Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy New Year

We wish you a happy, healthy and joyous year in 2012!

Best wishes.
Frank & Tash Niro
Ithaca, NY (USA)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ithaca named one of top 10 places to retire

Well, aside from the fact that it's an uphill walk in every direction from downtown, and there's lots of snow and ice conducive to falling and breaking one's hip, and the college kids drive their dodge 'em cars around town like they're playing "Chicken" (and that's when they are sober), I would tend to agree. There's something to be said about re-branding a place to attract a certain demographic, and I am truly glad to be here, but let's be honest: the reality is that Ithaca is problematic for senior citizens. Tash and I have met Dr. Wilson personally, and his comments are genuine. But no offense, Don, it's not the entire story.

When we moved into our first apartment here in August (which was definitely NOT senior friendly), and had to move out after three nights due to accessibility issues, the comment from the owner was, "It's a college town, what did you expect?"

Don't get me wrong, we love it here, and most others will too (except a small majority of Californians). My comments above, however, are presented in the interest of full disclosure.

Anyway here's the link to the Yahoo article by Emily Brandon, US News, and here's the text related to Ithaca...

A college town for retirees: Ithaca, N.Y.

College towns like Ithaca can be an ideal place to retire. For a median home price of just $176,500, retirees can take classes at Cornell University or Ithaca College and attend speeches, concerts, and sporting events. They can also spend their days hiking to the more than 100 waterfalls and gorges within 10 miles of downtown or sampling the wares of the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail. Don Wilson, 65, a retired cardiologist from Rockford, Ill., bicycles throughout the Finger Lakes region three times a week. "The rural roads in the Finger Lakes region have so little traffic that you can ride three or four abreast on a bicycle in continuous conversation, learning from each other," he says. Wilson has also developed an interest in paleontology, and is taking a course on the subject at Cornell University and conducting research on fossils at the Museum of the Earth. "I think that university towns tend to attract interesting organizations, like the Museum of the Earth, and interesting people who may or may not be connected with the college."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joy to the World

We attended midnight Mass at St. Catherine of Sienna Church in Ithaca (started with music at 10:30 pm). Not quite the same as our home church, Holy Trinity Ecumenical Catholic in Canby, OR, but as close as we have been able to find in the area. Beautiful spirit-filled service. Joy to the World, the Lord is come!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and joyous 2012 from Frank & Tash Niro

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 Christmas Blog Index

Photo above: My most attentive chess student!

The purpose of this index, organized by topic, is to make it easier for visitors to my blog to quickly find what might be of interest. Just click on the appropriate link and your browser will take you there.

Note: Click on "Home" at the bottom of the page to return to the main page with the most recent blog entries.


2011 Western Idaho Open,
Grandmaster Sam Palatnik visits Cornell, 11/2/11
On the Road Again..., 9/21/11
McKay Tartan Books, No. 5 plus the list, 9/19/11
Has anyone seen Andrey Kostin?, 9/15/11
Back at Cornell after 37 years, 9/7/11
One more game from the Portland Centennial
, 8/20/11
Yes I said it, Yes I believed it, Yes I've changed my mind!, 8/17/11
More games from the Portland Centennial, 8/16/11
4-way tie in Portland Centennial, 8/15/11
Portland Chess Club Centennial ends today, 8/14/11
There's more to life than chess, 8/13/11
Centennial tourney is underway!, 8/12/11
115 entries and counting..., 8/11/11
3 Days 'til Portland Chess Club Centennial, 8/9/11
Northwest Chess Cover Photo, 8/5/11
All Over the Board, 8/1/11
2011 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational, 7/30/11
Janniro & Deeth are 2011 Oregon Sr. Chess Co-champs, 7/14/11
Grandmaster Sighting on Puget Sound, 2/15/10
A nice game from the Oregon Open, 9/10/09
The Other Side of the Story, 7/2/09
Drug Testing in Chess???, 3/26/09
Resignation; The Great Laptop Caper, 3/12/09
Old Game vs. the World Champ, 3/5/09
Susan Polgar Foundation, 2/28/09
Relentless King Hunt, 1/8/09
Double Bronze for U.S. Chess Teams, 11/26/08
U.S. Olympiad Teams in the hunt for Medals, 11/24/08
New Blog on, 11/19/08
Jennifer Shahade cashes in WSOP again, 10/13/08
Chess Combination: SOLUTION, 9/5/08
Chess Combination , 9/2/08
Problem Solution, 6/12/08
What's the Best Move?, 6/11/08
McKay Tartan Books No. 4, 5/22/08
Happy Birthday Dr. Saidy, 5/16/08
Congratulations Susan & Tommy, 5/14/08
Tactics, Tactics, Tactics, 5/9/08
McKay Tartan Books Nos. 1 - 3, 4/17/08
Change in Plans Required , 4/1/08
20 Seconds Chess, 3/29/08
Chess Blogosphere, 3/12/08
Chessville interview with Paul Truong, 3/3/08
Make that 800!, 2/19/08
Dick Cavett's Interview of Bobby Fischer, 2/10/08
He's never coming home, 1/18/08
How about some chess?, 11/16/07
Walter Browne cashes in 3 W.S.O.P. events,7/10/07

