I was a poor student in HS due to my love for chess. My soft studies (English, Social Studies) grades were fine, but my math and science were poor. I failed Elementary Algebra four times. This didn't bother me as I reasoned that my logic and English skills would more than compensate in my work as an adult.

Summer afternoons were often spent at the Rochester Chess Club which met at the downtown YMCA. I had many friends near my age. And I played many adults who, of course, influenced my chess development. Most notable was the 93-year-old Rev. George Switzer. He routinely played 1.e4 f5?! as Black. Few could beat him. I sure couldn't.

At 16, my parents sent to to live with my grandparents in Philadelphia. I attended Olney HS which had also been comedian Bill Cosby's HS. I skipped school a lot. Most afternoons, I would take the subway from the Hunting Park station downtown and play chess with Mike Shahade and Arnold Chertkoff, two 2100+ players. Mike is now an FM and his son Gregory is an IM; daughter Jennifer is a WGM. While most teenagers were getting passing grades in school, I was playing chess for money.

I spent the next thirty years as an 1800 rated player. I thought that memorizing openings would improve my chess. My tournament games progressed smoothly for eight to twelve moves, after which I quickly lost. I discovered that although openings were important, pawn topographies as discussed in Andrew Soltis's Pawn Structure Chess were much more relevant. All masters are aware of and practice the PSC approach. Three months later I became a USCF master.

Skipping forward to the 80's, I was CCCR secretary and served as TD for the minor Wednesday night tournaments. "Hmmm, will I actually have to do any serious work, or can accomplish the duties in my typical desultory manner?", I wondered. Hadn't I always been dependent on the kindness of strangers and the forebearance of reptiles? CCCR would probably not give me much flak if minor amounts went astray. If I lost a few dollars, it's only a chess club after all.

An accountant convinced me that not accounting for money would constitude fraud. I resolved to account for every cent. All funds, EF's, club and USCF memberships were duly noted and the Treasurer received funds every week with a written account. I lugged the notebook with the previous tournaments to the meetings but no one particularly cared, then or now.

Rick Gagliano had a small daily newspaper here in Rochester, NY. One day I ran into him at Four Corners and asked him for a newspaper. We ran up the stairs of the Powers Building to his office. I discovered that you didn't need a six-figure income to rent an office.

I then rented an office there for ~$120 a month. A chessplayer from Leon's Typewriter sold me a Commodore 64 and a database program on cassette for storing membership names and addresses for mailing labels.

My office was adjacent to the Genesee Valley Chapter of the NY Civil Liberties Union. Nearby three elderly real estate agents drank coffee and whitled away the hours.

The Powers Building closed for renovations after the Tommy Termotto scandal and I moved to the Cox Building. It was smaller and less elegant than the Powers and more expensive.

New officers came in and the CCCR moved to the Rochester Chess Center. The CCCR approach become much less formal and more like a social club. Rules were relaxed, accounting was private. They lost the knowlege of calculation of expiration dates. So all one-year memberships expired on Dec. 31.

google Chromecast, et. al.

I spend a lot of time indoors during the cold winter months, although I do enjoy a daily walk, regardless of weather conditions. Winning more than three games of online chess at ICC invariably results in a deep slump where I just can't win for trying.

So on the Fall of 2013, I began upgrading my home theater setup. A smart TV, a Toshiba 39L4300U was first.

Why such a small one, you wonder? Well, frankly I wasn't completely sure I could set up a complex component home theatre system. Setting up a dlna server was difficult, but enjoyable. I like setting up new audio and computer products, software and hardware, more than I enjoy the benefits of using them, you see. In my case, it doesn't have to be expensive, just current and ubiquitous.

Next acquisition was a google chromecast, a dongle for the TV that wirelessly streams content from chrome web browser to the TV. Good for continuously following ICC 5-minute games in bed on a large screen TV!

Next purchase, a Onkyo TR-616 A/V receiver What a barrel of fun this was.

Rowe Photo cut me a deal on a pair of pre-owned Klipsch KG-2 speakers and a Paradigm center channel speaker. They know their products well, be it photo, audio, video.

