Sunday, December 26, 2010

BabasChess Background or Wallpaper for your Board

One of the commenters from my post "Configuring BabasChess to look like Fritz" noted that they were having issues with white space behind the playing board. I have seen this before when trying to apply a really nice background image.

BabasChess requires the background images be a bitmap.  You cannot load .png, or .jpeg .jpg or any other image type.  It must be .bmp

This doesn't present a big problem as long as you have the right image editing tools.

1) Google the image you want and save it. For me, it was 'dark wood'

2) Convert the image to bitmap (skip this step if your image is already in bitmap type)
2a) Open your image edit tool. For me, I use SnagIt. But any basic edit tool should work.
2b) Convert the image type. Depending on the tool you are using, this step may vary. But if you are using SnagIt, there is a 'Convert Image' option. Using the wizard, it walks you through ... at the right step, choose the .bmp option. Windows Paint program can also convert images to bitmaps. Open the image, and then simply choose, 'save as' and choose bitmap.

3) Save the bitmap (or copy it) to the Data/Backgrounds directory in the folder where BabasChess is stored. For me it is C:\Program Files\BabasChess\BabasChess\Data\Backgrounds

4) Open Preferences (F11) in BabasChess and choose the background.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Avatar Review

First off - this is not a chess post.  I doubt anyone even looks at this blog very much, but I felt a little rant coming on and needed a place to release it.

I know - I'm a little late with this review.  I've yet to watch the other James Cameron movie (TITanic).  There's something about the raving mad crowds of people who gush over how great a movie is that just turns me off and I don't want to watch it.  Avatar was kind of like that as well.  So I never saw it in the theater.  I finally watched it over Thanksgiving after my brother in law got the blue-ray for a birthday present.

Don't worry - this rant won't be too long.

Point one: the American military general was insane.  I don't deny there may very well be insane soldiers, but those are exceptions in my opinion.

Point two: The business dude running the show was a bit insane too ... and dumb.  If that stuff was really worth that much money, I think the company could have been a little more patient.

Point three: the movie/story ended a bit prematurely.

Point three dot one: The military lost just one battle - the blue people kicked them off the planet.  The military, if indeed they wanted to pursue taking over the planet, would have come back much stronger and with much more force.

Point three dot two: As soon as the company/military/science officers found out that they could attempt to "transfer" human souls into blue-people bodies, I think they should have taken a different route than trying to destroy the planet and people.  They could have started charging humans to come to the planet to get a soul-transfer and start living on Pandora.  There's probably a lot more money in that market.  Plus, with the migration and influx of humans living in blue-people bodies, who's to say the company/military/science officers couldn't have pulled off the original plan - and that was to essentially put a spy in the midst of the blue-people.

Point four: Avatar was really just a re-vamped, slicked up re-do of Disney's Pocahontas.  That movie bombed because the story sucked.  Avatar would have flopped too if it weren't for the absolutely cool effects and 3D technology.

PS - as I was looking for a picture for this post, I found that there were already stored searches for "avatar pocahontas comparison"  The picture shows I'm not the first one to see the similarities.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

HCA - RMS Tournament

My son and I played in the RMS tournament here in our hometown.  This was the first time I played chess in almost a month.  Work and family life have been so extremely busy, that I hardly have time to play, study or write about chess.  But things are starting to slow down again to normal speeds and my chess enthusiasm is starting to come back.

The HCA RMS tournament was a scholastic tournament, but adults are allowed to play in the advanced section.  I knew I would be playing against mostly kids and teenagers.  Time controls were G/45. I ended up playing three Asian kids (between the ages of 7 and 10) and one adult who I played against in the Class Championships.  It was nice seeing and talking to him.  Another adult in the section was the father who was helping his son cheat in the Class Championships.  The kid was also playing, but in a different section.

First off - all the games were very quick.  All my opponents played very quickly.  We had completed our first 20 moves and only 5 minutes would be gone off the clock.  The game went down to the wire and I was able to rattle off a few checks while the clock was beginning to expire.  I was able to mate him with 8 seconds on my clock.

The second two games were boring and both ended up on a draw.  In fact, the third game should have been a loss for me, but I was able to force a draw by repetition.  Afterward, a few other kids analyzed the game and showed us how the kid could have beaten me.

My last game was easy.  My opponent dropped a piece early on and I won no problem.  It was satisfying as this was the gentleman I drew with in the Class Championships.

My son did well for his first tournament.  I won a couple and drew one and lost the others.  He had fun.  His games got over much quicker than mine did.  He enjoyed it enough that he wants to do it again.

I need 10 more games to get the P to drop from my rating.  I'll be trying to find some time to play a few more rated games over the next few months.

*Update* Here is the crosstable for the section in which I played.  Looks like my new (provisional) rating will be 1244 ... up from 1114.