Mr. & Mrs. Boris Spassky, Mr. & Mrs. Al Lawrence, Mr. & Mrs. Lev Alburt offer a toast to all of you.

Just a Matter of Time, 12/26/11
Consolidated blog, 8/27/11
Playing for the hurricane victims, 4/16/09
The Caboose, 4/9/09
"Action Dan" Harrington, 2/7/09
Fleet Street Games closing Oct. 31st, 10/21/08
2006 World Series of Poker: Event 18, 10/13/08
Playing No Limit Hold'em Reduces Alzheimer's, 9/17/08
Aaron's wisdom, 8/19/08
In the running for a seat at the WSOP, 5/30/08
Thank You, whoever you are..., 4/29/08
Pendleton Trip Report, 11/13/07
How to Give your Cat a Pill while playing Poker Online, 8/8/07
Ozark Mountain Poker Wedding, 3/30/07
Minnie's Soda, 12/6/06
My Inner Donkey, 11/21/06
Is the PartyPoker Over? , 10/13/06
My Poker Resume, 9/20/06
2006 WSOP, 7/30/06
Foxwoods Trip Report, 2/22/06
Learning the Hard Way, 1/20/06
Tunica Media Event, 1/9/06

"All Over the Board", my Memoir

I have to share this
, 7/23/11
Mile 14 - Behind the Wall, 10/9/10
I Write Like...check this out, 7/16/10
Memories of my Hospital Stay, 6/4/09
Turnaround Hospital Administrator, 2/14/09
Mile 5: Embrace of a Lifetime SECOND DRAFT, 8/20/08
Pitch for my Book, (Archives) 7/24/08
Mile 4: Bobbi, Sue and Kathrine, 7/17/08, draft
Mile 3: So Many Colors in the Rainbow, 1/22/08
Mile 1: Everything that comes before..., 11/22/06

Miscellaneous Ramblings & Links

Cayuga Med & Schuyler announce affiliation, 12/16/11
Massachusetts Health Care Reform, 11/13/11
Sloan Health Administration Class of 2013, 11/5/11
5K Cancer final race 10/19/11
SPF Fundraiser in NYC, 10/13/11
Cornell vs. Harvard 10/8/11
Johnson School of Management, 10/6/11
Johnny the Younger, rest in peace, 8/22/11
It must be the link to the stupid human trick, 8/7/11
Far Above Cayuga's Waters
, 8/4/11
Rest in Peace, George, 7/14/10
Knowledge: a different part of the Ocean, 3/11/10
C'mon over to our house, 8/6/09
Vuvuzela, 6/29/09
In a Blink, 6/25/09
The Great Light, 5/28/09
Memoir, 5/21/09
US & Canadian Health Care, 4/30/09
Banana Hammocks, yes or no?, 4/23/09
Some Useful Web Sites, 2/21/09
Consolidation, 1/29/09
Field Report, 10/14/08
Get your latest sports news at... , 5/29/08
It's Time, 2/28/08
Manny Alexander, et. al., 12/13/07
Links, 12/9/07
Happy Thanksgiving, 11/22/07
Christian Parent Warning, 11/18/07
Hall breaks Olympic Trials marathon record, 11/5/07
Reflections, 11/1/07
Red Sox Nation, 10/28/07
Copyright Violation, 7/22/07
Olympic Games, 6/1/07
Cooperstown's Loss, 2/7/07
Death of a web site, 11/15/06


Jane Olivor Updates, 5/14/09
La Vie en Rose, 5/7/09
Delilah on Nightline tonight, 11/12/08
Jane Olivor on YouTube, 10/9/08
Heaven Help My Heart, 2/11/08
Jane Olivor (archives), 12/11/07

