Saturday, May 29, 2010

1st Tancat Women's Tournament

May 14 - 22, 2010

IM MATNADZE Ana 2435 GEO 2409 2422 Barberà 9,0
2 FM PARES VIVES Natalia 2355 ESP 2259 2300 Societat Coral Colon 7,0
3 OLIVA VALERO Oscar 2306 ESP 2227 2244 Societat Coral Colon 5,5
4 WFM CHEVANNES Sabrina L ENG 2047 0 5,0
5 WFM ARANAZ MURILLO Amalia ESP 2161 2143 5,0
6 WFM YANIK Emine TUR 2025 0 4,5
7 WFM GRIGORYAN Meri ENG 2121 0 4,5
8 MARTINEZ HERNANDEZ Noemi 2105 ESP 1939 1944 Llinars 2,0
9 MEDINA ALTAMIRANO Karla 2075 MEX 2009 1994 Uga 1,5
10 GARCIA-CASTANY MUSELLAS 1929 ESP 1756 1763 Santa Eugènia 1,0

Ancient Trade: New Evidence for Third Millennium BCE Trade

Unfortunately this is a pay for view article at Science unless you have a subscription.  Here is a summary:

Science 28 May 2010:

Vol. 328. no. 5982, pp. 1092 - 1097
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5982.1092

A Forgotten Corridor Rediscovered
Andrew Lawler

Recent digs in Iran and Central Asia have uncovered a plethora of ancient cities that traded goods and technologies overland with one another and their more famous neighbors. Now discoveries in Oman and the neighboring United Arab Emirates (UAE) are beginning to show that there was a southern sea route as well, which funneled raw materials such as copper and manufactured goods such as textiles across the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Those links reached deep into the eastern Arabian Peninsula. Much is still unknown, including whether Indus traders actually penetrated deep into Arabia, the identities of the sailors who first plied the Indian Ocean, and just how extensive that contact was. But clues continue to emerge from numerous archaeological digs in Oman and the UAE, a region that has become a hotbed of excavation. Work here and in the western Persian Gulf, Iran, Pakistan, and India reveals that this early Arabian culture was a nexus point for the far-flung civilizations of the 3rd millennium B.C.E. This special Focus package also discusses a bevy of archaeological surprises being discovered in Omani soil and fortified coastal settlements that suggest that the Indus Civilization, once considered an insular society, shipped goods to the east.

Er - would that be Indus cities shipping their goods to the west (Persia) and southwest (Arabian peninsula)???   Pakistan (home to most of the Indus sites) is located to the east of Iran and northeast of Arabia.   But I guess I'm just being picky :)

At the Met: American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity

There's a new exhibit at the Met - May 5 to August 15, 2010. (Photo from Flickr)

American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity is the first Costume Institute exhibition drawn from the newly established Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Met. It explores developing perceptions of the modern American woman from 1890 to 1940 and how they have affected the way American women are seen today. Focusing on archetypes of American femininity through dress, the exhibition reveals how the American woman initiated style revolutions that mirrored her social, political, and sexual emancipation. "Gibson Girls," "Bohemians," and "Screen Sirens," among others, helped lay the foundation for today's American woman.


A related exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, American High Style: Fashioning a National Collection (May 7–August 1), highlights masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection.

Female Genital Mutilation Condemned by Physicians Group

The AAP takes foot of mouth.
Sent by Isis from her I-phone - from CNN News:

Pediatricians now reject all female genital cutting

The American Academy of Pediatrics has rescinded a controversial policy statement raising the idea that doctors in some communities should be able to substitute demands for female genital cutting with a harmless clitoral "pricking" procedure.

"We retracted the policy because it is important that the world health community understands the AAP is totally opposed to all forms of female genital cutting, both here in the U.S. and anywhere else in the world," said AAP President Judith S. Palfrey.

The contentious policy statement, issued in April, had condemned the practice of female genital cutting overall. But a small portion of statement suggesting the pricking procedure riled U.S. advocacy groups and survivors of female genital cutting.

In the April statement, the group raised the idea that some physicians should be able to prick or nick a girl's clitoral skin in order to "satisfy cultural requirements." The group likened the nick to an ear piercing.

On Thursday the AAP stated the group will not condone doctors to provide any kind of "clitoral nick." The AAP also clarified nicking a girl or woman's genitals is forbidden under a 1996 federal law banning female genital mutilation.

"I cried and told them how grateful I am," said Soraya Mire, a Somali filmmaker and survivor of female genital cutting. "Thank you for understanding us survivors and hearing our voices."

Equality Now, an international advocacy group fighting to end female genital cutting, echoed a similarly appreciative response.

"We welcome the AAP's decision to withdraw its 2010 policy statement on FGM," said Lakshmi Anantnarayan, a spokeswoman at Equality Now. "This is a crucial step forward in the movement to raise awareness about female genital mutilation."

Up to 140 million women and children worldwide have been affected by female genital cutting, according to the World Health Organization. Any process that alters or injures female genitalia for non-medical purposes is considered to be female genital cutting, the group says.

