Sunday, August 21, 2011

2K doc for writing course

excerpt from a letter to Hunter...

Chess and running have been constant threads throughout my life. They haven’t always represented the same level of importance but they’ve always been part of my personality and part of my character. Sometimes these threads have run parallel and sometimes they have become entangled, often braided in my mind like a cord.

So it’s not surprising that I used metaphors about running in my Strategic Vision presentation to the US Chess Federation delegates in 2002. While discussing chess and Alzheimer’s disease, I talked about the prevalent myth heard in my youth that running a marathon would make a person immune from heart disease. After running Guru Jim Fixx dropped dead of a heart attack, the pendulum swung the other way as doomsayers started to warn that running would lead to all kinds of medical maladies. Eventually, however, most competent health professionals came to understand that people have inherent risk factors that cannot be overcome in all cases by diet and exercise. Nowadays, it is generally understood that vigorous physical exercise on a regular basis reduces the risk of coronary artery disease and other illnesses such as diabetes and stroke, but it does not make anyone immune.

Recently, there have been studies that demonstrate that playing chess and engaging in other forms of mental gymnastics may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. It is my belief that one day it will be generally understood that vigorous mental exercise on a regular basis reduces the risk of dementia and related mental health problems. Promoting this notion in the public eye, I urged, will give a boost to the popularity of the game of chess.

As with the sport of running before the mid-1960s, chess is a male dominated activity. Less than 5% of adult tournament chess players in the U.S. are female. Almost as many girls as boys up to about the fourth grade play chess in school, but most young girls give it up for other activities soon thereafter. Chess helps develop cognitive skills, teaches kids to plan ahead, helps developing minds identify consequences related to their actions, and improves self esteem and social skills. It is equally as beneficial for girls and boys.

There were virtually no women runners when I was growing up because of various prejudices. But after Joan Benoit won the 1984 Olympic Marathon in Los Angeles the popularity of running among women took off. It took off so much, in fact, that many of the local 5K and 10K road races around the country now routinely have more female entrants than male.

Of course, like most other greats, Joan Benoit stood on the shoulder of giants. Perhaps she wouldn’t have been running herself had it not been for those who tried it before her. The longest woman’s track and field event in the Olympics was only 200 meters until 1960. After that it was the 800, then the 1500 and later the 10,000. Finally in 1984 the Woman’s Olympic marathon was introduced.

Many casual runners will probably tell you that the first female marathon runner was Kathrine Switzer. She became famous when race director Jock Semple tried to pull her off the course during the 1967 Boston Marathon. Kathrine was an athlete, not just an agitator. Once women were allowed to run ‘officially’ in 1972, Switzer placed in the top 5 four times, including 1975 when she ran her personal best time of 2:51:37 for second place. Only a world record performance that year by West German superstar Liane Winter kept her from the ultimate satisfaction of having race officials place a laurel wreath on her head.

Kathrine Switzer was inspired, according to her own words, by someone who did it before her: Roberta Gibb. A friend had run the 1966 Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes. He was a 2-mile runner on the local college track team and related the story of how a woman named Roberta Gibb had finished more than a mile ahead of him in the race. Amazed, Kathy Switzer ran the Boston Marathon the very next year.

Most serious runners, especially those who have read Tom Derderian’s book about the Boston Marathon, know about Roberta Gibb. Only a handful of them have ever heard about Sue Morse. Not to take anything away from Kathy Switzer, as I think her accomplishments were terrific and great for the sport, but Roberta Gibb and Sue Morse ran a marathon before her.

Tom Derderian’s personal recollection of the 1966 Boston Marathon was coaxing his father to pick me up after the morning track meet in order to transport me to the starting line in Hopkinton. It was a gift for which I will remain eternally grateful since my own father had no interest. It was too inconvenient for him. Tom eventually ran 2:19:04 for an 18th place finish in the 1975 Boston Marathon, the year of Kathy Switzer’s best race.

Tom’s description of the 1966 race is a masterpiece. In it, he presented a well-researched biography of Roberta Gibb, who wore an official number and ran as “R. Gibb”. She finished in 3 hours, 26 minutes and 40 seconds for an unofficial placing of 126th. Bobbi, as she was known to her friends, completed the Boston Marathon again in 1967 in 3:27:17, but was pretty much ignored by the media in favor of Kathrine Switzer who finished an hour later. As mentioned above, Switzer gained national attention when race official Jock Semple tried to rip her number off her shirt as he shouted, “Get the hell out of my race and give me that number.”

Then there is the story of Sue Morse, which I witnessed with my own eyes. The Philadelphia Marathon was held on December 18, 1966, my third full length marathon in 8 days. My goal was to see if had recovered well enough from the previous weekend to break three hours.

