Saturday, June 15, 2013

Milwaukee Summer Challenge II

Hola everyone!

The second Milwaukee Summer Challenge is taking place this weekend - started to day, in fact!  June 15-16, 2013. 

Results/standings aren't in yet for the first rounds of the Summer Challenge.  A scholastic tournament was scheduled against the Summer Challenge (which itself was requested to move it dates and that seems to have siphoned off some chess femmes who otherwise might have chosen to play in the Summer Challenge.  That's too bad, because Goddesschess put up some nice prizes again, and a $50 best game prize for the players in the M/E Section (a closed section) as well.  This year, all of the players in that section are guys - we spread the Goddesschess love when we can :)

However, we had enough chess femmes playing to activitate the prizes (sure hope I've got these right!):

U2000--2:   Anupama Rajendra 1872; Anne Ulrich 1470

U1500--4:  Alena Huang 1496; Ritika Pandey 1371; Sabrina Huang 1347; Divya Pandey 1082; Susanna Ulrich

U1000--3:  Chelsea Moore 223

Stay tuned!

Unique Gold Female Figurine Found in Denmark Field


This little lady is TINY.  4.2 centimeters equals 1.65354 inches - about the size of a smallish pawn chess piece! 

Close-up of the golden figurine. Note the belt and the rings around the
feet and the arms. (Photo: René Laursen)

Unique gold figurine of naked woman found in Denmark

June 12, 2013 - 06:12
A small figurine depicting a slim, naked woman was recently found in a Danish field. Strangely, this is the fifth in a series of tiny golden human figurines found recently in the area.
A field on the Danish island of Bornholm has in recent years been the site of many surprising archaeological finds. The most recent one of these was of a golden figurine of a naked woman. The small, heavily arched figurine is only 4.2 cm tall and weighs 3 grams, has many details and bears the mark of quality craftsmanship.
Stretched arms and sagging breasts
The woman has a long and slender body, which may have been made out of a thin bar of gold. The head is elongated with a protruding jaw and incised hair. The breasts are sagging and below both shoulders are notches, indicating that her arms have been tied around her body.

The arms are stretched and the thumbs are pressed against one another, while the other fingers are facing downwards. On the stomach is a more clearly incised belt decorated with a zig-zag pattern, and the private parts are clearly visible between the short and thin legs.
Possibly a symbol of fertility and health
The golden woman appears to be either standing on her toes or jumping up athletically with the insteps stretched. And above the elegantly shaped feet, the calves and knees are clearly visible.
When viewing the figurine from the front, it is tempting to associate the naked, buxom, athletic female figure with fertility and health.

Remarkably, the back side has ten prominent ‘teeth’, something that has never been seen before.
Naked female figurines are a rarity in Nordic Iron Age art, where male figurines dominated.
The fifth figurine in the series
The golden woman is the fifth in a series of small, golden human figurines from the Smørenge field on Bornholm. The first four are all believed to depict men, while there is no doubt about the gender of the last addition to the series.

The first figurine was found in the spring of 2009, together with a number of other finds, including several gold-foil figures, while the next three appeared in spring 2012.

Common to all the five figurines is that the heads are plastically formed, but otherwise there is a great deal of variation.
The plough separated the figurines
The five figurines were probably buried in the same place, individually or collectively, at some point during the 6th century AD, i.e. the Migration Period.

Three of them were found within five metres of each other, while the other two were found 10-15 metres further away. Presumably it was the plough that separated them.

This location may have been chosen due to the presence of one or more springs.

Only an excavation would give more information about the characteristics of the place, and such plans have now become a high priority.
This article is reproduced on this site by kind permission of Skalk, a Danish periodical with articles about Danish prehistoric and medieval archaeology, history and related topics.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tomb of "Saka Princess" Uncovered

Kazakhstan archaeologists discover Saka princess tomb
Monday, 03.06.2013, 15:13
Kazakhstan archaeologists found a tomb of a “Saka princess”, reports citing head of the expedition TImur Smagulov.

The burial site of the high-ranking young woman was discovered during reconstruction of Taskesken-Bakty road in Urdzhar region of East-Kazakhstan oblast. An expedition made of professors and students of Semipalatinsk and Pavlodar pedagogical institutes discovered the stone tomb-chest with remains of the young woman at the depth of 1.7 meters under a burial mount.

