Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy 2017!

Hola darlings!

I am still among the living, just busy with domestic engineering projects.  Feathering my retirement nest, getting a lot of redecorating and some renovations out of the way now rather than waiting any longer.  I'm not getting any younger, you know.

HAPPY 2017!

Oh I know, the Clueless Orange Man who is NOT MY PRESIDENT is itching to start World War III while licking Vlady Baby Putin's butt crack and giving the middle finger to our European allies and NATO.  The man is a menace.  We'll see how long he lasts.  Already he is the least popular president among Americans in American history.  And he hasn't even been officially inaugurated yet.  HE IS A BIG FAT DOWNER, NO LIE.  Las Vegas has been running betting lines for months on (1) when he will be impeached and (2) when he will be assassinated.

I'm ignoring him as much as possible.

Goddesschess WILL be supporting the 2017 Grand Pacific Open again this year, held around Easter-time every year in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.  We have increases the prizes for the chess femmes this year and also provide a small stipend to the organizers help fund the appearance of a WGM.

We will also be continuing our support of the yearly events sponsored by our adopted chess club, Southwest Chess Club.  The first this year is the Hales Corners Challenge XXV (we've been supporting the Challenges since Challenge VIII) on April 22, 2017.

A full flyer hasn't been posted yet, but here are the details for Challenge XXV:

USCF Grand Prix Points: 10. Chess Magnet School Junior Grand Prix. Wisconsin Tour Event. 4SS, G/60;d6.
2 Sections: Open & Reserve (under 1600). Olympia Resort Hotel, 1350 Royale Mile Rd., Oconomowoc, WI 53066; 1-800-558-9573 (mention Southwest Chess Club for $99 room rate).
EF: $40-Open, $30-Reserve, both $5 more after April 20. Comp EF for USCF 2200+.
$$GTD: Open: 1st-$325, 2nd-$175, A-$100, B & Below-$75; Reserve: 1st-$100, 2nd-$75, D- $50, E & Below-$40.
Goddesschess prizes for Females in addition to above prizes: Open: $50 per win/$25 per draw; Reserve: $20 per win/$10 per draw; Perfect Score Prize for Females: $80 in Open/$40 in Reserve.
Reg.: 8:30-9:30.
Rds.: 10-1-3:30-6.
Entries/Questions to: Robin Grochowski, 3835 E. Morris Avenue, Cudahy, WI 53110; rgrochowski@wi.rr.com; 414-861-2745.

Stay tuned!  We're not going anywhere, unless Herr Trump's brown shirts decide I am a major threat to the security of the United States and I disappear.  I doubt that will happen, but if it don't show up after a few months, you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Oh Oh...

Happy Holidays to all!  For those of you who want to see this year's Christmas tree and skip all the blah blah blah, drop down to the end of the post.

It has been bitterly cold here -- we are under one of those nasty Polar Vortexes and we have had about 16" of snow over a span of 9 days.  Today blossomed less cold but extremely windy.  So windy that gigantic drifts are forming everywhere on the streets, in my driveway, on my sidewalk, and on everyone else's too, and there isn't a thing we can do about it until the winds die down.  That may be on Thursday. Windchills today were hovering around 10 below zero F to zero F, and it felt positively balmy outside compared to the past three days when windchills were 20 to 30 below zero F.  We are running about 29 degrees F below normal temperatures for this time of year.  I dread to think what January and February (always the worst two months of winter) will bring - weatherwise and otherwise.

Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, Father Time and History is throwing up all kinds of vomit (literally) all over the world the past several months, and 2017 promises to continue the unabated horrors.  St. Januarius's miracle blood refused to liquify on December 16th this year.  No bueno.  When this has happened in the past, BAD THINGS have happened.  Now this could not possibly be connected to the U.S. gone mad election of that man who is NOT my dictator, could it...

Or could it?

7:19 a.m. E 

One of the most famous recurring miracles — even if one not quite sanctioned by the Catholic Church — is the liquefaction of the dried blood of San Gennaro, or St. Januarius, a bishop of Naples martyred around 305 A.D. and the city's patron saint. Starting in 1389, the vial of San Gennaro's blood typically turns liquid three times a year: on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May; on his saint's feast day, Sept. 19; and on Dec. 16, the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 1631. The blood liquefied on Sept. 19 this year, but not on Dec. 16. "In local lore, the failure of the blood to liquefy signals war, famine, disease, or other disaster," Catholic News Agency reports.

