Author Archives: Jonathan Whitcomb

My wife and I have cared for children in our family child care home for over 20 years. Whitcomb Family Daycare is highly recommended by parents.
queen-vs-rook endgame of chess

Queen Versus Rook – Chess Endgame

The most important key position in most queen-versus-rook end games is the Philidor. The winning technique for this kind of position has been known for centuries, among chess masters and enthusiasts. (François-André Danican Philidor lived from 1726 to 1795.)


queen-vs-rook endgame of chess

Diagram-1 with black to move


The 64-square chess board has four corners, with two Philidor (Q-vs-R) positions possible in each corner, making a total of eight possible appearances of this pattern. We’ll examine it from the perspective with the defending king (black) on g1, shown in Diagram-1.

In this position, black is in zugzwang, meaning that having the move is a disadvantage, with every potential move creating more of a problem for the defender. Let’s look at what black may do.

  • Rh2 (the rook attacks the queen) loses immediately to Qe1-mate
  • Kf1 (the only legal move for the black king) loses quickly to Qh3, winning the rook, for the queen pins it; the black king must then move, for the rook cannot move, after which the queen captures the rook.
  • Several other moves by the rook will allow it to be captured, with NO stalemate
  • Rd2 allows the queen to fork the rook with Qg5+, winning the rook

Let’s look at how white can handle Rb2:

White wins the rook after Qd4 check

Diagram-2 with the potential move Qd4+ winning the rook

After black moves the rook to left, to the b2 square, white can fork the rook and king by moving the queen to the left, to d4. If black moves (instead of to b2) the rook to g7 in Diagram-1, the same queen move shown in Diagram-2 will also win the rook.

What if, from Diagram-1, black moves the rook to c2?

Philidor after black moves Rc2

Diagram-3 after black moves Rc2

In the position shown in Diagram-3, white first moves Qd4+.

Philidor after Qd4+ - chess end game

Diagram-4 after white moves Qd4+

After the queen check at d4, the black king cannot remain on the first rank (with Kh1) without allowing the queen to move to d2, winning the rook. (Of course, if the black king moves to f1 then Qd1 would be checkmate.) Black must move the king to h2:

chess endgame - Philidor queen-vs-rook

Diagram-5 after black moves Kh2

In Diagram-5, white will move Qd6+, quickly winning the rook or getting checkmate.

Black must give up the rook or be checkmated

Diagram-6 after white moves Qd6-check

The winning move is shown in Diagram-6: Qd6+. If the black king moves to the first rank (with Kg1 or Kh1), the queen moves to d1, forking the black king and rook. If the king instead moves to h3, the result is Qh6-mate. This would be a good time for black to resign.

Let’s get back to Diagram-1:

queen-vs-rook endgame of chess

Diagram-1 (again)

What if black moves the rook all the way to the left?

Philidor - Ra2

Diagram-7 after black moves Ra2 (from Diagram-1)

The quickest way for white to win, in Diagram-7, appears to be Qd4+ as shown below:

black cannot move Kf1 because of mate

Diagram-8 after white moves Qd4+

After white move the queen to d4, black cannot get out of check by moving the king to f1 without getting checkmated when the queen then moves to d1. If black now moves the king to h2, the result will be the same as if it moved to h1, we we’ll now look only at Kh1:

The black king just moved to h1

Diagram-9 after black moves Kh1

White now will move Qh8+, practically forcing the black king to g1:

White moved Qh8-check and wins

Diagram-10 after white’s Qh8+

After white checks again, by moving to h8, black’s interposing with Rh2 fails to Qa1-checkmate. Yet if the king moves to g1, then white wins the rook with Qg8+. So we have only two other moves available for black, from the original position of Diagram-1: Rg6 and Rg8.

