Saturday, September 19, 2009

Chess Training - 1

Hola! This will probably be my only post tonight. I'm very tired, sorry. It's been a LONG event-filled day. Earlier today I finished up my game - by resignation - with Chessdaddy (a/k/a Kelly Atkins), who acted as my coach leading up to the Shira Chess Challenge. I was hanging in there as black - so I thought - until a few moves back I, absolutely unforgivably, hung my bishop to a pawn. OH SHIT. After that, it was curtains, and to add to my embarrassment, I'm sure I missed a move or two that may have led to me hanging on a bit longer. Sigh. In the meantime, I started a new game with Shira about a week ago - it is in early moves, given both of our schedules. And earlier this evening I challenged Chessdaddy to a rematch :) Don't know if he'll accept. In the meantime, Mr. Don has steadfastly refused (ha!) to accept any of my challenges to play another game of chess - online. He says he is too busy. Yeah, and I'm sitting around doing nothing? Trust me, darlings, Mr. Don is going to be met at the door when he arrives for Christmas with my replica Lewis chess pieces already set up on a custom-made elm and cherry board (a gift from one of my legal mentors) before the fireplace, chilled and heavily-liquored up eggnog readily at hand. He will NOT be able to refuse, unless he wishes to sleep overnight in the nearest snowbank.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Night Miscellany

A brief post before calling it a night - spent the entire time since arriving home from the office taking care of other Goddesschess business. I need a secretary! First story up - poor squirrels (literally!) in West Virginia suffering from severe drop off in food supply during Recession - Mother Nature style. As the humans go, so, it seems, are the squirrels. Hard times for both these days. Anyone out there remember the Bermuda Triangle hoo-ha that became popularized back in the 1970's? I read a book by Charles Berlitz way back then -- I don't remember how I found my way to it -- but it may very well have been that book that started me on a non-stop journey into the netherworlds of alternate history, so-called 'quasi-science,' etc. etc. Now, nearly 40 years later, I'm more selective in what I read - but just as curious as I was then, and always, the questions are there. These days the questions are mostly directed toward ancient board games, but not always :) Here, then, appears at the Daily Grail a story about how two Bermuda Triangle mysterious disappearances may have been solved. I thought it totally fascinating. Volkswagen will be coming out with a car that gets 240 miles per gallon! Got to love the next-generation Beetle! Nature Gone Amok! Report of bunnies attacking snakes! Ohmygoddess! And how about this report of a squirrel attacking and killing a bat? Ohmygoddess! Never-reported-before behavior that I find extremely unsettling and upsetting. Seriously, are these harbingers of Mother Nature planning a Berserker? Definitely NOT something I want to see. Huge money dumped to river to appease Goddess -- Goddess Manasha, to be exact. The article noted in its last paragraph: No devotees, mostly fishermen, ventured back to the waters to retrieve the currency notes fearing divine curse. Er, do these curses work the same way the curses that were laid upon those who violated the ancient tombs of the Pharaohs were supposed to work - that is to say, NOT AT ALL, in deterring theft and stealing from the goddess and/or deceased? I bet 1 lakh some just waited until the last lingerers and reporters were out of the area before diving in...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

WGM Salome Melia's Simul at Pi Cafe

The Quebec Chess Federation (Fédération québécoise des échecs), has a report (in French, with photographs) on WGM Salome Melia's simul at the Pi Cafe, held last night, her last night in town. Final simul score: 8.5/9 Melia v. chess hommes :) I am sorry there were not more there to play. It looks like one or perhaps two tables paid but were not able to participate. As far as I can tell from the photographs (not publishable here), no chess femmes signed up for the simul. I would have - if I could have been there. Damn! Melia finished in second place at the recently concluded 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship, earning the title "Female Champion of Montreal." The 89th Championnat had the highest number of players in a long long time, including many chess femmes and scholastic players! Way to go! For the 90th Championnat, I understand the Organizing Committee is aiming for 20% chess femme participation and is looking to increase the participation of scholastic players. The combination of experienced chess hommes and younger players, with a sprinkling of chess femmes interspersed across all playing levels, from the Open to Group D, seems to have worked a great magic in the 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship, something everyone is looking to repeat in next year's Championnat. I understand that this morning WGM Melia took a bus to Toronto to catch a flight back to Europe. Au revoir, la belle WGM. Montreal fell in love with you! WGM/IM Melia will be competing on a team in the upcoming 14th Women's European Club Cup (October 3 - 11, 2009). Melia will also be on the Georgian Women's Chess Team in the upcoming European Women's Team Chess Championship. I will report on Melia's results in both of these events.