I like to buy locally, because returns are easy. Lacking in me was knowledge of current home theatre hardware components and connectors. In some stores a sales rep could be selling ladies under garments one week and low-end consumer electronics the next week. He might not know much. Asking their audio-visual salesperson if they carried TVs with ARC, revealed whether they were a reliable, knowledgeable source. Walmart and Target people didn't know but were willing to rip boxes open to find out. BestBuy and Rowe Photo knew what ARC was!

Then I got a good deal from newegg.com who had a manufacture's closeout price of $200 on Klipsch F30 regularly $500. They are really nice and I enjoy them.

I'm not just playing dumb movies and hemorrhaging a $350 monthly cable bill. Cable TV offers five hundred channels, 75% of which are of no interest to me or you. My goal is to replace it with Netflix and Hulu plus -much cheaper.

My music library is now scrapped. I use google play for $10 a month. Worthwhile.

What do you do when bored?

One method to amuse yourself is to invent a weird twitch. Adopt a bizarre twitch (e.g. flicking your head irregularly, twitching with eye or busting out sporadic cough noises) and try it out when you go shopping.

If you have a college roommate, steal something valuable of your roommate's. If he asks about it, tell him that you traded it for some magic beans. Give some beans to your roommate.

Why write valid HTML code?

At the bottom of this page are links to W3C validation tests for W3C HTML5 compliance. The higher the level of conformity, the more uniformly the pages will render among the various browsers. It also helps by catching errors, which I correct. There are other reasons to validate html, including the fact that search engine spiders often can't effectively parse or categorize sites with bad html. Most webmasters write sloppy code and hope that the browser will automatically correct the errors. This is only partially true. This page has cross-browser uniformity, having been tested in chrome, safari, firefox and internet explorer. It adheres to standard code and validates. The pages generally load quicker without the proprietary browser specific code. But varying degrees of W3C browser compliance affects minor cosmetics such as rounded corners and drop shadows. is probably a good choice.

Is global warming real?

Global warming may have caused the violent tornados in the late spring of 2011. Some suspect it's the work of Superman flying at great speed in concentric circles. But (like me) Superman is good; he stands for Truth, Justice and the American Way. He wouldn't do anything evil.

Bizarro, an evil supervillian and his twin, would. Wikipedia says that Bizarro is a fictional character. His exploits with the Justice League of America prove that he exists.

Do you have a philosophy?

I worship the power of another deity; the power of another dimension. Now, you're not going to read about this dimension in a book, magazine, or newspaper because it doesn't exist anywhere except in my own mind. Through ceremonies and rituals I have witnesssed firsthand the awesome and vibratory power of color. I experience it as "alive" and constantly shaping our experience. I believe that this saturated energy is the basis of all creation.

This is not an occult science. This is not one of those "crazy" systems of divination and astrology. That's stuff's hooey and you've got have a screw loose to go in for that sort of thing. My beliefs are fairly commonplace and simple to understand.

Humankind is simply materialized color operating on the forty-ninth vibration. Heck, you would make that conclusion walking down the street or going to the store.

Fuel-Up: Facts about E10 Gas

Star Tron enzyme fuel treatment dramatically increases fuel economy, eliminates black soot and exhaust stains, removes carbon build-up, stabilizes gas & diesel fuels, eliminates & prevents ethanol fuel problems. Safe for use with E10. Testimonials abound. Available at Sierra BMW Motorcycle Online, Walmart, Advance Auto Parts.

Lucas fuel treatment is a great tune-up in a bottle. Cleans and lubricates the fuel system. Neutralizes low sulfur fuel problems. Increases power and miles per gallon by burning excess exhaust emissions. Increases the life of pumps and injectors

I use Gumout All-In-One Fuel System Cleaner with every fill-up. Every time you step on the gas, you may be subjecting your engine to power-robbing deposits and friction. Unlike most fuel additives, Gumout All-In-One can provide complete fuel system cleaning and lubrication protection.

