Saturday, December 11, 2010

What’s inside? Sealed jar discovered at Qumran – site of Dead Sea Scrolls

Don't you just love it when archaeologists come up with some new astounding discovery and then sell their story to a journal that most people have never heard of and hardly anyone reads - and subscription price is probably ridiculous, too.  Give me a frigging break. 

Why do archaeologists do what they do?  To make money?  Hardly!  So then why this publishing of potentially earth-shaking discoveries in obscure journals that 99.9% of the human population has never heard of?  Do they really want to reach people -- or not?  And if not - why not?

From - love the name -
What’s inside? Sealed jar discovered at Qumran – site of Dead Sea Scrolls
Friday, December 10, 2010
An intact, sealed, jar has been discovered at Qumran, the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in nearby caves.

A multinational team of scientists have been analyzing the jar and their findings are set to be published in the journal Archaeometry. If you have a subscription (or access to a library with one) you can already see the article on the publication’s website.  ...

Chess Femme News

From The Times of India:
Humpy strikes against Anna in World Chess Championship
Hari Hara Nandanan, TNN, Dec 12, 2010, 02.42am IST

CHENNAI: India's Koneru Humpy struck with black pieces in the first game of the pre-quarter finals against Anna Zatonskih of US in the Women's World Chess Championship at Hatay on Friday.

Playing black in the Queen's Gambit Declined, the Indian won a pawn on the 16th move with a neat tactical shot and went on simplifying the position, keeping her advantage. First, she threatened mate with the bishop and Queen but changed the plan to a Queen and room combination that was more deadly. After 45 moves, Anna resigned, faced with a mating combination.

This next article is very interesting, but I only find one mention of chess mentioned throughout the entire article. Perhaps chess is more difficult to master than playing a several musical instruments...
13-year old prodigy Kristin Qian shows her fascinating talent in poetry, music and much more
Published: Saturday, December 11, 2010, 11:00 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 11, 2010, 4:01 PM
David Stabler, The Oregonian
Scientists have much to say about the brain, but they would surely stand mute before Kristin Qian.

When Kristin was a week old, her mother heard her humming through her baby monitor. That was Li Dai's first inkling that she and her husband had an unusual child. ...

2010 Women's World Chess Championship - Round 3 Game 2

Summary from the official website:

The results of four matches were decided today. Thus, Humpy Koneru, Katerina Lahno, Ju Wenjun and Zhao Hue were promoted to the next stage. The fate of the other four matches Cmilyte - Skripchenko, Muzychuk M. - Harika, Kosteniuk - Ruan Lufei and Zhu Chen - Hou Yifan will be determined in the tie-breaks tomorrow. Playing with white pieces Zhu Chen equalized the match score after her loss in the previous game.  The game Koneru – Zatonskih lasted  only 14 moves. In the final position Indian player could win a pawn and fight for a win in the game but preferred to fix her victory in the match and accepted a draw.

Indian GM Koneru Humpy v. USA Im Anna Zatonskih
 One of the most exciting games of today was Cmilyte - Skripchenko. Playing white, Lithuanian player sacrificed a piece for an attack.  Almira Skripchenko could take this knight with a pawn and force her opponent to give a perpetual check but decided to test her fortune. [It didn't work.]
Round 3
Round 3 Match 01
Kosteniuk, AlexandraRUSGM2507½½1
Ruan, LufeiCHNWGM2480½½1
Round 3 Match 02
Koneru, HumpyINDGM26001½
Zatonskih, AnnaUSAIM24780½½
Round 3 Match 03
Hou, YifanCHNGM2591101
Zhu, ChenQATGM2477011
Round 3 Match 04
Zhao, XueCHNGM24741½
Dembo, YelenaGREIM24540½½
Round 3 Match 05
Cmilyte, ViktorijaLTUGM2514½½1
Skripchenko, AlmiraFRAIM2460½½1
Round 3 Match 06
Lahno, KaterynaUKRGM25221½
Huang, QianCHNWGM24020½½
Round 3 Match 07
Muzychuk, AnnaSLOIM25300½½
Ju, WenjunCHNWGM25241½
Round 3 Match 08
Harika, DronavalliINDIM2525½½1
Muzychuk, MariyaUKRIM2462½½1

Moving to Round 4:
Ju Wenjun

Going to play-off:
Kosteniuk - Ruan Lufei - Defending Champion Kosteniuk's third play-off.  Will exhaustion begin to show?
Hou Yifan - Zhu Chen - A surprise. Most people probably expected Hou Yifan to win easily.
Cmilyte - Skripchenko - this will be a great play-off!  After her miscalculation today, what will be Skripchenko's strategy tomorrow? 
Harika - Mariya Muzychuk - another great play-off in store!  I don't under-estimate either of these chess femmes.   I wish both of them would aim for GM titles by competing in more mixed events.  They've got what it takes.

