Thursday, September 30, 2004

Kerry in 2004!

posted by John Blanco @ 10:04 AM


I feel my opinion on the race is best summed up by Slipknot in their song "Pulse of the Maggots" (yes, I'll quote em, someone has to):

We won't walk alone any longer;
What doesn't kill us only makes us stronger

Time to register and vote.

On a side note, I am very depressed today because Manson tix are now on sale but I can't go due to the usual $$$ of concert tix these days. Oh, well. :-( Next time, Marilyn.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Against All Gods

posted by John Blanco @ 8:17 PM The Official Website of Marilyn Manson

New Manson CD today! It's a best-of called "Lest We Forget" which features, well, his best songs since the beginning. It also includes the "Personal Jesus" cover I posted about a few weeks ago!

The best news is that he's going on tour again. Hopefully he comes a little later so I can save up $$$ for the tix. Eeeps!

My Maze game is coming along nicely. I switched out the development enviornment from Eclipse to UltraEdit. The problem I had with Eclipse was that I was using it's editor but not the project manager...and Eclipse doesn't like that too much. I swapped out to UltraEdit to make it a hell of a lot easier to develop without having to always get around Eclipse's needs.

I also went through a first pass of optimization. I cut down the screen painting processing time from 36 milliseconds to 0.5 milliseconds. :) Helloooooo buffering!

My last task for the demo is going to be to add a computer player and turn the game into a full-fledged race. It's really the only way to make a maze game half-way fun. :-) But, in the end, it's not really a game but rather a demo.

I can't wait to do a *real* game. The time is coming!

Monday, September 27, 2004

For a day, I'm a gitty cell phone upgrader!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:26 AM


If you know me really well, you know I have a pretty short list of subtle pet peeves that goes like this:

1) I dislike hearing people shout out, "And can I get cheese on the Whopper?" at the speaker at a fast food drive-in. White trash-y.

2) I despise when people smack their packs of cigarettes to "Compact the tobacco."

3) I cry in utter disdain when people go ga-ga over upgrading their mobile phone so they can do some inane, unrealted task with it like have a funny background or add a Star Wars ring. :-(

But, today, I nix item #3, for if I'm going to launch my J2ME game company I'm going to need to be able to run games on my cell phone. :-) And, if I'm going to get a powerful enough phone to play games, it will obviously also support downloadable wallpapers, fancy ring tone, etc.

I'm looking at the Motorola V300. It supports MIDP 2.0, which I don't plan on using early on as it hasn't permeated the market enough, but Michele already has a MIDP 1.0 phone and I might as well be prepared for the future. Plus, I could run my Tetris game on it. ;)

The V300 is also suitably cheap, about $150. I may also be able to get a USB attachment as well to cut down on air time. All in all, it suits all my needs at the most minimal of cost. The exception would be to get the same phone as Michele, which is very cheap, but it would benefit me to get a totally different phone to her so I'd have two test targets in my own home. :-)

I'm also going to see if there's an attachment for Michele's phone that will let me install games without having to get her on t-zones. This has the extra benefit of allowing me to keep her phone for the future if she ever gets a new phone. Then, without her needing a service plan, I can use the phone as a game download target. Bonus! Three phones to test on!

It still kills me to spend $150 for a cell phone. But, oh well.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Perfect Weekend Day

posted by John Blanco @ 7:39 PM


Bacon and Eggs for breakfast. New episode of Fairly Oddparents. Michele helps Amanda with her wedding scrapbook, and they finish it. (2 weeks til the big day for the future Mrs. Foster!!!) Scrumptious chicken at White Fence Farm for dinner. A new stuffed animal cow joining our family. Playing Myth2 and the Sims in the same room thanks to a furniture change...and listening to classic rock on LaunchCast (grrr) while seeing who can name each song the fastest. Can you ask for a better weekend day?

Perhaps, Michele kicked my butt...though I still can't believe she knew who "Bad Company" was. Cheater.

Friday, September 24, 2004

The Final Link!

posted by John Blanco @ 7:01 AM


Meetup: Organizing local interest groups.

