An Introduction to Chess Sets

Chess is a popular board game across the world. While many people are content to play chess on a regular board with plastic pieces, many players who truly love the game take pride in their unique chess sets.

There are many different kinds of chess sets to accommodate all chess players. Chess sets are made out of many different materials such as glass, ivory, marble, and wood. Some chess sets are especially small or have magnetic pieces, perfect for taking on trips and playing while traveling.

People have been playing chess for many centuries. No one knows for sure where or when it originated, but it is known that people in Persia, India, and China played chess in the Middle Ages. The game spread to the Middle East next, then to Spain and the rest of Europe. It is very likely that the game pieces were altered once the game spread through Europe to take on the forms that they currently have.

The different pieces in a chess set each represent parts of medieval life. The pawns represent peasants. Just as peasants were considered unimportant to people in power, pawns are the weakest pieces in the game of chess and are used primarily as sacrifices. The rooks, or castles, represent home and sanctuary. The knight represents soldiers, who, at the time, were held in high esteem, but not as much as the church or royal family. The bishops represent priests and are considered more valuable than knights. The queen is probably the most powerful piece on the board, but the king is the one that must be protected at all costs, or the game is lost.

Chess players at all skill levels marvel at the craftsmanship that goes into creating fine chess sets. It takes true artistry to create chess sets out of wood, stone and glass. Many chess sets are extremely rare and are valuable collector’s items.

An Introduction To Casino Gambling

Casino gambling has been a hot source of debate among people coming from various religious and economic backgrounds.  

Religious authorities generally frown on casino gambling because of its perceived social costs. This is why in highly religious countries, casino gambling (or any sort of gambling)is not allowed. Most Islamic nations specifically prohibit gambling while other nations tend to regulate it to some extent.

Most legal authorities also put some sort of censorship on gambling. The law does not recognize wagers as contracts and views consequent losses as “debts of honor” that cannot be enforced through the legal process. This leads to organized crime taking over the enforcement of large gambling debts, sometimes in a violent manner.

Since contracts of insurance have many features similar to wagers, legislation makes a distinction between the two. It typically defines any agreement wherein either of the party has an interest in the outcome of the bet beyond the specified financial terms as an ‘insurance contract.’ So the bet on whether one’s house will burn down becomes a contract of insurance, since a person has an independent interest in the security of his or her home.

Many people participate in casino gambling as a form of recreation and sometimes as a means to have more income. Before you become obsessed with casino gambling, remember that like any form of behavior, it involves variation in brain chemistry. Thus, it can lead to disruptive behavior and psychological addiction. The phenomena of reinforcement may also make gamblers persist in gambling even after incurring repeated losses.

Russian writer Dostoevsky portrays in his short story entitled “The Gambler,” the psychological effects of gambling on gamblers. He suggested that the idea of gambling or the get-rich-quick mentality may have originated from the Russians. He shows the effect of betting money for the chance of having more money in 19th century Europe. The origins of the Russian roulette fueled legends associating Russians with gambling.

An Introduction To Birthday Gifts

Birthdays are very important for most people. You can make it extra special for them with a thoughtful gift. Remember that it is not enough that you hand them a present –your sincerity should show from the kind of gift you give.

The best way to convey that message is by giving something that a person will truly appreciate or use. It need not be anything expensive. Even simple gifts are appreciated so long as the thought is there. Before going shopping, you may want to ask around as to what the receipt may want. His or her friends or family are your best sources.

You can never go wrong with flowers. Most flower shops have delivery services, and you can also order on line. A more lasting floral gift is a flowering plant that can liven up an office cubicle. You may also send a care basket- a collection of items such as specialized toiletries and emergency kits. This is ideal for a single person. There are also online stores that can help you with this.

More practical people will appreciate gift certificates to their favorite stores. Perhaps you would like to try a more out of the box gift, like give that person an extraordinary experience on her birthday. Check out websites that offer various services from adventure packages to makeover projects.

Always remember that when giving a birthday gift, the rule is you should like the gift first. Ask yourself, if you would like to receive the same thing for your birthday. If you answer yes, then you’re off to a good start. But if still no ideas come to mind, there are professional shoppers who can help you come up with a good gift idea.

An Introduction To Billiards

Billiards has always been a family of games that is played on a table, with a cue stick. The cue stick is used to strike balls that move around on the table. There are different types of billiard ball games. In eight ball games and straight pool, 16 balls are used x96 15 are colored and one white ball or ‘cue’ ball. Object balls are numbered one through seven and are solid colored. Balls nine through 15 are white and have a colored stripe that matches a corresponding solid ball. The nine ball has a yellow stripe, the 10-ball has a blue stripe, etc. The eight ball is always black. Regulation balls measure 2 1/4 inches and weight about 5 1/2 to 6 ounces.

On of the easiest games to play is Three Cushion billiards. It is played on a table that has no pockets and is slightly larger than a pool table. Three Cushion billiards is played with three balls that are red, yellow and white. The object is to have the cue ball hit the two other balls on the table along with three or more rails.