Female genital cutting -- also referred to as female genital mutilation and female circumcision -- is a ritual dating back thousands of years. It's typically practiced in parts of Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In some communities, it's strongly believed that genital cutting marks a woman's journey to adulthood. The WHO reports that cutting typically occurs between infancy and 15 years of age.

Several types of female circumcision exist and may differ in each community, according to the WHO. The most brutal type of cutting requires stitching together the inner or outer labia. It's a procedure notoriously performed in parts of Somalia and Egypt. Other less-severe forms of genital cutting may require excising the entire clitoris or part of the clitoris.

Mire, the Somali filmmaker and survivor, received the most severe type of circumcision when she was 13 years old in her home country. She now lives in Los Angeles, California, where she helps African immigrant families in the United States, who she believes may be subjected to the pressures of female genital cutting.

While the female circumcision is outlawed in the United States, Mire and other advocates believe there are American girls in immigrant communities at risk of being sent overseas to have the procedure completed. The AAP's original policy statement increased the threat of cutting among immigrant and refugee girls in the U.S., advocacy efforts say, because the group suggested a "pricking" compromise was acceptable.

In the U.S., an estimated 228,000 women have been cut -- or are at risk of being cut -- because they come from an ethnic community that practices female genital cutting, according an analysis of 2000 Census data conducted by the African Women's Health Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Last month, Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-New York, and Rep. Mary Bono Mack, R-California, addressed concerns of female genital cutting being planned on U.S. grounds. The legislators proposed an amendment to the existing law that would imprison parents who send their daughters overseas for the procedure.

Mire said she was in disbelief when she first read the AAP's original statement about six weeks ago. She couldn't sleep. She couldn't eat. She's dedicated her time to calling legislators, survivors and advocacy groups to pressure AAP to change its original policy statements.

Her efforts worked, she learned on Wednesday from a personal phone call from the academy.

"I slept so well last night," she said. "I woke up smiling."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation Summer Events

We received the following information from the Wisconsin Scholastic Chess Federation and we're happy to pass it along:

WSCF Summer Chess Activities
There are many chess educational opportunities and activities available for students and adults this summer of 2010.

There are currently ten chess camps, four community clubs, five Super Summer Simuls events, ten Chess Tent Teaching and Simul events, two chess classes and a summer ending chess festival scheduled.

Chess Camps

All of WSCF chess camps are designed as hands-on educational events where students will receive a balance of instruction at their level and chess play via a tournament and free play. Students will work on the pawn, knight or bishop certificates and compete in a 5 round Swiss tournament where every student receives a medal.

The fee for all camps is $50, $65, and $75 depending upon registration deadlines. Scholarships are available and applications are on line and at the bottom of this newsletter and should be mailed to the WSCF P.O. box or to the new state office at 2803 N. Teutonia, Milwaukee, WI 53206. The currently scheduled camps are listed below.

If you would like a camp in your area please call Bob at the WSCF office at 262-573-5624 or email at as soon as possible.

June 12:
Sheboygan Christian School M - F, 9 - 12 am

June 21:
Northwest Catholic School M - F, 9 - 12 am

June 28:
Whitefish Bay M- F, 9 - 12 am

August 2:
Loyola Academy - Milwaukee M - F, 9 - 12 am

August 9:
Pewaukee Elementary School M - F, 9 - 12 am

August 9:
Plymouth - Baymont Inn M - F, 9 - 12 am

August 9:
St. Peter School - Kenosha M - F, 9 - 12 am. (pending)

August 16:
WSCF Chess Center - Milwaukee M - F, 9 - 12 am

August 16:
Green Bay - Boys & Girls Club M, T, 9 - 4, W 9 - 12

August 23:
WSCF Chess Center - Milwaukee M,T 9 - 4

Community Chess Clubs

The community chess clubs are set up this summer to provide students an opportunity to play and maintain their skills, play with friends, benefit from some instruction and work on their certificates. The fee will be $10 per month or $3 per session. Again, scholarships are available. Register on line and pay upon arrival. The current clubs scheduled are:

WSCF Chess Center - Milwaukee
Thursdays 4:00 - 6:00
Begins May 27

Whitefish Bay
Thursdays 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Begins June 2

Mondays 6:30 - 8:30
Begins June 24

Time and days to be announced.

Super Summer Simul Events

There will 5 simultaneous chess exhibits, with the first in June at Roundy Memorial Baptist Church in Whitefish bay. The people doing the simuls will be some of WSCF's top student players, scholarship winners and coaches. These people will be announced on our website.

One purpose of the simuls is for students and adults to play someone with a much higher rating and to take notation and hone their skills against future Grandmasters or International Masters or experienced chess coaches.

Fee will be $10 for students and $15 for adults. Spots will be limited and you can register on line till spots are filled or register at the door. Payment will only be taken on site.

The times and dates of the Simuls are as follows:

June 23
Roundy Memorial Baptist Church - Whitefish Bay 7:00 P.M.

July 22
Roundy Memorial Baptist Church - Whitefish Bay 7:00 P.M.

August 11
Roundy Memorial Baptist Church - Whitefish Bay 7:00 P.M.