Chess Femme News

Just a brief update tonight - I've got a casserole calling my name that hasn't even been started yet and it's 8:45 .m. and I'm taking the rest of the night off! From GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's blog, the following: One year ago today, she became the 12th and currently ruling Women's World Chess Champion after defeating GM Hou Yifan 2.5/1.5. Sorry - I missed this earlier (adding it now as I'm munching on my casserole at 10:28 p.m.) GM Kosteniuk is also playing on a team in the 14th Women's European Club Cup, October 3 - 11, 2009 in Ohrid, Macedonia. She is part of the Monte Carlo (Monaco) team, winner of the last two Women's title,s that boasts the following players: GM Kosteniuk (2516); GM Humpy Koneru (2595); GM Pia Cramling (2535); GM Monika Socko (2476); IM Almira Skripchenko (2448). Also, GM Kosteniuk announced yesterday, September 16, 2009, that she would be taking part in the FIDE World Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow November 16 - 18, 2009, with a stellar cast of players (19 others, 20 in all). She's going to have her work cut out for her, despite her great record at playing blitz. She is a qualified player/invitee to the FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, 20 November to 15 December 2009. Since no announcement has been made by GM Kosteniuk (yet?), does this mean she will not be playing in the World Cup? I posted at her blog tonight and asked her.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship: Hebert Talks Chess

Thanks to the webmaster of the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship for posting this link at Facebook! It's an English translation (somewhat rough) of a September 14, 2009 column done in French by IM Jean Hebert, who took first place in the Montreal Open Championship. It provides unique insight into the Championnat. Enjoy! (Image: Photo from the Championnat of IM Jean Hebert and his son, outside the playing venue). Hébert parle échecs Volume 2, number 35 Week of september 14, 2009

Chess Femme News

I did a short update (very short) to Chess Femme News the other night. I'm way behind again and hope this weekend to catch-up and update July through September, 2009. Whew! I'm practically back to normal schedule again which means only 30 hours a week work for Goddesschess instead of the 50 I've been putting in lately. Piece of cake :) Here is more news about chess femmes from around the internet! Chessdom has the following reports:

Speaking of Salome, I believe today is her last day in Montreal after her successful appearance at the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship. She has been seeing the sights around town and being wined and dined. She has charmed everyone she has met and they all wish for her to return to Montreal as soon as possible. Tonight Melia is playing a simul at my favorite chess hang-out in Montreal, Cafe Pi - in fact, while I'm typing this it's already in progress, because Montreal is an hour ahead of Milwaukee time. I hope that the Montreal chess community turns out full force to support this event.

Mr. Don has added lots of new links and information about the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship at Goddesschess under the "Public Square" column (right hand column). He's working on an article about the Championnat and what it meant to him to have a part in this traditional Montreal (his home town) event, but I believe tonight he's taking some time off to go the Melia simul at Pi :)

Info on 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship and the Melia simul at Pi tonight:

From The Week in Chess (scroll down to info):

  • FIDE World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, 20 November to 15 December 2009, reports a partial list of qualifiers or potential qualifiers: Current Women's World Chess Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk is ON the list. Will she play? Is this a possible reason why the final list of the Russian Women's Team for the European Women's Team Chess Championship hasn't been finalized yet - because - because? GM Judit Polgar is listed as a possible participant, by way of average 7/2008 & 1/2009 rating. Stay tuned! Lots to be determined yet.
  • 2nd Fide Women Grand Prix The 2nd Fide Women Grand Prix is also take place in Nanjing in 27th Sept - 9th October 2009 with the top 12 players in the world. Gujuan Tzu blog in. Soooo - who's going to play in what? Evident conflicts for several chess femmes, who will need time to prepare for whatever event they decide to play in

No report about chess femmes would be complete without the latest news on the Polgar sisters!

