Sunday, June 21, 2015

Celtic Prince - or Princess? Fantastic Chariot Burial in France

Leave it to The Daily Mail to write about archaeological discoveries in a way that appeals to the unwashed masses, like moi :)

Is it Victor - or Victoria?  Or evidence of an ancient cross-dressing trans-gender person?  Photos and a video at the online article.

I posted the story a few months back.

Does France's 2,500-year-old royal tomb belong to a prince or princess? Stunning Celtic find complete with chariot and jewels leaves archaeologists baffled

  • Lavish tomb filled with bronze, silver and gold found near Lavau in France 
  • Archaeologists are split over whether the skeleton was a prince or princess
  • An elaborate solid gold torque and bracelets were still on the skeleton
  • The grave shows 'signs of masculinity' but the skeleton appears feminine

The remains of an ancient Celtic prince or princess found still wearing a solid gold torque and lavish bracelets in a grave filled with riches has left archaeologists baffled.

The 2,500 year old royal grave, which is thought to date to the fifth century BC, was discovered in Lavau, near Troyes, is thought to have belonged to a member of a Celtic royal family.  Lying at the centre of the tomb, the skeleton had been laid to rest inside an ornate two-wheeled chariot with a 580g (1.2lbs) golden torque decorated with elaborate winged monsters around its neck.

The Hallstatt Celts were a early Iron age culture that spread across most of northern Europe.

Pandyas - Roman Ancient Trade

Hola everyone!

This is a fascinating article.  I know nothing about this culture/empire - the Pandyas - so I checked out some information at Wikipedia, I always find Wiki helpful!  When I read the article and saw Tamil, I knew it was located on the east coast of India at the south of the continent.  Here is a map of Pandya territories c. 6th century BCE to 1345 CE, from Wikipedia:

So, I am assuming most of the trade was by sea, not across land.  It's a long way to Rome, wow!

Here's the article, from The Hindu online:

Uncovered: Pandyas-Romans trade link


Updated: June 18, 2015 09:15 IST  

An ongoing excavation of a Sangam period habitation by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is poised to throw more light on the flourishing trade of the Pandyas with the west and their rich culture, which was the envy of the Romans.

The Bengaluru-based Excavation Branch VI of the ASI has taken up the excavation at Keezhadi village, 12 km south east of Madurai, in Sivaganga district.  Into the third month, the exercise has already thrown up very interesting antiquities – glass/pearl/terracotta beads; terracotta figurines; grooved roof tiles and early historic pottery.

“This is the ASI’s major excavation in Tamil Nadu after Adichanallur,” says K. Amarnath Ramakrishnan, Superintending Archaeologist and director of the current excavation.

It was found to possess archaeological wealth “that may provide crucial evidence to understand the missing links of Iron Age to early historic period and subsequent cultural developments.”

The excavation area, a mound, referred to as ‘Pallichandai Thidal,’ has a circumference of 3.5 km and spans 80 acres. It is contiguous to ancient settlements like Konthagai and Manalur. “We chose the mound raising about one to 2.5 metres above the ground level as it is relatively undisturbed,” says Mr. Amarnath. “We have found the finest variety of black and red ware bowls at the site,” says M. Rajesh, assistant archaeologist.
The most interesting findings in the 32 quadrants dug up so far are the damaged brick structures, including walls. The bricks are unique to early historic period and they measure 33 cm in length, 21 cm in breadth and five cm in height.

Noted epigraphist and domain expert for the excavation, V. Vedachalam, attributes the age of the remains to third century BCE to third CE. “The earthenware contains Tamil Brahmi script. The black and red pottery belongs to the Sangam period. The bricks belong to early historic period and similar ones were found in Kaviripoompattinam, Woriyur, Alagankulam and Korkai,” he says.

The Roman ware found at the site supplement the historical references to a flourishing trade between the Pandya kingdom and the Roman Empire. Historically, these settlements would have been part of Kuntidevi Chaturvedimangalam, named after a Pandya queen.

The first major excavation of a habitation undertaken by the ASI in south Tamil Nadu will go into 2016. “The Director (Exploration and Excavation), ASI, Syed Jamal Hasan, who visited the site on May 15, was impressed with the findings,” says Mr. Amarnath.

The ASI is likely to extend the period of excavation by a year. The final report will be released after corroborating the antiquities with existing evidence and conducting various scientific analyses.  Research scholars from the University of Madras and Government Arts College, Krishnagiri, assist the ASI team in the excavation.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Chess Camp in Sheboygan


On June 11th was the first one-day chess camp sponsored by Goddesschess and hosted by the Sheboygan Area Chess Club and Glas Coffee House.  It was a resounding success!