Friends & Family
Please Join Us July 10, 6/30/11
Happy Birthday Celeste, 6/24/11
You know you're from Boston if..., 5/20/11
Emma Pumpelly (1847 - abt. 1925), 4/2/11
Searching for Daniel Pumpelly, 10/14/10
Twenty Years, 4/16/10
Master Handicapper & Grandmaster Friend, 6/18/09
Tom Derderian on Bobbi Gibb, 3/19/09
NMC Team Members, Worcester MA 1966, 4/2/09
Family Tree, 1/1/09
Happy Birthday Rick Bayko, 10/15/08
Delilah's New Book, 9/16/08
Happy Father's Day, 6/15/08
A Hundred Pounds, 1/29/08
Bad Hands, Bad Faith, 12/18/07
Inlaws, 11/26/07
Eddie heads back to NC, 11/19/07
Happy Halloween, 10/29/07
San Diego Honeymoon, 9/22/07
More Wedding Photos, 5/6/07

Married!!, 4/28/07
Some 2006 Photos, 1/22/07
Leave the Driving to Us, 12/12/06
Safe Return, 12/3/06
Die Fledermaus, 11/30/06
Guest Weblog, 11/29/06
Easy Eddie, 11/18/06
On the Road Again, 11/17/06
What Rain?, 11/16/06
Delilah's words to her listeners..., 8/15/06

Greyhounds & other pets

Wiz Dog, 6/11/09
My dog ate my...what?, 1/22/09
Greyhounds watching greyhounds, 1/15/09
Barney was The Man, 12/25/08
Back in the box, (Frannie) 11/7/08
Atascocita Carla, (Frannie) 2/24/08
Westminster Kennel Club, (Frannie) 2/12/08
And the Winner is..., (Frannie) 2/3/08
Older greyhound posts, go here

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cayuga Med & Schuyler announce affiliation

Keeping with the trend in the health care industry, Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, N.Y., and Schuyler Hospital in Montour Falls, N.Y., have signed a letter of intent to affiliate, according to a joint news release.

Under the proposed agreement, both hospitals will remain independent but will explore administrative and clinical collaborations. The two will focus first on orthopedics and obstetrics services, and CMC specialists will treat patients at Schuyler Hospital.

The agreement is expected to be finalized in early 2012.


Contact: John W. Turner, Vice President of Public Relations, Cayuga Medical Center, 607-274-4499; Michelle Benjamin, Director of Community Relations, Schuyler Hospital, 607-210-1950

Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital Sign Affiliation Agreement

December 15, 2011, Ithaca, NY - Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital announced today they have entered into a long-term affiliation agreement that will allow both hospitals to collaborate, plan, and enhance the delivery of health care services in Schuyler County. Both hospitals will continue to remain independent.

As part of the agreement, Schuyler Hospital and Cayuga Medical Center will explore collaborations in a number of support and clinical areas that will be mutually beneficial to both organizations. In addition, they will work together on regional health planning that will meet the current and future health care needs of patients throughout the region.

Cayuga Medical Center and Schuyler Hospital have already identified two areas of collaboration that will be an immediate focus, orthopedics and obstetrics. Teams from both hospitals have been meeting to develop action plans that will improve access for patients. "Schuyler Hospital shares the same community hospital mission that we have at Cayuga Medical Center. The affiliation agreement will allow us to work together and find solutions to the challenges we face in health care today. We are looking forward to working with their leadership team, physicians, employees, and volunteers to create a comprehensive plan that will deliver the highest quality health care services to the residents of Schuyler County," said Cayuga Medical Center President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Rob Mackenzie.

"This an exciting new partnership and new direction for Schuyler Hospital and the residents of this community - one that we expect will bring growth and long-term viability to the hospital in the face of challenging economic times," said Andy Manzer, President and Chief Executive Officer for Schuyler Hospital. "We have been pleased to find that the staff at Cayuga Medical Center shares our passion for compassionate, patient-centered care, and for meeting the needs of our community. By affiliating with Cayuga Medical Center, we are bringing our community access to high quality health services, as well as connections to nationally-recognized care, close-to-home."

Cayuga Medical Center is a 204-bed, state-of-the art regional medical center and is affiliated with many prestigious health care organizations including Cornell University's Weill Medical College, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the Rochester Heart Institute at Rochester General Hospital, University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Orthopedics, and Mayo Medical Laboratories. For more information on services available at the medical center and its satellite campuses, please visit or call (607) 274-4498.

Schuyler Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital, with a 120-bed skilled nursing facility attached. While Schuyler Hospital's main campus is located in Montour Falls, the hospital has evolved over nearly 100 years to reach throughout Schuyler County and into southern Yates and Seneca Counties. With a variety of services, Schuyler Hospital is a healthcare "security blanket" for the entire family. Schuyler Hospital. We've Got You Covered. To find out more about Schuyler Hospital, visit or call (607) 535-7121.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

2011 Western Idaho Open

The Western Idaho Open is being held in Boise, Idaho this weekend. Tournament director and ICA web master Jeff Roland is posting round by round pairings, results and game scores. Go here to follow the action.

