atlas neither
shrugs nor
––from the forthcoming
Oblio's Cap

good music at

The Forthcoming Oblio's Cap

Email me: beau (at) oblios-cap (dot) com.

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Sun Mar 1 00:00:00 UTC 2015



Roy Hayes Memorial Chess Academy


To develop your chess vision, start with these:


The first position comes with two questions: Do you want the pawn, do you want the move. The second is white to move and a) avoid stale-mate, b) win by forced mate in five; the third is the starting position; the fourth mate of white on white's second blunder and black's second move.

Rather than thinking of your next game as a set of isolated moves, adopt instead a general plan of getting each piece off it's starting square, and only accepting even swaps. If you think you are getting a Queen for a pawn, probably you are getting set up with a sacrifice. If you are taking a knight for a knight there is somewhat less chance of being swindled. Besides, your first job is spotting check to your king before the other side does.

We favor the Ruy Lopez, but you can apply this approach to any opening: Pick three moves you intend to make regardless what the other side does, then develop your pieces taking only even swaps. For beginners, which is what most of us are, most of our lives, this is more than enough to play and win and play and lose and play and play again, which, of course, is the real win.

Things I should have mastered decades ago:

  1. rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR
  2. rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR
  3. rnbqkbnr/pppp1ppp/8/4p3/4P3/8/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKBNR
  4. rnbqkbnr/pppp1ppp/8/4p3/4P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKB1R
  5. rnbqkb1r/pppp1ppp/5n2/4p3/4P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQKB1R
  6. rnbqkb1r/pppp1ppp/5n2/1B2p3/4P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQK2R
  7. rnbqk2r/pppp1ppp/5n2/1B2p3/1b2P3/5N2/PPPP1PPP/RNBQK2R

And of course, ...

A local copy of the above: just the boards.

Here, now, being. You?

From a while ago:

Pending research task: On what grounds recusal? Could/should HL have been denied at this level?

Mon Nov 4 14:44:27 UTC 2013

Four years and more. Well, here we are. Here we go.

Mon Feb 16 17:07:26 EST 2009

A Superior Man Indeed!

I don't know where I first read this one, but I suppose I've most often read it in Neal Stephenson's "The Diamond Age". I have searched around for it before, but never found it. Today I caught up with page 144 of the book, on which is quoted from Chapter 15 of The Anelects:

The Master said, "Truly straightforward was the historiographer Yu. When good government prevailed in his state, he was like an arrow. When bad government prevailed, he was like an arrow. A superior man indeed is Chu Po-yu! When good government prevails in his state, he is to be found in office. When bad government prevails, he can roll his principles up, and keep them in his breast."(emphasis added.)

Mon Feb 16 07:25:00 EST 2009


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Ken is the name of the trigram of the youngest son, it is also the trigram for mountain, and incorporates stillness and boundary. The trigram is binary 4, and this hexagram is binary 36. Note again how the increment of one unit has caused a flip of three lines; such is the nature of Change in the book of Changes.

A doubled trigram, of course, represents a condition in which the inner and outer aspects are aligned. The inner face of this hexagram is stillness and boundaries, as is the outer. This congruence between inner and outer aspects is a feature in itself, occuring 8 out of 64 times, once for each of the trigrams.

That said, the hexagram Ken signifies stillness and boundaries, just like the trigram. The text speaks in particular of bringing stillness to the back, and it is hard to imagine the rest of the body flouncing about whilst the back is thus stilled. To my eye, there is another relationship, that of the spine in the body to a ridge of mountains on land, like refering to the Rockies as the spine of the continent. Living as I have for the past few years nestled up to the San Gabriel foothills, I have come to appreciate this hexagram more than I ever could have growing up in Long Beach. But while the shore of the ocean or a lake or even the path of a river can be used as a logical boundary, mountains are different. If they are less binding today, thanks to rail travel and air travel, mountains are still barriers with which to reckon.

Perhaps one of the least understood aspects of what folks call "setting boundaries" is that announcing one is going to set boundaries largely defeats the purpose. When one draws a line in the sand, it is usually seen as a challenge (and, indeed, it is most often done as a challenge). But when one actually sets a boundary, rather than merely announcing it, one seeks to emulate the mountains, still, calm, impassive and unpassable, discouraging challenge rather than inviting it.

Ken, then, is the hexagram for stillness and boundary, within and without. Soon it will change.

Email me: beau (at) oblios-cap (dot) com.

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