Black is about to move Rg6

Diagram-11 from the position of the first diagram, black is about to move Rg6

The following are the best defensive moves available to black, from the original position of Diagram-1, the first two of which we have already looked at:

  • Rc2
  • Ra2
  • Rg6
  • Rg8

Here is the position after Rg6:

The rook may look safe, but it's not

Diagram-12 after black’s Rg6

In the above position, white will move Qd4+:

Black cannot move Kf1 because of mate

Diagram-13 after white moved Qd4+

Notice the position in Diagram-13. If black moves to f1, Qd1# is mate. Black has two other choices: Kh1 and Kh2, which lead to the following (keep in mind that the black king cannot ever move to h3 while the white queen is on the above diagonal, the a1-h8 diagonal, or the result would be Qh8 with mate soon following).

  • If Kh2, then Qb2+ and when black then moves the king to g1 or h1 then Qb1+ wins the rook.
  • If Kh1, then Qa1+, Kh2, Qb2+ and white may soon fork the rook and king by Qb1+.

Here’s the final possibility for black:

black just moved Rg8 in this end game

Diagram-14 after black moves Rg8

The position in Diagram-14 may look safe for black. After all, the black king and rook are on opposite colored squares and on the same file and the maximum distance apart. But white actually has to moves that lead to a win here. The quickest way is probably Qd4+.

Philidor queen-vs-rook end game

Diagram-15 after white moves Qd4+

After white moves the queen to d4 (check), the king cannot move to f1 or it will be immediately checkmated. But if the black king moves to h1 then Qa1+ will quickly get a fork for white. Let’s now look at the last line for black: Kh2.

chess Philidor after king moves to h2

Diagram-16 after the black king moves to h2

Let’s look at this position logically. In Diagram-16, we can see one potential way for white to win the rook in the future. It’s by moving the queen to a1, checking the black king when it’s on g1 or h1. That is possible if the queen stays on the long diagonal from a1 to h8. But black is now threatening to move the king to h3, escaping away from the corner. And if white stops checking the black king, it may give the defender time to return the rook to the g2 square, continuing that corner defense.

Is there a move that will keep the queen on that long diagonal and yet stop the defender from moving Rg2 and also stop the king from escaping to h3? Yes there is. It’s Qe5+.

winning the queen versus rook Philidor position

Diagram-17 after Qe5+

After white moves the queen to e5, with check, black cannot move the king to h3 without allowing checkmate from Qh5#. As with many of the checks in this kind of endgame, the defender cannot interpose with the rook without losing it. So the black king must move to g1 or h1, where it will be checked by the queen moving to a1. Kg1 gives no advantage (to the defender) than Kh1, so let’s look at the king moving to h1:

chess position after Kh1

Diagram-18 after the black king moves to h1

Now the queen can move to a1 with check, preparing to make the next move that will fork the black king and rook (Qa2+).

chess position after queen moves to a1

Diagram-19 after white moves Qa1+

Now what if black uses the rook to block check? After Rg1, white would get checkmate by moving the queen to h8. The only other option for black, in the above position, is Kh2.

chess end game position after Kh2

Diagram-20 after the black king moves to h2

Do you see the fork now available to white? It’s Qa2+.

white moved Qa2, check, winning the rook

Diagram-21 white wins the rook by moving the queen to a2 with check

In this last line of the Philidor chess end game (queen versus rook), the black king and rook are forked by the queen. There is no stalemate possibility, so white wins the rook and will soon checkmate the lone king.



Examining the Philidor Pattern

Each of these eight positions is a Philidor [queen versus rook] corner position.

End Game [Chess] of Queen Versus Rook

Let’s examine a particular corner defense in the queen-vs-rook chess end game.

A Chess Combination by Paul Morphy

. . .  regarded by many as the greatest chess player in the world, during his tour of Europe in 1858

The Chess Champion Paul Morphy

At least from his early-middle-aged years until he died in 1884, Paul Morphy reportedly considered chess an amateur activity, not to be pursued as a profession.

A beginner can win a chess game

How this book can help you


"Beat That Kid in Chess" - by Whitcomb

A New Chess Book for Beginners

I [Jonathan Whitcomb] have just published my first book on chess: Beat That Kid in Chess. I’ll quote the first three paragraphs from the back cover of this 194-page paperback:

Do you know the rules but almost nothing more about chess? This is the best book for the early beginner. Whatever your age, feel your understanding grow as you learn to checkmate and also learn to gain many advantages that can lead to a checkmating position.

