Thursday, December 29, 2011

Review of "1.d4 - Beat the Guerillas!"

by Valeri Bronznik. Published by New In Chess, 2011

International Master Valeri Bronznik has burned a lot of midnight oil to help the 1.d4 player build a good repertoire against offbeat opening responses by black. He assumes that white will continue 2. c4 and 3. Nc3 or 3. Nf3 before black goes off the beaten path, although black can still essay some of these openings (like the Delayed Stonewall) against 2. Nf3. Since the black player in these unusual openings will have the advantage of familiarity with the complications that can ensue from white's sharpest continuations, Bronznik has designed his repertoire to help white obtain a stable, though often modest, advantage while sidestepping the deep complications. If you're the kind of 1. d4 player who likes the chess equivalent of a knife fight in a blind alley, some of Bronznik's suggestions may not be your cup of tea; but if (like most 1. d4 players) you're happy with a stable positional plus, I can recommend it without reservation.

For each opening Bronznik presents a chapter in three parts:
1. Introduction to the opening: what black is trying to accomplish and what possibilities white might consider.
2. Detailed discussion of the suggested white repertoire in the context of model high-level games. A few of the "games" are actually just Bronznik's analysis, although his discussion cites play from recent high-level games to justify his analysis choices.
3. Summary of the repertoire choice(s).

Bronznik's work is both thorough and well-organized. His analysis incorporates the published analysis of dozens of grandmasters, although he is not afraid to explain why he occasionally disagrees with even the most highly regarded (like Avrukh) when a recent game result or better computer analysis is available. His analysis includes plenty of top-flight games from the last couple of years, although earlier examples are not neglected when appropriate. And where black has plenty of choices for seeking to impose his will, Bronznik provides detailed analysis of white's strongest responses.
While Bronznik focuses on white's repertoire choices, he has not written a one-sided how-can-white-not-win-with-this-great-repertoire book. Against sound black openings like the Schara-Hennig Gambit (the von Hennig-Schara Gambit for American readers), he acknowledges that white cannot expect anything more than a slight advantage out of the opening. In his analysis of model games he offers improvements for black as well as for white, too. As a result, I can recommend this book for those who play the black side of any of the 24 openings that he discusses.

So you'll know the scope of Bronznik's work, here are those openings:

Englund Gambit
Soller Gambit Delayed
Hartlaub Gambit Delayed
Felbecker Gambit
Zilbermints Gambit
Dutch Benoni
The Woozle
Polish Defence
Keres Defence
English Defence
Owen Defence
Marshall Defence
Austrian Defence
Baltic Defence
Albin's Counter Gambit
Schara-Hennig Gambit
Delayed Stonewall
Snake Benoni
The Vulture
Fajarowicz Gambit
Budapest Gambit
Black Knights' Tango

With a rating of only about 1800 (based on my online play) I cannot pass judgment on the quality of Bronznik's choices, other than to say that he has obviously read widely and analyzed deeply with computer assistance to arrive at his conclusions. That said, as a player of the black side of the Schara-Hennig Gambit, I have found his analysis to be much more helpful than anything else I have read on the opening.

I can heartily recommend this book for anyone rated 1800 and up who wants a good repertoire against offbeat black responses to 1.d4, although someone rated down to 1500 could probably derive great benefit by using it as a reference. Also, anyone who plays the black side of any of these openings would find plenty of helpful material as well.

Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me. I have endeavored to remain completely unbiased and helpful, and feel confident that the review reflects my commitment to objectivity.

You can buy the book at Amazon here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ron Paul and His Publications

There's a lot to like about Ron Paul. When he was a full-time medical practicioner, he provided free and reduced-price medical services to the needy. He does not think that America's strength lies primarily in its military power, as so many of his colleagues do. He champions religious liberty for Americans of all persuasions, including Muslims. And I'm just getting started.