The things found in at the burial site certify that the woman was from a distinguished tribe. According to the archaeologists, the golden head wear that looks like Kazakh Saukele (national headgear of women) is the most valuable item for the research. “The pointed golden head wear with zoomorphic ornaments has the top that looks like the arrows and is decorated with a spiral made of golden wire and jewels. A similar head wear used to be part of the official costume of the Saka tribe chieftains. It is quite possible that the woman was a daughter of a king of Saka Tigrakhauda tribe,” Timur Smagulov said.
I think this might be the flattened out gold crown.

According to him, it is quite possible that young Tomiris who later became a warrior-queen used to wear a similar head wear. According to the expedition’s members, ceramic and wooden vessels, as well as bones of a sacrificial sheep were also discovered in the tomb. Pieces of blue and green clothes remained on the woman’s remains. Golden earrings and a stone altar were found next to her head.

“According to the preliminary information, the tomb of the “Urdzhar princess” is dated 4th or 3rd century B.C.,” Smagulov said. According to him, a similar tomb discovered in Issyk burial mount (the "Golden Man").
Use of the Tengrinews English materials must be accompanied by a hyperlink to

Further details about the 'princess' are revealed in a companion article:

Beheaded skeleton discovered next to Saka princess's tomb
Thursday, 06.06.2013, 19:07

Kazakhstan archaeologists have discovered a beheaded human skeleton next to the tomb of the “Saka princess”, reports.

A famous restorer Krym Altynbekov has arrived to the archaeological site to prepare the remains for transportation to a laboratory in Almaty for further study. After the tests the anthropologists will be able to date the burial site more precisely.

According to the archaeologists, another tomb was discovered next to the tomb-chest. It contained a beheaded human skeleton without the right hand. The experts supposed that this could be a sacrifice place but stressed that it was only a guess. Besides, the scientists said that the second body was buried quite carelessly and was merely covered with rocks. It is quite possible that it was done intentionally to confuse potential tomb raiders.

According to the experts, the burial itself is dated around 3-4 century B.C.. It was discovered during an archaeological check made before reconstruction and repairs of a local road. The remains of the “princess” were only several meters away from the road.

The discovery is valuable, according to the archaeologists, because the remains are well preserved and the tomb-chest is intact and in quite a good condition. The discovery was called the “Saka princess” because of a Saukele headgear discovered it in. In its making and appearance it is similar to the one of Issyk’s Golden Man discovered in 1969. Clay and wooden wares containing sheep bones and jewelry were discovered as well. The woman was around 170 cm tall.

The works on cleaning the tomb-chest are being made by Alkei Margulan Archeology Institute. They have only found the remains and the head dress of the “Saka princess” so far. They do not preclude that there are more discoveries on the way.

By Daniyar Bozov

2013 Las Vegas International Chess Festival

The Open attracts a lot of talent from around the country and the world because of the possibility of taking clear first place and the $10,000 top prize.  What usually happens, though, is a whole lot of players split prizes because they finish "tied."  That happened this year; Tatev Abrahamyan was the highest-finishing female player, tying with players 12 through 22 with 4.0.  From the score, it looks like Tatev played her usually uncompromising fighting chess, scoring 4 wins and 2 losses! 

Here is the top finisher (GM Wesley So) and the femmes whose names I was able to pick out from the Open final standings -- hope I didn't miss anyone!

There were 91 players but as the event went on many of the players at the bottom of the rankings dropped out:

No. Ttl Name                     St  Rate Pts Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 Prize                         
  1 GM  So,Wesley                CAN 2728   5 W 19 D 26 W  9 W 25 W 12 D  4 $2,175
22 WGM Abrahamyan,Tatev         CA  2407   4 L 26 W 19 W 18 L 14 W 47 W 50 $114  
45 WFM Labedz,Patrycja Anna     TX  2267   3 L 12 W 73 L 31 L 76 W 86 W 71
46 FM  Melekhina,Alisa          PA  2267   3 L  3 W 74 D 29 D 26 L 30 W 72
 55 WFM Chiang,Sarah             TX  2243 2.5  -H- W 52 L 28 L  9 L 61 W 82
71 WIM Gutierrez,Paloma         AZ  2212   2 L 15 L 77 L 52 W 81 W 83 L 45