The Philadelphia Marathon course was the most scenic of any that I ran. It started at the last boat house on ‘boat house row’ along the Schuylkill River, went around the Museum of Art (the building with the steps featured in the first Rocky movie), and back along the river through Fairmount Park for about four miles to a turnaround point near the Philadelphia Zoo. Then it returned to the starting line for a total of 8 ¾ miles. This was done three times.

One of the enjoyable aspects of the race was that you could see the other runners going the opposite way after each loop. It enabled the runners to participate and be spectators at the same time. Such an event would be impractical today because of the large fields, but with less than 30 entrants it was probably easier for the officials to keep track of everyone on a three lap course.

Amby Burfoot, a friend from Connecticut, won the race. He was in second place early and closed fast to take over the lead on the last lap. His winning time was 2:24:43. I remember our paths crossing as I was heading out and he was coming back. “You look good. Keep it up,” he said. On the other end of the field was Sue Morse, a local high school senior who was running her first marathon. I had spoken to her at the starting line where she told me she just wanted to finish before dark and thought she could do better than four hours. Each time our paths intersected I tried to give her a smile and some encouragement.

I finished the race in 3:01:22, disappointed that it took me longer than three hours. Later, the course was re-measured and found to be 462 yards too long. I was pleased when I saw the race report in the Long Distance Log noting the discrepancy.

After the race I took a shower in the boat house and changed into my street clothes and headed for the finish line to cheer for Sue Morse. On the way out I passed the race officials coming into the building. “Hey, aren’t you going to wait for Sue Morse?” I asked. “She’s not finished yet and has a good chance to break four hours. Somebody should be there to record her time.”

“She’s not an official runner,” I was told. “If you want her time recorded then you get it. Here...” one of the officials blurted as he transferred his stopwatch that was hanging from a string around his neck to mine. Sue Morse was met at the finish by a crowd of one. “Three hours, 58 minutes and 49 seconds,” I told her. “Nice job. Here, put my sweatshirt on and stay warm.” Back inside, I recorded Sue’s time on the bottom of the official list of finishers and returned the watch.

At the awards ceremony, the room was filled with newspaper reporters, politicians and other dignitaries. I was awarded a trophy for finishing in 12th place and a medal for being a member of the 3rd place team. Then they called me to the podium for another award. “Youngest finisher; congratulations” I was told. “There must be some mistake,” I said into the microphone. “The youngest finisher was Sue Morse. This award belongs to her, not me.”

Sue Morse came forward and I gave her HER prize. The newspapers took note. The article in the Sunday paper said, “The marathon had an unofficial entry in Sue Morse, Olney High School student who represented Philadelphia Hawks TC and finished 27th. She became the first women ever to run this distance in the area.”

Within a few days of returning home I received the following letter from the Mid Atlantic Association of the Amateur Athletic Union:
“The Chairman of the Long Distance Committee of the Mid Atlantic AAU has called to our attention your recent violation of AAU rules that resulted when you publicly presented your award for finishing the MAAAU championship race in Philadelphia, 12/18.66, to a non-AAU member.
Under these circumstances your action calls for punitive measures. You are hereby notified of the suspension of your privileges, effective immediately, to participate in any and all MAAAU events for a period of 90 days from the date of this letter. During this period, no travel permits to run in any sanctioned races in the mid-Atlantic region will be issued under your name and AAU membership number.”

Professionally, Jock Semple was a physiotherapist and a masseuse. He worked on Causeway Street in Boston next to the old Boston Garden. His office was quaint and doubled as the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) headquarters. Every wall was decorated with trophies, plaques, medals and old photographs.

I liked to run across town to see Jock at least once each week. He was entertaining, funny, knowledgeable about running, and most of all, opinionated. Originally from Scotland, Jock Semple had an unmistakable brogue that imprinted every word he spoke. I enjoyed listening to him tell stories and rant about whatever happened to be on his mind. It was not unusual to bump into a Boston Bruins player or one of the B.A.A. elite runners in his office for a whirlpool or a rubdown. I often stopped to pick up a sandwich for him since he often seemed busy with clients. It pleased him for two reasons: he didn’t have to leave the office, and he saved a buck and a quarter. On most occasions, I was a welcome guest.

After receiving the letter from the AAU, I visited him to tell him what had happened. “Well you shouldn’t have done it,” he said. Then with his trademark accent he added, “Girrrrls can’t run marathons.” “Sure they can, Jock, I witnessed it myself.” He walked into the next room shaking his head. Maybe I should have tried harder to convince him, but it was pretty difficult to budge Jock Semple once he had made up his mind on any subject. Four months later, his attitude earned him headlines.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Word Counts

Thank you to author Rhian Ellis for the motivationation to maximize my writing by maintaing a log similar to my exercise log. Go here to see the source of my inspiration.