Our little gaming group finally has a graphic artist, and wh0000t! It was getting a bit exhausting finding someone interested in our venture, but it's done and now it's time for the real fun part!!!

While we work to formulate a full game design for our first project, we all have our tasks. Notably, Sam needs to get his Mac OS X environment ramped up to J2ME. This may be tricky because there's no "official" support from Sun for the platform. However, there are enough resources on the Web explaining how to get it to work with a little bit of manual labor.

I'm still getting myself in the J2ME groove as well. I'm working on an initial project that I mentioned earlier, the maze generator. I'm going to make a full mini-game where you must solve maze after maze. The mazes are randomly generated, and the game will never end. Just a simple demo.

The link up top is highly recommended. Al clued me in to it. Basically, if ya ever wanted to join a club of common interests, it's a good way to go. I got hooked up with a local Denver game programmers group and I hope to have some good fun there. Can't wait for the Nintendo Ds groups to start appearing. ;-)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Maze Generation

posted by John Blanco @ 6:54 PM


I was at work the other day when a workmate of mine, Tim, comes up to my desk with a book. He says, "I saw your post on the DJUG (Denver Java Users Group) looking for J2ME guys. I won this book last week and thought you could use it cause I won't." He hands me this J2ME Gaming book! Sweet! Free book! And just what I needed too! Thanks Tim!

So, I'm still waiting to find a graphic designer. Three candidates, three less than enthusiastic responses. I even tried posting on, but you need to offer some sort of salary to do that. Perhaps if I am still having trouble finding somebody inb a few days, I will just post a job with a fake salary, and just explain to the responders that the $$$ is there but it's just not in salary form. :-)

For now, I will play with J2ME some more and take on a first project: maze generation. I'm going to write a maze generator with my own mind. OK, I'll type the code...but, I won't rely on any known algorithms. I will do this to test out my algorithmic abilities, seeing that someday I'll have to figure this stuff out on my own. Should be fun!

Michele made dinner tonight. Yumm!

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

The Nintendo DS

posted by John Blanco @ 7:53 PM


Nintendo DS

This news has been coming on fast in the last few days. The Nintendo DS was announced today to be released on Nov. 21st. This thing is gonna rock.

Think about walking into a room with some other DS users. You flip it on and you're told that two other players are playing your game. Go! You're in a multiplayer Bomberman deathmatch, totally wireless. Nothing is cooler than wireless networking...except wireless multi-player.

Clubs are gonna pop up everywhere. Everyone's gonna have this thing. It's only $150...which is pretty cheap for what you get. Dual LCD's, and an in-hardware chat program. Totally awesome.

In-hardware? I hope they don't have any bugs?!

The best thing is that it beats out Sony's device by almost a year! The market will be saturated by then hopefully. In fact, Sony won't be able to compete in the market unless they have something ultra-ultra-cool. They're stuck between Nintendo, the giant of the portable industry, and Microsoft, who has control of the PC to gain leverage. Sony may be the odd man out here.

Michele and I will be DS'ed for sure. I know people in our Adventure Club who will be as well. This should be fun. :-)

How bad is LaunchCast? Let me tell you.

posted by John Blanco @ 9:15 AM


I stumbled onto LaunchCast this weekend and, in my eyes, it went from "Totally Cool!" to "Fuck this!" in three days.

LaunchCast is an audio service online that actually has a pretty cool basis. You listen to an online radio stream, perhaps with "recommended" artists. As each song plays, you can rate the artist/album/song individually. Your ratings are supposed to effect the frequency of the song heard, not only in your own listening but in others as well. For example, if I list my favorite artist as PJ Harvey and I highly rate a song from Gorillaz, than PJ Harvey lovers on the station may start seeing a healthy dose of Gorillaz music.

That's the theory, anyway.

As it is, I sit there and vote certain artists as "Never play this crap again." Yet, 5 songs later, there they are. They never go away! Then there's the problem where you listen to a dedicated radio station. The station I listen to is "Marilyn Manson Fan Radio." One problem:

I hear Korn more than Marilyn.
I hear Metallica more than Marilyn.
I hear Tool more than Marilyn.