But today I must profess that I, like James Kirchick, am deeply troubled that Paul issued, under his name, terrible racist propaganda in the 1990s. Paul disclaimed the abusive statements in 2008, saying that he had not paid sufficient attention to the Ron Paul Political Report that was written and edited by others. But I am not reassured for two reasons:

  1. During his 1998 campaign for Congress, Paul did claim responsibility for the statements, but contended that they had been "taken out of context." (So what was the context for claiming that the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours...and seduced underage girls and boys"? )
  2. Even after his 2008 disclaimer, Paul has continued to spin astonishing conspiracy theories. For example, Paul has continued to make appearances on the radio program of Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist run amok. (Jones has claimed that the US government is adding chemicals to the nation's water to turn everyone homosexual so they don't have children, and that the government blew up the space shuttle Columbia as a "textbook psychological warfare operation.")  In March 2009 Jones asked for Paul's thoughts on the alleged conspiracy by NORTHCOM, the U.S. military command for North America, to take over the country. Paul responded that "the average member of Congress probably isn't a participant in the grand conspiracy." Note that Paul did not say that the "grand conspiracy" does not exist! And Paul claimed in a 2010 speech that the CIA had implemented a coup and seized effective control of the U.S. government and military (see it on YouTube here).
Even if we put the best possible interpretation on Paul's troubling newsletters by accepting Paul's disclaimers, I still think they disqualify him from the office of chief executive and commander-in-chief. Here's why:

  • First, to accept his 2008 disclaimer I must also accept that he lied in 1998 when he did take responsibility for the newsletters.  
  • Second, and most importantly, his utter inattention to newsletters that were going out under his name betrays an inability to act as a trustworthy manager of a political enterprise. How am I supposed to trust him to manage a cabinet and federal agencies, when his utter detachment from a small staff that reported directly to him allowed bitter and reprehensible propaganda to stream forth under his name for a decade?

DeMint's egregious violation of the 8th commandment

The pro-life movement that Senator DeMint professes to be part of rests on the foundation of traditional Judeo-Christian ethics. The Fifth Commandment--"You shall not murder"--might even be considered the cornerstone of the pro-life movement. DeMint is evidently too busy to continue reading to the end of Exodus chapter 20, though, as yesterday he ran afoul of the Eighth Commandment ("You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor"). In fact, DeMint bore false witness against 44 million neighbors: the Americans who are in such economic distress that they receive food stamps.

I was aghast at DeMint's fabrication: "Many Americans are sick of seeing the guy in front of them in the grocery line using food stamps to buy steaks." Maybe his insult against the poor is hitting me so hard because at one time I myself was a food stamp recipient. I couldn't even afford ground round, much less steak! As far as I can tell, DeMint and economic reality are in two separate universes. I have seen plenty of people use food stamps at grocery stores, but never once have I seen them procure steaks. There are members of my church who receive food stamps, and they don't use them to buy steaks either.

Most of you who are reading this have "neighbors" who are food stamp recipients, since they constitute about 15% of Americans. They're the members of your worship community, perhaps, who are struggling financially. Do you think they buy steaks and caviar with food stamps? Nine million of them are elderly and blind who depend on Supplemental Security. About nine million depend on Social Security.  About the same number are unemployed and looking for work. And about half are children. Hey kids--stop picking up those packages of sirloin from the meat department!

It is probably easy for DeMint to weave fables like this because the company he keeps does not include food stamp recipients. Recipients are, I imagine, in short supply in the hallowed halls of Congress.  Not many of his campaign donors receive food stamps either, I reckon.

But why would he pronounce such reckless slander to the press? It appears that he's trying to demonize the impoverished children, and the blind, and the aged, and the disabled, and the unemployed so he can justify a budget-cutting plan whose burden falls almost completely on the poorest Americans. In fact, $3 trillion of the cuts he proposes affect the poorest Americans, and only $20 billion (one half of one percent) affect the wealthy. And you wonder why there's an Occupy movement.

DeMint is trying to take the easy road by talking tough on deficit spending without addressing its root causes. Something you rarely hear in all the Tea Party talk is that, with the exception of three key programs, federal spending as a percentage of the national economy has not grown at all over the past few decades. And what would those three runaway components of the federal budget be? I'll save that for another post....but suffice it to say that those 3 programs have extremely well-financed lobbyists and vast constituencies. So DeMint would put himself in real political peril if he were to advance an effective deficit reduction plan that aims at the 3 runaway programs. But courage, like food stamp recipients, seems to be in short supply in the hallowed halls of Congress.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review of "Power Chess for Kids" by Charles Hertan

I've coached chess kids for many years, and have always sought good material to recommend to students who want to make progress. For the student who is at the appropriate stage in development, Hertan's work is among the best I've seen.

