Patience, dear friend. "Beta late than never" as they say.
As there is a larger story extending across the entire series, I realized that I was messing things up a bit in Book Two.
And in the meantime, some neurological research I'm involved in has demanded a fair amount of time. Of course, that last aspect is not quite fair: I'm still finding time to write my daily (and now, expected) poetry on a rather good SF webcomic called Endtown. In fact, the next one is due in about thirty-five minutes...
Level head: Nice, I love the idea of octopuses becoming an advanced civilization. Trust me, when you release your books to the public. At least you'll have one faithful buyer guaranteed.
Also, I've always had dreams of genetically enhanced octopuses (or octopi) being extremely smart. Or even being able to display writing characters and words etc by using their chromophores. As for the chess playing idea, I wouldn't be half surprised if a 3 year old beat me. Heh....those good ole' days in the chess club.....not a good experience for me.