Final round pairings
Caleb Kircher has a chance to win another tournament with a win in round 5.

Shown above is he group photo from the 2012 Western Idaho Open (courtesy of TD Jeff Roland). Follow this link to view other photos as well as the names of the participants.

Play online chess

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Massachusetts Health Care Reform

For those students who have asked for some details about the Massachusetts health care plan, click here for the wikipedia version.

I also found this article by old friend, Mara Yarow, published back when the bill was passed. In my opinion, Mara's summary is well considered and as good as you will find.

By Mara Yarow (AHPA newsletter, 2nd Q, 2009)
On April 26, 2006, Massachusetts signed into law its
landmark health reform legislation, described as an act
providing access to affordable, quality, accountable
health care. The legislation provided for a three-year
phase-in of health reform. At the time, a study by the
Urban Institute estimated that 12 percent of the state’s
population of approximately 6.4 million was uninsured.
The goal of the law is to provide near-universal
coverage of the Massachusetts population. Components
of the plan include individual mandates, employer
requirements, insurance market reforms, and
preservation of a safety net.

The Act required all adults in Massachusetts (who can
obtain affordable health insurance) to purchase health
insurance by July 1, 2007. Individuals not having
health insurance would receive financial penalties imposed
through their income tax filings and the penalties
increase each year as the law becomes fully implemented.
In 2007, individuals without health insurance
lost their personal income tax exemption ($219).

Second, employers of 11+ full-time equivalent employees
in Massachusetts are required to make a fair
and reasonable contribution toward coverage for fulltime
employees or pay a Fair Share Assessment of up
to $295 annually per employee. They also must offer
both full-time and part-time employees a pre-tax, payroll
deduction plan for their own health insurance premium
payments, or face a surcharge if employees
make excessive use of uncompensated care.

Non-group and small-group health insurance markets
are merged to effectively lower the price and offer
more choices for individuals purchasing unsubsidized
coverage on their own.

To accomplish the goal, several key actions were initiated:
• Expansion of MassHealth (Medicaid);
• Restructuring of the state Uncompensated
Care Pool (UCP) into the Health Safety Net
(HSN); and
• Establishment of a quasi-state agency, the
Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector
Authority (The Connector

The Uncompensated Care Pool was established by
Universal Health Care Legislation in 1988 to reimburse
hospitals for uncompensated care. Subsequently,
the UCP was also charged with reimbursing community
health centers (CHCs). The UCP was administered
by the state’s Division of Health Care Finance
and Policy (DHCFP), one of the goals of which “is to
improve access to health care for the uninsured and
the underinsured residents” of the state. The UCP was
used to pay for medically necessary care and emergency
services not covered by other insurance.

As CHCs became covered by the UCP, attempts were
made to shift hospital outpatient care to CHCs. With
the 2006 legislation, the UCP was converted to a
Health Safety Net Trust Fund that combines the previous
UCP funds with other Medicaid funds including
Disproportionate Share Hospital funds. MassHealth
now screens all applicants for HSN coverage and a
new fee schedule was developed to standardize provider
reimbursements. The intent of the new legislation
is that as more uninsured obtain coverage, uncompensated
care will decrease and the funds will be
shifted to subsidized programs.

Massachusetts was able to extend its waiver with the
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for
continued support and funding of the Health Reform
effort that involves a collaboration of nine state agencies
in the purchasing, regulating and monitoring of
health care services to promote improved access, coordinated
reimbursement and coverage.

The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority
offers two programs that each provide a range
of health plans for legal residents who are not eligible
for other public or employer-sponsored health insurance
in the following consumer categories:
• Completely subsidized, comprehensive health
insurance to adults earning up to 150% of the
federal poverty level;
• Substantial premium subsidies to people earning
between 150% and 300% of the federal
poverty level; and
• Completely subsidized comprehensive coverage
to children of parents earning up to 300%
of the federal poverty level.

Commonwealth Care is a subsidized program for
adults who are not offered employer-sponsored insurance,
do not qualify for Medicare, Medicaid or certain
other special insurance programs, and who earn no
more than 300% of the federal poverty level. Plans
are currently available for between $39 per month and
$116 per month for individuals. There are no monthly
premiums for the children of adults covered by Commonwealth
Care, as the children are covered by Mass-
Health (Medicaid).

Commonwealth Choice is an unsubsidized offering
of six private health plans that were selected through a
competitive bidding process and are available through
the Connector to individuals, families and certain employers
in the state. The six plans are offered directly
through the Health Connector by six Massachusetts based,
non-profit health insurance carriers. Together,
these plans represent about 90% of the commercial,
licensed health insurance market. Each of the plans
offered through the Health Connector by the six carriers
may also be purchased directly from the individual
carriers. The six private plans have received the
Connector’s “Seal of Approval” to offer a range of
benefits options, grouped by level of benefits and
cost-sharing at different levels. There is also a special,
lower priced Young Adults Plan offering from
the same six carriers, exclusively for individuals between
the ages of 18 and 26.