Here are some photos posted by my chess buddy, Ellen Wanek, who worked tirelessly to put together, organize and generally honcho the chess camp.  Thanks and gratitude to Ellen, the Glas Coffee House for providing lovely space for the chess camp, the Ulriches, Richard Martin, and all who provided invaluable assistance, time and effort in making this great event come together!

We made a special effort to attract chess femmes.  Space was limited and actually filled to over-flowing with parents and observers as well as the chessplayers of both genders who attended the camp, which was taught by National Masters Rachel Ulrich and Richard Martin.

Well, I'm not sure why some of the photos are looking a little wonky.  Above, front row on the right, is NM Rachel Ulrich, next to her is Ellen Wanek, and most of the femmes who attended the chess camp are gathered around.  Thanks for the cool photos, Ellen!

NM Rachel Ulrich teaching one of the sessions.
NM Rachel Ulrich's simul.
NM Richard Martin's simul. 
We hope to have a 2016 chess camp, we're working on it, fingers crossed it comes together!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Mystery Group Forms to Track Down Looted Antiquities

Sounds like a Tom Clancy novel.  Where are Emily Thorne and Nolan Ross when we need them?

Mystery men hunt cultural past stolen by ISIL

Jonathan Gornall
 Updated: May 28, 2015 01:51 PM

ISIL’s destruction of antiquities in Syria and Iraq has prompted a secretive organisation to track and restore looted artefacts, while another international group wants to virtually recreate heritage lost to theft and vandalism.
It has no headquarters, no website, and no spokespersons prepared to see their real names in print or online. Even the title of the secretive private organisation that has recently sprung up in response to the grave threat posed by ISIL to the cultural treasures of Syria and Iraq, has an anodyne feel to it.
But there is nothing dull about the self-imposed mission of the Committee for Shared Culture (CSC), a group of like-minded people who have come together to track down and recover the ancient artefacts that are – they fear – disappearing from archaeological sites throughout Iraq and Syria every day.
“We are a group of individuals who share a common interest in the ancient world,” says John Smith, a former classics student who spent some years working in the UAE and spoke on condition of anonymity.
“I have to consider the safety of my family,” he says.

It's Settled (For Now)! Modern Man Left Africa Through Egypt

When we are still in the infancy of genetic research, it continues to amaze me the conclusions scientists are so eager to assert!  As far as I'm concerned, based on the evidence the verdict is still undecided.

Article at Phys Org (summary below)
May 28, 2015

Humans migrated north, rather than south, in the main successful migration from Cradle of Humankind

New research suggests that European and Asian (Eurasian) peoples originated when early Africans moved north - through the region that is now Egypt - to expand into the rest of the world. The findings, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, answer a long-standing question as to whether early humans emerged from Africa by a route via Egypt, or via Ethiopia.

 The extensive public catalogue of the genetic diversity in Ethiopian and Egyptian populations developed for the project also now provides a valuable, freely available, reference panel for future medical and anthropological studies in these areas.

 Two geographically plausible routes have been proposed for humans to emerge from Africa: through the current Egypt and Sinai (Northern Route), or through Ethiopia, the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Arabian Peninsula (Southern Route). Some lines of evidence have previously favoured one, some the other.

 "The most exciting consequence of our results is that we draw back the veil that has been hiding an episode in the history of all Eurasians, improving the understanding of billions of people of their evolutionary history," says Dr Luca Pagani, first author from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and University of Cambridge. "It is exciting that, in our genomic era, the DNA of living people allows us to explore and understand events as ancient as 60,000 years ago."

The team produced whole-genome sequences from 225 people from modern Egypt and Ethiopia. In previous studies, they and others have shown that these modern populations have been subject to gene flow from West Asian populations, so they excluded the Eurasian contribution to the genomes of the modern African people.

 The remaining masked genomic regions from Egyptian samples were more similar to non-African samples and present in higher frequencies outside Africa than the masked Ethiopian genomic regions, pointing to Egypt as the more likely gateway in the exodus to the rest of the world.


Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NM Rachel Ulrich Wins WIM Norm at Chicago Open

Hola everyone!

The Chicago Open was held in Chicago, Illinois May 21 - 25, 2015.  This is a FIDE rated event.