Hertan teaches four "power tricks" to get better:
1. Know and use the value of the pieces.
2. The 'Quick Count' - Count the defenders and attackers to see whether a piece can be safely captured
3. Takes Takes Bang! - Make a trade to set up a winning (bang!) move
4. Check Moves Bang! - Use a check to set up a winning (bang!) move

The last 2 power tricks are a very useful introduction to forcing moves, which every chess player must master in order to become strong.

Hertan then shows how to use these power tricks with 4 different tactical motifs: forks, pins, skewers, and interference moves. The last 4 chapters contain a total of about 150 teaching positions, along with 30 exercises to reinforce the reader's grasp of the concepts.

The book closes with a useful glossary of chess terms (like "endgame" and "perpetual check") for the chess learner. The author references a forthcoming second book, which will presumably cover how to apply the 4 power tricks with other tactical motifs like discovered attack, deflection, and removal of the guard. Keep an eye out for it; it's sure to be worthwhile.

The 4 cartoon characters add zest and quirky humor, making it a fun read. I asked my teenage son, a retired chess prodigy, to read the book and give me his opinion. He said he really enjoyed it and found it helpful; in fact, he wished he had been able to read it when he was playing chess. That, in a nutshell, is why I award the book 5 stars out of 5.

That said, I must disagree with the notion that this is the most complete chess book for kids:

* It is too advanced to serve as a second book for chess learners, who need more grounding in fundamentals like not leaving your pieces unguarded, and not playing with just your queen. It also assumes a mastery of chess rules, and the explanation of chess notation is quite rudimentary.

* It does not cover some important topics, like checkmate patterns, openings, and endgames. I understand the author's desire to narrow the scope of the book, as it provides greater focus on the 4 power tricks. Moreover, middlegame tactics are the single most important topic to learn if you want to become strong. However, you forfeit the right to call the book a "complete" set of chess lessons when you exclude these other important topics. After you finish this little gem, I'd suggest the following reading program --

For checkmate patterns, you'll want to obtain Checkmate for Children: Mastering the Most Important Skill in Chess or How to Beat Your Dad at Chess. For openings, you might try The Complete Idiot's Guide to Chess Openings. And for endgames, you should consider Silman's Complete Endgame Course: From Beginner To Master.

Like pretty much every chess book, the work under review has some minor flaws:

* The terms "interpolation" and "hook-up" are used without definition, and do not appear in the glossary.

* A few examples have unexplored alternative solutions.

* Chess mastery is gained more from practice than from conceptual understanding, and this book is light on the exercises that would provide practice opportunities.

So it has a couple of warts and limitations...who cares? It's still a fun, instructive and helpful book for anyone--kid or adult--rated 600 to 1400 who wants to get better at chess.

Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me. I have endeavored to remain completely unbiased and helpful, and feel confident that the review reflects my commitment to objectivity.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Review of "Joys of Chess"

Published by New in Chess, 2011. Author: Christian Hesse, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Stuttgart

Hesse's labor of love is the perfect antidote to all that hard work you've been investing in tactics puzzles and rook endgames. Crack it open and grab a breath of refreshing chess air for a few minutes; you're bound to find something to make you smile. It's like getting one of the world's top grandmasters to read you Tarzan comics. (Which, I learned from this book, was Bent Larsen's chief duty as Bobby Fischer's second at the 1959 Interzonal tournament!) It's the first chess book that's given me a feeling of guilty pleasure: how can chess be this much fun?

To give you a taste of what you can expect, here are a few of my favorite moments from the book:

In "Retreats of Genius," Dzindzichashvili retreats almost all his pieces back to their starting squares...and wins decisive material.

A disgruntled Garry Kasparov calls chess website publisher Frederich Friedel and says, "You are a dead man, Fred. You have put me in a very embarrassing situation." Friedel, you see, had posed a simple little problem to Kasparov, and when Garry's students couldn't solve it, the world champion spent a day on it and couldn't solve it either. For your edification, here is the possibly the world's most difficult chess problem: "A game begins 1.e4 and ends on move 5 in mate with the move knight takes rook. What was the game?" (The book has the solution, of course.)

In the chapter on chess dreams, we see a theoretical novelty in the Sicilian Defense that came to Larry Christiansen as he slept. We also get to see a Nimzo-Indian that David Bronstein dreamed in its entirety. After a white blunder on move 14, black mates in 3, and "Bronstein can do that in his sleep." And with one hand tied behind his back, no doubt!

