In a Nutshell

Chess Combination by Paul Morphy

by on Aug.25, 2015, under Chess

The American chess master Paul Morphy (1837-1884) was regarded by many as the greatest chess player in the world, during his tour of Europe in 1858, and at that time some even called him the greatest player in history.

The position below is from near the end of a game played in 1859 in New York, between Morphy (white) and James Thompson (black). What move would you make, if you had the white pieces?

Morthy versus Thompson 1859

In the above position, white to move and win (Do you see the solution?)

If you tried to find a winning move but failed, would you like a hint? Notice that the black king has nowhere to move. If white can check that king, with no legal reply possible, it will be checkmate. But that takes more than one move.

There is a mating pattern with two bishops, a pattern that comes up rarely, but masters recognize it. If it weren’t for the black pawn at b7, the bishop at c4 could move to a6, winning the game for white, for that bishop would be checkmating the black king. Here’s the hint: Can white force that pawn at b7 to be removed from that square?


white wins this chess game

White has just moved Qc6+! which forces checkmate

Black is now practically forced to capture the white queen, unless resignation is chosen, for moving the black bishop from b6 to c7 allows white to get a checkmate by capturing that bishop with the white queen. But why would anybody sacrifice a queen in this position? When black moves b7xc6, it removes that pawn from the b7 square, allowing white to checkmate the black king from another angle as follows:

Black moved bxc6

White now can checkmate the black king in one move

Take a look at the final position:

White moved Ba6# with mate

The sacrifice of the queen, by Paul Morphy, made possible this checkmate.



A Chess Puzzle

Consider the chess puzzle below, a problem not for beginners but ideal for lower-rated tournament players

For the Early Chess Beginner to Win

If you know the chess rules but little more, and want to win a game, the book you now read is for you.


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“Living Pterosaurs of Hollywood”

by on Jun.18, 2013, under Strange

Two separate eyewitnesses reported one or more strange flying creatures, a few miles east of Hollywood, in 2013. The sightings were ten weeks apart, just 1.5 miles from each other, and near Griffith Park.

The first witness reported three “dragons” that glided over the Interstate-5 Freeway. The second witness reported one “pterosaur” that glided over that same freeway, but a little further to the south.

Both eyewitnesses reported their encounters to the cryptozoology author Jonathan Whitcomb, who concluded that they had observed the same species. He calls it “ropen.”

According to some cryptozoologists, those flying creatures are descended from what paleontologists call “basal pterosaurs,” the long-tailed ones that were supposed to have become extinct before the more famous “pterodactyls” that are often portrayed in film and on television, in science fiction and fantasy. Whitcomb calls his books about the modern flying creatures “nonfiction.”

Pterosaur Sightings East of Griffith Park

How delighted I was, this past March, to receive an eyewitness report of three “dragons” flying over the I-5 freeway in Los Angeles! . . . How delighted I was, earlier this month, to received an eyewitness report of a “pterosaur” flying over that same stretch of freeway just east of Griffith Park!

Pterosaurs East of Griffith Park

This morning at about 6 a.m. I saw three “dragons” flying over the 5-North freeway between Griffith Park and Glendale. . . . with a head-body-tail ratio that was certainly not that of a bird. Their wings were long, angular and pointed and their tails had triangular points. They appeared light in color—white, gray or light green. . . .

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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind with a Windmill

by on May.11, 2013, under Environment

What a story! An inquisitive boy lives in a poor village in the middle of a poor region of Africa, yet has the courage to turn away from ridicule and keep working, failing, and eventually succeeding, to construct a fully-functioning wind-driven electric generator. From that time forward, his family would rarely be without electric light in the darkness of night.

The teenager would eventually be found by a Western reporter and his biography would be titled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope.

"The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind" - nonfiction book - biography of William Kamkwanba, the teenager in Africa who constructed a windmill for electricity

The story of William Kamkwamba, of Malawi, Africa


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind in Africa

“The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is the inspiring story of a young man in Africa who used the only resources available to him to build a windmill and elevate the lives and spirits of those in his community. Will Kamkwamba’s achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face.

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Eyewitness Reliability Regarding Modern Pterosaurs

by on Jan.10, 2013, under Strange

According to the cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb, “Trust one eyewitness of a plane crash over the imaginations of a hundred professors who’ve agreed how that plane should fly.” He believes eyewitnesses of modern pterosaurs, or at least apparent flying creatures whose descriptions seem to indicate they are pterosaurs.

According to Whitcomb, eyewitnesses from a number of countries have reported similar details, such as non-feathers, long tail, and head crest. Not that Whitcomb himself has ever seen a modern pterosaur, but he proclaims his believe in them because of the eyewitnesses, who have sent him reports from Africa, Europe, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Canada, and the United States.

The latest sighting was by a U. S. Marine in Missouri, who reported a large “pterosaur” that frightened some chickens. The creature had a long tail that had a “diamond shape at the end” and a “cone protruding from behind its head.” With a wingspan of at least “ten feet,” it was no wonder the chickens turned chicken. The eyewitness also reported, “I’ve seen enough documentaries about dinosaurs, watched enough movies about dinosaurs, been to enough museums, seen enough fossils; I know it was a pterosaur.”

Pterosaur Eyewitness Reliability

The first pterosaur fossil discovery, in 1784 (four years before George Washington was elected president), was decades before Charles Darwin began writing

Who can be a Pterodactyl Expert?

Fossils experts know about the bones of pterodactyls, but can a cryptozoologist be an expert on modern pterodactyls?

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Pterosaur Sightings in Georgia, U.S.A.

by on Jan.03, 2013, under Strange

In recent years, several eyewitnesses in Georgia have been shocked to see a living pterosaur, notwithstanding biology textbooks’ declarations about extinctions millions of years ago. But sightings are not confined to Georgia; they have also been reported in surrounding states, in particular Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Sighting in Northern Georgia, July of 2010

“My wife and I were sitting outside when motion from above the tree tops to our left caught my attention. It’s very hard to explain how I felt at that moment. We were looking at two extreamly large birds flying together and heading north towards the NC border.

“Both birds had what I can only guess to be 15-20′ wing spans and the motion of their wings as they flew was very slow. The head was long and ended in a point, wings ended in a point and appeared to be featherless, they had a tail of sorts.”


Live Pterosaur in Georgia?

Reports of living “pterodactyls” in Georgia, during the past seven years, probably relate to sightings of some flying creatures in South Carolina and Florida


Pterodactyl in Georgia

On Dec 10, 2012, myself and wife were driving home at around 1:30 am on Briscoe Rd in Loganville, Georgia. As we crested a hill, our light came down across a large flying animal that I instantly thought looked like a pterodactyl

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