Kinda defeats the purpose, eh? :-) Nice job, LaunchCast.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Election Leverage

posted by John Blanco @ 1:11 PM


Another American was beheaded in Iraq today. This is the sad part. The not quite so sad part, but still sad, is that the "W" Campaign leaders are probably more concerned about how this hurts their chances rather than the welfare of the victim and his family.

It's disgusting that these cowards think they can run the world by taking hostages. It won't work with the US. Intelligence is not a virtue of these guys.

As for the Americans who refuse to leave the area because it's their "home" or otherwise: Come home.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Hiking and Sausage

posted by John Blanco @ 7:14 PM


The hike was grand, and we realized it was our first hike of the season?! Whoa, what the hell?? Yeah...first hike! And it may be our last hike unless we get our butts in gear (literally).

It was Kevin, Michele and I and about 5 of his current and former students. Devil's Head is a lookout point for fires and actually involves a *very* steep climb at the end to get up to the watchtower. Kevin and I did the hike last year. The autumn effect of golden leaves had a better affect last year, but this year was also beautiful.

Michele and I capped our day with The Rib!! The Rib is a smoked barbeque hut nearby my old apartment. I'd grabbed some lunch there at a previous job, but we've just gotten to eating there on our own. Mmmmm, I had a sausage plate while she went with sliced pork.

Are ya hungry yet?

Transformation Almost Complete

posted by John Blanco @ 10:24 AM


A busy last few days. I'm winding down my chess work and winding up the game house. One more game left on Red Hot Pawn! I've cleaned my office and re-sorted my books to optimize for the here and now.

Recruiting for the game house is going pretty well. Sam O'Daniel will do sound, I worked with him at CorAccess. His claim to fame is he opened for Third Eye Blind. Can ya dig? ;-) I've got a fair number of recruits for Java, so who knows what's going on there. But I met Joe, and he's cool. He knew what deader than dead meant. Rock!

As for graphics. Uggg, getting tricky. A few recruits, but no one is leaping out at me. I still have optimism though. I guess.

Today, Michele and I are hiking with some friends. I'll post pictures. Tomorrow hanging out with the so-called "Adventure Club" for the first time this season. Doing something downtown-y. A scavenger hunt you see.

Have a good weekend, y'all.

Friday, September 17, 2004

A Classic Game in History

posted by John Blanco @ 10:06 AM


Wonders of Math - The Game of Life

I thought I'd share someof what I've discovered while learning the foundations of game design. The link above is the game Life. Well, it's not really a game, but more a simulation. The rules are simple:

1) A cell is either live or dead.
2) For each increment of time, it will become alive if a certain number of cells around it are alive.
3) For each increment of time, it will die if it doesn't have enough living cells around it.

Pretty simple. The actual rules are on the Web page. I find it amazing. Just a tiny little concept and you have what amounts to a game that people dedicated months and years to! The challenge of the design lied in tweaking the parameters to keep things interesting. If the cells died too fast, boring. If the cells thrived too easily, overkill.

My creative juices are beginning to flow. Time to read more. I'll post anything interesting I come across.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Nikka Is Back!

posted by John Blanco @ 1:10 PM


Nikka Costa's New Album!

Oh my gosh! Right under the radar, but Nikka Costa is back!! Yes, I'm proud to say I'm a Nikka fan...funk-tastic!

If yer not familiar, and you probably aren't, Nikka Costa released a hit a couple years ago I guess called "Like A Feather." Mind-boggingly good, and I have the album, and it's a great one. You've probably heard other songs on the radio like "Push and Pull," "Everybody Got Their Something" and others. In fact, I envy Michele because she saw her as an opening act and while the crowd didn't really enjoy it, I'd have traded places. Not sure I'd ever, OK wait no I'm sure I wouldn't, attend a Nikka concert though.

Do we know each other, babe? *I don't think we've met*

Nightmare Morning

posted by John Blanco @ 7:55 AM


Crap Attack!