August 28
Fondy Market Chess Festival - Milwaukee 10:00 A.M

Sept 23
Roundy Memorial Baptist Church - Whitefish Bay 7:00 P.M.

Chess Tent

WSCF has a chess canopy tent and sets it up at festivals and other outdoor events.

At these events students can receive free 10 minute lessons, adults can play in simuls and literature of WSCF activities will be available. Fee for participating in a simul is $2 and chess boards, sets and books will be available for purchase.

Events currently scheduled are Juneteenth Days on June 19th. This will be our 4th year at the festival and in the past we have been given a spot at the corner of Martin Luther King drive Locust.

We are also scheduled to set up at the Fondy Farmers Market from June 26th to June 28th.

If you wish to have a chess tent at a festival near you please call Bob at 262-573-5624.

Chess Classes

There will be free classes at Franklin Public Library from 6:00 to 8:00 pm on July 12th and July 19th. There may be a small fee for non-Franklin residents. Space is limited.

A chess class for teachers and club leaders will begin August 24th, meet for 8 weeks on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:00. The class will meet at WSCF Chess Center at 2803 N. Teutonia. The intent of the class is to teach chess basics to beginning adult players who want to lead a club or teach chess in their classrooms. Participants will learn how to implement WSCF's certificate program, sponsoring a successful club, how to implement a club chess ladder, preparing students for chess tournaments and learn the latest chess educational principles used in WSCF Summer chess camps. Fee is $75 for advance registration, and $90 onsite registration. Space is limited. Grants are available.

Fondy Farmers Market Chess Festival

WSCF's first outdoor chess festival will be on Saturday August 28th. Activities will include a scholastic chess tournament, adult tournament, student - adult combo tournament, chess simul, chess tent, face painting and balloons for the young at heart. The festival will be held on the site and conjunction with the weekly farmers market. Each scholastic participant will receive a free festival t-shirt.

Fresh vegetables and great food available on site. See festival flyer under chess tournaments for more information and registration. Register by mail with check, register on line with visa or paypal or in person at the WSCF chess office. $5 entry fee for all Title I school participants.

Tournament play will start at 8:00 am, awards will be at 2:00. The Fondy Farmers Market grounds close at 3:00 pm.

WSCF chess camp, club & simul Scholarship application

Name _________________________________________________

Grade (2010-2011)_______________

Home Address ________________________________City________________ Zip __________________

School of Attendance __________________

Parent Name(s) ________________________________________________________________________

Parent Phones H, W, C __________________________________________________________________

How many WSCF tournament have you attended in the past two years ? ________________________

If you belong to a chess club, please describe your participation in the club, how active are you in the club and what leadership role you may provide.

Please describe your current strategy or plan you implement in a chess game.

Please share with us what you wish to learn at a chess camp.

Please describe how you would share the knowledge you learned at the chess camp with your fellow team or club mates.

Check Scholarship request: ______ Chess Camp $25 _______ Chess Simul $5 _______ Chess Club _______ $5/mo.

What Chess camp do you wish to attend? ____________________________________________________________


Student _____________________________________________
Date _________________________

Parent _______________________________________________
Date ________________________

Please mail before June 8 for the June and July chess camps.
Please mail before July 15 for the August Chess camps.

Mail to:
Chess Camp Scholarships
P.O. Box 170843
Milwaukee, WI 53217


P.O. Box ??? (seems to be an error in transmission here)
2803 N.Teutonia
Milwaukee, WI 53206

Squirrel Visits the Minnesota Twins' New Target Field

Well of course!  Squirrels are at the top of the animal gossip world and nothing was going to prevent them from checking out the open-air Target Stadium that is the Twins' new home stadium.  They've been checking out the place for months, but it was a rookie who exposed the MTSN (Minnesota Twins Squirrel Network).  Well, give him a break, he is only 6 months old, and lacks experience.  Alas, he was sent back to the minors, despite the question mark that his tail formed, eloquently depicting the unanswered questions about the Twins this 2010 season...

Story and video. 

Exciting Developments in Goddesschess Sponsorships


Yes, I know, I know, I haven't posted anything the last few days.  That's because I've been busy attending to Goddesschess business, darlings! 

We have truly been inspired by IM Irina Krush's battle in the recently concluded 2010 U.S. Chess Championship to score her second GM norm.  She was sooooooo close...and missed it by a half a point.  Argggghhhhhh!

Last year, Goddesschess was instrumental in obtaining the appearance of WGM Salome Melia of Georgia at the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championships. Melia was the highest rated female player ever to appear at this venerable tournament and the first-ever WGM to appear.

Melia finished in second place overall and also won the title Woman Chess Champion of Montreal.  This year, because of her commitment to playing in the 2010 Chess Olympaid on the Georgian Women's Team, Melia cannot defend her Montreal Open title. 