The Unive Tournament in Hoogeveen takes place 16th-24th October 2009 with a new sponsor. The main four player tournament has: Vassily Ivanchuk, Judit Polgar, Sergei Tiviakov and Anish Giri. There is an open alongside.

GM Susan Polgar of SPICE is busy with all of the thousand last-minutes things to take care of in putting on the SPICE Invitational, this year featuring both "A" and "B" groups of players from around the world. Of course, it's not just the Invitational, there are also Open and Scholastic Tournaments!

GM Susan Polgar will also once again be acting as judge to decide the winner of the Goddesschess Fighting Chess award (in the tradition of the fighting chess of the Polgar sisters) for the 2009 U.S. Women's Chess Championship, reprising her role from the 2008 Championship.

Hidden Goddess Figurines Discovered

(Image: from original article at Live Science) Ancient Aphrodite Figures Hint at Pagan Resistance Excerpted from a Live Science story at Yahoo News Mon Sep 14, 2:07 pm ET Three figurines of Aphrodite, the ancient Greek goddess of love, have been found buried underground in the remains of a shop in a Roman city built in the second century B.C. The hidden figures hint at the reluctance of some denizens of the Roman Empire to give up their pagan beliefs despite the spread of Christianity. The ancient treasure, buried for more than 1,500 years, was uncovered during the tenth season of excavations that are being carried out by researchers of the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa. The hidden statues were discovered when the researchers exposed a shop in the southeastern corner of the forum district of Sussita, which is the central area of the mountaintop Roman city that existed through the Roman and Byzantine periods and destroyed in the great earthquake of 749 A.D. Sussita, also known as Hippos, is located in Israel and sits on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The city was originally built by Greek colonists, but later came under Roman rule. The researchers say it was clear the followers had wished to hide the figurines, as they were found complete. "It is possible that during the fourth century A.D., when Christianity was gradually becoming the governing religion in the Roman Empire, there were still a number of inhabitants in Sussita who remained loyal to the goddess of love and therefore wished to hide and preserve these items," said Arthur Segal, one of the excavation's leaders. The clay pieces are 9 inches (23 cm) tall and represent the common model of the goddess of love known to the experts as Venus pudica, "the modest Venus." This name was given to the form due to its upright stature and the figure's covering her private parts with the palm of her hand. (Venus is the Roman name for the goddess of love. The term 'aphrodisiac' comes from the Greek name of the goddess.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Forced Marriage and Child Rape

Yemni girl, 12, dies in painful childbirth updated 11:31 a.m. EDT, Mon September 14, 2009 By Mohammed Jamjoom CNN AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- A 12-year-old Yemeni girl, who was forced into marriage, died during a painful childbirth that also killed her baby, a children's rights group said Monday. Fawziya Ammodi struggled for three days in labor, before dying of severe bleeding at a hospital on Friday, said the Seyaj Organization for the Protection of Children. "Although the cause of her death was lack of medical care, the real case was the lack of education in Yemen and the fact that child marriages keep happening," said Seyaj President Ahmed al-Qureshi. Born into an impoverished family in Hodeidah, Fawziya was forced to drop out of school and married off to a 24-year-old man last year, al-Qureshi said. Child brides are commonplace in Yemen, especially in the Red Sea Coast where tribal customs hold sway. Hodeidah is the fourth largest city in Yemen and an important port. More than half of all young Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18 -- many times to older men, some with more than one wife, a study by Sanaa University found. While it was not immediately known why Fawziya's parents married her off, the reasons vary. Sometimes, financially-strapped parents offer up their daughters for hefty dowries. Marriage means the girls are no longer a financial or moral burden to their parents. And often, parents will extract a promise from the husband to wait until the girl is older to consummate the marriage. Children's organization UNICEF issued a statement Monday saying: "Child marriages violate the rights of children in the most deplorable way. The younger the girl is when she becomes pregnant, the greater the health risks for her and her baby. "Girls who give birth before the age of 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s. Child marriage denies girls of their childhood, deprives them of an education and robs them of their innocence." "More must be done to address the underlying causes in order to prevent tragic deaths like those of 12-year-old Fawziya and her baby," the statement added. The issue of Yemeni child brides came to the forefront in 2008 with 10-year-old Nujood Ali. She was pulled out of school and married to a man who beat and raped her within weeks of the ceremony. To escape, Nujood hailed a taxi -- the first time in her life -- to get across town to the central courthouse where she sat on a bench and demanded to see a judge. After a well-publicized trial, she was granted a divorce. The Yemeni parliament tried in February to pass a law, setting the minimum marriage age at 17. But the measure has not reached the president because many parliamentarians argued it violates sharia, or Islamic law, which does not stipulate a minimum age. [Very interesting. We all know the mullahs can read anything they want into the verses of the Qoran, but they can't find a principle that says you don't "marry" and rape 12 year old children?] Read more: 10-Year Old Child bride gets divorced after rape, beatings Child bride's nightmare after divorce In the United States, people are sent to prison for raping 12 year old girls. A pre-teen, let alone a teenager, is not physically ready to give birth although she may be menstruating. That doesn't mean one is a 'woman'. Bones are growing, the pelvis is usually yet too narrow to properly support a pregnancy let alone give birth. This is a horrible form of child abuse and yet it is permitted because of 'culture?' That is DISGUSTING.