Small employers with 50 or fewer workers are also
able to purchase directly through the Health Connector’s
Contributory Plan.

The cost of Health Reform has not been inexpensive.
In FY 2008, $472 million was budgeted for the Connector
and spending was $628 million due to higher
enrollment in various programs than projected. This
suggests that the original federal estimate of 650,000
uninsured in Massachusetts was more accurate than
the state estimate of 400,000. For FY 2009, $869
million was budgeted and current projections estimate
spending will be approximately $800 million.
Budget (not yet passed) figures for FY 2010 now
range between $750 and $880 million.

Since its passage in 2006, the health reform program
in Massachusetts has been quite successful. A November
2008 study by the state’s the Division of
Health Care Finance and Policy found only 2.6% 2.6% of
the population of 6.5 million remain uninsured.
MassHealth now provides coverage to more than
1,000,000 of the Commonwealth’s residents. The
state’s total Health Safety Net payments dropped as a
result of more residents being insured. From Payment
Fiscal Year (PFY) 2007 to PFY 2008, total payments
dropped from $671 million to $410 million,
hospital payments went down from $620 to $373 million,
and CHC payments decreased from $41 million
to $37 million. Likewise, service and volume have
declined as the insured are able to access preventive
and outpatient health care services not paid for by the
HSN. For Commonwealth Choice, the Connector’s
unsubsidized health plans, the premium increase for
the most recent year was five percent (5%), unlike
the double-digit increases experienced for other plans
in the state.

Like other states, Massachusetts is affected by the
current economic climate, but the state remains committed
to the Health Reform effort and maintaining
existing health care services in the state. The Governor
has committed a portion of the federal stimulus
fund received to health care, which will include $225
million to restore or prevent cuts in eligibility for services
faced with increasing enrollment due economic
circumstances of the population. Use of stimulus
funds will increase the Federal Medicaid Assistance
Percentage for Massachusetts from 50 percent to approximately
60 percent. Some stimulus funds will
also be used to protect the Health Safety Net.

Health reform in Massachusetts has been successful
and is a model that merits consideration and study by
others. Areas that remain to be addressed in Massachusetts
are affordability and cost control.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sloan Health Administration Class of 2013

I thank God every day for the opportunity to hang out with the best of the current generation of college students. Pictured are (back row, l. to r.) Shivani Rajput, Zach Aragosa, Jake Ramsey, Seth Musikant and Ty Siam. (third row) Jasmine Davis, Jason Mathisen, Julie Spalding, Alyssa Schoen, Rachel Johnson and Constantine Grivoyannis. (second row) James Costaras, Marissa Amiraian, Elyisha Sodjhi, Carrie Howard, Bonnie Frazier and Rachna Badlani. (first row) J.R. Cho, Mythili Raghunath, David Ge, Katie Strausser, Sean Looby and Rachel Kahn. (Absent is Rachel DeSantis)

There's a better version of this photo (taken with a professional camera) on the Cornell web site. Click here to see it (go to the bottom of the page) and to read more about the Sloan program.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Grandmaster Sam Palatnik visits Cornell

Nikolai M. Krivitski, Ph.D, D.Sc. (left) was a boyhood friend of GM Palatnik. Apparently, they played in tournaments together at age 10. He is the Vice President for Research & Development at Transonic Systems based in Ithaca. Dr. Raissa V. Krivitsky (center), Senior Lecturer in the Department of Russian and faculty advisory board member of the Alice Cook House, hosted the grandmaster (right).

Members of the Cornell Chess Club Jasper Wu (left), 2011-12 President, and National Master Thomas Riccardi (right), shown here with GM Palatnik, were happy to serve as tough opponents for an eight board simultaneous exhibition.

Sam carefully considers his next move against Tom. Since the players were seated in USCF rating order, GM Palatnik was aware that this game on Board 1 would require the most attention. He was right, as this was the last to finish. Palatnik completed his 8-0 sweep, but not without a tough fight from Riccardi. Nikolai Krivitski looks on. Interesting coincidence: I presented a trophy to 6th grader Tom Riccardi at the National Elementary Chess Championship at Opryland Hotel in Nashville back in May 2003.

The Alice Cook House, part of the beautiful student housing complex on the west campus of Cornell University, was the site of the event. The house professor-dean André Dhondt, a native of Belgium where he obtained his Ph.D. in Biology at Ghent State University, and his wife Keila Dhondt, welcomed Sam & Olga Palatnik to campus for the second year in a row with a reception in their apartment.