Had a bit of a nightmare morning today.

It started last night when a couple ex-workmate friends of mine and I went out to get some food. I parked nearby Evans Ave. under a large tree. I get back to my car around 9 PM, under shade of darkness, and I saw on my car what seemed like bird shit. Hmmm.

Well, I get home and out of my car and in the light of the garage opening I see something horrifying...MY CAR IS COVERED IN BIRD MANURE! It was disgusting, but I think a bird family above my car had too many tacos last night.

So, I had one of those nightmare mornings where ya just can't seem to get to yer walking in glue, ya know? Before I could get to work this morning, I had to take care of the following:

1) find khakis for work cause today is dress-up day
2) make my lunch because i was too tired last night
3) go to the car wash cause my car was too embarrassing to drive
4) stop for gas

All while already be late waking up. But hey, I guess I don't have it that bad. Thanks to Michele for helping me get out the door by prepping the lunch part. :-) *kiss!*

The enjoyable part had to be me all dressed up and washing my car. A very precautionary experience.

PS - Gosh, this blog entry sounds so yuppy. Maybe I should delete it? Or maybe I should just click this shiny Publish but....

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Chess -- is deader than dead.

posted by John Blanco @ 12:36 PM


Dear Diary,

I'm in the process of making some re-prioritizations in my life. After 2 years of chess study, some months of it pretty vigorous, I've decided to take the lessons learned from the experience and apply them to something more productive and fun.

I've decided to start my own company!

I am putting together a video game development team as we speak. Even though I've created quite a few games in the past, I've decided that going with the team approach is what will help me reach my goal: profitability. Imagine being able to do something you love, and make money at the same time?

I have a "sound guy" (Sam O'Daniel, of CorAccess fame) and may have found a "graphics guy" last night. I'd like to find another Java guy, like myself, but I need to find the perfect candidate since I'll be working uber-close with that person.

I'm very excited. Since the goal is to make more advanced games than I have in the past, orders of magnitude better, I am essentially entering the field anew. I'm learning the art of game design from the ground up. Just 2 years ago (actually more), I was doing the same with chess and I ended up being a very good player. I can do the same here.

I'll be starting in the J2ME market. In other words, games for mobile phones. This will be a lot of fun because the market is almost brand new and is begging for a killer game. And *we* will make it!

It's a whole new world for me right now. Whoo!

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Disturbing World

posted by John Blanco @ 7:18 AM - Car bomb at Baghdad police station kills 47 - Sep 14, 2004

It just gets me so frusterated these countries that have to live in a state of lawlessness because these rival thugs support their own leaders. In the end, everyone is dead and nothing gets solved because you can't allow gang mentality to run your country.

So then comes the revolution, the new leader takes over, and then that thug party then finds there's another thug party to displace that party. And the cycle continues until all of mankind Darwin's out the idiots. But, there's a hitch to that, and I leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine why the thugs won't get weeded out by evolution even though they die at an early age most of the time.

Monday, September 13, 2004

No SARS for me, please...

posted by John Blanco @ 11:01 AM


My next-cubicle neighbor has been coughing this morning and I heard him talking on the phone with his doctor:

Jon: "Yes, I got this cough a couple weeks ago while on vacation and it hasn't gone away."

Doctor (I'm guessing): "Probably SARS."

Jon: "OK. Well I'll continue to work and contaminate my neighbor John. Let me know if there's anything I can do to assure him of certain death."

Doctor: "Will do."

How concerned should I be? Hmmm...

Bad Condition

posted by John Blanco @ 7:12 AM


Here's the latest hystera-link being passed around the office. :-)

Black People Love Us!

I'm in a world of physical hurt today. Saturday marked the beginning of my return to Bally's following my 2-month long chess tournament preperation. Without thinking, I just followed the same routine I always had. Unfortunately, my arms forgot what weights were and I was so punished.

Then, last night was opening night for the Broncs. 34-24 they win!!! What a great game...and fortunately for me I was so insanely jealous that my brother-in-law landed tix for the game that I decided to act like I was there even though I was only in my living room. Add one very exciting game and this morning my voice is shot.