What's Going on Inside Your Dog's Mind?

From Image: From The Times photo archives - this is Queenie. company of the 5th London (Press) Battalion of the Home Guard lines up in readiness for inspection in November 1943 before giving a demonstration of street fighting to members of a Kent unit of the Home Guard. ’Queenie’, the Press Battalion’s alsatian mascot, seems to be well drilled too. Elsewhere, the Red Army had just recaptured the city of Kiev and the RAF had begun intensive bombing of Berlin. The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind By Carl Zimmer Monday, Sep. 21, 2009 Brian Hare, assistant professor of evolutionary anthropology at Duke University, holds out a dog biscuit. "Henry!" he says. Henry is a big black schnauzer-poodle mix--a schnoodle, in the words of his owner, Tracy Kivell, another Duke anthropologist. Kivell holds on to Henry's collar so that he can only gaze at the biscuit. "You got it?" Hare asks Henry. Hare then steps back until he's standing between a pair of inverted plastic cups on the floor. He quickly puts the hand holding the biscuit under one cup, then the other, and holds up both empty hands. Hare could run a very profitable shell game. No one in the room--neither dog nor human--can tell which cup hides the biscuit. Henry could find the biscuit by sniffing the cups or knocking them over. But Hare does not plan to let him have it so easy. Instead, he simply points at the cup on the right. Henry looks at Hare's hand and follows the pointed finger. Kivell then releases the leash, and Henry walks over to the cup that Hare is pointing to. Hare lifts it to reveal the biscuit reward. Henry the schnoodle just did a remarkable thing. Understanding a pointed finger may seem easy, but consider this: while humans and canines can do it naturally, no other known species in the animal kingdom can. Consider too all the mental work that goes into figuring out what a pointed finger means: paying close attention to a person, recognizing that a gesture reflects a thought, that another animal can even have a thought. Henry, as Kivell affectionately admits, may not be "the sharpest knife in the drawer," but compared to other animals, he's a true scholar. It's no coincidence that the two species that pass Hare's pointing test also share a profound cross-species bond. Many animals have some level of social intelligence, allowing them to coexist and cooperate with other members of their species. Wolves, for example--the probable ancestors of dogs--live in packs that hunt together and have a complex hierarchy. But dogs have evolved an extraordinarily rich social intelligence as they've adapted to life with us. All the things we love about our dogs--the joy they seem to take in our presence, the many ways they integrate themselves into our lives--spring from those social skills. Hare and others are trying to figure out how the intimate coexistence of humans and dogs has shaped the animal's remarkable abilities. Rest of article (it's lengthy, but really good reading!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