I first met GM Palatnik on a visit to Nashville in April 1997. We later reunited at the World Chess Hall of Fame in Miami (2003) and again for a chess lesson in Memphis in December 2004. It was my first introduction to Nikolai (who is also a long ago friend of GM Lev Alburt).

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

5K Cancer final race

Ran what was probably my last 5K this past weekend. Two second year Sloan students, Erin Santerre & Emil Smith, made sure I got around the course safely.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

SPF Fundraiser in NYC

Hanon Russell (left) was Master of Ceremonies at the annual Susan Polgar Foundation fundraising event held at the Hungarian Embassy in New York City. Susan presented me with a token of appreciation (pictured above) for my ten years of service to the foundation taht bears her name.

GM Boris Gulko and IM Danny Kopec share a cheerful moment at the SPF annual fundraiser in NYC, October 11, 2011.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cornell vs. Harvard

My first Cornell vs. Harvard football game in many moons (photo by newly minted college football fan Natasha Niro).

It was still a game when we exited at the end of the third quarter (due to an unnamed member of a party getting a sunburn). In Ithaca? In October?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Johnson School of Management

I had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Joe Thomas, Dean of Cornell's Johnson School of Management, upon my return to Cornell University. Dean Thomas was my Quantitative Analysis professor back in 1973 at the Cornell Business School. He remains one of my all time favorite professors.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gateway to the West

More photos from my trip (text to follow)

The World Chess Hall of Fame (above) recently reopened in St. Louis. It includes the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, which I have now visited in all four locations (New Windsor NY, Washington D.C. and Miami previously). The centerpiece of the new display is the Morphy Silver, a coin silver beverage set presented to Paul Morphy for winning the American Chess Congress in 1857, and originally donated to the HOF by Steve Doyle in 1986.

I was very pleased to see that the memory of Sidney Samole (his bust shown here) was still prominent in the newly relocated Chess Hall of Fame.

Tony Rich, Executive Director St. Louis Chess Club, 4657 Maryland Avenue, ST. Louis, MO 63108
web site
GM Ben Finegold's blog

St. Louis Cardinals

Bridge to Cairo IL and Paducah KY

Samantha: In seven tenths of a mile, take the ferry! (Dorena, MO to Hickman, KY)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Return to Boonville

An example of the 2011 Missouri River Flooding, still in evidence along I-29 in Iowa and Missouri

I thought I would cross the Missouri River into Iowa at Nebraska City but found that the bridge was closed. Same thing at the Rte. 136 crossing, and again at Rolo. Eventually I made my way into Kansas and crossed at St. Joseph's, Missouri. Click here to read more about the flooding.

A few hours later I passed by the KC sports complex where the Royals and Chiefs play their home games. Then it was on to Boonville, Rocheport and Columbia where my adventure out west began five years ago. The Ozark Mountain Poker Wedding remains one of my favorite (and most frequently viewed) blogs, so it was nice to reminisce on the way back east.

Last evening I visited the famed St. Louis Chess Center where I listened to a lecture by GM Benjamin Finegold.

Today I will visit the newly opened Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis. Then on to Crossville, TN, where I will meet Mayor J.H. Graham tomorrow morning at 8:30 am. I left my "key to the city" on the wall of the Portland Chess Club in Oregon, but the Mayor promised that he would let me in anyway...

I updated Monday's blog with my own picture of Fossil Butte monument.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Prone to corn pone? Lend me your ear

Photo courtesy of Sylvan Dell Publishing's blog

Friends, know the rest. I was driving along route 80 in Nebraska today past miles and miles (and hours and hours) of corn fields on both sides of the road. My mind wandered, as it usually does, and I contemplated the many uses of corn. Some of the stalks, especially in the southwest corner of the state, didn't look like they contained anything edible. My instincts were correct.
Here's a list of the uses of corn that I came up with (and a few where I had no idea):

1. Corn on the cob
2. Canned corn
3. Pop corn
4. Paint
5. Cattle feed
6. Pipes
7. Fertilizer
8. Beer
9. Drywall
10. Prescription drugs
11. Corn syrup
12. Instant coffe
13. Toothpaste
14. Paper products
15. Spark plugs
Corn starch is used in the production of the special porcelain used to make spark plugs. Really! source: Agriculture Corner

16. Tires
17. Cosmetics
18. Kitty litter
19. Corn meal
20. Vitamin capsules
21. Chemicals
22. Corn starch
23. Hand soap
24. Halloween costumes
25. Decorations
26. Pesticides
27. Postage stamp glue
28. Packaging tape
29. Muffins
30. Corn pone

There are many more but I need to leave Lincoln for St. Louis. The weather report for the trip looks good.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sweet Wyoming

Fossil Butte National Monument in southwestern Wyoming

Many years ago I attended a concert by country/folk singer Bill Staines who introduced one of his songs by explaining that Little America, Wyoming, was the only truck stop in America (back then) that was also an incorporated town. Well, yesterday I visited Little America and it was exactly as he described it!