So, today, I sound like a toad and have the arm strength to match. Wheeee.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Milk, get outta my nose!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 1:54 PM


So Sean, Tony and I were headed to NY Subs - the deli
next door to our office that we head to quite a bit.

Sean, obviously inspired by some Simpson cartoon or
whatever possessed him, decides that after 1,000 walks
down the stairs that he wants to slide down the
banistar this time.

He was about 85% down when he ejects off the rail and
grabs his rear. "It burns!" he shouts. (I assume it's
railing-related, not some personal problem.) He turns
around and much to my milk-ejaculating amusement (had
I had been drinking milk and desired to use a
disgusting term like ejaculating to describe the
spouting event) there are stain-streaks up and down
his pant leg.

Lesson learned: You can't have your pants and
rail-slide too.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Reach out and touch faith...

posted by John Blanco @ 7:11 PM


Hear Marilyn Manson cover Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus"

The hangover is over...

posted by John Blanco @ 10:37 AM


Colorado Open 2004

Uggg...3 days of chess can wipe a person out. Yesterday, I had a scalding headache and no will to live. Thanks to some freezie stuff Michele gave me, I woke up a little more fresh-faced this morning. Headache and back strain gone. Yeah!

They've posted the results of the tourney. I really need to send a letter to the Editor of Chess Life to voice my concerns over tournament scoring. It's insane. Just like with every other tournament, if you look at the standings in the Colorado Open you'll find some discrepencies.

Here are some points:

1) I'm not complaining about my finish...I deserved it...BUT...I had to play both of the top 2 finishers as Black! The second place finisher for to face the 1 and 3 as White. As it turns out, I have no problem playing the French as Black, but if you look at my results with White in this tournament you'll find that my 3 best games were with those pieces.

2) Despite having to face the 1 and 2 finishers, I had to win the final game to claim 3rd place from a fellow who would have otherwise claimed third place without ever having to face 1 or 2. The point here is that losing the first game is not all bad as it allows you to play sub-par competition and hope for some losses on the top to get you to the top of the standings the "easy way."

3) In the Premier Section, Thomas Corbett played against Joshua Suresh for FIRST PLACE...he loses...he finishes 10th??? Meanwhile, the 2nd place finisher in that same tournament didn't have to face anyone who finished above 7th in the standings. If Thomas faced the last place finisher, for example, he'd have won and finished clear 2nd. He was punished for going for the title. I know that when I watch the Super Bowl that these are the top two teams in the sport, and not the 1st and 10th.

The problem with chess standings is that your score doesn't reflect your competiion. It's flawed. You ear 1 point for a win against the 1 seed in your section, but lose to a 10 and you're back even again. Meanwhile, anyone merely has to beat the punching bag of the section and they have as many points as you.

Think about it. If our ratings increased/descreased linearly as we won and lost, no matter what the competition, everyone would be rated 3 million because they'd just keep playing a patzer. But it doesn't work that way. Our ratings increase/descrease based on who we play, and their ratings. So why does a tournament hand out a 1.0 for a win, no matter who it's against, or what color you were, etc.? Why does one top player get to face the stiffest competition as white while another goes in with black? Why do other players get "rewarded" for losing an early game? Why doesn't Thomas Corbett get to finish slightly higher than another person with a 4.0 score because he had to face a tougher level of competition?

Perhaps the points you earn for a win or loss should be determined by the circumstance of the game. If I face a top-flight player, as black, i should be rewarded a little extra for a draw or win. If someone misses a round, is it fair that their 1-point bye is the same value as perhaps a win against a Grandmaster??? These questions sound absurd, but in fact that's how it works.

Does anyone else have any input or ideas on this out there?

Monday, September 06, 2004

2004 Colorado Open Complete!

posted by John Blanco @ 8:26 PM


The third and final day of the tournament is complete. Vibi and I had an up-and-down day.