14 Nov 2008 still at it
13 Nov 2008 1157 words today total: 7,527
12 Nov 2008 251 words today total: 6,369
11 Nov 2008 0 words today rested
10 Nov 2008 867 words today total: 6,118
9 Nov 2008 1,230 words today total: 5,251
8 Nov 2008 0 Oregon State Library
7 Nov 2008 0 Date night with my wife
6 Nov 2008 0 Forrest Gump/Winston Groom
5 Nov 2008 0 Congratulations President-elect Obama
4 Nov 2008 0 total: 4,021, avg 1,005 per day
3 Nov 2008 808 words today total: 4,021 Happy 23rd Birthday to my daughter Danielle!
2 Nov 2008 3,213 words today Chapter 7; Congrats Kara Goucher: 3rd place in NYC marathon (her first 26.2)...also to her coach Alberto Salazar
1 Nov 0 Seattle/Castle Rock

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exercise Log - Fall 2008

"Beaver Creek Bridge", on the campus of Clackamas Community College, Oregon City, OR (2008). Photo taken by Frank Niro. Signed copies, matted and framed, are available from the photographer. Proceeds will be donated to The Geezer Gallery, Portland, OR. Contact: for more information.

Note: Recent changes in my medications have made it difficult to exercise vigorously, but I do what I can and hope that things will get better soon.

Clackamas C.C.

Sep 01, 2008 (224) 36:08
Sep 02, 2008 (223) 38:44
Sep 03, 2008 (224) 36:40
Sep 05, 2008 (222) 35:07
Sep 07, 2008 (222) 27:09
Sep 08, 2008 (221) 47:40
Sep 09, 2008 (220) 28:39

O.C. Promenade

Sep 16, 2008 (221) 14:33Oregon City Promenade, September 2008
Time out 9/17/08 to 10/17/08 due to injury

Clackamas River Park

Oct 18, 2008 (224) 14:35 14:53 29:28 (4:48)
Oct 20, 2008 (223) 14:25 14:32 28:57 (4:41)
Oct 22, 2008 (222) 14:00 14:45 28:45 (4:35)
Oct 24, 2008 (223) 14:37 14:44 29:21 (4:50)
Oct 26, 2008 (222) 14:33 14:08 28:41 (4:30)
Oct 28, 2008 (222) 14:11 14:18 28:29 (4:32)

Nov 02, 2008 (221) 13:58 14:27 28:25 (4:34)
Nov 03, 2008 (220) 3M NTT
Nov 05, 2008 (220) 2M NTT


Best Times:
f 1/3 split
4:26 Jul 17, 2008
4:30 Jul 19, 2008
4:30 Oct 26, 2008
4:32 Oct 28, 2008
4:33 May 10, 2007
4:34 Nov 02, 2008
4:35 May 29, 2008
4:35 Jul 13, 2008
4:35 Oct 22, 2008
4:38 Mar 18, 2008
4:39 Jun 09, 2008
4:39 Jun 30, 2008
4:39 Jul 16, 2008
4:40 Mar 22, 2008
4:40 Jul 11, 2008

1M lap
13:47 May 10, 2007
13:51 Jul 13, 2008
13:53 Jul 17, 2008
13:55 Jul 19, 2008
13:58 Nov 02, 2008
13:59 Jul 17, 2008
14:00 Oct 22, 2008
14:02 Jun 09, 2008
14:02 Jun 22, 2008
14:03 Jul 16, 2008
14:06 Mar 22, 2008
14:07 Jul 19, 2008
14:08 Oct 26, 2008
14:11 Mar 24, 2008
14:11 Jun 25, 2008
14:11 Jun 27, 2008
14:11 Oct 28, 2008
14:13 May 05, 2007
14:17 Jun 30, 2008
14:18 Oct 28, 2008
14:18 Jul 03, 2008
14:22 Jul 11, 2008
14:24 Mar 24, 2008
14:25 Oct 20, 2008

