You may know, my online chess rating hovered around 1300 for decades, “Hopelessly Mediocre Chess.” No matter which website or app I used, I was about a 1300 player, give or take. Then, a few months back, Emmons won a very long streak of games, beating me soundly time after time.

I discovered he was watching International Master Eric Rosen stream live on Twitch and watching his videos on YouTube. He was learning volumes about winning chess play, which explained why he was kicking my ass time and time again.

So, I had to start watching, too, just to keep up with Emmons’s gameplay. I quickly found Eric’s favorite opening to be solid and enjoyable, the Stafford Gambit. So, I’ve been studying it on YouTube (jump to links). These videos show some incredible chess traps and tactics.  As a result of this and some other studies, my rating has shot up, and I’m able to keep up with Emmons, at least for now. 

I got one of the most fantastic traps to work, and here it is.



Opponent Takes the Bait and Falls for the 
Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves Thingy!!

I ruthlessly made the Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves thingy!



However, it’s tough and rare to get the positions YouTubers show. Good chess players usually don’t fall for such traps. Yet, this 1576 rated player took the bait, hook, line, and sinker the other night.  This study is my actual game. 

Evil Queen Sacrifice, Die in Eight Moves thingy!
A crazy trap in the Stafford Gambit

Click on the arrows or click on the board and use the mouse scroll wheel to see each move.  I played black.




Eric Rosen’s Stafford Gambit Videos:


Grand Master Hikaru Nakamura showing International Master Eric Rosen what’s what.

Fun Game on


Just had an entertaining game against the Pirc Defense, admittedly sloppy opening for me. Yet, my pawn push on move 16  for the discovered check, queen capture, and pawn promotion felt genius.  


Some of my best writing comes when hyped-up on caffeine and a little annoyed about something. Quite a while back, I had to take a drug test for a new employer. This lab was a horrible experience and sparked a bit of writing for a Yelp review. I enjoyed this piece and just reread it on Yelp, making me smile.

Their lobby sign should read, ” Welcome to the Dystopian Future, you’ve been dreading!”

I needed a pre-employment drug screen, and this is where the company sent me.

You’re not a person or patient in this virtual Disney animatronic medical lab; you are login. There is no receptionist. You have to sign in using an iPad mounted in the tiny lobby. I thought I had completed their login ordeal, but the three people who walked in after me were seen immediately. So, I tried logging in again by taking a different option of entering my phone number. Meanwhile, the fifteen or so lobby chairs had filled. An advertisement for their services and their phone app played on an audio loop over lobby speakers. It reminded me of something out of a Tarantino movie right before a mass shooting.

After another 10 minutes, someone came to the door and called, “P2 (and something unintelligible)?”

I had just told the man sitting next to me, “If they make me sign-in with an iPad and give me enough time to compose a scathing Yelp review, it’s their own damn fault.” When the call, “P2 blah blah blah,” was repeated, I thought that P2 could be my first login attempt, decided to carpe diem, and whether it was me or not, claimed appointment spot “P2 blah blah blah.”

The few other Yelp reviews complaining about rudeness seem to be spot on. The staff seems to have a disdain for real people. The technician escorted me to a six-foot by twelve-foot room crammed with a computer desk with an office chair, an examination table, a phlebotomist’s chair, and a rolling stool. Making no eye contact, keeping her back to me, and offering no instructions, the technician flopped down in the office chair, started typing on the computer, and leaving me hovering about two feet behind her, completely confused. Eventually, she commanded “ID!” So, I gave her my driver’s license, and she started typing again, and I asked if I could sit down in the phlebotomist’s chair. She said, “sure,” which was the most pleasant thing she said to me throughout the ordeal.

She mumbled something that took me a while to interpret as a street address. “Excuse me?” I said. This time, when she repeated the command, I could hear the question-mark hanging after it. “Oh… no.” She mumbled another address, but this time I immediately said “no.” Heck, I can catch on pretty quick. She then asked if I had ever been there before. I said no; I had not. She then asked for my address. Losing my patience a bit, I noted that my address was on my driver’s license, which she had set aside.

She then, without looking away from the computer, directed me to take a specimen cup from the cupboard directly above her head. I had to reach over her to get the little plastic jar. At this point, I had to start some tomfoolery, or I would become just as rude as she was. So, I joked about taking a specimen cup from the bottom of the stack. I did so, only toppling one other cup, quite the feat of dexterity if I do say so myself. This attempt at humor had the opposite of my desired effect on the technician, who moved from rudeness to outright dictatorial.

We then made the blue water hokey pokey specimen donation in a nearby bathroom, with several earnest commands from her to wash my hands. On the way back to the exam room cubby, I noticed an octogenarian woman with another technician. She was turning around inside of her walker, saying, “I’m so confused.” I could only empathize; the poor woman received the same ‘virtual’ treatment as I was having.

Back in the cubby of my technician, she had lost even the illusion of any customer service. I had to ask three times for her to return my ID. After losing my electronic signature and making me sign an affidavit twice, I was dismissed. No one offered to show me out. Searching for the door back to the lobby, I stopped and dance with the octogenarian. We would still be dancing now except for a teen opening a door exposing the lobby on the other side. Granny and I made our escape!

My Yelp profile