Chess

My Chess History and Love of Chess

I first started playing chess when I was just a lad. My Dad taught me the moves and I quickly caught up to him. I’ve continued to play over the years and I think this is one of the passions that helped me make it through the pandemic over the last couple of years.  I wanted to share some of my thoughts about chess and why it’s such a fantastic game and some of my history with it. 

After playing chess as a child, I ended up playing many games with a mentor I had in my early teen years. Lee and I would play games while listening to the latest records he collected – Bruce Springsteen, The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and lots of our folk heroes of the day. These included David Bromberg, John Hartford, and Steve Goodman – three artists which were also touring a lot in the area during those times. This combination of sitting with a friend and playing chess and listening to great music continues in my life to this day.

I eventually moved to New York City and studied from 1980-1984 at NYU in Greenwich Village. The main park in the Village is Washington Square Park. This park is known for many things – it was a place for music and good times in the 60s and when I got there that vibe continued. Washington Square Park also hosts a wonderful corner with many built-in chess boards and seating for dozens of games. The area also boasted a number of chess stores where one could buy a board and pieces but also rent time at a table and easily find opponents (almost always men) to challenge to a game. This was especially useful during winter months and at night, though I also remember playing chess in the park at night in warmer weather times. Between the park and these shops (one was open 24 hours if I remember correctly), I spent a fair amount of my free time during my college days playing chess. I noticed I didn’t see too many other students on these boards.

The scene in Washington Square Park around the chess boards has always been fun. There’s a lot of kibitzing that goes on and some people play for money, though it’s usually just a dollar or two. I probably got my tuchas handed to me more than I won in those days, but it was a free and fun way to pass the time and keep my mind sharp. I love seeing how many of the videos of people playing trash-talking chess sharks in parks take place in New York City. It’s a great way for me to relive the scenes of my youth and every once in a while I think I see someone I’ve played with. But those guys were mostly older than me and are probably not the ones featured in the videos.

I’m also a musician, so I’m used to challenging my mind with that different language, too. Chess adds one more layer to my active mind. I wish I were better at other languages – I’ve tried learning many and I hardly know enough to order a cup of coffee in most. OK, that’s not completely true – I can do more with German, but in Spanish, my speaking is pretty limited unless I’m in a Spanish-speaking country for a while. Then it picks back up.

Back to chess and current times. About a year before the pandemic hit us I had been playing chess against a friend who beat me most of the time. He started telling me about how he was learning from better players online via videos they would do – playing while annotating their games. I got pretty into this and found myself watching more than I was playing. But I think it was important that I spent this time researching the game and learning some information about opening moves (also known as openings). At this point, I’m still watching these games, but luckily I’ve gone to playing more than watching.

During the pandemic, I signed up with chess.com and have been playing there almost exclusively since. I still play over-the-board games, too, but I have about 11 games going at one time on chess.com – feel free to reach out to me if you’d like to connect with me and play. I’m there under my own name so I’m not hard to find and challenge! Some of my favorite games right now online are with my 2 nephews who are on the East Coast. This has become a way I keep in touch with them and it’s also been interesting to see them develop as players.

When the Queen’s Gambit came out I rushed to watch it and I figured that would lead to a lot more chess playing in the world. That may have happened. It’s a strange universe, the chess world. I enjoy playing the most, but watching people who are advanced in the game is certainly interesting, too.

I encourage you to learn how to play chess. It’s fairly easy to learn and it will help you stay sharp as you age. And who knows, maybe one day we can hang out and play together!

Have a great one, Albert

Yum, Cranium Crunches – a review

Cranium Crunches

So, for a little extra cash and because it sounded like a really fun assignment, I find myself reading about the founder of Cranium Crunches, Ruth Curran.  After I felt well-versed in where she’s going with this, I start checking out their various social media properties, listed below, because that’s where I tend to travel most. After a little feedback back to the company of some improvements they could make, I dive into a game. It’s this one, Match!