2M loop
1. 27:52 Jul 17, 2008
2. 28:02 Jul 19, 2008
3. 28:10 Jul 13, 2008
4. 28:24 May 10, 2007
5. 28:25 Nov 02, 2008
6. 28:29 Oct 28, 2008
7. 28:35 Mar 24, 2008
8. 28:41 Oct 26, 2008
9. 28:42 Jun 09, 2008
10. 28:44 Jun 27, 2008
11. 28:45 May 05, 2007
12. 28:45 Oct 22, 2008
13. 28:50 Jul 11, 2008
14. 28:52 Jul 16, 2008
15. 28:54 Jul 03, 2008
16. 28:57 Mar 22, 2008
17. 28:57 Oct 20, 2008
18. 29:01 Jun 29, 2008
19. 29:01 Aug 18, 2008
20. 29:04 Jun 22, 2008
21. 29:06 May 29, 2008
22. 29:21 Oct 24, 2008
23. 29:22 Mar 18, 2008
24. 29:24 Jul 01, 2008
25. 29:28 Oct 18, 2008

3M best
43:37 May 10, 2007 (13:47-14:37-15:13); 4:37, 4:37, 4:33

recap (top 3 + W)
May 10, 2007 4:33, 9:10, 13:47, 18:40, 23:30, 28:24
Jul 13, 2008 4:54, 9:37, 14:12, 18:49, 23:28, 28:10
Jul 17, 2008 4:37, 9:13, 13:59, 18:45, 23:26, 27:52
(W)Jul 19, 2008 4:43 9:25 13:55 18:37, 23:19, 28:02

most recent:
Nov 02, 2008 4:42, 9:24, 13:58, 18:44, 23:32, 28:25

Friday, September 5, 2008

Chess Combination: SOLUTION

This is the solution to the position posted in my main blog on September 2. Click here to go back.

White to move. The features that stand out are the absolute pin on black's pawn at g6, the potential pin against the black queen on the same diagonal as its king, black's vulnerable 7th rank, and the fact that the pinned pawn is attacked and defended 3 times so that removing a guard from g6 will lead to the win of material (the same point is true of the pawn on f5, which turns out to be the key to the solution).

White plays: 1.Rxd4!

"The forcing, violent move - a capture - initiates action on the long diagonal." -- Reinfeld


This move is forced. Otherwise Black will remain a rook behind. The next move is the tougher one to see.


The Pin. The queen screens the king from attack but cannot move away.


The capture of the white bishop is forced, setting the stage for the decisive knight-forking check.


"This forcing violent knight-forking check wins black's queen because the king knight pawn is pinned..." -- Reinfeld

SOURCE -- The Secret of Tactical Chess: A Manual of Chess Victory by Fred Reinfeld (1958), Collier Books (1973), softcover, diagram 85, page 129.
The themes are pin and knight fork (double attack). This was one of the first books on chess tactics that I studied. It was republished by Collier during the Fischer-Spassky boom in Great Britain and the United States. Note the cover price of $2.45. The same book would be released at ten times that much today.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Exhibits for Mile 3 (So many colors...)

Following are some exhibits supporting the third chapter of my book, "So many Colors in the Rainbow". Note that the sequence of the chapters may ultimately change. You can enlarge any of the exhibits by clicking on them.

Here's the link to the latest draft:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Map of Windsor Locks CT

Map of Windsor Locks CT. Look for the dot and arrow to locate the spot of my December 22, 1967 accident.

To read more about the Spot, go here:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pitch for my Book

Here's the pitch...

My book is a collection of mini-biographies, travelogues and adventure tales that are interwoven through the perspective of one person’s life events. Since suffering a stroke in 1997, I have had limited time to be with my growing children, especially my youngest son, Hunter, who was born less than ten months after my stroke. So I started writing a series of letters to Hunter when he was six years old. Subsequently, these letters have taken on a life of their own. Hence, this book...

They begin with my accident, at age 19, when I was hit by a drunk driver while training for the 1968 Boston Marathon. After two years in the hospital, and seven years with braces on my legs, I worked my way up from patient to hospital CEO. I was eventually recognized as one of the top 25 turnaround hospital administrators in the U.S.

A stroke at age 48 changed my life again, bringing me back to college and to a volunteer stint as head of the United States Chess Federation. My doctor thought the position would represent semi-retirement, whereas it was intensely stressful and nearly caused my demise. With the help of friends, I gradually rearranged my priorities and found time to reflect on the issues and events found in the letters to my son. No doubt they will serve as a revelation to some and inspiration to others.

Here's the Plot outline...

On the Friday before Christmas in 1967, a drunken driver smashed into a 19-year-old college student, crushing his Olympic dreams, and leaving him in a jumble of broken bones on the side of the road. Two years and 18 operations later, the young man rode his wheelchair back to college where he pursued a new dream: becoming a hospital administrator. Motivated by a desire to make the health care system better, he earned the credentials necessary to achieve that dream. At age 40, he was recognized as on of the “Top 25 turnaround hospital CEO’s in America” by Healthweek Magazine.