I'm not at liberty to discuss particulars yet, but there have been some very promising developments in obtaining the appearance of at least one noted female chessplayer at the 2010 Montreal Open Chess Championships, which will be held in the spectacularly beautiful surroundings at the College Jean-de-Brebeuf in Montreal September 10-12, 2010.  Our very own man behind the cam/webmaster, Don McLean (not the "American Pie" dude), will once again be on-site to record his unique impressions of the tournament action. Stay tuned for further news -

Also in the works is a new Goddesschess prize format for the 2010 U.S. Women's Chess Championship.  We're very excited about this -

Also in the works is a new prize structure for the chess femmes who play in the Hales Corners Chess Challenge tournaments (two times a year, in the spring and in the fall), in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, hosted by my very own adopted chess club, the Southwest Chess Club.   We've funded prizes for the chess femmes since Hales Corners Chess Challenge VIII - next up is Challenge XIII!  A Goddess Lucky Number!!!  We are hoping that the new prize structure will award each chess femme who plays in the tournament, whether in the Open or Reserve, for her efforts.  This revamped prize structure is a direct result of talks with my fellow chess femmes, Isis and Michelle, during my mini-vacation in Las Vegas in April.  More later -

Also in the works - something we just dreamed up...

This is so trite, but really, stay tuned for further news!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mother Goddess Mountain Denied Her Name

The mountain we call today "Everest" had a name long before Sir George Everest was a gleam in his father's eye.  Of course it did!  Duh! 

According to Wikipedia, the mountain was called, variously:  Qomolangma Peak (Tibetan), Mount Sagarmāthā (Nepali), Chajamlangma (Limbu), Zhumulangma Peak (Chinese: Zhūmùlǎngmǎ Fēng) or Mount Chomolangma.

The history of how "Mount Everest" was named is a total and absolute insult to the great Mother Goddess.  Anyone with a brain can easily see that in common in all of these names is MA - MOTHER.

Barbara Walker's The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets says:

"Goddess Mother of the Universe," the real name of the world's highest mountain, which westerners renamed Everest after a man.  This masculine name was bestowed on the Goddess Mother in 1863 by foreign invaders who preferred to attach patriarchal surnames to everything.(1)

(1)  Encyc. Brit., "Everest, Sir George."

More about mountains and the Great Mother tomorrow.

2010 U.S. Chess Championship

I am REALLY bummed that Irina Krush was not able to convert to a win in her final game with the white pieces against GM Jesse Kraai, taking nothing away from the GM.  Damn!  She needed half a point.  Half a fricking lousy point. 

Event "2010 US Championship"]
[Site "St Louis"]
[Date "2010.05.23"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Krush, Irina"]
[Black "Kraai, Jesse"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteELO "2494"]
[WhiteTitle "IM"]
[BlackELO "2560"]
[BlackTitle "GM"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1.c4 b6 2.d4 Bb7 3.a3 Nf6 4.d5 e6 5.Nc3 Bd6 6.Nf3 O-O 7.g3 c6 8.Bg2 cxd5 9.cxd5 Nxd5 10.Nxd5 exd5 11.b4 Qf6 12.Ra2 Nc6 13.O-O a5 14.b5 Ne7 15.Bb2 Qh6 16.a4 Rac8 17.Bd4 Rc4 18.Ne5 Bxe5 19.Bxe5 Rfc8 20.Qd3 Rc1 21.Bf4 Rxf1 22.Bxf1 Qe6 23.Rc2 Rc4 24.e3 Ng6 25.Qd1 Nxf4 26.exf4 Rxc2 27.Qxc2 Qd6 28.Bg2 Qc5 29.Qd1 Kf8 30.h4 d6 31.Qd3 Kg8 32.Qe2 Kf8 33.Qd3 Kg8 34.Qf5 Qc1 35.Kh2 Qc8 36.Qg5 Qe8 37.f5 h6 38.Qc1 Qc8 39.Qf4 Qd8 40.Qd4 Kf8 41.Kg1 f6 42.Bxd5 Bxd5 43.Qxd5 Qc7 44.Qa8 Kf7 45.Qd5 Kf8 46.Qa8 Kf7 47.Qd5 1/2-1/2

So, the also-rans finished up their tournament yesterday, except for those who may be playing in the blitz tournament. Here are the standings and their prize money:

5 GM Shabalov, Alexander 6.0 M 2585 2688 $10,000
6 GM Stripunsky, Alexander 5.5 M 2570 2642 $7,500
7 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 5.0 M 2599 2617 $6,600
8 GM Hess, Robert L 5.0 M 2590 2595 $6,000
9 GM Christiansen, Larry 5.0 M 2578 2639 $5,400
10 GM Finegold, Benjamin 5.0 M 2539 2607 $5,000
11 GM Yermolinsky, Alex 5.0 M 2528 2612 $4,800
12 GM Kaidanov, Gregory 4.5 M 2577 2551 $4,600
13 GM Benjamin, Joel 4.5 M 2565 2553 $4,400
14 GM Kraai, Jesse 4.5 M 2492 2575 $4,200
15 IM Krush, Irina 4.5 F 2455 2575 $4,000
16 GM Ehlvest, Jaan 4.0 M 2591 2503 $3,800
17 GM Robson, Ray 4.0 M 2569 2511 $3,700
18 GM Lenderman, Alex 3.5 M 2598 2447 $3,600
19 GM Bhat, Vinay S 3.5 M 2547 2463 $3,500
20 GM Khachiyan, Melikset 3.5 M 2539 2496 $3,400
21 IM Altounian, Levon 3.5 M 2454 2474 $3,300
22 GM Kudrin, Sergey 2.5 M 2571 2385 $3,200
23 IM Shankland, Samuel 2.5 M 2507 2381 $3,100
24 GM Gurevich, Dmitry 2.5 M 2488 2382 $3,000

All in all, Krush had a great tournament.  It's too bad there are not more opportunities for players of her level to make GM norms in events in the United States. 