Final standing tables are up at! Congratulations to WGM Melia on her fine performance. She is the new Female Champion of Montreal. Kudos also to the Misses Wang, Lee and Brichko for winning the Goddesschess class prizes. I hope I did not miss any of the chess femmes! Here is a photo of WGM Melia and one of the young participants outside the playing venue - sorry, I do not know who she is. The photo was sent by Bernard Ouimet, who worked tirelessly on this Championship. We'll be back, bigger and better, next year! Class A: 1 Hebert, Jean MI 2418 +32 +14 +5 +11 =2 4½ 1300,00 2 Salome, Melia GMF 2441 +22 +13 +18 =3 =1 4 235,00 3 Jiang, Louie MF 2278 +31 +15 +12 =2 =4 4 235,00 4 Gerzhoy, Leonid MI 2412 +16 =8 +10 +7 =3 4 235,00 5 Mai, Lloyd 2194 +29 +9 -1 +24 +13 4 235,00 6 Barbeau, Sylvain MF 2365 =20 +41 +8 =9 +12 4 235,00 Class B: 1 Kayembe, Doris 1943 +47 +42 +4 +3 +8 5 650,00 38 Wang, Kelly 1529 -27 -16 -46 +52 +53 2 45,00 (Goddesschess prize) 40 Yang, Marguerite 1317 -10 -34 B--- -20 +50 2 52 Wang, Yan 1620 -48 -45 -50 -38 B--- 1 Class C: 1 Ross, Samuel 1595 +50 +18 +5 +15 =2 4½ 188,33 2 Chang, Michael 1553 +54 +40 +17 +4 =1 4½ 188,33 3 De Gongre, Stephane 1575 +41 =13 +19 +27 +9 4½ 188,33 22 Lee, Mei Chen 1516 +56 +49 -4 -18 +41 3 35,00 (Goddesschess prize) 38 Trottier, Claire 1202 =10 +30 -27 -13 =52 2 48 Ma, Indy 1371 H--- =24 -39 -46 +55 2 53 Bilodeau-Savaria, Cendrina 1109 -11 -21 =45 -57 +60 1½ 56 Paquette, Esther 992 -22 -17 B--- -33 -47 1 61 Del Agua, Jesrael Noelle unr. -6 F32 U--- U--- U--- 0 Class D: 1 Saine, Zachary 1034 +30 +23 +20 +2 +5 5 170,00 18 Brichko, Kate 1054 +25 H--- -7 -10 +28 2½ 25,00 (Goddesschess prize) 21 Dormeus, Sandy 850 -12 +30 +23 -4 -16 2 22 Dubois, Lorraine 989 -20 +29 +16 -3 -14 2 27 Gao, Christine 1105 -4 =11 -14 -15 +31 1½ 29 Nazarov, Stephanie 743 -9 -22 H--- -28 +32 1½ 32 Gao, Catherine 747 -2 -16 -30 -25 -29 0

Paragua's sister to join PSC Rapid chess 09/12/2009 8:34 PM Marlon Bernardino MANILA – The youngest sister of Filipino Grandmaster (GM) Mark Paragua has confirmed to play in the inaugural Pineda-Santos-Camer (PSC) Rapid Chess tournament which starts Sunday at the Ramon Magsaysay Cubao High School (RMCHS) in Cubao, Quezon City. The 11 year-old Gem Hannah Callano-Paragua is fresh from an outstanding performance in the recently concluded Milo Little Olympics Chess Championships Saturday at the Marikina Sports Complex. She scored a perfect 5.0 out of five games in board 1 of elementary division. “Gagawin ko lamang po ang best ko sa PSC chess,” said Gem Hannah, who plans to follow the footsteps of his older brother, the 2003 Vietnam Southeast Asian Games most bemedalled athlete GM Mark Paragua. Gem and Mark learned the rudiments of the sports from their father Ric Paragua. The tournament registration starts at 9 am before the inspirational speech to be given by Asia’s First GM Eugene Torre, an RMCHS batch 68 alumni. The tournament, which aimed to search for future chess stars, will have three divisions: kiddie 14 year-old and below, women’s and non-master. Registration fee is P300 for the non-master category while it will be P200 each for the kiddie 14 year-old and below and women’s division. Those who want to join may contact 0919-8493648 for complete details.