The Open section players list reads like a "Who's Who" in U.S. Chess!  Many participants in the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship were among the field.  All tolled, 113 players were in the Open, including U.S. National Master Rachel Ulrich (WI 2200).  The great news is that Rachel earned a WIM norm for her performance in the Open, finishing with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Meanwhile, sister Susanna Ulrich (WI 1566) played in the U1900 Section and finished with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Many Wisconsinites played in the Chicago Open.  Check it out!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV: June 13 - 14, 2015

Hola darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to announce the resumption of special prizes for female participants in the Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV.  Goddesschess prizes are conditional upon at least two or more females playing in each section.

Here are the details:       ----Southwest Chess Club Website            -----Southwest Chess Club Blog             

One Day Chess Camp in Sheboygan, WI with NMs Rachel Ulrich and Richard Martin !!!

Hola Darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to provide funding for this fabulous FIRST OF ITS KIND event in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Please note:  Goddesschess is paying the registration fees for ALL female participants, regardless of age/experience level.  

So - let me cut to the chase, darlings!  As you may know, Rachel Ulrich, one of the fabulous chess-playing Ulrichs siblings (Tommy, Anne, Rachel, and Susanna, children of Jim and Janet Ulrich) - recently earned her U.S. National Master title at the age of 14 after yet another great tournament performance at the April, 2015 Hales Corners Chess Challenge.  Through behind-the-scenes communications and what-not that I won't bore you with all of the details, a wonderful and first-of-its-kind event has been arranged for JUNE 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Here are the details:

The Sheboygan TUE KNIGHT CHESS CLUB has an awesome opportunity to host a VERY INSPIRING SUMMER CHESS CAMP DAY  event !

Featuring :
 TEEN National Chess Master Rachel Ulrich ! 
 One of the TOP 30 Female Players in AMERICA & Wisconsin's Highest Ranked Female Player !
Current USCF RATING : 2200

12 yr. Susanna Ulrich 
 National Master Richard Martin III 

Goddesschess has provided funding to pay the
Registration Fees for Females of all ages !!  FREE REGISTRATION

 It is an honor to have NM Rachel Ulrich & Susanna as our special guests and I want it to be a packed attendance ! 
Very Limited Space so  PLEASE REPLY EMAIL NOW so I can register you.     DETAILS BELOW...
Ellen Wanek  :o)
(920) 452-8743

  THUR JUNE 11 th , 2015   
Glas coffee house Conference Room 
924 N. 14th. St.   Sheboygan 

10AM - 4PM with Tactical / Strategy Lesson/ Lecture,  Puzzles,  Personal Q & A time , Game Analysis and Simuls w/ the Masters ! 
(Prizes for those who Win or Draw)

Our Chess Club has no funds so I will have to ask for a small Registration Fee to cover NM's lessons, Ulrich family expenses to Sheboygan & Event Prizes.

INDIVIDUAL :   $ 25  ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 
FAMILY    :        $ 50   ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 


My dear chess-buddy, Ellen Wanek, lives in Sheboygan and has dedicated years to teaching chess to students of all ages, but especially to students in primary schools.  Ellen is also one of the driving forces behind Chess in the Park during the summer in Sheboygan where chess is also taught to beginners!

I first met Ellen online - I forget exactly how it happened now, duh!  Regardless, we found each other, that's the important thing!  I've had the opportunity to play with Ellen at some of the Hales Corners Chess Challenges (when my health was better and I had the stamina to do so).  Ever since I first "introduced" her to Goddesschess and its financial support for women's prizes at the Hales Corners Chess Challenges, Ellen has played in every Challenge!  We have become good friends.  She is one of the kindest, most loving, gentle and cheerful souls it has ever been my privilege to meet.  We are such opposites in so many ways, we are a perfect match of friends, LOL!

I was out of touch with Ellen while I was in Las Vegas on vacation, so I cannot truthfully tell you whether all the spaces for the chess camp and/or the simul with NM Rachel Ulrich and NM Richard Martin have been filled.  So, please contact Ellen directly with your inquiries about the Summer Camp.

Any excess Goddesschess funds not used to pay for registration fees will be applied to providing prizes for players and to help defray costs incurred by the chess instructors for their gracious participation in this great event.

Split Between Domesticated Dogs and Wolves Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

As long as there have been preserved written words, the close connection between the Goddess and dogs/canines has been recorded -- extremely ancient "legends" dating back to times thousands of years before written languages were invented to record them.  Similar connections exist between the Goddess and cats/felines and the Goddess and cows/bovines.  Somewhat later but still extremely ancient connections also exist between the Goddess and horses and the Goddess and birds. 