Meanwhile, he assuaged his competitive instincts by playing chess, eventually devolving into the “Black and White Jungle”, a world dominated by out-of-control egos and petty, yet intense, politics. If you have heard of Bobby Fischer, Deep Blue or the theatrical production, Chess, then you have seen the tip of the iceberg of an intriguing subculture.

Throughout his journey, he was introduced to fascinating people, some famous and some unknown, who impacted his life in a profound way. He traveled all over the United States and far away places such as India and Argentina.

In 1997, he fell victim to what is known as “Economy Class Syndrome” (ECS), when a blood clot formed in his left leg during a long airplane flight and found its way to his brain causing a debilitating stroke. Once again on the sidelines, he returned to college to study the relationship between the game of chess and childhood development, and the relationship of mental exercise to Alzheimer’s disease. His discoveries in these three areas: ECS, Chess for kids and Alzheimer’s could be made, by themselves, into a worthwhile book.

One of the people he met along the way was a young radio personality in Boston by the name of Delilah. In the process of developing a life-long friendship, he helped her form a non-profit foundation called “PointHope”, a voice for forgotten children.

After suffering another physical setback in 2003, he began writing a series of letters to his six-year-old son. They were stories a father might tell his children about family, friends, issues, situations and places (together with life’s important lessons). The stories were intended to be of interest and value to the author’s children as they grow older, whether or not he will be present to answer their probing questions. In all honesty, they were not written (at least not the early chapters) with the intention of becoming a book.

Yet, with the initial encouragement of his son’s mother who was touched in a significant way (her words) when reading these stories to him, followed by the continuing motivation of Delilah (now syndicated on nearly 300 radio stations with 9 million listeners) and the gentle prodding of the author’s new wife, Natasha (Delilah’s best friend since 4th grade), it is time for these stories to be told.

Perhaps, others will find these stories worthwhile or, at least, entertaining. If neither of these, then maybe they will provide some illumination concerning the human condition (and an occasional good laugh, I promise). For those willing to come along for the journey, surprises lie ahead!

More details to come. Please come back later. And thanks for your interest.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What's the best move?

White to move.

Position is after 31...exf3+. The game is between F. Niro & D. Gregoryev, Eastern Open, Washington D.C., 1996.

Your choices are:
a. gxf3
b. Kxf3
c. other

Answer and analysis:
Best is b. 32.Kxf3 with a dead draw after 32...h5 33.Kf4 g6 34.h3 Re7 35.Kg5 Kf7 36.g4 (1/2-1/2).

a. 32.gxf3? loses after 32...Re7+. For example, 33.Kd3 g5 34.Ra2 Kf7 35.Kc3 h5 36.Kb4 g4 37.fxg4 hxg4 38.Rc2 f4 39.Rg2 f3 40.Rxg4 f2 41.Rf4+ Ke8, etc. (0-1)

c. Any other move will lose because once the king steps aside, White has the choice of f2 or fxg2. One or the other will win easily in every situation.

This will be the post for solutions of all future "What's the best move?" positions from my main blog.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Exercise Log - Summer 2008

Clackamas River Park

May 27, 2008 PM 207 14:44 14:57 29:41 4:52 4:57
May 28, 2008 AM 206 14:36 14:53 29:29 4:44 4:55
May 29, 2008 PM 206 14:39 14:27 29:06 4:35 4:51
May 31, 2008 MD 206 15:26

Jun 01, 2008 PM 206 15:32 15:45 31:17
Jun 08, 2008 MD 208 15:02 14:33 29:35 4:42 4:56
Jun 09, 2008 PM 209 14:02 14:40 28:42 4:39 4:47
Jun 11, 2008 PM 209 15:02 15:36 30:38 4:58
Jun 22, 2008 PM 210 14:22 14:42 29:04 4:47 4:51 (W)
Jun 25, 2008 PM 211 14:11 15:29 29:40 4:43 4:57 (W)
Jun 27, 2008 MD 210 14:11 14:33 28:44 4:41 4:47 (W)
Jun 28, 2008 AM 211 15:17 15:36 30:53
Jun 29, 2008 AM 212 14:28 14:33 29:01 4:43 4:51
Jun 30, 2008 AM 213 14:17 (4:39)

Jul 01, 2008 AM 212 14:32 14:52 29:24 4:47 4:54
Jul 03, 2008 MD 212 14:18 14:36 28:54 4:43 4:49
Jul 04, 2008 MD 213 15:47
Jul 09, 2008 AM 213 15:03 15:26 30:29 4:59
Jul 11, 2008 PM 214 14:22 14:28 28:50 4:40 4:49
Jul 13, 2008 AM 213 14:12 13:58 28:10 4:35 4:42 {13:51}
Jul 16, 2008 AM 213 14:03 14:49 28:52 4:39 4:49
Jul 17, 2008 PM 213 13:59 13:53 27:52 4:26 4:39
Jul 19, 2008 PM 213 13:55 14:07 28:02 4:30 4:41 (W)
Jul 20, 2008 PM 212 14:46 14:51 29:37 4:50 4:57