Besides the fight for 5th place and Krush's quest for her second GM norm, the big story of Round 9 was GM Yuri Shulman's defeat of GM Hikaru Nakamura.  Yeah yeah, I know, poetic justice and all that after Nakamura was honest enough to say in an earlier post-mortem with Shahade and Ashley that he, Onischuk and Kamsky were going to beat up on Shulman (the "I can't get no respect" 2008 U.S. Champion) in the quad.  Duh!  Of course they would, if they could!  I mean, it's an obvious strategy.  Single out and get rid of the weakest player.  But in the quad since they couldn't get rid of him, keeping him in 4th would do as well, and the top 2700 plus players would battle it out for the top money and title.

Shulman's "defining move" - 24. ... Rxg5 - what can I say.  Well, I will say this.  I know you won't believe me, but it's exactly the move I made in my head.  Not, of course, for the same reasons Shulman made the move - but what the hell!  LOL!  For one shining moment afterwards I saw in giant uber-lit rhinestones flashing above my head PLAYED LIKE A GRANDMASTER"  as Shahade and Ashley went through endless analyses of the move while the videocam in the playing room which was focused right in on Nakamura told the true tale of an overlooked move.  Oh, how well I know that feeling.  And it was much easier to feel sympathy for a Nakamura with that gunky-looking smut shaved off his face and his hair cropped into submission.  He is a nice-looking young dude when he cleans himself up.  Why do so many of the male players these days go for the gutter grunge oh puke on me look? 

Today's quad action was quiet - both games ended in draws.  That means tomorrow, Shulman and Kamsky go into a play-off to determine the title.  I think the format for the play-off sucks but hey, I know nuthink!  The players "bid" minutes for black and draw odds?  Fine - but then the "losing" player gets a full 60 minutes on his clock with the white pieces?  Oh please.  This is rational?  Come on, dudes.  GM Ashley had it right when he said Shulman would basically be insane to "bid" less than 30 minutes - and I think he would be insane bidding less than 59 minutes.

So - tomorrow, tomorrow, there's always tomorrow...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ridiculously Hot and Humid!

Today.  It's 81 degrees F right now  and not the peak of the day yet, and the dew point is a wringing-wet 68 - downright tropical.  The sun is HOT and burning.  There is a slight breeze out of the southwest, no relief there.  I am waiting for the sun to head around behind my trees to venture out in the yard.  I knew I should have finished cutting that damn grass yesterday.  Most of the backyard has yet to be done, drat! 

I've got laundry going - it's downright frigid in my basement, am seriously thinking about camping out down there tonight, it's hot and stuffy in my bedroom, probably should NOT have opened up the windows, wider this morning but the fresh air was so tempting and last night it was cool and foggy, I slept with a quilt on! 

I make the weekend-trek to the supermarket, I got the front yard trimmed and swept early this morning, during the shady part of the day out there.  I sweated like a stuck pig, no lie, it was really gross!  Why do I seem to sweat with no effort when no one else does?  I mean, it wasn't like I was working out, I was bending over using electric grass shears to do the trimming and then I swept up the trimmings and the gunk that always seems to accumulate in my gutters curbside.  The entire exercise took 1.5 hours which was surprising, but the front yard does look spiffy :)

I also set up the umbrella on the patio and did some trimming around the deck, to fool myself into thinking it looks "neat" back there, LOL!  The deck is calling...and I'm into Amanda Quick's latest, "The Burning Lamp" and am having a rip-roaring good time reading an absolutely not-serious Victorian era "romance/adventure."  I've been feeding the critters non-stop, I spotted a real live blue bird at the bird bath this morning - just a flash - haven't seen one of them around since May, 2007 so I hope it's a good sign.  The birds are going ga-gag in the birdbath in this heat and humidity, already filled it twice.  Time to put out the other two baths! 

I watched chess online yesterday (U.S. Championships). I like the duo of Jen Shahade and Maurice Ashley but to tell the truth, I liked Ben Finegold's analysis last year at the U.S. Women's Chess Championship with Shahade much better.  Nothing against Ashley, he's a fine commentator, no doubt about it.  He's clear as a bell and very personable.  I just like Finegold's style better.  I love Shahade.  I know, people seem to either love her or hate her style.  I love her. 

I worked on the family tree - almost finished with it, amazing as that is.  Now I'm going back and filling in as many blank spots as I can and also securing birth/marriage/death records, etc. - getting seriously ready to write it all up and get the baby published.  I'm sooooo glad I'm doing this, it's been a wonderful, astounding and enlightening experience all around. 