My fascination with the link between the Goddess and canines is not only related to my love for dogs, it is also rooted in the link of the Invisible Hand of the Goddess via dogs to ancient board games.  It therefore comes as no surprise to me that the boundaries of our understanding of the ancient link between womankind in particular, because it was most likely women who first domesticated canines, is being consistently pushed further and further back into "herstory" both by ongoing discoveries and re-examination and re-interpretation of earlier discoveries. 

Here's the latest, from the Science Section of The New York Times:

Family Tree of Dogs and Wolves Is Found to Split Earlier Than Thought

The ancestors of modern wolves and dogs split into different evolutionary lineages 27,000 to 40,000 years ago, much earlier than some other research has suggested, scientists reported Thursday.

The new finding is based on a bone fragment found on the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia several years ago. When scientists studied the bone and reconstructed its genome — the first time that had been done for an ancient wolf, or any kind of ancient carnivore — they found it was a new species that lived 35,000 years ago.

Based on the differences between the genome of the new species, called the Taimyr wolf, and the genomes of modern wolves and dogs, the researchers built a family tree that shows wolves and dogs splitting much earlier than the 11,000 to 16,000 years ago that a study in 2014 concluded.

Their study also gives some dog-park bragging rights to owners of Siberian huskies and Greenland sled dogs, which have inherited a portion of their genes from the Taimyr wolf.

The history of dogs is still murky, however, because it seems that different kinds of wolves and dogs have interbred at different times in different places over the past tens of thousands of years.

Love Dalen, of the Swedish Museum of Natural History and an author of the report in Current Biology, said that the simplest explanation for the new evidence “is that dogs were domesticated as much as 30,000 years ago.”

But, he said, the researchers’ work does not prove that this is what happened. Pontus Skoglund, a research fellow at Harvard University and the first author of the research paper, said, “We can’t just look at the DNA and say whether a canid was living with modern humans.”

Laurent Frantz, a researcher at Oxford who also studies canine evolution, said that he thought the work was “a great milestone in studying wolf populations,” although he said the timing of the domestication of dogs remained unclear.

The bone fragment was found by Dr. Dalen a few years ago when he was collecting fossils of ancient mammals on the Taimyr Peninsula. He said that for one unidentifiable fragment, he wrote in his field notebook, “Reindeer?”

But genetic tests showed that that fragment belonged to a wolf, and subsequent carbon dating put it around 35,000 years old. At that point, Dr. Dalen said, Dr. Skoglund suggested sequencing the genome.

As to the impact of the new research, Dr. Dalen said, “I think it would be presumptuous to assume that it would settle anything, given how contentious the field is.”
Contentious indeed!  Only think what fields of inquiry this latest research might lead to -- for instance -- cross-cultural contact among previously allegedly "distinct and isolated" populations of human beings on a scale that many (most) experts would find hard to accept, allowing for the cross-breeding of various species of domesticated canines.  Of course, cross-cultural contact among allegedly isolated populations where their doggies are making whoopie with each other also suggests the possibility that humans may also have been taking advantage of the novelty of making whoopie with the visitors.  And then there is the issue of cross-cultural trade over seemingly impossible distances, which evidence suggests did take place.  Hmmm....

Native American Gaming Pieces and "Dice" Shed Light on Promentory Culture in Utah

For the curious, please check out Stewart Culin's "Games of the North American Indians," a wonderful resource that is now available online (Holy Hathor!) It is a treasure trove of information gathered by Culin on various games and sports played by North American Indians including extensive drawings, oral traditions, and testimonies of various old-timers and collectors of gaming artifacts alive at the time Culin was traveling the North American continent collecting his information.

Article at

Hundreds of Dice, Game Pieces Found in Utah Cave Shed Light on Prehistoric Gambling

Floral Offerings in Ancient Graves

Hola everyone!  I'm back from sunny and warm Las Vegas.  It was a great trip.

My hotel was smack dab outside Rock in Rio that was held last Friday and Saturday - OMG!  Navigating around the street concert area (for vehicles) was a nightmare!  I tried to avoid the mad crush of people as much as possible.  The hotel (I stayed at Circus Circus this visit) was pleasantly busy beforehand but not like the mob scenes that can occur when there's a chess tournament in town or one or more conventions, but last week Thursday the place was inundated with arrivals for the weekend concert and, perhaps, the music awards that were hosted in LV live last Sunday night.  Of course when I'd planned my trip I had no idea these things were going to be going on during my LV stay.  Oh well, LOL!