[layoff and weight gain after change in Thyroid medication]

Aug 14, 2008 PM 219 15:06 4:57
Aug 18, 2008 MD 219 14:31 14:30 29:01 4:47 4:51
Aug 19, 2008 AM 220 15:14

a - 160y (fx*11)
b - 200y (fx*8.8)
c - 320y (fx*5.5)
d - 400y (fx*4.4)

Best Times:
f 1/3 split
4:26 Jul 17, 2008
4:30 Jul 19, 2008
4:33 May 10, 2007
4:35 May 29, 2008
4:35 Jul 13, 2008
4:38 Mar 18, 2008
4:39 Jun 09, 2008
4:39 Jun 30, 2008
4:39 Jul 16, 2008
4:40 Mar 22, 2008
4:40 Jul 11, 2008
4:41 May 05, 2007
4:41 Jun 27, 2008
4:42 Feb 14, 2008
4:42 Mar 24, 2008
4:42 Jun 08, 2008
4:43 Jun 25, 2008
4:43 Jun 29, 2008
4:43 Jul 03, 2008

1M lap
13:47 May 10, 2007
13:51 Jul 13, 2008
13:53 Jul 17, 2008
13:55 Jul 19, 2008
13:59 Jul 17, 2008
14:02 Jun 09, 2008
14:02 Jun 22, 2008
14:03 Jul 16, 2008
14:06 Mar 22, 2008
14:07 Jul 19, 2008
14:11 Mar 24, 2008
14:11 Jun 25, 2008
14:11 Jun 27, 2008
14:13 May 05, 2007
14:17 Jun 30, 2008
14:18 Jul 03, 2008
14:22 Jul 11, 2008
14:24 Mar 24, 2008
14:27 May 29, 2008

2M loop
27:52 Jul 17, 2008
28:02 Jul 19, 2008
28:10 Jul 13, 2008
28:24 May 10, 2007
28:35 Mar 24, 2008
28:42 Jun 09, 2008
28:44 Jun 27, 2008
28:45 May 05, 2007
28:50 Jul 11, 2008
28:52 Jul 16, 2008
28:54 Jul 03, 2008
28:57 Mar 22, 2008
29:01 Jun 29, 2008
29:01 Aug 18, 2008
29:04 Jun 22, 2008
29:06 May 29, 2008
29:22 Mar 18, 2008
29:24 Jul 01, 2008
29:29 May 28, 2008
29:31 Feb 14, 2008

3M best
43:37 May 10, 2007 (13:47-14:37-15:13); 4:37, 4:37, 4:33

recap (top 3 + W)
May 10, 2007 4:33, 9:10, 13:47, 18:40, 23:30, 28:24
July 13, 2008 4:54, 9:37, 14:12, 18:49, 23:28, 28:10
July 17, 2008 4:37, 9:13, 13:59, 18:45, 23:26, 27:52
(W) Jul 19, 2008 4:43 9:25 13:55 18:37, 23:19, 28:02

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chess Study Notes - various openings

Sicilian Defense - Accelerated Dragon - Maroczy Bind (as White)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.c4 Nf6 (5..Bg7 = separate analysis 6.Be3) 6.Nc3 d6! 7. Be2 (7.Be3? Ng4!) 7...Nxd4 8.Qxd4 Bg7 9.Bg5 0-0 10.Qd2 a6?! (10...Be6) 11.f3 Be6 12.Rc1 Rc8 13.b3 b5!? 14.cxb5 axb5 15.Nxb5 Rxc1+ 16.Qxc1 Qa5+ 17.Qd2 Ra8! 18.a3 Bxb3 19.Qxa5 Rxa5 20.0-0 Ba4 21.Rb1 (Recommendations courtesy of Jeremy Silman, 2001).

Garner vs. Schroeder, corr. CCLA 1950 (4 Knights/Ruy) 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 d6 5.d4 exd4 6.Nxd4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Qf3 Bg4 9.Qg3 Qd7 10.h3 h5 11.0-0 Bg6 12.e5 Nd5 13.Nxd5 cxd5 14.Re1 Be7 15.e6 Qc8 16.exf7+ Kxf7 17.Qf3+ Bf6 18.Qxd5+ 1-0.
CCLA on the Internet

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Jane Olivor

Jane Olivor is a singer, pianist and song writer. She has been a personal inspiration for many years and her music has been a centering force for most of my adult life. She is the only performer that I have seen in concert in four different decades. Trisha and I went to a Jane Olivor concert on our first date.