It got me humming his song to myself for the next 150 miles and wondering how many song titles actually have the word "Wyoming" in them. Anyway, here's the song for your enjoyment: Sweet Wyoming Home.

The day started in Pocatello, Idaho where I played chess over the weekend. The results and photos will soon be available on the Idaho Chess Association web site. I parked as close as I could get tio the tri-state marker denoting the junction of Idaho, Utah and Wyoming. I will be back to add photos later.

Photo by Jeff Roland, courtesy of Idaho Chess Association

While researching information about places in the U.S. where three states come together I was surprised to learn that 27 such places are actually under water.

Time to hit the road for Lincoln, Nebraska. Will fill in some more details when I next find Internet access.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

On the road again...

Quote for the day: "Looking forward to my visit. I will be one of the lucky few who have visited the Chess Hall of Fame at all 4 locations (New Windsor, NY; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; & St. Louis, MO)... Don't know if Steve Doyle and Al Lawrence could have imagined back in '86 what it would be like 25 years down the road."

There's no place like home. A few thoughts while on the road again...

Flew home to Idaho yesterday to pick up the car. Can't survive a winter in Ithaca without a vehicle. The bus system and Carshare service are good back-ups for two people with one car, but we have decided that we must have our car... Celebrated my birthday with the in-laws in Meridian ID last evening. We had a good time, but Tash's physical presence was definitely missed.

Lunch with Jeff Roland tomorrow. Speaking of Jeff, here's his "spread" on the Meridian Invitational held at my house August 20, 2011.

Good job, as always, Jeff!

My tentative travel plans will bring my to Pocatello ID this weekend, Laramie WY on Sunday, Lincoln NE Monday, St. Louis MO to see the new Chess Hall of Fame on Tuesday or Wednesday, then to Crossville TN to see if my "key to the city" still opens any doors, and back to Ithaca NY from there... A half dozen Red Sox games to keep me company along the way.

On the right is the new three-story Chess Hall of Fame building in St. Louis. -->

Looking forward to my visit. I will be one of the lucky few who have visited the Chess Hall of Fame at all 4 locations (New Windsor, NY; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; & St. Louis, MO)... Don't know if Steve Doyle and Al Lawrence could have imagined back in '86 what it would be like 25 years down the road. I appreciate their foresight...

Please come back for an update. I'll take lots of photos.

Chess in my kitchen, literally: 2011 Meridian Invitational. In this photo, Corey Longhurst (White) versus Frank Niro III (Black). Hugh Myers looking down on the game, Caleb Kircher in the "Boise State" shirt, Tash Niro in the background, and Jamie Lang pouring himself a drink. Photo by Jeff Roland, courtesy of the Idaho Chess Association.

The travel plan (updated as of 9/22/11, will revise en route):

Sun Sep 25 Pocatello ID to Laramie WY - 453.68 mi, 6 hrs 57 mins

Mon Sep 26 Laramie WY to Lincoln NE - 493.20 mi, 6 hrs 55 mins

Sep 27 Lincoln, NE to St. Louis MO - 442.94 mi, 7 hrs 1 min

Wed Sep 28 St. Louis MO to Crossville TN - 419.55 mi, 6 hrs 35 mins (visit HoF Wednesday morning)

Thu Sep 29 Crossville TN to Strasburg VA - 476.26 mi, 7 hrs 26 mins (visit USCF Thursday morning)

Fri Sep 30 Strasburg VA to West Chester PA - 214.20 mi, 3 hrs 37 mins (lunch w/FM?)

Sat/Sun Oct 1/Oct 2 West Chester PA to Ithaca NY - time & route to be determined...

Thank you Mapquest.