After the lessons in the first eight chapters, you can see your progress in simple exercises and then in the more-advanced exercises, as you become ready.

How few chess books are for the raw beginner! How few of them concentrate on what the early beginner needs the most! “Beat That Kid in Chess” differs by emphasizing the simple basics that give the biggest rewards, so you’ll quickly make real progress.

Here’s a small part of the Amazon description:

The approach was organized by a professional nonfiction writer who began teaching chess beginners in the 1960’s. He knows what the raw beginner most needs to learn. Of the countless chess books which have been published, very few appear to be carefully written for beginners, perhaps less than 10%. Of those that seem to be for beginners, most are too confusing and more appropriate for lower-ranked tournament competitors.


"Beat That Kid in Chess" - by Whitcomb

Author’s Evaluation (for what it’s worth)

I’ve looked through other chess books that appear, on the surface, to be for the chess beginner. Not one of them impressed me, in how a beginner might benefit in comparison with the benefits possible if certain basic points had been emphasized properly. I pressed forward, with full confidence that my book, Beat That Kid in Chess, could become the best chess book ever written for the raw beginner. Now that my book has been published, I present it as a candidate for being the best such book ever written.

If I am mistaken, through overlooking a better book, please let me know.


One estimate for the number of chess books published (in history) is about 100,000. Probably less than 10% of those were written for the raw beginner, the player who knows the rules but not how to win an actual game. Who can say what is the best chess book for a beginner? But one point can be said for Beat That Kid in Chess: It uses a new method of instruction called nearly-identical positions. This greatly helps the student to see those critical details in chess positions, details that make all the difference.

In the first chapter of the book, Diagram-1 is a position in which White can make an immediate checkmate, capturing a black pawn with the queen. On the next page, however, one piece has been added, and that black queen protects that pawn, preventing White from getting mate.

Those nearly-identical positions are then repeated over and over, with different possibilities that come from those minor alterations. This can save the reader from losing many games over a long period of time. How is that? Instead of learning slowly by the painful experiences of losing many games, the beginner learns those basic concepts from examining those carefully planned chess positions in those diagrams in Beat That Kid in Chess.



Another Voice for the Benefits of Chess for Children

. . . in the United States, a nation that actively promotes sports for the physical development of students but promotes intellectual competition (like chess) much less than European countries promote the game [of chess] in schools.

A New Chess Book for Beginners

Castle early in  the game, to get your king closer to a safe corner

Beat That Kid in Chess

Published September 2, 2015, with a suggested retail price of $13.40 (US dollars)

Chess for Beginners

. . . The above four simple principles, when applied consistently, may allow an early beginner to soon win a game, provided the opponent is also an early beginner.


Super master Paul Morphy of New Orleans

The American Chess Champion Paul Morphy

At least from his early-middle-aged years until he died in 1884, Paul Morphy reportedly considered chess an amateur activity, not to be pursued as a profession. Yet in his younger years he played many chess games, even defeating adults when he was a small child.

He won the first American Chess Congress in 1857, with the following score:

14 wins

1 loss

3 draws

Perhaps even more rare than the 14-to-1 win/loss ratio (draws did not count in 1857), Morphy refused the cash prize after winning the tournament, very rare for a chess master.

chess tournament in 1857The 18 contestants in the first American Chess Congress (Morphy in the middle of right column)


Chess Games in Europe (1858-1859)

According to Wikipedia, Paul Morphy’s record in Europe was as follows (not including casual games, only formal matches, none of which he lost):

38 wins

11 loses

8 draws

After winning so many games against many of the best European chess masters, Paul Morphy was often proclaimed, by those who saw his victories, the champion of the world.


Super master Paul Morphy of New Orleans

Paul Morphy – American chess champion



Chess Book for Beginners

. . . new paperback book, about to be published, really is for the early beginner, the player who knows the rules of chess but almost nothing else about the game.