Hesse puts a novel spin on chess sacrifices by comparing them to Einstein's e = mc2, which is the equation that explains how a tiny bit of uranium can yield a massive explosion. A sacrifice, after all, can also translate material into incredible energy--on the chess board. Hesse illustrates this with a couple of spectacular sacs, including a 2-piece offer by the inimitable Mikhail Tal.

In "the butterfly effect," we see a study in which white can give up a passed pawn on either h6 or h7. It looks inconsequential, but 9 moves later we see that the difference of just one square is the difference between a draw and a win. The catchy chapter title is a useful reminder that, in a possibly critical situation, you need to be careful about selecting between moves that look very similar.

Several studies caught my eye. In the chapter on symmetry, we see a problem with all eight of white's pawns on the 4th rank and his king on f1, while black's pawns are all on the 6th rank with his king on f8. White to play and win. In the chapter on parity arguments, a problem has 31 pieces on their original squares--except white's h1 rook, which is missing. What was black's last move? Clever stuff.

Hesse suggests an amusing parlor game for chess players: "the conqueror of the conqueror of Fischer." The goal is to see how many degrees of separation exist between you and Bobby, counting a victory over a difficult opponent as one degree. Count your victory over a strong player as one hop, then count his/her victory over a stronger opponent as the next hop, and so on, until you finally get to a grandmaster who defeated Fischer. Count the hops, and there's your Fischer number.

I don't mind the rare moments when Hesse inserts himself into the book, as it illustrates how a patzer not unlike me can have a ton of fun exploring chess. I find his attitude to be charming and infectious.

While the book is mostly just for fun, there's actually a fair amount of instructional value here: more guilty pleasure! If you're a chess player, this is a great book for your wishlist; or if you're looking for a Christmas gift or birthday gift for your favorite chess geek, wrap this book with a bow. It easily rates 5 stars out of 5. You may purchase these 417 pages of rollicking chess fun on Amazon here.

Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book. I have endeavored to remain completely unbiased and helpful, and feel confident that the review reflects my commitment to objectivity.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review of "Invisible Chess Moves"

Israeli International Master Yochanan Afek and French FIDE Master Emmanuel Neiman have analyzed hundreds of high-level international games to discover what kinds of moves are difficult even for the masters to see. The result is this extremely useful collection of positions, game fragments, and puzzles that illustrate the most common causes of chess blindness.

Light bulbs kept going off in my head as I worked my way through the book. "Queen circuits" are hard to see? No kidding, my only tournament loss to a non-expert this year was the lamentable result of not seeing a diagonal queen maneuver clear across the board, followed by a horizontal check to the opposite wing. Anticipating a probable result can lead to blindness? Absolutely! In two drawn rook endgames this year I've missed opportunities to punish critical blunders and collect the full point, simply because it didn't occur to me that a winning opportunity might suddenly and serendipitously appear. Best of all, shortly after I had read the section on backward attacking moves, I invested a knight in a kingside attack because I saw that a critical defense would not prevail because of a quiet, backward attacking move available to my light-squared bishop. 

Take a look at the invisible moves Afek and Neiman have classified and see how many you might have overlooked recently:

Part I - Objective Invisibility - 21 

Chapter 1 - Hard-to-see moves - 22 
A: Quiet moves - 23 
B: Intermediate moves - 27 
The desperado - 31 
C: Alignment - 36 
D: Forgetting the rules - 53 
E: Quiet positions - 57 

Chapter 2 - Geometrically invisible moves - 71 
A: Horizontal effect - 72 
B: Circuit - 74 
Rook circuit - 74 
Bishop circuit - 75 
Queen circuit - 75 
C: Changing wings - 77 
D: Backward moves - 83 
E: Backward knight moves - 86 
F: Pin and self-pin - 89 
G: Geometrical moves - 96 

Part II - Subjective Invisibility - 111 

Chapter 3 - Invisible moves for positional reasons - 112 
A: Pawn structures - 113 
B: Weakening of the king's defences - 118 
C: Unexpected exchanges - 123 
D: Unusual position of a piece - 126 
E: Anti-developing moves - 133 
F: Residual image - 135 

Chapter 4 - Invisible moves for psychological reasons - 151 
A: Anticipation of the probable result - 152 
B: Blunders in World Championship matches - 163 
C: Forward moves in defence - 167 
D: Backward attacking moves - 176