Monday, September 19, 2011

McKay Tartan Books, No. 5 plus the list

Quote for today: "I regret that I did not take up Burt Hochberg on his offer to give me a complete list before he passed away...looks like he may have been the only person who knew all of the books in the Tartan series!"
The chess classic, My System, by Aron Nimzovich

At long last, here is the incomplete list of books in the David McKay Tartan series. I will add the missing titles as I learn of them. Now that I have access to the Cornell University library resources, I am hopeful that I will have a complete lsit within a few months. Please send me an e-mail at with corrections and/or additions. Thank you!
No. 6, Common Sense in Chess by Emanuel Lasker

1. Ideas Behind the Chess Openings – Reuben Fine
2. The Middle Game in Chess – Reuben Fine
3. Basic Chess Endings – Reuben Fine
4. Learn Chess Fast – Sammy Reshevsky & Fred Reinfeld
5. My System – Aron Nimzovich
6. Common Sense in Chess - Emanuel Lasker
7. Winning Chess Traps - Irving Chernev
8. Chess Strategy & Tactics - Fred Reinfeld & Irving Chernev
9. Modern Chess Strategy - Edward Lasker
10. Let’s Play Checkers - Grover & Wiswell
11. Learn Checkers Fast - Tom Wiswell
12. Pawn Power in Chess - Hans Kmoch
13. ?
14. Freud: A Critical Reevaluation of his Theories - Reuben Fine
15. ?
16. ?
17. The Commonsense Book of Wine - Leon Adams
18. My Best Games of Chess 1908-1923 - Alexander Alekhine
19. My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937 - Alexander Alekhine
20. Dark Trees to the Wind - Carl Carmer

No. 20, Dark Trees to the Wind, tales about life in NY

No. 21, Listen for the Lonesome Drum, another of the non-chess books in the David McKay Tartan series

21. Listen for a Lonesome Drum - Carl Carmer
22. ?
23. English Thought in the Nineteenth Century - D.C. Somervell

24. English Social History - George Trevelyan
25. 200 Miniature Games of Chess - J. du Mont
26. A Passion for Chess - Reuben Fine
27. Chess Fundamentals - J. R. Cabaplanca
28. The Art of Sacrifice in Chess - Rudolf Spielmann
29. Profile of a Prodigy - Dr. Frank Brady
30. ?

31. Point Count Chess - I.A. Horowitz & Geoffrey Mott-Smith
32. Paul Morphy and the Golden Age of Chess - William Napier
33. Epic Battles of the Chessboard - R.N. Coles
34. Alekhines' Best Games of Chess 1938-1945 - C.H.O'D. Alexander
35. Dominoes - Dominic Armanino
36. How to Win in the Chess Endings - I.A. Horowitz
37. Practical Chess Openings - Reuben Fine
38. Strategy and Tactics in Chess - Max Euwe
39. Beginning Backgammon - Tim Holland
40. Official Rules of Chess - U.S. Chess Federation
41. Chess Master vs. Chess Amateur - Max Euwe & Walter Meiden
42. Monopoly Book - Maxine Brady
43. Guide to Tournament Chess - Siegbert Tarrasch
44. The Game of Chess - Siegbert Tarrasch
45. ?

46. Official Rules of Chess (2nd edition) - Martin Morrison, editor
47. The Development of Chess Style - Max Euwe
48. Capablanca's 100 Best Games of Chess - Harry Golembek
49. Modern Chess Opening Traps - William Lombardy
50. The Road to Chess Mastery - Max Euwe & Walter Meiden
51. Pawn Structure Chess - Andrew Soltis
52. The World Chess Championship 1978 - Bent Larsen
53. Backgammon for People Who Hate to Lose - Tim Holland
54. Better Backgammon - Tim Holland
55. Attack and Defence in Modern Chess Tactics - Ludek Pachman
56. Judgment and Planning in Chess - Max Euwe
57. Modern Chess Tactics - Ludek Pachman
58. The Art of Positional Play - Samuel Reshevsky
59. The Chess Struggle in Practice - David Bronstein
60. ?
61. Maxims of Chess - John Collins
62. Catalog of Chess Mistakes - Andrew Soltis
63. A Short History of Chess - Dr. Henry Davidson
64. ?
65. ?
66. Practical Endgame Lessons - Edmar Mednis
67. The Modern Chess Sacrifice - Leonid Shamkovich
68. America's Chess Heritage - Walter Korn
69. Modern Chess Openings - Walter Korn
70. King Power in Chess - Edmar Mednis
71. The Art of defense in Chess - Andrew Soltis
72. How to play good Opening Moves - Edmar Mednis
73. U.S. Chess Federation's Official Rules of Chess - Tim Redman, ed.

I am still missing some titles, but finally feel satisfied that I have a complete enough list worth publishing. I regret that I did not take up Burt Hochberg on his offer to give me a complete list before he passed away. I had many opportunities do do so when we were working together of the 5th edition of the USCF rulebook, edited by Tim Just, in 2002. It looks like he may have been the only person who knew all of the books in the Tartan series!

I will be grateful to anyone who helps me fill in the blanks.

My previous blog entries concerning this series:
Books nos. 1-3
Book no. 4

Best wishes to all,