The relic failed to liquefy in September 1939, when World War II broke out; during a cholera outbreak in Naples in 1973; and in 1980, the year of a deadly earthquake, Italy's La Stampa newspaper says. But Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, the abbott of the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, took a philosophical view. "We must not think of disasters and calamities," he counseled, according to the ANSA news agency. "We are men of faith and we must pray." Peter Weber


Well, I've been praying my butt off for months to the Great Mother Goddess for a miracle to get rid of Herr Hitler Donald Trump a/k/a the Antichrist before he manages to start WWIII and the Zombie Apocalypse by doing something - anything - to strike him down and, preferably, Mike Pence too, all in one fell swoop.  I keep hoping for reports of miracle lightning bolts appearing out of the sky to strike them down.  But nope - nothing yet.  So -- it looks like we are going to suffer through some dire visitation from Fate during 2017, unless the Great Mother intervenes.

Here is this year's Christmas tree.  Not my best effort, heart just is not in it this year.  Talk to y'all after the holidays - maybe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Are You Investigating Moving to Canada? Forget It - They Don't Want Us Unless We're Billionaires...

My commentary on the election results in my home country.  I hope we survive four years of this.  In the meantime, pee your pants laughing as I just did and remember I did not vote for this when the missiles start flying, darlings:


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXIV: Goddesschess Prizes Awarded

Hola darlings!

Another successful edition of the HCCC is in the books.

Here is the rundown on $835 in Goddesschess prize money paid out to our winners this event.

The prize structure is open-ended; for instance, if ten chess femmes entered and played in the Open, and they each won all of their games, the total prize payout from Goddesschess would be $2,000 ($50 x 4 rounds x 10 femmes).  In the Open, a win by a female player is worth $50 and a draw is worth $25; in the Reserve, a win by a female player is worth $20 and a draw is worth $10.  The top female player in each Section also receives paid entry into the next HCCC if she chooses to enter.  Beginning a Challenge or two ago, we also instituted a perfect score prize for the chess femmes, one for each Section: $80 in the Open, $40 in the Reserve.  All Goddesschess prizes are in addition to what a player qualifies for under the tournament's prize structure.

Each October beginning with the HCCC in October 2013, in memory of Don McLean, Goddesschess' late webmaster, researcher, writer and reporter, we also fund a Don McLean memorial prize of $100 for the top male scorer in the Open and $50 for the top male scorer in the Reserve.

Open Section:
Anupama Rajendra won $150 (also won free entry to HCC XXV, $40)
Ritika Pandey won $100
Susanna Ulrich won $50
Megan Chen won $25

Reserve Section:
Simran Bhatia won $60 (also won free entry to HCC XXV, $30)
Madeline Weber won $50
Miriam Luevano won $40
Ellen Wanek won $40
Aradh Kaur won $40
Radhika Gupta won $40
Kai Mills won $20
Nika Kwon had zero points and thus did not win anything

There was no perfect score by any of the chess femmes this Tournament.

Don McLean Award:

Open Section:
Erik Sanntarius won $100

Reserve Section:
Sidharth Rane won $25
David Mertz won $25


Congratulations to all of the Goddesschess prize winners, and hope to have you all return for the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXV in April 2017!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXIV

Hola everyone!

The HCCC XXIV is now underway at the beautiful Olympia Resort Hotel in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  It is a long and grueling day - I know because I played in a few (a very few; my poor brain couldn't take the strain): Four rounds with the last round beginning at 6 p.m. (first round began at 10 a.m.).

Here's the breakdown of players from Southwest Chess Club's Tom Fogec ("CF's" are chess femmes):

Open--41 entered--4 CF's--9.8%

Reserve--37 entered--8 CF's--21.6%

Total--78 entered--12 CF's--15.4%

Good luck to all of the players, but you know I'm particularly rooting for those chess femmes!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Women's U.S. Chess Champion's Stand Against Iran Makes The Washington Post

National coverage - good for the current U.S. Women's Chess Champion and good for The Washington Post in publicizing her principled stand against this kind of religious tyranny and sexism!

The American Chess Champion Challenging Iran's Hijab Fetish

By Asra Q. Nomani and Masih Alinejad
October 5, 2016

Last week, FIDE, the international chess federation, quietly announced that Iran would host next year’s Women’s World Chess Championship, which means contestants will have to cover their hair with scarves to comply with a “modesty” law fundamentalist clerics put in place after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
As British Grandmaster Nigel Short spread the news, expressing concern, the 2016 U.S. champion, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, a Georgian American, made a morally courageous move: Paikidze said she would skip the competition rather than comply with a law that denies women and girls fundamental human rights.
“I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression. Even if it means missing one of the most important competitions of my career,” the chess champion said. [visit link to read the article in its entirety].

Saturday, October 1, 2016

FIDE To Meet With Iran To Discuss "Player Comfort" At Women's World Chess Championship

The easy solution is for Iran to demonstrate how diplomatically magnanimous it is by waiving this horrid law's forced enactment on non-Muslim female visitors to the country.