Test - 191 
Test solutions - 205 
Explanation of Symbols - 237 
Index of Players - 238

In addition to 30 exercise positions sprinkled through the text, the book concludes with 53 test positions graded in difficulty from 1 to 5 stars. My online ratings and recent OTB results indicate that I'm about FIDE 1800, yet I found the 2 star puzzles reasonably challenging. I learned a lot from working through the solutions of the harder ones, though, so don't shy away from this book if you're rated 1700 or above. Below that rating, though, you are probably better off just working through a conventional tactics book; if you have difficulties seeing knight forks and X-ray attacks, you should get those under your belt before you attack these more advanced themes. 

Excellent tactics books have flooded the market, but excellent books dedicated to hard-to-see moves have been, well, practically invisible. Thus I am willing to give this unique work 5 stars in spite of some minor flaws that I hope will be corrected in a future edition:

* The authors do not apply their criteria for game selection consistently. They state that they will generally not use examples that involve rapid time controls or time pressure, but almost 10% of their examples (15) come from rapid games or zeitnot situations. Moreover, in several of the examples the players actually saw and played the putatively hard-to-see winning continuation. Why are they in a book about moves that masters don't see?

* About a dozen of the 53 concluding test problems have hints that are too obvious. "Long diagonal" will definitely draw your attention to the winning skewer on the a8-h1 diagonal, don't you think?

* The first set of 6 exercise positions do not include a discussion of why the winning continuation should be considered hard-to-see.

* The English translation occasionally falters, using phantom words like "automatical," "profylaxis" and "devaluating."

As these flaws detract little from the book's overall impact, I heartily recommend it to anyone rated 1700 or above who wants to improve their chess vision. You may purchase it from Amazon here.

Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book to me. I have endeavored to remain completely unbiased and helpful, and feel confident that the review reflects my commitment to objectivity.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Question of Honor: An Italian-American Reviews Manhattan Mafia Guide

My beautiful bride Linda read an interesting book recently, and I wanted to share her thoughts....

Italian pride is a fierce and inscrutable thing. It drives a man of said heritage through six years of active research to document the history of the powerful New York Mafia. It also causes a second-generation Italian-American woman to devour his findings with morbid fascination. My eighty-four year old father read Eric Ferrara's Manhattan Mafia Guide, and passed it along to me. The subsequent discussion was an exercise in self-definition for which I was not entirely prepared.

I learned that in 1938 a young Italian boy sat red-faced in an American history class while the teacher decried the immigrant influx of “undesirables” from Southern and Eastern Europe. In Manhattan Mafia Guide, Ferrara cites an August 1931 Time magazine article describing the scene of a murder in an East Harlem Italian neighborhood which corroborates with my father's humiliating school experience:

[After the dinner hour,] fat, oily women, some without shoes, rattle dirty dishes. Their men sit smoking [...] their litters of children play and quarrel shrilly all through the street. Into this babble and filth and smell one evening last week came Terror.

According to my father, the Mafia arose when some vilified and unscrupulous Italians organized to gain social strength, and most especially, protect their honor. While not entirely disenfranchising this view, Ferrara chooses to emphasize the flagrant Machiavellian opportunism through which innumerable widows were made and untold thousands were held in a grip of fear and blind loyalty for generations. His work is a careful delineation of the facts of this woeful notoriety, peppered with sketches of colorful characters such as Vincent “Chin” Gigante, who wandered the streets in ratty pajamas, feigning mental illness for the benefit of police surveillance, but was also regularly seen navigating high society handsomely decked, meticulously coiffured, and fully in his right mind.

At first glance, Manhattan Mafia Guide seems to aspire to nothing more than an interesting assortment of names, dates, locations and events. But dig deeper and you find a portrait of pride in the way these infamous men threw off the dehumanizing wretchedness of the slums to gain power, wealth, and prestige. Dig deeper still and you catch a glimpse of those Italian immigrants whose honor caused them to resist the extortion and intimidation of the Mafia at great personal cost.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Letter to my Congressman on the national debt

Honorable Representative Scott,

I voted for you last November, trusting that you would represent the best interests of my family, my district, and indeed my nation. You represent *all* of us--not (just) the Tea Party, not (just) Republicans, not (just) Democrats, not (just) businesses, not (just) union members, not (just) natives, not (just) immigrants, not (just) Christians, not (just) Muslims. I'm confident that you believe this and do your best to put this into practice.