I remember one evening in April 2004 when my six year old son, Hunter, wondered: "What does an angel sound like?" I walked over to the CD player and turned on Vincent, sung by Jane Olivor.

I talk about the reasons Jane has inspired me and her impact on my life in my upcoming book, Safari Into the Black and White Jungle. I won't spoil it by repeating very much here. Instead, I will give a short biography for those who may not be familiar with her or her music. The pictures that follow were all taken by me.

A native of Brooklyn, Jane's musical career started as a piano student but was derailed at age 12 by a disastrous accident which almost severed her right hand when it was cut by a glass door. So her voice became her musical outlet. Starting in Greenwich Village, she worked her way to Carnegie Hall to Paris and then to a television stage with millions of viewers. She was invited to sing The Last Time I Felt Like This, her duet with Johnny Mathis, at the live awards ceremonies in March 1979. The song was the theme of Universal's movie Same Time Next Year and received an Oscar nomination in the "Best Song" category. It is still heard on popular music stations today.

Jane's first album, appropriate titled First Night, was released in 1976. Chasing Rainbows was released in 1977 and Stay the Night followed in 1978. Her fourth album was The Best Side of Goodbye, released in 1980. I had them all and played them frequently.

I first saw her in concert with Charles Aznavour in late 1979. Then again in 1980 at the South Shore Music Circus in Scituate, Massachusetts . In 1981 she performed at the Cape Cod Melody tent and the Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island . In Warwick she gave three concerts in two days. I attended them all. Her In Concert album, which was to be her last in nearly 20 years, was recorded on a brutally cold January night in 1982 at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston . I remember it like it was yesterday. The significance of that concert to me was a song entitled Pretty Girl which Jane not only wrote but she also played it on the piano. It was her first public performance on the piano since the age of 12!

Sadly, Jane Olivor disappeared from view shortly thereafter. She took a hiatus from public performances to care for her husband who was diagnosed with cancer. A six month leave quickly expanded to a year, then two years, then ten. Her loyal fans never lost hope that she would return.

One day in 1993 my friend Anne Williams, a radio personality on one of the Boston radio stations, called to tell me Jane Olivor was about to give a small comeback concert for a few of her friends and loyal fans at restaurant in Provincetown. I couldn't believe it! Sereda and I drove to P'town hoping the rumor was true and, if so, that we would be able to get tickets. We got in and found an intimate setting of 20 or 30 tables and it was really Jane! I admit, though, I wasn't sure at first because she had frosted her hair.

I was so excited. She talked of a new album she was working on and of her late husband's passing as well as some of the challenges she had faced over the preceding decade. Her voice was as beautiful as ever. I had tears in my eyes during half the concert.

Then, as abruptly as before, she disappeared from the limelight again. A new album a few years later, Love Decides, followed by a Christmas album and a re-release by Columbia of some of her old songs gave her loyal fans a glimmer of hope. There was no sign of a concert tour.

Finally, in 2002, Jane announced a comeback tour starting with two concerts at Hunter College in New York City on consecutive evenings. I was able to attend them both. In 2003, She performed a few concerts around the country culminated by a return to the Berklee Performance Center in November where she recorded a new live album, Safe Return, complete with a spectacular DVD. When I met her in May, 2004, for the release of Safe Return, I thanked her for the DVD noting that if she was to disappear again, her fans could now see her any time the want. She winked. That was the idea.

I saw her in concert one more time at Keswick Theatre near Philadelphia in late 2004. Her live performances since 2005, many of which were fundraisers for charity organizations, have been infrequent and scattered around the country. I almost saw her in San Francisco in 2006, but her second concert of a two-night performance was cancelled at the last minute. Her website has not been updated much in the last three years.

Learn more about Jane Olivor here:

buy her latest CD:

buy her DVD (absolutely terrific!!):

her albums:

Having given you all of this information, the essence of Jane Olivor is embedded in her songs. The wording in an old concert brochure put it most succinctly: "In the end, there is nothing you need to know about Jane Olivor that her voice cannot make you feel."

Update: May 2008 --

Online at
http://www.cabarets cab_revs/ 2008/may08/ olivor_jane5- 08.html
with a older photo of Jane.