North Korean dictator dies

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il (b. Feb. 16, 1941 d. Dec. 17, 2011) was born in a log cabin inside a secret base on Korea's most sacred mountain, Mt. Paekdu. At the moment of his birth, a bright star lit up the sky. Winter spontaneously became spring. Rainbows appeared. Has over fifty titles. Routinely got 3-4 holes-in-one per round of golf. Invented the hamburger. Even produced movies. But he had disabled and short people deported from his capital. He maintains a completely deserted propaganda city built just to be looked at. He is a fashion trendsetter. The most prominent statesman in the world. People in countries the whole planet over celebrated his birthday with films and festivals.

Chewy Verdugal's tech notes

Current PHP version: 5.4.26 The pgn parser is chesstempo pgn-viewer. The free chess diagram generator is from ChessImager.

The games table uses advanced interaction controls by datatables a jQuery plugin.

JPG's are prepared for the web with gimp. HTML, javascript and css files are edited with Komodo Edit and some are minified by YUI Compressor. Some find the Google closure compiler does a better job of compression.

Tool tips are by qTip2, a fine product. Progressive disclosure is by Zander Labs - Wagstaff. Hyphenation is by hyphenator. The email contact form is filtered by Dominic Sayer's RFC-compliant email address validator php script. Limiting Textarea Text by Stephen Chapman helps protect the contact form from over-zealous posters. Andy Langton's show/hide/mini-accordion is used to show and hide text. CDN Content Delivery Network is by Amazon S3 cloudfront. Fades are by onextrapixel. The HTML template I used is designed by Luka Cvrk, Solucija. I use a Corporate Gibberish Generator™ to help me explain the purpose of this website.

carouFredSel is used for the chess diagram horizontal scroll. The photo slideshows were run on code from popeye. The modals are by Eric Martin's simplemodal and Cody Lindley's jQuery-swip and TinyBox2.

101 Fun Things to Do to Freak Out Your College Roommate! provided snippets of useful humor. The list of things to do while bored helped a bit, too.

This is a Microsoft-free web site. Not a single line of code was written here using any Microsoft product. Instead various flavors of Linux were used, mostly Debian and its derivatives. All but Komodo Edit are open source or GPL. You can have them for free and use them however you choose.

Since the internet itself runs on Linux and 91% of supercomputers run on Linux, a web developer's rig should, too. The best and fastest computers are Linux computers.

US Jackass States try to hijack America

Notice that the House Representatives of the Tea Party all hail from the most backward states in the Union. Talking South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Idaho, Oklahoma, Kansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Nevada. States that you probably wouldn't want to live in, let alone visit.

Why couldn't we allow these lamebrains to secede from the United States and form their own Jackass Alliance?

How did you learn HTML?

In the mid-1990's, I procrastinated for months in learning HTML, a mark-up language originally designed for non-technical acedemics to create web pages. I have no formal training.

While playing chess on FICS, I met JohnnyRio, who said he had worked in an illegal auto chop shop, stripping down stolen cars for parts. While serving thirty-seven months in an Oregon State Prison for Grand Theft Auto (GTA), or soon thereafter, he created a Bobby Fischer fan web site. It was a simple web page and had a little table with an "x" marked for months that he had Chess Life magazine issues. Thrilling, isn't it?

A convicted felon had a web page. I had none and had recently been cleared of all charges. Something about they never found the head. Whatever. After this lucky break, I resolved to learn HTML. Maintaining this web site has necessitated updating those rusty HTML coding skills, first to XHTML and then to HTML5. That taught me to be more thoughtful and careful in producing good code.

What's it like being webmaster?

It's difficult because I don't actually own a computer. I plan to buy a nice one in late 2014, finances permitting. For now this means a slog of some six miles, twice a week. I walk through snow and cold in winter, the rains of April, and the searing heat of summer. Arriving at the Henrietta Public Library, I use a free computer. Bus service is sporatic.

The hardest thing is supervising, training and selecting staff. Sometimes you've got to be cruel to be kind.

Randy MacKenzie, NM