Making chess come to life

This is a cute story - love the costumes! Photo from article, caption: MARK ARONOFF / The Press Democrat Chess player Raahul Shah, 10, moves a white knight (Tia Romo) during a performance of “Lords of the Board” on Sunday in Santa Rosa’s Courthouse Square. The event was sponsored by the Sonoma County Arts Council, Chess for Kids and 8-TrackMinds Productions. By STEVE HART THE PRESS DEMOCRAT Published: Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 3:00 a.m. Last Modified: Sunday, September 13, 2009 at 9:33 p.m. It wasn’t your typical Sunday afternoon chess match at Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square. The “pieces” on a giant chess board were live actors dressed as Vikings, fairies, wizards, unicorns, Goths, Grim Reapers and bat-like gargoyles. Controlling the action were a pair of pint-sized chess players, Fred Marvel, 9 and Raahul Shah, 10. After the boys made their moves on a normal-size chess board, they shifted the living proxies. The human chess pieces taunted their opponents as they knocked them out of the game. “I think you’ll make a lovely slave,” said Shah’s queen, checking Marvel’s knight. It was all part “Lords of the Board,” a performance sponsored by Sonoma County Arts Council, Chess for Kids and 8-TrackMinds Productions. Onlookers said the live chess pieces added a new dimension to the game. “It makes chess exciting,” said Jim Ryan, a visitor to Santa Rosa from Dublin, Ireland. “It’s the first time I’ve seen this anywhere.” Marvel pushed Shah to the limit, but lost in the end. He had fun directing his live chess pieces, he said. “It was kind of crazy,” said Marvel, who attends Binkley Elementary School in Santa Rosa. “It was challenging,” said Shah, who goes to Strawberry School in Santa Rosa. He learned a lesson from Sunday’s match, Shah said. “Even though you might be losing, you can find a way to win,” he said. The human chess event will be repeated from noon to 4 p.m. Sept. 20 at Healdsburg Plaza and Sept. 27 at Cotati’s downtown square. It is free to the public. Chess for Kids also puts on a six-week after-school chess education program in Santa Rosa’s elementary schools. More than 50 kids took part in the first all-district chess tournament in January. More information about the nonprofit program is available at

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

From Chess Talk: After winning the Quebec closed 2008, and the Canadian closed (semi-open) 2009, IM Jean Hébert added the Montreal open this past week-end (4,5/5). 191 players, 5 000$ prize fund, 2 GMs and 8 IM are the main numbers. GM Bator Sambuev fell victim to his cell phone in round 4 and quit the tournament probably demoralized by the turn of events. GM Salome Melia of the Republic of Georgia finished second as well as S. Barbeau FM, L. Gerzhoy IM and L. Jiang FM, all with 4/5. I checked a few seconds ago and the standings have not yet been updated. Final pairings for Round 5 here. Hebert and Melia played each other and drew their game in 12 moves - mailed it in! Here's a link where you can play it through.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009 U. S. Women's Open Chess Championship

The "First" U.S. Women’s Open Chess Championship was part of the Okie Chess Festival held over Labor Day Weekend (September 5 – 7, 2009), in Tulsa, Oklahoma. IA Frank Berry presided. This really isn’t the "first" – U.S. Women’s Opens have been held in conjunction with the U.S. Open Chess Championship sporadically for many years. (information from Wikipedia). However, this year, the event was revived and held in conjunction with the U.S. Senior Chess Championship, an Masters Invitational and an Open. Whew! The four events attracted over 170 players. Coverage at Chess Life Online in an article by Tom Braunlich (scroll down the article to reach the part about the Women’s Open). This is a rather piece-meal report! I haven’t been able to locate a players’ list or final standings. The official website, didn’t provide this information as of the date of this report. All I can tell you is what is reported below – Saheli Nath won with 5.0/6 but since she is not qualified to play in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, NM Iryna Zenyuk, who finished in clear second place with 4.5/6, won the spot. I found this information at Oklahoma Chess Foundation’s website: U.S. Women's Open The 1st U.S. Women's Open featured a strong field of 20 players, 10 rated expert or above. Saheli Nath, and Indian player attending University of Texas at Dallas, won with 5/6. NM Iryna Zenyuk (2280) was clear second with 4.5, and as the top American wins a slot in the 2010 U.S. Women's Championship. IA Frank Berry was kind enough to send me this video of some of the action, taken by Cesar Horta, of Tyler, Texas, who played in the Senior section.