On top of reading my junk novel and going to bed at 9 p.m. - yes - 9 p.m., I actually got decent sleep and feel human today!  I woke up at 6:40 a.m. and felt REFRESHED for the first time in ages.  It was wonderful.  Right now I'm shutting down the computer for a bit and hitting the deck with my Amanda Quick and a big freezing cold glass of cheap wine.  I've got shorts on and a tee, my hair is pinned up (only thing to do with it since I sweat so much and it gets all funky), my feet are bare and dirty.  I feel like a kid :)

Excavation of Cao Xiu's Tomb, Henan Province, China

From China Daily:
Ancient general's tomb unearthed in Henan
Updated: 2010-05-18 11:54
Archeologists in central China's Henan Province say they have found the tomb of a noted general from the Three Kingdoms period (220-280 AD).

The tomb of Cao Xiu was found in Mengjin County of Luoyang City at the end of last year, said Sun Yingmin, spokesman of the Henan provincial cultural heritage bureau, at a press conference Monday.

The tomb, 50 meters long and 21 meters wide, held chinaware, copperware, liquor cups, and jars as well as some human bones, said Sun.

Tests suggested the bones belonged to a 50-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman, he said.

A bronze seal, about the size of a coin and engraved with Cao Xiu's name revealed the tomb owner's identity, he added.

Cao Xiu is recorded in Chinese history books as a courageous fighter and high-ranking officer. He died of illness in 228, but no record of his birth has been found.

The tomb was similar to that of Cao Cao, found in Anyang City, of Henan Province, in December, said Sun.

History books say Cao Cao took Cao Xiu as a son, though the two were not blood relations.

The discovery of Cao Cao's tomb was listed as one of China's greatest archaeological achievements last year. However, it triggered skepticism from scholars and Internet commentators who questioned its authenticity.

Experts from Shanghai's Fudan University are trying to get DNA from Cao's descendants and compare it with the DNA extracted from a skull uncovered in the tomb.

Cao Cao (155-220 AD), who built the strongest and most prosperous state during the Three Kingdoms period (208-280 AD), is remembered for his outstanding military and political talents.

Posts on Cao Cao at this blog:

Follow-Up: Cao Cao Had 72 Fake Tombs!  January 31, 2010
Tomb of Cao Cao Unearthed in China: Follow-Up  December 30, 2009
Tomb of Cao Cao Unearthed in China  December 27, 2009
China's Battle of Generals Heats Up With Mega Tourist Bucks at Stake  February 2, 2010

The Color Blue Back in the News

First, a follow-up article of sorts, on the use of ancient Egyptian blue in a 12th century CE altarpiece in a Barcelona church:

Egyptian Blue Found in Romanesque Altarpiece

ScienceDaily (May 18, 2010) — A team of researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) has discovered remains of Egyptian blue in a Romanesque altarpiece in the church of Sant Pere de Terrassa (Barcelona). This blue pigment was used from the days of ancient Egypt until the end of the Roman Empire, but was not made after this time. So how could it turn up in a 12th Century church?

Second, an accidental discovery of a stable and chemically "benign" blue color compound, a formula the ancients searched for in vain for thousands of years!  I found this story by accident :)

Accidental Discovery Produces Durable New Blue Pigment for Multiple Applications

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2009) — An accidental discovery in a laboratory at Oregon State University has apparently solved a quest that over thousands of years has absorbed the energies of ancient Egyptians, the Han dynasty in China, Mayan cultures and more -- the creation of a near-perfect blue pigment.

Goddesschess blog links about the quest for and the use of the color blue in different ancient cultures:

Ancient Blue Back in the News  May 5, 2010
Is there a Common Link Between These Ancient Blue Hues?  March 20, 2010

For more information about Egyptian blue, see:

Pigments Through the Ages: Egyptian Blue Blue Colors in Ancient Egypt by Alistair Boddy-Evans

Archaic Greek Statues Recovered from Looters

May 19, 2010
By: Nicholas Paphitis, Associated Press Writer

ATHENS (AP).- Police in southern Greece have seized a rare twin pair of 2,500-year-old marble statues and arrested two farmers who allegedly planned to sell them abroad for €10 million ($12.43 million), authorities said Tuesday.

Police said two Greeks aged 42 and 48 were arrested in the Peloponnese area late Friday as they were loading the illegally excavated figures of young men into a truck. Authorities are seeking a third man suspected of belonging to a smuggling gang that planned to spirit the 6th century B.C. works out of the country.

"This is a very important find, of fabulous value, and (both statues) were ready to be taken out of Greece," Culture Minister Pavlos Geroulanos said.

Archaeologists said Tuesday the statues are "outstanding works of art" and may have come from a temple or cemetery in a lost ancient city in the Peloponnese region in southern Greece. Both are in excellent condition, but lack sections of their lower legs and were gashed by a plow or digging machinery.

They stand 1.82 meters (5 feet 9 inches) and 1.78 meters (5 feet 8 inches) high, and were probably carved by the same sculptor out of thick-grained island marble between 550-520 B.C, at the height of the archaic period of sculpture.