Jane Olivor
The Razz Room
San Francisco, CA

My pre-show prep work alerted me to the fact that Ms. Olivor was oft
compared to Barbra Streisand, but I wasn't quite prepared for the
uncanniness of the comparison at my first introduction to this
phenomenal vocalist. Her physical look, her Brooklyn accent and her
vocal inflection all screamed very early Streisand but softer, sweeter
without the heavy baggage of icon-ness. But once the similarity ebbs,
you discover the beauty and power in Olivor's performance.

Olivor has had a storied career herself and this show contained both
the bouncy, positive upbeat life philosophy (Irving Berlin's "Sun in
the Mornin'") and beautifully sung ballads ("Stay the Night") that
have endeared her to her fans. Olivor doesn't have to sell songs –
they breathe a life of their own with her pitch perfect, soft as a
summer breeze delivery. She offered slightly altered arrangements of
the classic "Some Enchanted Evening' and "Isn't It Romantic" to great
effect. A lovely rendition of the haunting "Vincent" was followed by
Michel LeGrand/Bergman' s "Little Boy Lost" from the '70s movie Pieces
of Dreams. She soared on "Last Time I Felt Like This," the Academy
Award nominated duet performed with Johnny Mathis. The highlight of
the show for me were two magnificent Burt Bacharach songs: "Where
Knowledge Ends" and "Alfie"— showstopper material adeptly performed,
enhanced by Alex Rybeck on the piano.

Olivor has a stunning voice that demands rapt attention to every lyric
and nuance. She's now comfortable onstage and is as fine an
interpreter and stylist as you'll see. We're glad she's back
performing in intimate settings like the Rrazz Room.

Steve Murray
Cabaret Scenes
May 22, 2008
www.cabaretscenes. org

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seventh Heaven

Under Construction...more to come....brb
The Berchtold Family
792 Chestnut Hill Drive
Columbia, PA 17512
Phone: (717) 684-3308

Friday, November 23, 2007

Business Plans

Under Construction...more to come...brb

Rewrite your resume to emphasize the skills needed to make your venture succeed. A business plan is like a management team resume with financial projections. An investor wants to know that the people behind the idea have the expertise to make it happen.
To present an effective business plan, here are some things you should know and do to improve your content and presentation:

And here’s what to avoid:

Monday, January 22, 2007

Some 2006 Photos

Bennett Springs MO, April 2006
Delilah's Farm, May 2006
Seattle Skyline, June 2006
Delilah and her fainting goat, July 2006
Birthday in Tacoma WA, September 2006
Delilah's first annual Halloween Bash, October 2006
Thanksgiving with Easy Eddie & Chef Billy, November 2006
Will you marry me?, December 2006

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is the PartyPoker over?

I had a little bit of trouble getting to sleep last night thanks to the roving PSO welcome wagon (a/k/a NewJane and JoyBell) who came knocking on my hotel room door sometime after midnight.

After battling the Minnesota snow and 15-degree wind chill, their smiling faces and personal warmth were appreciated…no matter the hour.

In any case, I managed to crawl down to the breakfast area in time to grab the last copy of USAToday, where I found the following editorial under the title, “Is the PartyPoker over?”

“It’s a long shot that more than a handful of the millions of Americans who gamble on the Internet ever heard of the Safe Port Act, which President Bush is expected to sign today. But they’re about to feel its reach.

A measure hastily tacked on to the port security bill is designed to crack down on offshore, online casinos by banning payment with credit cards or electronic fund transfers.

Even before Bush signs the bill, it’s had an impact: The larger online casinos saw their stock prices plummet on foreign exchanges, and several said they’d stop taking bets from U.S. customers. Considering that U.S. bettors generate more than 50% of industrywide revenue, many operators could go bust.

That’s no tragedy. Gambling can have devastating social consequences. And when people can do it 24/7 from computers, it can lead to financial trouble and social isolation. For students caught up in the current poker craze, it can invite educational failure.

But whether the act is the right remedy is another matter. There’s reason for doubt.

First is the question of whether the plan is workable. That won’t be known for a while. The government has 270 days to write regulations, and that will be a formidable task.

U.S. Banks and other credit card issuers can be restricted easily. But third parties outside U.S. jurisdiction – notably a company called NETeller – take electronic transfers from banks and pass them on to gambling sites, charging high fees in the process. That’s not easily stopped.

Then there’s the question of whether the government should be telling adults how they can spend their money. Barring a casino from operating in a state to keep gambling distant is one thing. Meddling with people’s bank accounts is another.

Restricting gambling for minors would have been a amore sensible place to start. That would have addressed the most vulnerable population and served as a useful test.

Regardless, the new law will be an interesting experiment. It might rein in the gambling craze, or it might just shift more of it to less responsible operators. Either way, it’s a safe bet that this is the first hand to be played in a much longer game.”

From USA Today, Friday, October 13, 2006