I am so sad to see USA's Anna Zatonskih go and Greece's IM Yelena Dembo go, two personal favorites.  I didn't check, but I do believe that each of them bettered their performance from the 2008 WWCC.

Play-offs tomorrow.  Four more women will be eliminated after the play-offs tomorrow, leaving eight for Round 4.  Who will go, and who will stay?  Round 4 starts on Monday, December 13.

Stormy Weather! And - Christmas Tree for Isis!

Ohmygoddess!  Since yesterday morning the weather people have been going nuts warning us of the BIG storm coming from the west.  The news was full of weather reports and alerts, and people took heed.

I didn't have any extra arms to stop last night at the Pick 'n Save after stopping at Walgreens and TJ Maxx, so I walked down today, there and back by 1:30 p.m.  What a mob scene!  You would have thought the world is forecast to come to an end at midnight tonight, and everyone is determined to die stuffed full of their favorite foods and liquor!  Geez.  I gamely fought my way through crowded aisles, ignorning as best I could screaming infants, obnoxious children running all over and climbing over everything who never seem to belong to anyone, and doddering elderly.  I have nothing against the doddering elderly.  I am probably only about 20 years or so away from being a doddering elderly myself, having succumbed to my 59th birthday in August but, darlings, really.  It just is not polite to block an entire aisle designed for two carts to pass each other with room to spare when you only have one cart! 

Anyway, today was positively balmy, high of 38 degrees F.  I could have waited for the pouring-buckets rain that has been beating against the house from the east since about 2:00 p.m. to just melt the snow out of my driveway, but I dutifully got out there this morning and shoveled it away, thinking that the temperature was going to drop a lot more rapidly than it did.  Well, I got a good workout anyway with the shoveling and the hike to and from the Pick 'n Save.  Good news on that front - Roundy's purchased the lot across the street where my favorite Sentry store used to be but closed years ago.  They also bought out a Popeye's and a Ponderosa Steak House which have been torn down.  the Sentry complex will soon follow, I expect.  A brand spanking new mega Pick 'n Save will be built and it will cut off a full three blocks from my walk (one way).  I am SO happy!  The mega-marts are gigantic and loaded with everything.  It will be a thrill to shop in one - I love the one near downtown Milwaukee with its wine bar and gourmet salad/pizza/etc. bar.  Want to shop 15 different kinds of fresh olives?  Mega-Mart has them. 

I was sooo relieved to get back home lugging my groceries (including my own emergency supply of cheap pink wine), and I didn't have to play race the clock to avoid freezing feet, hands, cheeks (the face cheeks, people) and nose.  Ahhhh, I love these December thaws.  It was a wonderful slow stroll and I only had to stop occasionally to wipe my drippy nose (it doesn't deal well with temperatures below 50 F).  I had some in-shell nuts in my pockets and I tossed them to several squirrels I saw along the way.

But too much rain - enough already.  I'm surprised I haven't seen flash flood warnings.  Nope - instead, I've got the local news on now - we have been upgraded from a "winter storm warning" to a BLIZZARD WARNING.  Great, just great.  As the storm front moves east, looks like my area will start to experience sleet and then snow with sustained winds of 30 mph and higher sometime around midnight.  Yep, the end of the world as we know it...  I am prepared.  I am going to make a batch of JAN'S KILLER BROWNIES TONIGHT using my patented secret recipe :)))  That's not a triple big smile - those are my two double chins that I've earned from eating my patented secret recipe brownies.  Fortunately, we won't get the worst of it - only between 4 to 7 inches of snow.  Areas to the north will get hammered as the wind shifts around.

I never have understood how the wind can be pounding rain from the east off Lake Michigan if the storm system is approaching from the west, but so it goes.