In round 5, Vibi faced off against Dean Brown, a fixture of Colorado chess. I was lucky enough to face the only undefeated player in my section, Andrew something-or-other, as black! Yes, and since I knew the guy plays 1.e4, the French was ready!

Sure enough, I play the French and on his second move he pauses for quite a long time. Either he was trying to determine which variation he wanted to play (not likely), or he was trying to figure out what 1...e6 was? Very odd, I thought it a good sign.

Unfortuantely, it was not to be for me. While I played a great game, I made a couple of calculation mistakes, the second one costing me a knight for two pawns and, in effect, the game. The loss clinched a non-first-place finish for me and it was quite dissapointing seeing that I'd gotten so far in the tournament to have it end. Andrew was a great player, however.

Vibi earned an amazing draw against Dean Brown, down 3 pawns in an opposite-colored bishop ending!! Great work there!

In round 6, it was time for me to once again try to prove that I can win a "big game." I was paired with Thomas Roberts. As White, we played a Petroff which is amazing because I've studied an opening variation called the Kaufmann Attack, but I'd never gotten a chance to play it as no one ever played into it?! But Thomas did, and it was shaky. I was playing theory without having a full grasp of the point, but I figured out as I went and we played a wild tactical battle where I made an early exchange sac to rip open his kingside...likely unsound...and he and I both made mistakes in a crazy king hunt. But in the end...


So perhaps my curse is over?? The win gave me clear 3rd place and I took home a healthy $100 I'm in the black. :) It's the second time I profited from a tourney and my highest finish ever (not including a couple HRCC tourneys).

So, after 3 long days, and excruciating competition (in the reserve section no less), and gaining a paultry 2 points on my rating (go figure, 1378 -> 1380), I am dead tired!! I don't even want to think about chess for a week...and even then...

So ow it's time for me to begin my strength training at Bally's. No more crazy chess study hours. Ahhh, sweet relief. :-)

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Results after day 2 (of 3) at the 2004 Colorado Open

posted by John Blanco @ 7:57 PM


Another agonizing day of chess is complete, and still one more to go!

Day 2 begins with me at my office freshening up on my openings again. The first round begins at 9 and I am as ready as I'll ever be for Marco Guerra. I get the white pieces. Vibi faces off against a youngster (with an impressive rating).

Marco plays the Sicilian (who doesn't??) and he gets my Moscow. Long story short, he resigns in 20. Don't people know hot to play Sicilian on me? Word should be out by now. ;)

Vibi plays a great game but blunders a knight to an overworked defender tactic. Too bad, too, he was playing a very good Sicilian!

Well, we had quite a few hours between rounds! I enjoyed a Chicken Parm for lunch and we went over our games and then played some frisbee to release some stress. The coming round would be war for me...yeeeps...

As I'd predicted, I was paired with Kesley Goetting and played the black pieces. I'd peered over at his previous game and noted that he played 1.e4, so I knew it was time to bring my French, and I did!

He played an Advanced French and I found myself in early pressure. A prematue ...f6 and white has a beautiful outpost on e5 for his pieces that cramped me for sometime. About to go up a pawn, though, Kesley decided to try to queen his rook pawn and passed on the opportunity to go up material.

The endgame is wild!!!! He brings his king all the way down, only to meet resistent in the form of a passed pawn of my own up the center! He is forced to exchange passed pawns but the ensuing position proves that his king is now outside "the theater of war." Advantage black. I go up a pawn, my rook pawn, and promptly go about queening except for one thing...

...I misplayed it... :-)

Had I been a better endgame player, I would have made the right move which is beyong explanation here. Amusingly, I went about it in the correct way and then decided midstream to go another way...and hence a draw...

Vibi wins round 4, his first win of the tourney, with a beautful win of a rook and pawn for a bishop!!!!!!

It's now 9 PM, and in 12 hours is round 5. The competition will be the best tomorrow, but there will be some weary souls, too. For the exciting conclusion to the tournament, stay tuned...

Results after day 1 (of 3) at the 2004 Colorado Open

posted by John Blanco @ 6:17 AM


Day 1 is in the books.