I ate too much, drank too much, talked too much.  I did not go shopping except to one thrift store on a trip with Isis who combs through thrift stores like a pro to find vintage items for her online shop.  It was a real education watching Isis do her thing at the thrift store, wow!  I picked up a small decorative plate, one other item that for the life of me now I cannot remember, and my prize score was a black and white porcelain of a beautifully detailed horse.

Now, you may be wondering "how is it she doesn't remember what she bought?  Can't she just go look and write it down?"  Well, no, I can't do that because I don't have the things with me!  We decided rather than cramming the items into my luggage, my purchases, together with several really cool items (including a new egg for my ever-growing egg collection) that Isis surprise gifted to me, would be shipped to my home.  Since Isis has re-entered the world of vintage items and clothing via her e-bay shop (years ago she had a bricks-and-mortar location) she quickly became expert at packing items for safe arrival via US Mail, FedEx and UPS.  I should have the box in a few days, woo woo!

So - back to my much more sedate and slow-paced life of retirement in good ol' Milwaukee :)

The Red Lady of El Miron (cave site in Spain) made the news again this past week.  She lived and died approximately 18,000 years ago and was evidently reburied at some point, perhaps after her original grave site had been disturbed by predators.  Before she was re-interred, her bones were painted in a glittery (crystallized minerals laden) form of red ocher.  The "big" news about her discovery, though, wasn't the fact that she had been painted in red ocher, but that there was evidence a floral offering may have been included in her second grave, based on pollen found in the grave site.

Here is the latest article on the Red Lady of El Miron from Live Science:

Ancient Mourners May Have Left Flowers On Red Lady Grave, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, May 20, 2015

I knew about the somewhat controversial findings surrounding possible evidence of flowers left in or on a grave of a Neanderthal woman buried some 60,000 years ago in Shanidar Cave in the Kurdistan area of Iraq.  See, for instance:

The Skeletons of Shanidar Cave, Owen Edwards, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2010.

For further information on Neanderthal burial practices, see Burial, Ritual, Religion, and Cannibalism at

A more recent gravesite, a 14,000 year old burial in Raqefet Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, written about in this article (a man and woman buried together in a pit grave):

Oldest Grave Flowers Unearthed in Israel, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, July 1, 2013.  Note:  This article dates the Neanderthal burial with evidence of flowers to some 35,000 years ago, in stark contrast to Owen Edwards' article which dates the burial to some 60,000 years ago.  Perhaps two different burials are indicated.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oldest Stone Bracelet Yet Found - 40,000 Year Old Denisovan (?)Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times.Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times. Discovery

Oh, those mysterious Denisovans.  Check out this latest:

Story and many photographs of the wonderful bracelet from The Siberian Times online:

Stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

By Anna Liesowska
07 May 2015
Dating back 40,000 years to the Denisovan species of early humans, new pictures show beauty and craftsmanship of prehistoric jewellery.
It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years.
Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct. 
New pictures show this ancient piece of jewellery in its full glory with scientists concluding it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised.
'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,' said Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
'It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece. I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments.'
The bracelet was found inside the famous Denisova Cave, in the Altai Mountains, which is renowned for its palaeontological finds dating back to the Denisovans, who were known as homo altaiensis, an extinct species of humans genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.
Made of chlorite, the bracelet was found in the same layer as the remains of some of the prehistoric people and is thought to belong to them.
What made the discovery especially striking was that the manufacturing technology is more common to a much later period, such as the Neolithic era. Indeed, it is not clear yet how the Denisovans could have made the bracelet with such skill. [So why are the archaeologists so certain this is a Denisovan creation?  Read on...]
Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times.
'The ancient master was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Palaeolithic era, such as drilling with an implement, boring tool type rasp, grinding and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning.'
Chlorite was not found in the vicinity of the cave and is thought to have come from a distance of at least 200km, showing how valued the material was at the time. [If this is not evidence of ancient trade, I don't know what is!]
Dr Derevyanko said the bracelet had suffered damage, including visible scratches and bumps although it looked as if some of the scratches had been sanded down. Experts also believe that the piece of jewellery had other adornments to make it more beautiful.
'Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,' said Dr Derevyanko. 'Scientists have suggested that it was a leather strap with some charm, and this charm was rather heavy. The location of the polished section made it possible to identify the 'top' and 'bottom' of the bracelet and to establish that it was worn on the right hand.'
Polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material. General reconstruction of the view of the bracelet and compraison with the moders bracelet. Pictures: Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Anastasia Abdulmanova.  Image from article (link in headline).