After playing just one round I find that my brain feels a little recharged. It’s funny, I’d just been writing recently that I want to be entertained less, and be more active in life, and this certainly feels like that result.

Next up I learn that one should practice brain fitness as much as possible and that they provide a new “everyday thing” that one can do on their fan page each week. Here is the most recent one I could find – part of the Find the Difference set of games. But this game is a little too difficult for me, and I’m also interested in a more active game to pick up my energy at 4:30 pm.  I still have some more work to do after this on a couple of projects!

Cranium Crunches: “It helps us feel as if we have a bit of control over what happens to our brains as we age.”  from an interview with Ruth Curran, Founder Cranium Crunches.

So, I try a scramble. Tough, but the way the game is designed, I’m looking forward to working on this one more.  It’s funny, in the next image I try to unscramble, my first thought is that I wish the picture were different – it’s a sky full of chem-trails.  And, I know some great photographers! So, perhaps there is an opportunity there.

More about the Games Page: “Brain games help fire pathways in the brain – keep the chemicals and electricity that nourish and fire the brain active and moving. There is so much research out there now to support the tangible benefits of playing a variety of games and working on a variety of skills. The unifying theme though is this: active brains not only age more slowly but injured brains can also heal, re-wire, and open new pathways through an activity.” from an interview with Ruth Curran, Founder Cranium Crunches.

Now they’ve got my Sesame Street side – “One of These Things is not like The Other” – OK, I’ll bite!  4:48…  Wow, that’s a tough one – and, I’d recommend having your screen set for the greatest brightness.  Again, I’m going to talk to the company about the photographs they’re using, but I live in paradise, so perhaps that’s part of my bias 🙂

If you’re looking to improve your brain or help someone you know this might be worth your time. I was about to say – “someone you know who is experiencing brain issues” but then I realized that it’s never too early to start a program like this.  I’ll probably update this blog posting as I learn more about the games and try them out more. Until then, happy thinking!

Cranium Crunches on Facebook
Twitter
A review by a professional writer!  

My current favorite game on the site. Memory Match

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by BOOMboxNetwork.com on behalf of Cranium Crunches and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own.  Albert

Social Network: LinkedIn, Facebook and Constant Contact

social media

Happy GroundHog Day!

My friend Betsy asked me how I find LinkedIn useful, and one of my answers to her has to do with any social network.  When someone asks me to connect on LinkedIn or Facebook, I usually accept and then have a customized message (if I don’t know the person) which says hello and asks them if they’d like to receive my newsletter. Most accept the invitation and then possibly become future clients, friends, referrals, who knows?  It’s a time-consuming process, but has led to positive results.

Here are the examples that I’ve worked up for Facebook and LinkedIn.  Yours could be personalized for the work you’re doing

            __o
_ ` <, _
…… ( • ) /  ( • )……

——————

Hello Darlene,

We’ve just become friends on Facebook, yeah! It’s always interesting to me as to why someone would like to be my friend. If you care to share, please write back.  Also, I put out a monthly e-mail newsletter called The Eleven. If you’d like to receive it, please send me your email address or sign up here, https://tinyurl.com/TheEleven-signup.  Lastly, I have a fan page here called Albertideation @ https://facebook.com/albertideation .  It’s where on FB, I tend to share social networking tips and tricks.

Hope your new year is ringing in well,

Adios, Albert

——–

Hi Bhagvant,

We’ve just become connected on LinkedIn, yeah! It’s always interesting to me as to why someone would like to connect.  If you care to share, please write back.  Also, I put out a monthly e-mail newsletter called The Eleven. If you’d like to receive it, please let me know or sign up here,

https://tinyurl.com/TheEleven-signup.

Here’s the most recent issue: https://pdx.be/oneeleventwelve

Hope your new year is ringing in well,

Adios,

Albert Kaufman
Albertideation
https://albertideation.com

social media

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