Vibi and I met at the Starbucks by the playng site @ 8 AM. I ordered a lemonade and it cost me $3. $3??? Frickin' Starbucks. :-) Only NY Deli lemonade for me from now on!

We went over some openings for about 30 minutes. I reviewed some of my White repetoire and then I explained the French Tarrasch system which Vibi really liked. It's a good forshadow....

We strolled on over to the Glendale Community Center, nearly getting lost, and got registered. We met up with Mark Jimenez who is playing in the Open section. Tom didn't show up until during game #1 because he's doing the "Membership Open", a 3-round G/50 tourney which actually finished up before our round 2 started.

Round 1 matchups had me as white vs. Robert Herbst (Richard Herbst's little brother), Vibi as black against some dude with a flame-shirt on (rated about 1500), and Mark against a bald guy. :) Oh, by the way, I'm playing in the under-1400 section, Vibi is in the under-1800 section.

Robert played really tough, giving me a Siclian. The game lasted about 35-40 minutes and I won on a most sexy mate. :-D Here's the game:

Blanco,John - Herbst,Robert

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Bd7 4.Bxd7+ Qxd7 5.c4 g6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Nc6 9.Nde2 Nf6 10.0-0 Qe6 11.Nd5 Rc8 12.f3 Ne5 13.Qa4+ Nfd7? 14.Nd4 Rxc4 15.Nxe6!! Rxa4 16.Ndc7#

I hope it gets published, a two-knight mate is right sexy. ;)

OK, so I had only 41 hours in between rounds it seemed. Vibi's game was a doozy. He had to play against a d4/Nc3 opening, so it was all analysis from the get-go. He eventually had to resign down 4 pawns and about 4 hours into the game...a smart move to try to conserve some energy for round 2. Mark took a loss as well in the very competitive Open section.

After some Wild Oats for lunch and game analyses back at my cubicle where I work, we came out for round #2. Actually, the CSCA meeting was going on, so we got to vote on some officers. Nothing too exciting except that the 2006 National Scholastic Chess Tournament will be in Denver!

Round #2 pitted me as black against Louis Berman, an older gentleman. Vibi had to face some young guy, and I'm not sure who Mark played. The Berman game was brutal, 3 and a half hours and I went from a slight lead to a more-than-slight losing position and back to a lead, then an unexpected pin, but then I came back and won a pawn. :-) It was a great marathon of a game. In the end, Louis had a few minutes left on his clock and I forced a queening of my extra pawn and he resigned. I don't have time to post this game, but I will tonight.

But, I am *wiped* out this morning.

So, hopefully I can get a shorter game this morning. This whole tournament has been tough for everyone. As always, the competition is amazing and it's really saying something for Colorado chess.

I'll report on day 2, and post my second round game with Louid Berman, tonight!!!!!!

Friday, September 03, 2004

I did it!!!!!!!!! I hit 1700!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted by John Blanco @ 11:08 AM


Yahoo! Games - John Blanco's Rating

A special congratulations to................ME....I hit the 1700 mark on Yahoo! Chess!!! :D :D This is great! Any time you hot a new 100-mark in chess, at any level, it's a great feat!!

The great part about all of this is that I've only been fighting to hit 1700 for a month. It was a month ago I hit 1600 for the first time in a while. I'd grazed it before, 6 or so months earlier, so when I hit it again it felt good but it wasn't an unseen score on my part. 1700 I've never hit...and my rating is currently 1701 to boot!!! :)

So th enext mark is 1800 I guess. This one will take a while...there's a big jump from 1700 to 1800, and it's called tactics. I need to get better in my calculation...but if I keep working hard I will no doubt reach it someday. As an extra incentive, on Yahoo!, when you hit 1800 you get an orange square next to your name.


So for the next, possibly year, I will make my orange crush attempt at 1800. :)

On the downside...hitting 1700 came in a very unmemorable game! This is kind of dissapointing. When I hit 1600 it was with a great win. This game was over on move 3. Ah, well.