Free E-Book on Paul Morphy

The [Chess] Congress was advertised to open on the 6th of October [1857] . . . First of all came Judge Meek, of Alabama . . . Soon after him followed Mr. Louis Paulsen . . .

Chess for Children

In a study by the New York City Schools, it was found that “Chess dramatically improves a child’s ability to think rationally . . . increases cognitive skills . . . improves children’s communication skills . . .”

A Chess Puzzle

Clear understanding of the influences of chess pieces [how they can move] can here make an apparently difficult problem easy to solve.


two "pterodactyl" ropens seen in Cuba in 1971

Religion and Belief in Modern Pterosaurs

By Jonathan D. Whitcomb, investigative reporter

A handful of American cryptozoologists and explorers have searched for living pterosaurs around the world and have searched for eyewitnesses of those featherless flying creatures. Let’s examine how religion relates to belief in modern pterosaurs.

The Breadth of Sighting Locations

Over the past twelve years, I have received emails from five continents, from persons of various cultures, various religions, and various backgrounds. Most of them are eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs, not paleontologists examining fossil bones but ordinary persons who have witnessed an extraordinary winged creature that resembles a pterosaur more than a bird or bat.

Yet I have done more than read emails. In 2004 I traveled to Papua New Guinea and explored part of Umboi Island with my interpreter-bodyguard, the native Luke Paina. We searched for the nocturnal ropen and almost totally failed, but we succeeded in finding many eyewitnesses of the gigantic featherless long-tailed flying creature of the night.

After returning to the United States, and during the eleven years since that expedition, I have communicated with many eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs. I have learned about the flying creatures and about people. Here are some of the countries where sightings were reported:

  • Papua New Guinea
  • Australia
  • Philippines
  • Afghanistan
  • Namibia
  • Sudan
  • Spain
  • Amsterdam
  • Great Britain
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Cuba

two "pterodactyl" ropens seen in Cuba in 1971Sketch drawn by an eyewitness of two flying creatures seen in Cuba in 1971


An Objective Look at Religion

How does religion relate to non-extinct pterosaurs? It appears to mostly connect with one’s passion in searching for those creatures; religion appears unrelated to sightings themselves. In other words, your religion has nothing to do with whether or not you will see an apparent pterosaur, however it relates closely to whether or not you will go on an expedition in search of those creatures. Also, it can relate closely to whether or not you’ll believe an eyewitness.

Critics and skeptics have sometimes ridiculed the living-pterosaur (LP) investigations with a statement like this: “A modern pterosaur will not prove the world is only 6,000 years old. We already have ‘living fossils’ and yet we know the world is billions of years old.”

Yet rarely will a critic quote the words of any LP investigator (like me or Garth Guessman or David Woetzel or Paul Nation), preferring to set up a straw man argument and trying to make us look silly. Let’s take a more objective look at how religion relates to the concept of non-extinct pterosaurs.

Biblical Creation and LP Investigators

Most of the expeditions and interviews were conducted by a few Americans who hold a firm belief in literal readings of the Old Testament. Critics have pointed out that belief, apparently to dismiss everything we have done and said regarding sightings of apparent pterosaurs.

Yet many of the most celebrated scientific discoveries of the last few centuries have been made by those who hold a firm belief in literal readings of the Old Testament. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have spent more hours studying the Bible than in scientific work. That makes any attempt at dismissing LP investigations inappropriate, to say the least, when religious belief is the reason for dismissal. Look at the ideas themselves and consider the value of those ideas.

And yet our purposes can be explained, for those who are actually interested. I cannot speak much on behalf of my colleagues, only for my own purposes, and they have multiple levels.

One Purpose of Jonathan Whitcomb

I here mention one level of purpose, so we’ll let that suffice for now.

