

Saratoga Open games


I thought I'd put up my games from the Saratoga Open held at Saratoga Springs Feb. 27-28, 2010 just past. I only played three rounds, but all of these games were interesting. Funnily enough, I was the top seed in the small event, though there were a number of better players involved in the concurrent and much larger NYS Scholastic championships.

Here is round two (Richman,J (1714) - Sells,P (2006)):

Next is Sells,P (2006) - Nyberg,D (1865), in which I fell to the man who ended up running away with the tournament. I felt as if I couldn\'t figure the tactics out with my own skills either at the board or later, so I had to lean on Fritz more than usual for the notes.

Oh, well, at least it was a fun game and a departure from my usual style.

And finally, my last-round game, LeCours,A (1958) - Sells,P (2006):

Capital District League 2010: Uncle Sam Troy vs. Schenectady A

This is my game from Monday, February 22nd, 2010, during the match between Schenectady A (for which I am playing first board this year, at least prospectively) and the Uncle Sam club of Troy. I'll just throw in a few variations to give an idea of what could have happened differently.

My games from US Amateur Team East 2010

Here are the games that I refer to in my ENYCA blog post on the same subject.

This is the one from round two (Aravind Kumar (1723) - Philip Sells (1997)). I'm skipping forward to the tactic of interest.

This boy seems quite young yet--I thought he couldn't be more than eleven years old. His play may have been a little lacking on this occasion, but he's probably going to get quite good soon.


Next is the game with IM Kapengut from round five (Philip Sells (1997) - Albert Kapengut (2379)):