For those who understand chess notation, here it is:

;Title: Yahoo! Chess Game
;White: seb123ca
;Black: zablanc
;Date: Fri Sep 03 18:01:33 GMT 2004

1. d2-d4 g8-f6
2. c1-g5 f6-e4
3. b1-c3 e4xg5
4. g1-f3 e7-e6
5. h2-h4 g5xf3+
6. g2xf3 f8-b4
7. e2-e4 d7-d5
8. d1-e2 c8-d7
9. e4xd5 b4xc3+
10. b2xc3 o-o
11. h1-g1 e6xd5
12. e2-e5 f8-e8
13. g1xg7+ g8-f8
14. g7xf7+ f8xf7
15. e5xe8+ f7xe8
16. e1-d2 d8xh4
17. d2-e3 d7-f5
18. a1-e1 e8-f8
19. f1-d3 f5xd3
20. c2xd3 h7-h5
21. e1-b1 h4-g5+
22. f3-f4 g5-e7+
23. e3-f3 e7-g7
24. b1xb7 g7-g4+
25. f3-e3 h5-h4
26. f2-f3 g4-g1+
27. e3-e2 h4-h3
28. b7xc7 h3-h2
29. c7-h7 h2-h1
30. h7xh1 g1xh1
31. e2-f2 h1-h2+
32. f2-e3 h2xa2
33. f4-f5 a2-a1
34. f3-f4 a1xc3
35. f5-f6 c3-e1+
36. e3-f3 b8-d7
37. f4-f5 d7xf6
38. f3-f4 f8-f7
39. f4-f3 a8-g8
40. f3-f4 g8-g4+
41. f4-f3 g4-g3+
42. f3-f4 e1-e3++ - Bloody end to school siege - Sep 3, 2004

posted by John Blanco @ 6:15 AM - Bloody end to school siege - Sep 3, 2004

News just coming in the Russian school siege. This is most disturbing, as even terrorists haven't attacked young children like this. Times are desperate in Russia. While I can go on and on about hos disturning I think the world is getting, it's truly always been like this.

Always remember that 99.9% of the world is quite sane and happy. It's the other 0.01% that need to go on a suicide mission to a terrorist meetings.

Michele's on her Sick Bed

posted by John Blanco @ 6:10 AM


Michele is the strongest woman/person I know. She is sick like a dog...DOG...wait, how do I accentuate that...oh wait, *select*, *click*...


...and yet she still goes to work! Well, that sounds bad, yes, she's infecting everyone. But, if the boss doesn't want her there she can just send her home. :) I could never will myself to work with even a sniffle. And not only that, I know...err...know...she'll go to work cause while she does whine at times, she never complains. ;)

Love ya, baby!

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Diamonds are forever...and so is debt. :-)

posted by John Blanco @ 6:49 AM


Someone once told me that after you get married, you
have 2 years of financial hell. And ya know what,
that guy was right!

Michele and I have been happy homeowners for exactly
one year now. After doing a bunch of remodeling,
wedding preperation, debt consolidation, and so on, I
thought we were just coming out of the hole. Wrong.
Enter an $1,100 vet bill for two cats to have dental
surgery, $300 for a new TV after our old one blew out,
and $350 more for a new car windshield and you have a
lot of unforseen expenses and a debt. :-) So, two
more months of digging out of this hole and then I
guess we can focus on the *real*

One more day of work and then it's chess tourney
time...ya dig??

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Fantasy Football

posted by John Blanco @ 10:09 AM


My intra-office fantasy football team is shaping up
nicely. We're 10 rounds into the draft, and so far I
am pleased with my players. Here's the list:

Steve McNair QB

Jamal Lewis RB (if he wins his trial!)
Quentin Griffin RB
Kevin "Smarty" Jones RB

Marvin Harrison WR
Justin McCairens WR
Tyrone Calico (meoowwwrrr)

Kellen Winslow II TE

Mike Vanderjagt K

Not bad, not bad...I still need a defense though.

I'm back at work today, had a gorgeous night of sleep
last night. FINALLY! Now two of my teammates are out
sick, so I ask you: Is insomnia catching?