10 January 2016

2016 will be my last year of fixing TCs... :-(

Hello worldwide audience of 6x!

Happy New Year! Although that sounds quite old already.
This will be the last year I work on TCs for anyone, other than close friends.
The business reason is simple, very few TCs cross my desk now and getting into the rhythm of doing them takes time.

Sadly, my ageing family is taking more of my time than expected. My poor mother is quite demented and has no clue who I am or who she is. The usual behaviour is childish in its body language and pathetically sad. My vibrant, vivacious mother has been reduced to a mumbling husk, stick insect thin and awkwardly cantankerous.

I don’t see her often enough; hate seeing her when I do and feel crushed and guilty when I don’t. I can only remember the good times and now perform a kindness seeing to an old lady called Jessie, who once contained my mother and does not tolerate me for more than a few minutes. This intolerance is not just me, my father is completely ignored as if he was not there. My brother came over from Australia to see her and was told to ‘Bugger off’ before Jessie turned her back on him (literally).
We looked at each other and shrugged; what can you do?

My grandmother on my Mum’s side lived until she was 99, years 7 months. Physically a good age but mentally she had left the room 20 years before.
My Mum’s older sister Alma, was sectioned because of her violent mental collapse some 15 years ago when she tried to bash my cousins head in with a cast iron frying pan. An action prompted by the demons in her head. Aunt Alma died in 2014 and sadly my cousin could breath a sigh of relief. She was violently mad until the end.

Good grief... 50% of my genetics come from this side of the family; it’s like a time-bomb.
Now to add to the overall picture of sadness, my Dad’s younger brother George has been diagnosed with dementia and in frustration became angry as the hospital (he slipped and hit his head) would not let him home. He could not look after himself. He had to be sectioned to protect himself.
This will continue for another 6 months.

Blood and sand... I have dementia on both sides of my family.
My dad, however, is mentally fine, slowing down but bright and cheerful.
He seems to have segmented Mum and George’s dementia into ‘things he cannot help with or alter’ - but I know he hurts inside, I can see it.

That is the main reason for dropping TCs. I have too much to do elsewhere.

On another unrelated topic, I have started creating ‘ChessKits’ for my grandchildren and sons various, possibly my daughter but she was never big on chess - her boyfriend might be, however.

The ‘ChessKit’ concept is to make a folding board or complex design, double sided so three different games can be played. Two on one side and ‘conventional’ chess on the other. The large board folds down into a small box and holds in place all the chess pieces, which are of the Lanier-Graham style.

The ‘odd’ side of the board is 9x9 and allows an extended chess game with a fairy piece, combining the bishop and knight and living to the left of the king, which now sits in the middle file. The queen side, progresses from the King, with Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook. The new piece, called a Prime Minister (because I’m English and that’s what we do), progresses from the King, with PMinister, Knight, Bishop and Rook. Thus we have bishops on opposite colours. My Middle sone Tom wanted this option which got me looking at other chess-variants.
I came across a 7x7 variant called CONGO (look it up) invented by a 7 year old boy (nearly 8) in the 1980’s. It is a a complex variant and needs the ‘extra’ piece that I had built for the 9x9 Chess version.

White pieces run on the back file from the left: Giraffe, Monkey, Elephant, Lion, Elephant, Crocodile, Zebra. Pawns in front of each. The moves are limited and complex; the pawns are powerful and can go backwards. The centre rank of the board is a river!

Each game is a frenzied blood-bath of taking pieces and games are reputed to last about 30 minutes. My game with my grandson last about 15 minutes and was the best fun.

I will show pictures when I can. I am most pleased with the complex folding chessboard. I have tried 4x folding pieces, which is easy to do but gives a small board size (I’m limited to the size of box all this fits into). I then tried 9x folding pieces, which gives a great board size but takes ages to make. I have now opted for 6x pieces that are rectangular and this seems fine.

Pictures are need to show what I mean.

I have been away from home and now must get to work and finish a couple of TCs