I want people of Western cultures to see more clearly, each person thinking more for himself or herself, with a better awareness of how we have been affected by indoctrination. How have we been indoctrinated? A book might be required to address that question completely, but let’s now take a brief look. The following is taken from the fourth edition of my nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God:

Automatic dismissal of an eyewitness report of a live pterosaur—that usually comes from dogmatically protecting ones philosophy or the universal-extinction assumption of our culture; it does not come from protecting science, at least with what I consider any reasonable definition of science. [page 10 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

Watch science documentaries for years, those broadcast on American television, and you may find no mention of “origin philosophy,” or even a hint that such a thing exists. Why? Those science documentaries are funded by those who have adopted the standard-model axioms about origins, and they sometimes use the word “science” for that origin philosophy, which includes Darwin’s idea of unlimited common ancestry of all living organisms. [page 338 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

I know from personal experience that Darwin’s concept of natural selection actually prevents the evolutionary changes he imagined. By the mathematical simulations in my investigation “Evolutionary Boundary,” I know. Take that by faith or reject it or set it on a back burner, but I myself know that flaw in Darwin’s philosophy, by my own personal experience. [page 339 of SFRFG, 4th ed.]

In Western countries, how often does the media portray belief in accidental existence as if that is a foundation of scientific thought! How often is the philosophy of Charles Darwin promoted in universities as if that philosophy is the center point of science! We are taught from childhood through old age, and what are we taught? Not how to think but what to think. Many Americans have rejected the indoctrination, but how many others have been molded into mental zombies, hardly capable of thinking for themselves! Part of my purpose has been to encourage clear independent thinking.



Pterosaurs and Belief in God

The following online sites contain scientific evidence or observable phenomena that directly or indirectly can lead to belief in the existence of God or confirm the logic of that belief.

Evidence of Modern Pterosaurs or Ropens

Many persons in Western societies, including in the United States, are blind to ideas that run contrary to deeply-entrenched assumptions.

Modern Pterosaur on Creation-Wiki

“Their most primitive representatives (seen through fossils of bats and pterosaurs) are fully transformed as capable fliers.” [“The Evolution of Dinosaurs” by Paul C. Sereno]

Video Evidence for Ropen Bioluminescence

Cliff Paiva, a physicist living in California, analyzed the video footage: two lights that Paul Nation (of Texas) recorded in Papua New Guinea, late in 2006. Whatever the lights were, they were not airplanes, meteors, car headlights, flashlights, or camera artifacts. The images were also not from a paste-on hoax.

The “Bible of Modern Pterosaurs” Cryptozoology Book

“. . . a hope that  carried us to a remote tropical island to search for a  living creature that almost all scientists had set aside  as if dead for millions of years. How dearly we all need  the mother of that little hope: a sense of a worthy  purpose to live!”

The Fiery Flying Serpent and a Book by Whitcomb

Although this new book has been called “the Bible of Modern pterosaurs,” and it explains a new interpretation for the flying “snakes” in the Old Testament, the Bible itself is quoted only in a few places.

Searching for Ropens and Finding God

On Barnes & Noble: “Fly above common true-life adventures, and dive into what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo: living pterosaurs of the modern world–what a discovery!”

Brief Introduction to Living Pterosaur Investigations

Youtube video by Jonathan Whitcomb: his Umboi Island expedition in 2004

The Ropen of Papua New Guinea

It is described as a large, featherless flying creature with a long tail. It is reported to glow at night, in a way suggesting the animal controls the light (called “intrinsic bioluminescence”).

Kongamato Pterodactyl

A flying cryptid in Africa: The word “Kongamato” is said to have come from a native word that means “breaker of boats.” Even though some people believe it is a fictional animal of myth, some cryptozoologists belief kongamato is a “pterodactyl,” meaning a pterosaur.


An eyewitness sketched this from her memory

Why the Ropen is a Modern Pterosaur

Late in 2014, the ropen page of Wikipedia was deleted by a few critics of the American cryptozoologists who searched for this cryptid in expeditions in Papua New Guinea, over many years of searching. Two television adventure shows (semi-documentary) were broadcast by two different production teams, yet that was not enough to prevent the skeptics from eliminating that page on Wikipedia. We have a better way than censorship, a better way to promote the truth.