Other games include the Straight Rail or Free Game. It requires the cue ball to hit only the two other balls in order to score a point. Balkline is another game like Straight Rail, but the table has lines that are 18′ from each rail that create nine boxes on the table. If a player makes one or two, depending on the game, Straight Rail billiards in a box and drive it across a line. Players try to make the ball come back into a box to continue playing. Three Cushion billiards is the most popular game of all billiard games played.

Aluminum Fishing Boats

Aluminum fishing boats are growing more and more popular these days because of the many advantages they have over those that are made from fiberglass or steel. Aluminum fishing boats are typically more resistant to corrosion, rot and leaks and they are more power-efficient. Aside from that, aluminum fishing boats are also stronger and are easy to fix and repair once they get damaged.

It is true that you need more bucks in purchasing an aluminum boat but it will pay off in the long run with much savings in fuel, repairs and upkeep and maintenance and towing. Aluminum fishing boats are ideal not only for fishing but also for your recreational activities. They can be used if you want to cruise with your family, whether in fresh or salt waters.

Aluminum fishing boats are good for individual fishermen because they are really easy to manage. This type of fishing boat has a high strength-to-weight ratio making it easy to carry by just one person. It is also easy to load on an ordinary vehicle and set into the water when you are ready to use it. Another factor that adds to the aluminum fishing boatx92s versatility is that it is easy to upgrade. This boat allows you to install some features that you may want.

Also, you canx92t question the durability of an aluminum fishing boat. They sport a solid construction with metal pieces welded along the boatx92s seams which prevents water from getting inside and makes joint disconnection less likely to happen. Unlike fiberglass fishing boats that usually shatter, aluminum fishing boats withstand impacts by means of deforming into dents or dings which can simply be hammered out.

An aluminum fishing boat is undoubtedly a good investment. Because it is lighter, it requires a smaller motor that require less fuel to operate. Talking about maintenance, an aluminum fishing boat just needs regular cleaning and not routine maintenance like waxing. With its many advantages, an aluminum fishing boat is truly of great value.

All Inclusive Beach Vacations

If you are looking for an all inclusive beach vacation, the best spots to look into to are Mexico and the Caribbean. These locations are popular for families because they offer fabulous beaches and water sports, lots of swimming pools, adult and kid’s programs, meals and drinks, babysitting services and activities for adults.

Although most all inclusive beach vacations can be costly, there are ways to save money. If you have a computer, you can look for special all-inclusive deals including special savings during the summer, and some places charge very low rates for children. In some places, kids stay for free. Sites that are popular for advertising all-inclusive vacations include TripAdvisor.com, Expedia.com, and All.Inclusive.Resorts.TrueLocal.com.

All inclusive beach vacations include travel, and resort hotel accommodations. Most hotels include entertainment, activities and dining for all family members. If you do have children, hotels usually offer activities for them as well including children’s clubs and activities for all ages from infants to teenagers. Some even offer daycare and babysitting. All inclusive beach vacation packages also offer a safety factor because for the most part families are in an enclosed environment in countries where crime rates and the social conditions are less than perfect. The environment provided allows older kids to meet new friends and take part in activities on their own.

Another location to consider that has reasonably priced all inclusive beach packages is the Dominican Republic resorts. On the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic Punta Cana have several beautiful beaches and resorts that are great for families. Puerto Plata is another popular spot with well-known resorts and fantastic beaches. The capital of Santo Domingo located on the south coast is the home of the exclusive Casa de Campo resort.

Tourists are drawn to the Dominican Republic because it is very inexpensive for families, but there are some drawbacks including water supplies and food preparation. Don’t drink any tap water and be wary of any raw fruits and vegetables.

Alcatraz

Alcatraz is an old prison, which was used as a federal penitentiary from 1934 to 1963, a total of 29 years. It is located in the middle of San Francisco Bay in California and when it was opened to the public from 1972, it has become a very famous historic and tourist site. The National Park Service, as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, now maintains the abandoned prison.

Alcatraz Island was also the first long-term Army prison. During the 1800s, Civil War and Spanish American War Prisoners were the first inmates to arrive on the Island. Later on, due to its isolated location and the freezing San Francisco Bay waters, the authorities considered Alcatraz as an ideal place for holding dangerous prisoners.

Initially, Alcatraz was just another Federal institution but the prison started gaining fame after it began housing notorious criminals like George “Machine Gun” Kelly, Robert Franklin Stroud, Alvin Karpis, Henry Young and Al Capone. Criminals who could not be controlled by other Federal institutions were also incarcerated here.

The average number of inmates in Alcazar was around 260 and approximately 1545 total men imprisoned here during the 29 years of its operation. There were escape attempts but there is no official record if any of them had been successful. A few prisoners disappeared but were all presumed drowned in the San Francisco Bay waters.