"They are exactly the same, with a slight variation in hairstyle and a small difference in height," said Nikos Kaltsas, director of the National Archaeological Museum in Athens where the finds were temporarily housed for conservation and study. "The artist may have wanted to produce two similar figures that would form part of a group."

The statues are of the stiff, highly formalized Kouros type widespread in the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. which portrayed gods, heroes or aristocrats and were painted in bright colors. From the 5th century on, Greek sculpture became more fluid and lifelike, culminating in the naturalism of the Hellenistic era.

Rest of article.

This was a major story with lots of coverage:,0,1612376.story

57 Mummies Uncovered from Tombs Near Fayoum, Egypt

A significant discovery - evidently unlooted tombs, some from the 1st and 2nd Dynasties, some from the 18th Dynasty.  Buried on top of each other or sharing the oldest tombs?  [Photo: Undated photo released by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on Sunday, May 23, 2010, shows a painted wooden sarcophagus discovered in Lahoun, near Fayoum, some 70 miles (100 kilometers) south of Cairo, in Egypt.]

From The Washington Post
57 ancient tombs with mummies unearthed in Egypt
The Associated Press
Sunday, May 23, 2010; 11:58 AM

CAIRO -- Archeologists have unearthed 57 ancient Egyptian tombs, most of which hold an ornately painted wooden sarcophagus with a mummy inside, Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities said Sunday.

The oldest tombs date back to around 2750 B.C. during the period of Egypt's first and second dynasties, the council said in a statement. Twelve of the tombs belong the 18th dynasty which ruled Egypt during the second millennium B.C.

The discovery throws new light on Egypt's ancient religions, the council said.

Egypt's archaeology chief, Zahi Hawass, said the mummies dating to the 18th dynasty are covered in linen decorated with religious texts from the Book of the Dead and scenes featuring ancient Egyptian deities.

Abdel Rahman El-Aydi, head of the archaeological mission that made the discovery, said some of the tombs are decorated with religious texts that ancient Egyptians believed would help the deceased to cross through the underworld.

El-Aydi said one of the oldest tombs is almost completely intact, with all of its funerary equipment and a wooden sarcophagus containing a mummy wrapped in linen.

In 31 tombs dating to around 2030-1840 B.C, archeologists discovered scenes of different ancient Egyptian deities, such as the falcon-headed Horus, Hathor, Khnum and Amun, decorating some of the tombs.

The council said the findings were unearthed at Lahoun, in Fayoum, some 70 miles (100 kilometers) south of Cairo.

Last year, some 53 stone tombs dating back to various ancient periods were found in the area.

Rare Discovery: Unlooted Tomb on Cyprus

From The Vancouver Sun:

Discovery of ancient burial chamber turns rumour mill
Theories about occupants are plentiful By Sarah Ktisti
Reuters May 22, 2010

NICOSIA, Cyprus -- Locals say it could be the final resting place of Ajax's niece, contain a golden chariot and will unleash a horrible curse.

But whether a tomb recently uncovered on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus contains the bones and booty of a close relative of a Trojan war hero straight from the pages of Homer, or will just yield better evidence for understanding the rituals and lives of ancient Greeks, is yet to be revealed.

Construction workers in the eastern coastal town of Paralimni, popular with tourists, literally stumbled onto a rare unlooted tomb dating back to the ancient world, when they were digging up the roadside to lay new paving stones in the "Fig Tree Bay" area.

"The ground just gave way," said Andreas Evangelou, said the mayor of the once sleepy fishing village.

Beneath the road's surface, a burial chamber, untouched by looters was awakened from thousands of years of slumber, and will now give experts the opportunity to piece together a more accurate picture of the life and rituals of the ancients.

"It's a usual tomb found in the area of Protaras, which is unlooted. We don't know yet what it is, the only unique thing is that it is unlooted, which may give us a better understanding of their life and rituals during that period," said Maria Hadjicosti, the director of Cyprus's Antiquities Department.

At least four clay coffins (sarcophagi) were found, along with the usual offerings of pottery and glassware, accompanying the dead to the next life. At least one of the clay coffins is adorned with floral motifs.

"It looks like it was in continual use because there are four sarcophagi with their remains," Evangelou said.

Local press on the east Mediterranean island have carried wild claims that the tomb belongs to an ancient princess, the daughter of King Teukros of Salamis. Salamis was once the capital of Cyprus's 10 city kingdoms.

Legend has it that the king -- whose brother was Ajax and uncle was the Trojan King Priam -- ordered that his daughter be buried along with her golden throne and chariot at the point where the sun meets the sea.

Cypriot experts don't share the local speculation on the tomb's relationship with the figures of Greek mythology.

"It is impossible to connect the content of this tomb with ancient sources," Hadjicosti said.

According to Evangelou, it is likely that this is not the only burial site in the area.

"Personally, I believe that this area is full of tombs and ancient relics, and it looks like this legend has a basis," Evangelou said.

Plans are now underway to share this glimpse into the past with visitors.