I promised 'Sis that I would take some photos of my christmas tree.  I tried some last week but they didn't turn out at all.  I think the tree is pretty, but now I am regretting not taking the time to put the gold bead garlands all around.  And, contrary to my best intentions, I did purchase four more ornaments this year.  As punishment, I had a hell of a time trying to find a spot to tuck them in on the tree, LOL!  But they were so pretty and such a deal (T.J. Maxx) - 4 of them for $5.99.  I could not resist.

Let's see how they turned out --

Hmmm, blurry, and sideways to boot.  Welcome to Christmas at Maison Newton.  Okay, let's try this one...

That's much better - at least it's in focus!  Can you see the rain on the windows???  I really do need to get a tree topper, but I don't want a Santa or an Angel or a Star. Now a naked Aphrodite, or a fighting Athena - hmmm...

Right now the top-most branch is draped in faux pearls and gold beading which looks pretty impressive in person but doesn't do jack-squat in this photo.  My tree skirt isn't - it's a couple of curtain panels I made years ago that have been stashed in the linen closet forever since I changed the decor of the living room (wherein said tree is located). I found them in the linen closet and since they match colors in the furniture and area rugs I put them into service, scrunched up around the base of the tree.  I have shopped and shopped for a tree skirt but I refuse, absolutely refuse, to pay $30 for one on sale.  Red and green won't coordinate - my tree is wine-colored (or maroon, if you must) and gold, with a large accompaniment of crystal and pearl-adorned ornaments.  The tree skirt must be cream-colored, or gold, or wine (or maroon).  Try and find a reasonably priced, properly colored tree skirt!  When I retire, which will be in about - well, never mind, probably never given the way the economy and my 401(k) is going, I may take up sewing again. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 Women's World Chess Championship R3, Game 1

Summary from the official website:

16 participants out of 64 continue to play in the World Championship. Three games Kosteniuk – Ruan Lufei, Skripchenko – Cmilyte and Harika - Muzychuk Maria were drawn. Two games were finished relatively quick but in the third one Harika Dronavaliy was trying to win rook ending with pawn up but after 90 moves players shared a point. Among the winners of the first game are Humpy Koneru, Hou Yifan, Zhao Xue, Katerina Lahno, Ju Wenjun. The game between Chinese Hou Yifan and her former compatriot Zhu Chen ended in favor of the young prodigy. After 20 moves the position was about equal. The player from Qatar underestimated her pawn weaknesses in the ending which fallowed after the queen trade that she proposed herself. Hou Yifan was accurate to prove the ending to be won.

Round 3
Round 3 Match 01
Kosteniuk, AlexandraRUSGM2507½½
Ruan, LufeiCHNWGM2480½½
Round 3 Match 02
Koneru, HumpyINDGM260011
Zatonskih, AnnaUSAIM247800
Round 3 Match 03
Hou, YifanCHNGM259111
Zhu, ChenQATGM247700
Round 3 Match 04
Zhao, XueCHNGM247411
Dembo, YelenaGREIM245400
Round 3 Match 05
Cmilyte, ViktorijaLTUGM2514½½
Skripchenko, AlmiraFRAIM2460½½
Round 3 Match 06
Lahno, KaterynaUKRGM252211
Huang, QianCHNWGM240200
Round 3 Match 07
Muzychuk, AnnaSLOIM253000
Ju, WenjunCHNWGM252411
Round 3 Match 08
Harika, DronavalliINDIM2525½½
Muzychuk, MariyaUKRIM2462½½
USA's IM Anna Zatonskih with white v. Indian GM Koneru Humpy
The second game of Round 3 takes place tomorrow.  The Muzychuk sisters (Anna playing for Slovenia and Mariya playing for Ukraine) have their work cut out for them.  Kateryana Lahno seems to be in a really good place right now, she's rolling along marking up victory after victory.  Is this her time?  The lone American player left in the championship, IM Anna Zatonskih, ran into the buzzsaw GM Koneru Humpy.  Anna needs a win tomorrow just to force a play-off.  Can she pull it off?  One thing is certain.  The remaining women are all really really tough competitors, several of them having come through grueling play-off action already.

Stay tuned. 

Interview with Yelena Dembo (Greece) at Susan Polgar's blog
Coverage at Susan Polgar's blog
Chessbase Report on Round 2 action - It Was Brutal...
Chessdom has R3 games, and is presenting games live each round
Chessvibes: Women’s World Ch: Kosintseva and Stefanova exit (Round 2)
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