The Expertise of Ancient Egyptian Astronomers

Egyptian temples followed heavenly plans 08 September 2009 Magazine issue 2724. Subscribe and get 4 free issues ANCIENT Egyptian temples were aligned so precisely with astronomical events that people could set their political, economic and religious calendars by them. So finds a study of 650 temples, some dating back to 3000 BC. For example, New Year coincided with the moment that the winter-solstice sun hit the central sanctuary of the Karnak temple in present-day Luxor, says archaeological astronomer Juan Belmonte of the Canaries Astrophysical Institute in Tenerife, Spain. Hieroglyphs on temple walls have hinted at the use of astronomy in temple architecture, including depictions of the "stretching of the cord" ceremony in which the pharaoh marked out the alignment for the temple with string. But there had been little evidence to support the drawings. Belmonte and Mosalam Shaltout of the Helwan Observatory in Cairo found that the temples are all aligned according to an astronomically significant event, such as a solstice or equinox, or the rising of Sirius, the brightest star in the sky (Advances in Space Research, DOI: 10.1016/j.asr.2009.03.033). "Somebody would have had to go to the prospective site during a solar, stellar or lunar event - as we did - to mark out the position that the temple axis should take," Belmonte says. "For the most important temples, this may well have been the pharaoh, as the temple drawings show." *************************************************************************************** Temple drawings - propaganda for Pharaoh! The one who would have done all of the grunt work ahead of time would have been a priestess of the Goddess Seshat (Safkhet, Sesat, Seshet, Sesheta, and Seshata), who is the Goddess of Measurements, Written Word, and Memory (i.e., the very first Librarian]. She was in charge of the 12-knot cord that was used to mark a true 90-degree (right) angle (using the 3/4/5 method). As I understand the process the ancient Egyptians used, once the true-square corners were established, ropes cut to equal measure were stretched on the diagonal and along the borders of a tentative square to measure, and then adjustments were made to make sure that the marked corners were "true square." It was the priestess of Seshat who marked the foundations of a building, with Pharaoh's consent, of course :) After all of the measurements were made, Pharaoh would give a couple of hammer strikes to the first marker, driving it into the sand, and thus the building was consecrated by the God as Man on Earth. But long before that ceremony could take place, I imagine the area for building would have been cleared and leveled close down to bedrock - a massive undertaking involving hundreds of workers! So, Pharaoh would have showed up on the day of the driving of the stake ceremony and the laying the cornerstone while hundreds of workers would have been waiting around, doing perfunctory hand-clapping, impatiently for him (or her) to get on with it, already!

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

Here are some interesting posts from Facebook about WGM Salome Melia: Championnat de Montréal The Woman Grand Master Salome Melia in visit from Georgia will give a simultaneous exhibition at Cafe Pi 4127 boul. Saint-Laurent Montreal Wednesday at 07:00 pm. $10 per person. She will make a presentation prior to the games about chess in Georgia. ...The presentation will be in English. All income will go to her. This is great news! Goddess, I wish I could be there, would love to play against Melia, even though I'm the merest patzer! I miss Cafe Pi. I haven't been to Montreal since June, 2003. Mr. Don and I visited there all the times I was in Montreal. We love the place. It's a long, narrow brick building on St. Laurent Boulevard (I still mistakenly call it St. Lawrence Avenue). They served very strong, bitter coffee at cheap prices and rented vinyl board and pieces (some missing and substituted with whatever was at hand, lol!) at - I think the last time we were there, it was less than a dollar! At that time you could buy soft drinks (soda) out of a vending machine and also snacks, but when we visited we were just looking to have coffee and play a chess game or two. I'm glad to see from visiting the current website that they've upgraded their menu and one hopes the coffee is not burnt anymore :) We drank it anyway - it woke us up. The clean white walls were lined with art for sale by local artists. For all the times I visited Cafe Pi the same clerk was behind the counter, a very attractive and personable young lady who remembered Mr. Don and I (amazingly, given the space of time between our visits), of dark, punky styled and uber-fashionable hair with unfortunate piercings all over the place. I would not want those piercings 40 years from now, eek! The most serious players sit at the very front of the building, where the smoke from their incessant cigarettes drifts out in the summer through open air, as the glass-to-ceiling-windows are opened to clear the way to the sidewalk. There were some tables squeezed together outside under the windows, too, and those were the most popular places to play during the summer despite the sidewalk traffic, particularly in the evenings it was constant. Toward the back of the space are the rest-rooms for femmes and hommes. One night while Mr. Don and I sat playing chess, I saw a homme go into the ladies' rest room! Evidently he couldn't hold it any longer and the men's restroom was occupied (why wait so long until you're hopping from foot to foot to visit the restroom?) I was very insulted! I did not want men peeing all over the women's rest room toilet seat! Invariably their aim is very bad... During the warm season the back door is open to provide cross ventilation in addition to ceiling fans. Kibitzers are welcome. As I was usually the only femme in the place when we visited, Mr. Don and I attracted some attention. It was very disconcerting. Now I see from the photo I posted above from a 2009 Blitz Tournament held at Pi that the walls are red. Were they always red? My memory isn't the best! I do remember them as white, but I may be wrong. Not sure red walls are the best color to encourage contemplation while playing chess, ha! Championnat de Montréal The Montreal Open Chess Championship and members of the chess community in Quebec would like to persuade the WGM Salome Melia to move in Quebec. Her presence on the top boards is required and would open the door to Women championship titles in our various tournaments. Although our market is small, it would be granted to her! She is also a very beautiful and attractive woman with easyness to talk to people. Perhaps someone has become infatuated with WGM Melia :) There are many promising female chessplayers in Montreal and in Canada. What they need are better conditions and encouragement to keep playing! Money would help, too! We all need to make a living at some point in our lives and trying to make a living by playing chess - ach! It is not always possible, alas.