"We want to create something similar to that outside the Acropolis museum in Athens, with a glass pavement," Evangelou said.

On a darker note, the mayor said an old wives' tales says the person who uncovers the princess's grave site will come to a sticky end.

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

2010 U.S. Chess Championship

R8: Krush lost her game with Shabalov.  If she hopes to gain her second GM norm, she must win today.  In today's final game she has white against GM Jesse Kraai.

Event "2010 US Championship"]
[Site "St Louis"]
[Date "2010.05.22"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Shabalov, Alexander"]
[Black "Krush, Irina"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteELO "2669"]
[WhiteTitle "GM"]
[BlackELO "2494"]
[BlackTitle "IM"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 dxc4 4.e3 b5 5.a4 b4 6.Ne4 Qd5 7.Ng3 Nf6 8.Be2 Ba6 9.e4 Qa5 10.Nf3 e6 11.O-O Nbd7 12.Bg5 h6 13.Bxf6 Nxf6 14.Rc1 c3 15.bxc3 Bxe2 16.Qxe2 Qxa4 17.e5 Nd7 18.Ra1 Qb5 19.c4 Qb7 20.c5 a5 21.Ne4 Be7 22.Ra4 O-O 23.Rfa1 b3 24.Nfd2 Rfb8 25.Nc4 f5 26.Nc3 Nxc5 27.dxc5 Bxc5 28.Rb1 Qc7 29.Nd2 b2 30.Rc4 Ba3 31.Qe3 Be7 32.Na4 Rb5 33.Nf3 Rab8 34.Qc3 Rb3 35.Qc2 Qd7 36.Nd4 R3b4 37.Nxc6 Rxc4 38.Qxc4 Rb7 39.Nxe7 Qxe7 40.Rxb2 Rc7 41.Qf4 Qh4 42.g3 Qxf4 43.gxf4 Rc4 44.Rb8 Kf7 45.Nb2 Rxf4 46.Rb7 Kg6 47.Re7 Re4 48.Nd3 f4 49.Rxe6 Kf5 50.Rd6 f3 51.h3 h5 52.Rd7 Kg6 53.Kf1 a4 54.Ra7 Kg5 55.Rxg7 Kh4 56.Ne1 1-0

Standings after R8:

Rank Name Score M/F Rating TPR W-We 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1 GM Nakamura, Hikaru 5.5 M 2733 2759 +0.29 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 1 ½ ½
2 GM Kamsky, Gata 5.5 M 2702 2770 +0.71 1 1 ½ ½ 1 ½ ½ ½
3 GM Onischuk, Alexander 5.5 M 2699 2763 +0.66 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½
4 GM Shulman, Yuri 5.5 M 2613 2751 +1.47 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 1 ½ ½
5 GM Stripunsky, Alexander 5.5 M 2570 2701 +1.38 0 1 1 1 ½ 0 1 1
6 GM Shabalov, Alexander 5.0 M 2585 2657 +0.75 ½ 1 0 0 1 1 ½ 1
7 GM Hess, Robert L 4.5 M 2590 2598 +0.12 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 ½
8 GM Christiansen, Larry 4.5 M 2578 2646 +0.77 1 ½ ½ 1 0 1 ½ 0
9 GM Finegold, Benjamin 4.5 M 2539 2605 +0.74 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 ½ ½
10 GM Yermolinsky, Alex 4.5 M 2528 2609 +0.94 0 1 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ ½
11 GM Akobian, Varuzhan 4.0 M 2599 2575 -0.26 ½ 1 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½
12 GM Ehlvest, Jaan 4.0 M 2591 2542 -0.54 1 ½ ½ 0 0 ½ 1 ½
13 GM Robson, Ray 4.0 M 2569 2548 -0.24 0 0 1 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
14 GM Kraai, Jesse 4.0 M 2492 2590 +1.06 ½ 0 1 1 1 0 0 ½
15 IM Krush, Irina 4.0 F 2455 2586 +1.42 1 ½ 0 ½ 1 0 1 0
16 GM Kaidanov, Gregory 3.5 M 2577 2503 -0.84 0 ½ ½ ½ 1 0 ½ ½
17 GM Benjamin, Joel 3.5 M 2565 2508 -0.66 0 ½ 1 0 1 0 0 1
18 GM Lenderman, Alex 3.0 M 2598 2437 -1.81 0 ½ ½ ½ 0 1 0 ½
19 GM Bhat, Vinay S 3.0 M 2547 2450 -1.13 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ 1 0 ½
20 GM Khachiyan, Melikset 3.0 M 2539 2497 -0.51 1 0 0 ½ 0 ½ 1 0
21 GM Kudrin, Sergey 2.5 M 2571 2409 -1.73 ½ 1 0 0 0 0 ½ ½
22 GM Gurevich, Dmitry 2.5 M 2488 2419 -0.72 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½
23 IM Altounian, Levon 2.5 M 2454 2422 -0.32 ½ ½ 0 ½ 0 0 1 0
24 IM Shankland, Samuel 2.0 M 2507 2355 -1.55 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 0 0 ½
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