My foremost concern is coming to a viable strategy for dealing with the national debt. I must confess that I am *extremely* concerned by your statement that that the federal government does not need to raise the debt ceiling at all. Such a statement is the height of irresponsibility. When businesses get into serious financial trouble, do they announce that the only strategy they will consider is to cut expenses? NEVER. Here's the common business plan:

1. Cut expenses

2. Increase revenues

3. Secure new financing for short-term debts so that creditors and employees get paid while #1 and #2 (expense management and revenue enhancement) take place.

It would be the height of irresponsibility for a business to ignore 2/3 of the solution. And in so doing, the business would be irresponsible in its commitments to those to whom it currently has obligations.

I'm not asking you to support a plan that has only revenue enhancement. Or a plan that only raises the debt ceiling. I'm simply asking you to show courage, and to be a responsible leader, by taking every measure that needs to be taken: cut expenses, enhance revenue, and make provisions for short-term borrowing.

Second, as a representative of all of us--not just those who share your philosophy--I want to encourage you to take the high road of compromise. That's right, it's a high road. It's called win-win in the business world I live in. Those who insist on not negotiating don't get very far in real life. Believe strongly, but also act wisely. Be willing to help our nation to work out a deal that everyone of every political persuasion can support. That means that no one gets everything they want, and frankly...that's a good thing. When my children were young, they believed they could get everything they wanted. Helping them realize that was not the way life worked helped them to grow into effective, productive citizens. I'm sure it works the same way in Washington, DC as it does in American families like mine.

Finally, I want to bring to your attention a couple of facts that cut against common political philosophy in the United States. I trust you will not say, "What are you going to believe? Your hard data or my philosophy?" Instead, I trust you will ponder the data and their implication for policy. So here are the facts:

Fact 1. When taken as a percentage of the gross domestic product, US tax revenues are quite low compared to the taxes of most industrialized nations.

"The broadest measure of the tax rate is total federal revenues divided by the gross domestic product. By this measure, federal taxes are at their lowest level in more than 60 years. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that federal taxes would consume just 14.8 percent of G.D.P. this year. The last year in which revenues were lower was 1950, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The postwar annual average is about 18.5 percent of G.D.P. Revenues averaged 18.2 percent of G.D.P. during Ronald Reagan’s administration...."

Source here

Of the 33 OECD countries, only 3 have a lower total tax burden (federal, state, local, and corporate) as a percentage of GDP than the US. The OECD average is 34.8%; the US percentage is only 26.1%. Source here

Fact 2. Corporate tax burden in the US is the *lowest* among industrialized nations.

"The United States actually has the lowest corporate tax burden of any of the member nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development....The statutory tax rate [is not relevant because it] applies only to the last dollar earned ... the effective tax rate is substantially lower even for the richest taxpayers and largest corporations because of tax exclusions, deductions, credits and the 15 percent top rate on dividends and capital gains."

Source here

Fact 3. The percentage of US national revenues devoted to cash entitlement programs, though they are certainly growing, are actually quite low compared to most industrialized nations.

"Cash transfers — for unemployment insurance, pensions, benefits for children and the like — amount to only 9 percent of household disposable income in the United States. Among the industrialized nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, only Korea provides less."

Source here

Thanks for listening. Rest assured that you and our other national leaders will be in my prayers these next few days.

Respectfully yours,

Chris Falter

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Silver Wedding Anniversary for Don and Donna Gaudette

We met Don and Donna because they opened their home to a community group meeting organized by our church. We always enjoyed the amazing artistry that Donna invested in their home, along with their sincere friendship. Don has recently begun competing in triatholons and road races, hence this tribute to them on this wonderful occasion...

Dear Don and Donna –

I was thinking about the excitement and joy we all feel because of your 25th wedding celebration, and I realized that it’s a lot like coming out of the water in a triathlon and realizing you’ve set a personal record. All of a sudden you’re confident, knowing that—although there’s still a long race ahead of you—you’ve got what it takes to finish well.

This is our prayer for you: that you will receive encouragement from the Lord to press on toward the goal. As we have seen since the beginning of our friendship, the Holy Spirit is truly at work in you, and He who promised is faithful, and will bring to completion the good work He has begun in you!

With best wishes,

Chris and Linda Falter