After the prison was closed down in 1963, some Native Indians from 1969 to 1971 occupied it. Alcatraz is now a National Historic Landmark, opened to tours. Visitors to this place can also explore the oldest lighthouse in the west coast, remnants of early military fortifications and natural features such as rock pools.

Alcatraz Souvenirs

A souvenir is a product or an item bought from a particular place to serve as a reminder of that place. It helps relive the experience of the visit to the place. The Alcatraz prison off the coast of San-Francisco is one of America’s major tourist destinations. One can commemorate the experience of going there by buying souvenirs, either from the prison or from the various other places in the city.

Inside the prison complex, there are many shops that sell souvenirs to the visiting public. Ranging from key-rings to coffee mugs, a lot of different products are sold. One of the most popular souvenirs is the striped t-shirt. However, this seems to be a bit ironical, as the inmates of the island prison never wore striped clothes. Picture post cards and miniature models of the prison are also preferred by visiting tourists.

After a tour of the prison, when the visitors reach the gift shops, they usually intend to buy replicas or reminders of the highlights that they were most moved by. A pair of fake handcuffs or a book about the history of the island is some of the most popular souvenir items.

These souvenirs not only serve as a remembrance but can also be used to give as gifts. The different books available narrate the island’s history, and they serve as ideal gifts for history students. The picture postcards, on the other hand, are an interesting way of letting your near ones share your experiences. The fake handcuffs and guns are a special favorite among kids, who love to fancy themselves as guards and convicts after the tour.

With prices ranging from a few dollars to a couple of hundred dollars, the souvenir shops at Alcatraz have something to suit everyone’s pocket. Almost every tourist wishes to take a part of history back home. This is the main force behind the sale of these souvenirs.

Alcatraz Lighthouse

Alcatraz islands off the cost of San-Francisco have only two lighthouses. The foundation of the first was laid in 1852, and the entire structure became operational in 1854.

The first lighthouse was a two storey structure with a tower at the center. The fifty-foot structure was black and white and used a fixed third order lens. The need for this lighthouse can be attributed to the 1849 gold rush, which made west coast lighthouses a priority. By 1856, it was found that the San-Francisco fog often rendered the lighthouse ineffective. This led to the installation of a fog-bell. The bell was first rung by hand and later, thanks to a clockwork mechanism, the bell would ring automatically at prescribed intervals. Due to the growth of the city, a flashing fourth order lens had to be installed later, to help mariners distinguish the lighthouse from the city lights. This lighthouse was badly damaged in the 1906 San-Francisco earthquake, which cracked the lighthouse tower and toppled one of its chimneys.

The military prison on the island rendered the old lighthouse ineffective and by 1909, work started on a new lighthouse. With an eighty four feet tall tower and fog sirens at the front and back of the island, the new light house ran on electricity. In 1963, when the Alcatraz prison was finally closed due to the high maintenance cost, the lighthouse was automated.

The lighthouse stopped working for a short while in 1969, when electricity to the island was cut because it was being occupied by the natives. Power was restored after a while, with the help of a generator smuggled in by prominent San-Francisco citizens who were worried about maritime safety.

By 1972, the natives were driven out and Alcatraz became a national reserve. Today a 200,000 candle power lens is used in the old lighthouse.

Alcatraz Inmates

Alcatraz is famous for having housed some famous gangsters and criminals. Most of these prisoners were those considered dangerous, disobedient, escape risks and known for committing serious crimes such as murder, racketeering, smuggling etc.

Al Capone, one of the most notorious gangsters in America, was born in New York in 1899. He started his career in Brooklyn before moving to Chicago and had already been on the Bureau of Investigation’s “Most Wanted” list by the end of the 1920s. Al Capone was indicted and convicted for income tax evasion in 1931, and found guilty on five counts. In 1932, he was initially sent to an Atlanta prison, and then finally transferred to Alcatraz in August of 1934.

George “Machine Gun” Kelly Barnes, infamous for crimes, which included bootlegging, armed robbery and kidnapping had already been in the gangster business by 1927. In 1933, Kelly received life sentence for the kidnapping of Charles F. Urschel, a wealthy businessman and his friend Walter R. Jarrett. He was first incarcerated in Leavenworth, Kansas and was later transferred to Alcatraz in 1934 due to his constant escape threats.

Henry “Henri” Young started his career as a bank robber and committed murder in 1933, was found guilty and served time in different state prisons. In 1935 he was sent to the U.S. Penitentiary on McNeil Island in Washington State and was transferred to Alcatraz in the same year. In 1942, he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after he stabbed a fellow inmate to death. His life-story was made famous by the Warner Brothers movie, “Murder in the First”.

Robert Stroud, the “birdman of Alcatraz, was first convicted of manslaughter in 1909, after he brutally shot and murdered a bartender. Stroud was transferred from McNeil Island, Washington to Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas where he began to develop a keen interest in birds. He was allowed to breed them and maintain a lab. He was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942 to spend the rest of his days. The story of his life was made famous by the movie, “the birdman of Alcatraz”, starring Burt Lancaster.