What is the U.S. Chess Federation's position on this horrendous imposition of a Muslim religious rule on non-Muslim players?  It would be like all players coming into the United States to play in a chess tournament being forced to wear a crucifix around their necks upon pain of prosecution and threat of being jailed because - you know - this is the "Christian culture" of our country!

Well, you all know or should know that is horse manure and would never fly in the world today despite certain "christian" factions in the United States who would like to turn this country into a theocracy, but this is no different from Iran forcing a head scarf upon non-Muslim females who, if they want to play in the championship, have no choice but to go to Iran.  That sucks.

I hope ALL of the female players will choose not to play if they are required to wear a head scarf.

Female chess players protest wearing hijab at Iran world championship 

By Elizabeth Roberts, for CNN
Updated 7:35 AM ET, Fri September 30, 2016

(CNN) - Some of the world's top female chess players are upset that the next world championship will be held in Iran, where players are expected to wear head scarves.

The US women's champion, Nazi Paikidze-Barnes, will not be taking part in the event in Tehran next February due to her concern over the issue. Meanwhile former Pan American champion Carla Heredia -- who did not qualify for the Tehran tournament -- also called for the 64 women who are playing there to protest against the hijab rule.

"Iran has hosted chess tournaments before and women were always forced to wear a hijab," Paikidze-Barnes told CNN.

"We don't see this event being any different, forced hijab is the country's law." This, she said, is "religious and sexist discrimination."

She added: "If the venue of the championship is not changed, I will not be participating. I am deeply upset by this. I feel privileged to have qualified to represent the US at the Women's World Chess Championship and to not be able to due to religious, sexist, and political issues is very disappointing."

World Sports Issue

Meanwhile Heredia, originally from Ecuador and now living in Texas, said: "This is not only about 64 players, this is a world issue, a women's rights issue. That's why I'm speaking up. Sports should be free of this type of discrimination."
She said she hoped Iran would agree for women to play without hijabs without fear of punishment.

Islamic dress 

Islamic codes of behavior and dress are strictly enforced in Iran. In public places, women must cover their heads with a headscarf.

Susan Polger, the chairman of FIDE's Commission for Women's Chess, has so far not received any complaints from players on the matter. However, she said, if complaints come in, the commission will handle them "professionally and diplomatically."

Polger, who is retired from competing, said she has never had to play a tournament wearing a headscarf. However, she said that speaking personally, she would not have an issue with wearing one out of respect for a country's culture. [This isn't about "culture" - it's about misogynistic systemic oppression of females.  Of course, GM Polgar is - or should be - well aware of that.  She's been subject to plenty of misogynistic systemic oppression during her own playing career - like in 1986 ...]

Why Iran? 

Iran was the only country which made a proposal to host the event, a World Chess Federation (FIDE) spokeswoman told CNN in a statement. She added that since there were no objections from any of the other 150 national chess federations -- including the US (what she did tell you is that it's run by a majority of old men with 19th century ideas and the female players are NOT consulted] -- FIDE's General Assembly accepted the proposal.

FIDE is "reviewing all possible solutions for the players' comfort and will discuss all the issues with the organizers in Iran during meetings in the next few weeks," said the spokeswoman, adding that the organization had so far not received any complaints from players competing. [I don't believe this - but even if this is true, it would be because players fear making "official" complaints and being blacklisted by FIDE, which routinely punishes players who "do not go along."]


The irony that nobody is talking about is that if it were a men's knock-out championship, the male players wouldn't be forced to alter their appearances in any way.  Where is the fairness?  Where is the equality?

Top Female Chessplayers Threaten Boycott of World Championship Scheduled In Mysogynist Iran

My first knowledge of and comments about this outrage were made in the post immediately below this one earlier today, but really, I doubt my loyal readers would have to read my comments in order to know where I stand on this subject.
This article is from the Guardian:

'We won't wear hijabs': Chess queens threaten to boycott world championships in Iran after being told they MUST wear Islamic headscarfs

  • Female chess players will have to wear hijab at a 2017 tournament in Iran 

  • US champion Nazi Paikidze threatened to pull out of the games 
    in Tehran

  • Pan American champion Carla Heredia also voiced her anger at the move

  • All women in Iran must wear hijab if not they will face arrest or punishment


Top women chess players are threatening to boycott the world championship in Iran because they will be forced to wear hijabs.

Female Grandmasters will risk arrest if they do not cover up to compete in the strict Middle Eastern country due to host the knock-out tournament next year. 

The World Chess Federation, known by its French acronym Fide, has now been accused of failing to stand up for women’s rights after telling players to accept the laws and respect ‘cultural differences’, The Telegraph reported.

US women's champion Nazi Paikidze said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women's tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

‘I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women's rights are being severely restricted in general. It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.’

She added: ‘If the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.’

The headscarves have been mandatory for women in Iran since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  The strict regulation is enforced by the country’s ‘morality police’ and any woman found not wearing one in public faces arrest, a fine or public reprimand.