Of course the issue of credibility may have some merit, but both sides of a controversy need to be addressed, especially in this case, in which different kinds of credibility are involved.

If Wikipedia does not even have a page on the ropen, why even consider the possibility that this reported animal is a modern pterosaur? It’s the similar descriptions given by eyewitnesses from around the world, common persons who have seen an uncommon flying creature.

Yet the public needs to be aware of a simplistic form of credibility that appears on the surface to make modern pterosaurs impossible. Beware of relying too much on a narrow but deeply entrenched cultural assumption, ingrained through generations of indoctrination. It’s the idea that all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs must have become extinct, in all of their species, by many millions of years ago. That has been drilled into the thinking of children and adults, for generations, in Western countries like the United States.

So what other kind of credibility is there, regarding the possibility that the ropen is a modern pterosaur? Eyewitnesses from around the world report a large featherless flying creature with a long tail. These reports of long tails outnumber reports of a lack of a long tail by 20-to-1 ratio: 41% to 2%, according to analysis of data compiled at the end of 2012. Those sightings come from eyewitnesses of various cultures, from countries like the following:

  • Namibia (Africa)
  • Sudan (Africa)
  • Spain
  • Lithuania
  • Cuba
  • Canada
  • United States
  • Mexico
  • Australia
  • Papua New Guinea

How does this relate to the credibility issue of the ropen being a real non-extinct long-tailed pterosaur? If only Westerners, such as Americans, were telling cryptozoologists about encounters with pterosaurs, and those persons were mostly hoaxers, they would report alleged flying creatures with short tails (or without mentioning any observed tails), for that is the type of pterosaur so often depicted in film and television. But the ration is 20-to-1 in favor of long-tailed “pterodactyls,” which eliminates the possibility that many of the reports are hoaxes.

Now consider the following sketch, drawn by the eyewitness Eskin Kuhn. He was a U.S. Marine, stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 1971.

two "pterodactyl" ropens seen in Cuba in 1971

Sketch by the eyewitness Eskin C. Kuhn

This kind of credibility—from looking at one of the sketches drawn by one of the eyewitnesses—tells us to review our long-held beliefs in universal extinctions of all species of dinosaurs and pterosaurs.




Bioluminescent Ropen

The water-birds resting/sleeping on shore suddenly stirred and made a ruckus, disturbed by whatever was out over the water. . . . As we both looked out at the water, we saw something dark moving over the water, for a second or two only, and then in it’s flight path it started a flashing greeny-blue light, as whatever it was continued to fly just above the water of the dam.

Ropen Eyewitness Credibility

Do pterosaurs still live? In the 21st Century? Don’t  rush to any conclusion; get the facts, then judge  credibility.

Modern Pterosaurs in Griffith Park

In a period of ten weeks, two eyewitnesses saw a total of four flying creatures: three “dragons” and one “pterosaur.” The three were gliding together early in the morning of March 3, 2013, over the I-5 freeway near Griffith Park. The “pterosaur” was seen gliding over that same freeway on May 13, 2013, just a mile and a half to the south.

Ropen Pterosaur Still Living

Since the early 1990’s, there have been at least seven significant expeditions to Papua New Guinea to search for “ropens” and those who’ve seen them.

Definition of the Ropen

According to the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God,  “A modern pterosaur with Rhamphorhynchoid characteristics”  is the definition of “ropen,” . . .

Ropens or “Flying Dinosaurs”

Do you believe in the possibility that long-tailed featherless flying creatures, much larger than any fruit bat, live in the jungles of Papua New Guinea? Your belief depends a great deal on where you lived your childhood: in a village like Gomlongon on Umboi Island or in a western country like the United States.

Pterodactyl or Ropen in Papua New Guinea

. . . he [Jonathan Whitcomb] concluded that the ropen of Umboi is protecting its territory from  smaller ones of its species that live on surrounding islands.

Pterodactyl in Lakewood, California

For Lakewood residents, don’t leave your Chihuahua overnight in the backyard, at least not if your backyard is bordered by a storm channel.