Viva Las Vegas: The Spring, 2015 Visit

Hola darlings!

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I know.  I've been an unsteady lover/blogger.  Stop bitching about my long gaps in posting and start reading, please.

Got back late yesterday evening from visiting Georgia a/k/a Isis (with the beautiful Isis swimming pool/yard) and Michelle in sunny and warm (until I got there, that is) Las Vegas.  I spent three full days visiting with my long-time Goddesschess buddy/partner with an occasional nod at uber-busy Michelle (exam time, she's a UNLV senior in finals and going an extra year in 2016 to pick up a second engineering degree).  I arrived the evening of Tuesday May 12 (basically crashed and burned early once I got settled into my hotel room) and left early afternoon on Friday May 16.

Isis and I talked up a hurricane, I drank a lot wine, ate a lot of food, Isis and I shopped together, peed in our pants laughing many times, we did a little barbecue/cooking one evening ( I made dry hamburgers, they did not turn out as good as they have in the past [out of practice since Mr. Don died], and also made Newton style potato salad, which was marginally better), and I picked up a sun tan along the way, got a few twice-overs (at my age, 63, darlings -- INCREDIBLE!), also got drenched by music from a festival (Rock in Rio) that was parked practically right outside my hotel's main entrance.

I stayed at Circus Circus this year:

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXI - Final Results for the Chess Femmes

First of all, congratulations to Rachel Ulrich who competed in the Open and finished with two wins and two draws for a score of 3.0/4.  Rachel's performance qualifies her for the U.S. national master title at the age of 14, whoop whoop! 

Rachel has joined a select group of other young chess femmes who have also recently earned national master titles:  Carissa Yip, 11 years old, who earned her NM title this February, and Jennifer Yu, now age 13, who participated in the recently concluded 2015 U.S. Women's Chess Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.  Jennifer earned her NM title in 2014.  Another rising young CF, Apurva Virkud, also earned her NM title in 2014 (age 15 or 16, not sure).

Ninety players participated in the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXI; twelve chess femmes made up their number, for an overall female participation rate of 13.3%.  Three CFs played in the Open, and nine CFs played in the Reserve section (rated under 1600).  Here are the final results:

Open (52 players):

  8.    Ulrich, Rachel J (7) .........  WI 2177 W23   W4    D1    D7      3.0
  16.    Ulrich, Susanna G (41) .......  WI 1586 W41   D24   L13   W33     2.5
  43.    Huang, Alena (35) ............  WI 1657 W51   L19   L22   L25     1.0

Rachel earned $120.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Susanna earned $100.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Alena earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.

Reserve (38 players):

  2.    Huang, Sabrina (4) ...........  WI 1436 W6    W17   W7    W12     4.0
 5.    Hoffman, Sandra R (7) ........  WI 1359 L17   W25   W20   W21     3.0
 17.    Wanek, Ellen Ann (16) ........  WI 1171 W5    L2    W33   L8      2.0
 22.    Ball, Salli (25) .............  WI  945 W33   W36   L3    L6      2.0
 30.    Przedwiecki, Alyssa (29) .....  WI  799 L20   L33   L14   W34     1.0
  33.    Gaddipati, Haasa (35) ........  WI  631 L22   W30   L17   L18     1.0
 35.    Romich, Brianna (38) .........  WI nnnn W29   L28   L15   L23     1.0
 37.    Van Oss, Jeanne Marshelle (32)  WI  712 -H-   L6    L13   -N-     0.5
38.    Rice, Dorothea M (21) ........  WI 1052 L23   L31   L29   -U-     0.0

I'll leave it to Robin Grochowski of the Southwest Chess Club to figure out the exact amount of Goddesschess prize money won by each of these chess femmes, but from what I can figure out for myself:

Sabrina earned $80.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Sandra earned $60.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Ellen earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Sallie earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Alyssa earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Haasa earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Brianna earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money and also gets a USCF rating.

Planning is already in progress for HCCC XXII in October, 2015.  This year's U.S. Women's Chess Championship saw the implementation of the Fischer Award for a perfect score for the women (such an award has been tangling out there like a carrot in the U.S. Chess Championship for several years); Goddesschess is working out details for our own version of the perfect score award for chess femmes in the Hales Corners Chess Challenges. Stay tuned! 
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