The UK government warns women travelling to Iran of the ‘strictly enforced’ dress code and says ladies must cover their heads with a scarf in public and wear trousers or long skirts.

Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia, from Ecuador, added: ‘No institution, no government, nor a Women's World Chess Championship should force women to wear or to take out a hijab.

‘This violates all what sports means. Sport should be free of discrimination by sex, religion and sexual orientation.’

American Grandmaster Susan Polgar, chairman of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, has said the players need to respect ‘cultural differences’.

She said: ‘When I visited different places with different cultures, I like to show my respect by dressing up in their traditional style of clothing. No one asked me to do it. I just do it out of respect.

‘I personally would have no issues with wearing a head scarf (hijab) as long as it is the same to all players.

‘I cannot speak on behalf of others but from my personal conversations with various players in the past year, they had no real issues with it.’

Fide did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Mail.

Forced to Wear Hijab or Not Play Chess

There I was, quietly enjoying reading the news online this morning and all of a sudden I see this article (below).  What the BLEEP, I said out loud.  Now my day is ruined.

This is absolutely pathetic - and enraging.  And GM Susan Polgar - SHAME ON YOU.  You are endorsing FIDE screwing over female chessplayers just like it screwed you over in 1986.  Because - you know - it's the "culture."  Condoning and actively supporting the coercion of non-Muslim women to wear a symbol of religious repression and misogyny may be part of your "culture," GM Polgar, but it isn't part of mine.

Article at PJ Media

BY CHRISTIAN TOTO SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

Sports competitors are often asked to conform to the rules of the countries they visit.  That might mean eating local cuisine or simply driving on the opposite side of the road.

For one elite chess player, embracing one country's religious customs isn't an option. And she may not be alone.

U.S. women's chess champion Nazi Paikidze-Barnes won't appear at February's world championships to be held in Tehran. Female players will be expected to wear a hijab, which is mandatory by Iranian law.  That isn't acceptable to her:
If the venue of the championship is not changed, I will not be participating. I am deeply upset by this. I feel privileged to have qualified to represent the US at the Women's World Chess Championship and to not be able to due to religious, sexist, and political issues is very disappointing.
Paikidze-Barnes' may have company soon enough. Former Pan American champion Carla Heredia wants the 64 female players slated to participate in the event to protest the mandatory hijab garb as well.

"Sports should be free of this type of discrimination," Heredia explained.

The Islamic Revolution of 1979 led to Iranian women being ordered to wear hijabs in public or face punishment. [Unless you were born, dear reader, AFTER the so-called "Revolution," and so are not aware that Iran once had a modern secular society in which women were equal partners, movers and shakers, women in Iran were never FORCED to wear a head covering.  The "Revolutionary Guard" actively sought a return to the DARK AGES for all females in Iran - you know - RULE BY THE PENIS.  Let's call it what it is - it's religious bigotry of Iranian males being forced upon non-Iranian non-Muslim females.  It is also a violation of everybody's fundamental right to have freedom of conscience and freedom of - and from - religion.  It is disgusting. ]

For Heredia, having the event in Iran means more than wearing hijabs. "The obligation to use hijab is one issue, another one is that women can't share room with a male if she is not married to him," she said.

Susan Polgar, chair of Fide's Commission for Women's Chess, said the hijab ruling shouldn't be an issue. It's a matter of respecting local culture, Polgar says, adding the dress code will apply to all players.

Sporting events are often ways for cultures to find common ground. Even as the Third Reich rose in Germany the world came together in Berlin for the 1936 Olympic Games.

We live in much more fractured times. And examples of sexist treatment in Iran are now commonplace thanks to the web and media outlets.  It will be interesting to see if women's rights groups rally to the chess players' side on the matter. On the surface, it's a glaring example of infringing on a woman's right to free expression. Yet these very same groups aren't always vocal about misogynistic practices in the Islamic world.

Will the chess player's protest become a cause celebre among feminists? Or will they stay mostly silent and let the events play out over the coming weeks?
Either way, their actions may speak volumes.  

Note to author Christian Toto:  Don't confuse lack of knowledge about this OUTRAGE and therefore LACK OF ACTION with lack of caring on the part of women's organizations.  Chess is not a publicized sport in the United States and in general people who follow chess (mostly males) often refer dismissively to "women's chess," - you know, like it's the equivelent of second grade tiddly-winks.  

And, Christian Toto, until you've walked a mile in a professional female chessplayer's shoes, you have NO FRIGGING IDEA what you are talking about.  For too many female chessplayers, this event is the ONLY opportunity they will have of making some decent money, or even just getting out of their home countries for a once-in-a-lifetime trip, even if they get bounced out in the first round.  Principles are much easier to live by when one is well fed and has money in the bank.
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