ROME 22/10 – Day 12: Mangled and hiding

Our sunrise today was at 7:17 and the sunset will be at 18:36. How time flies and shortens these lovely Roman October days. The Ave Maria, when rung, is to be rung at 18:45. It is a dies non today. But the Vetus Ordo Martyrology has:

In Africa, four thousand nine hundred and sixty-six holy confessors and martyrs, in the persecution of the Vandals under the Arian king Hunneric. Some of them were bishops, some priests and deacons, with a multitude of the faithful accompanying them, who were driven into a frightful wilderness for the defence of the Catholic truth. Many of them were cruelly annoyed by the Moorish leaders, and with sharp-pointed spears and stones forced to hasten their march, whilst others, with their feet tied, were dragged like corpses through rough places and mangled in all their limbs. They were finally tortured in different manners, and won the honors of martyrdom. The principal among them were the bishops Felix and Cyprian.

Speaking of mangled limbs, I went to the Piazza der Fico yesterday to scope out the chess situation.  A group of men have been playing there together for years.    That’s the fig.  Last June it was dropping ripe figs – splat splat splat – all among the players.

Yesterday, they were collecting money from each other for new chess sets and one of them was talking about a Mass, to be held today, for one of their deceased companions.

But the mangled part comes here… what to make of this bizzare defense by black?  In bullet matches he played it every time.  Does anyone know this?

Meanwhile here’s a lovely restoration of an ancient house.

Having a walk….

I got caught in the rain.  I don’t like that.

I do like this place, however.

I’m hiding.

I heard from a priestly chess player!  Slowly but surely.  Slowly, true: he is into correspondence chess. Priestly chess players, drop me a line. HERE

Black – it’s your move. Win material and escape the consequence.

The traditional Benedictine monks of Le Barroux are producing wine from the old papal vineyards. Thanksgiving is coming. Hint. Use my code and get 10% off.  FATHERZ10

Untangling the consequences of the vile P@yP4l scare tactic has taken a lot of time and energy. It has been really depressing.

I am grateful to those of you who are shifting to another platform.

If you are looking for alternatives to PeePee, try Zelle (frz AT wdtprs DOT com – which most US banks offer), Continue to Give ( – less preferred), and Wise ( – terrific for international operations, though it takes a bit to set up, very low fees).  Chase QuickPay also works. There are other options, too, including snail mail which is forwarded to me.   Zelle and Chase – really fast – don’t give me emails of the donors, which is going to make it harder to write thank you notes.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Neal says:

    1. …Qa5+
    2. Kf1 Qxd4

  2. Neal: What say you about 1… cxN ?

  3. Adam Piggott says:

    Great photos, looks like you’re making the most of your Rome sojourn.

    To the photo with the strange defense by black, I’m more intrigued by what white is doing with all of those pieces bunched up in the center.

  4. mysticalrose says:

    Nice pictures, Fr. Z, but where’s the food?! I want to live vicariously through your food pics!

  5. Kentucky Gent says:

    Regarding the chess puzzle:
    2. Bc7 Bb4+! and the black queen escapes.

  6. Tony Pistilli says:

    The chess picture: these are sometimes called “turtle” defenses. Not an “opening” in the proper sense, but general idea of clustering your pieces along the back rank, making pawn chains, basically saying “come and get me”. It’s useful in bullet because you can move quickly without thinking, you’re safe from blundering, and if you can keep the position closed and keep making blah moves you force your opponent to find the good pawn breaks in the position (on their clock). It looks like white was taken a bit off guard – maybe tried to play a weird Queen’s gambit then figured they’d steal center space with pawns as long as black wasn’t, and ended up with useless bishops and no real claim on the center). Stockfish gives the position +0.89, which if you’re an <1,500 ELO player and you gained 10 seconds in a 1|0 game is totally worth it. If black gets in trouble they trade everything off in the center and end up in a queen/rook endgame and try to press a 3 vs. 2 pawn majority on the queenside, or something like that.

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