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

More video! Here are some videos from the Tournament: Chess dudes relaxing between rounds Melia, Round 1 Sights and sounds of the Tournament - a bit choppy in parts (did Mr. Don really have the cam upside down???) but very evocative... Hey dude, you're encroaching on my space! Chess femme in contemplation... Waiting for the next move Tournament action - lots of chess dudes, not so many chess femmes Young chess femme in action - and I'm not sure what's going on in the latter part of this video - why whould they reset their pieces like that?

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

Lovely ladies. Top photo: WGM Salome Melia and Lee Mei Chen outside the playing venue before the start of the Tournament. According to the Championnat's Facebook page, this is Melia's first visit to North America. I'm biased - I'm rooting for her to win the whole thing! Lee Mei Chen (I hope I have the name correctly) is a friend of WGM Subbaraman Meenakshi and had made plans to play in the Championnat this year with Meenakshi. Unfortunately, because of the slow global economy Meenakshi's corporate sponsor declined to provide money for expenses and airfare, and she had to withdraw. According to the "experts" things are bottoming out now in the US, so perhaps next year at this time we will see Meenakshi in Montreal. Bottom photo: Melia at Table 2 - this is Round 2 or 3, don't know which one.

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

I've got video and photos from Mr. Don! Here is a link to a short video showing some action at the top tables - don't know what Round it is - could be 1, 2 or 3. I've also included a selection of photos - these are from Rounds 1 through 3. Later on Mr. Don will label photos and put them up at Goddesschess.

2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship

Standings after Round 3 - Round 4 and 5 today, 10 AM and 3 PM. Group A (Open): Several players perfect through 3. Melia is in second place. 1 Sambuev, GM Bator 2531 2538 3 2 Salome, *Melia 2441 2451 3 3 Hebert, Jean 2418 2428 3 4 Jiang, Louie 2278 2289 3 Group B: 48 Yang, *Marguerite 1317 1310 1 54 Wang, *Yan 1620 1587 0 55 Wang, *Kelly 1529 1502 0 Group C: 13 Lee, *Mei Chen 1516 1511 2 34 Trottier, *Claire 1202 1234 1½ 39 Ma, *Indy 1371 1355 1 50 Lingyun, *Shi 1211 1201 1 52 Paquette, *Esther 992 988 1 56 Bilodeau-Savaria, Cendrina 1109 1105 ½ 62 Del Agua, *Jesrael Noelle unr. 0 Group D: 9 Dubois, *Lorraine 989 994 2 11 Dormeus, *Sandy 850 872 2 18 Brichko, *Kate 1054 1042 1½ 28 Gao, *Christine 1105 1064 ½ 31 Gao, *Catherine 747 747 0 Hope I got all the chess femmes. I have to go back and correct yesterday's post, I've got a guy in there by mistake. Who names his son Doris?
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