Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Northern Flicker

I accepted another position from my employer last June. The hours are better and I can pretty much set my own schedule, but the work site is on the other side of town and the walking situation isn't nearly as good. I have two choices now as to where to walk.

Brown's Woods, is a dense wooded area on the border between Des Moines and West Des Moines. There is a lot of wildlife there, but due to denseness of the woods the wildlife can be hard to see. You hear a lot of animals, but see very little. The trails there are also fairly primitive and they make no attempt to clear them. So, after we got a thick layer of ice there last December, I gave up. I might giver it another try in February after a good thaw.

My other choice is the Great Western Trail which runs through Des Moines. The area that I walk there is just south of the Des Moines Water Works which goes through the Des Moines Water Works. I normally turn around in the Water Works. I see a lot of geese during the summer and an occasional Blue Heron. Rose Breasted Grosbeaks are also common, but it is harder to get an image of them there. It is actully more road then trail, but I take what I can get This time of year I rarely see any wildlife.

Today I got lucky though and saw a Northern Flicker, it is the Yellow Shafted variant. It was so busy eating some berries, I was able to get about a half dozen images of which the following was the best.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

More Chess

1. d4 (0:00) d5 (0:00)

He opened with d4 and I am going to go into the Tarrasch.

2. e3 (0:02) e6 (0:01)
3. Bd3 (0:03) c5 (0:01)
4. c3 (0:02) Nc6 (0:04)
5. Nd2 (0:04) Nf6 (0:03)
6. f4 (0:03)

Thats is risky. The e3 pawn will become weak later in the game, Right now I can't get at it. He is probably planning an all out attack against my King side.

6. ... Be7 (0:06)
7. Ngf3 (0:01) O-O (0:04)
8. Ne5 (0:03) Qc7 (0:05)
9. O-O (0:06) c4 (0:24)
10. Bc2 (0:11) b5 (0:03)
11. Rf3 (0:07) b4 (0:03)
12. Rh3 (0:18) h6 (0:13)

His Rook will neeed assistance, right now my knight is preventing his Queen from coming in.

13. Qf3 (0:18) Rb8 (0:07)
14. Ba4 (0:41) Bb7 (0:13)
15. g4 (0:20) Nd7 (0:15)
16. Nxc6 (0:37) Bxc6 (0:03)
17. Bc2 (0:11) f6 (0:03)
18. Qg3 (0:16) e5 (0:15)

My position was getting cramped, I am pushing pawns to give myself a little more mobility.
19. fxe5 (0:20) fxe5 (0:03)
20. dxe5 (0:51) Nxe5 (0:03)
21. Nf3 (0:22) Bd6 (0:05)
22. Nxe5 (0:22) Bxe5 (0:03)

Ok. I have opened up the f file giving my rook full mobility. He hasn't fought me for it. Now he is becoming cramped.

23. Qe1 (0:14) Rbe8 (0:14)
24. Bd2 (0:22) d4 (0:02)

I am trying to set a little trap here. If e3 takes d4, Bishop then takes h2 check with a discovered attack on the Queen. But he sees it and moves the Queen out of the way. Which allows me to trade pawns and force his Bishop back to e1 or c1.

25. Qd1 (0:32) dxc3 (0:08)
26. bxc3 (0:09) bxc3 (0:04)
27. Be1 (0:12) Qf7 (0:49)

Queen to f7 threatens mate.

28. Bh4 (0:53) Rd8 (0:23)

If his Bishop takes my rook, Queen f2 is check mate.

29. Qe2 (0:09) Rd2 (0:09)

Rook to d2 was a very strong move. I can win the Queen now and there is very little he can do about it.
If he steps out of the way, I can mate him.

30. Qe1 (0:39) Rg2+ (0:05)

He offered me a draw at this point. It is mate next move. My response: Nyet! He then resigned

King to h1 is forced, then Rook to g3 is check Mate (discovered check mate with the Bishop.) Why win a Queen when you can win the King.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

A Quickie

White out ranks me by about 100 points, but my rating has been in the dumps.
Mostly because I will play when I am to tired.

1. Nf3 (0:00) d5 (0:00)
2. b3 (0:02) c5 (0:03)
3. e4 (0:01) d4 (0:03)
4. Bc4 (0:10) Nc6 (0:03)
5. a3 (0:09) e5 (0:02)

This is probably a line, but I don't know it. It looks strange to me.
I am just trying to play sound center developing moves.

6. Qe2 (0:11) Be7 (0:13)
7. O-O (0:10) Nf6 (0:03)
8. Ng5 (0:04) O-O (0:04)

Go ahead and trade two pieces for a rook!

9. f4 (0:01) exf4 (0:06)

Probably a mistake on my part. Should have made him take and I retake with
a well placed night.

10. Rxf4 (0:03) Ne5 (0:03)
11. Rxf6 (0:31)

Wow, that has to be unsound!

11. ... Bxf6 (0:06)
12. Nxf7 (0:28)

Throwing good money after bad. Or, in for a penny, in for a pound.

12. ... Nxf7 (0:06)
13. d3 (0:06)

Pushing e5 would be better. But even so, I can give back some of
my profit.

13. ... Kh8 (0:08)

I have broke the pin.
14. Qh5 (0:06) Ne5 (0:14)

He puts a double hit on my knight and I just move it out.

15. Bd5 (0:07)

At this point I realize his Queen is looking awfully helpless.

15. Bg4 (0:17)

And White resigns, because his Queen is trapped.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ice Jam

For the last few months I have been walking in Browns Woods, West Des Moines IA. for my lunch break. Well about two weeks ago the top layer of snow melted off leaving a thick layer of ice on the trail. I decided not to try walking on that since the risks exceeded the benifits. So, I tryed going back to Great Western Trail, which leads into Des Moines Water Works Park. When I went down there though, I saw the access was closed. The sign said water over the road.

We had had a couple of really warm days which allowed the Raccoon River to partially melt causing a ice jam to occur. So for the last couple of weeks I haven't been able to walk on my lunch break (bummer!) Well yesterday they opened the trail access to the Great Western Trail back up and I went down to look, unfortunatly I forgot my camera. Well today I brought it.

This was my first image overlooking the Raccoon River. According to my best estimate, the river is between 75 - 100 yards wide.

These are the blocks of ice strewn along the road. I assume the City had to use heavy equipment to clear the road of these blocks of ice.

That is my shoe up against a block of ice to show how thick they are. My shoe measures 12.5 inches long.

More images just showing how much ice is really here.

Images using a nearby car to show the physical size of it all.

The following two images showing broken trees in the river.

I really liked the broken tree trunk pointing straight up.

And finally a shot taken from a bridge crossing the river.