You can find all of the results for sections here

3rd China Women's Masters

  • 3rd Women Masters
  • Fri 31st May 2013
  • Sun 9th Jun 2013
  • Wuxi
  • CHN
  • 10 Players.
  • 9 Rounds.
  • SRR
  • Time Control: 90m:30m+30spm(1)
  • Results at Chess Results
  • 3rd Women Masters Wuxi CHN Fri 31st May 2013 - Sun 9th Jun 2013. Category: 9. Ave: (2451)
    1Tan, ZhongyiWGMCHN2483#=1=10=1116.52613
    2Gunina, ValentinaIMRUS2514=#===101==52486
    3Huang, QianWGMCHN24690=#=====1152491
    4Guo, QiWGMCHN2439===#==10==4.52452
    5Ding, YixinWGMCHN24270===#=1===4.52453
    6Shen, YangIMCHN239710===#100=42413
    7Zhang, XiaowenWGMCHN2367=1=000#01142417
    8Wang, JueWGMCHN240100=1=11#0042413
    9Ju, WenjunWGMCHN25440=0==101#=42397
    10Javakhishvili, LelaIMGEO24640=0===01=#3.52369

    Alexandra Kosteniuk Defends Thesis to Earn Advanced Degree

    Exciting news came my way early this morning.  GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, 12th women's world chess champion, who continues a full-time chess career while raising a family, successfully defended her Master's thesis at Moscow State Academy of Physical Education and Sport about the pre-school pedagogical technology for chess that she developed and is using in her chess school in Moscow (where kids from 3 to 7 years old study chess and prepare for school).  Read more.  The photo on the right is from AK's website.  It looks like the set-up for defending one's thesis is similar in Russia as it is here in the US -- you face a panel of professors tossing non-stop questions at you about your paper and you have to think on your feet!  Congratulations to GM Kosteniuk on her fine achievement.  She is an inspiration and an excellent role model for all of us, young and the young at heart :)

    Alexandra joins the ranks of many chessplayers who have earned advanced degrees and gone on to careers in teaching, psychiatry, business, investment banking, mathematics, and many other fields.

    Monday, June 10, 2013

    Saving Priceless Manuscripts from the Barbarians

    How Timbuktu's manuscripts were smuggled to safety

    Sunday, June 9, 2013

    Hurricane Sandy Victims Complaining About Insurance Premium Hikes


    After Sandy, a new threat: Soaring flood insurance

    After Sandy, a dire choice: Lift home or face sky-high insurance, but many can't afford either


    Okay, let me see if I've got all my ducks in a row here.  (1) YOU live on a coastline known to be frequented by storms, some of them SEVERE storms.  (2) YOU live NEAR the shoreline or (3) YOU live on a river that is known to have experienced storm surge in past history.  (4) YOUR house is built on STILTS.  (5) YOU got wiped out by Hurricane Sandy.  (6) Federal taxpayer dollars were poured into YOUR state to help YOU recover from the devastation.

    Am I on storm track so far, heh?

    (7) YOUR insurance premiums are now skyrocketing.  (8) YOU ALL ARE BITCHING ABOUT IT!

    Where have these people been all their lives?  We had massive flooding all up and down the Mississippi River in the 1990s.  It was SO bad the government all neo-cons, Nazis and Tea Party nut cases love to hate finally said enough is enough, we're not gonna pay you suckas if you insist on rebuilding here anymore, and bought out thousands of land owners so the stupid fricks would be prevented from making the same mistake of rebuilding in a flood zone yet ONE MORE TIME.. 

    We ALSO experienced Hurricane Andrew that devasted wide swaths of Florida and other states in 1992. Up to that point, Andrrew was the most devastating and costly hurricane EVAH.

    Oh, don't forget Hurricane Katrina where everyone around the world was witness to hundreds of suffering souls holed up inside the Superdome in New Orleans begging for help while our Fearless Leader "I'll Fly Over and Wave Hello" -- President George W. Bush fiddled as people died in front of our eyes on live television. 

    Followed by - let's see, what should I pick next?  Do I dare mention the ongoing drought conditions in the southwest of the United States and the near depletion of the Ogalla Water Aquifer which, once gone, will be gone for about 50,000 years or so?  But hey, don't tell that to the farmers growing crops we don't need in the middle of desert!  We're getting all of our produce from MEXICO these days, heh heh heh.  By the way, has anyone connected the dots as to why there has been a substantial increase in deadly salmonella outbreaks in the United States since NAFTA??? 

    Continuing on with my Sunday night rants, see the two posts below. 


    While Egypt, and Ethiopia are Doing War Posturing Over the Blue Nile, Europe is Drowning...

    See post below about the Ethiopian dam being constructed on the Blue Nile, and the Islamist government of Egypt's response thereto (foolish, foolish - making threats war).

    Meanwhile, in other news of global climate change, there is ongoing massive flooding in Europe, going on for the past two weeks now, I believe.  But what do we give a hoot here?  Well, we should start giving a hoot, because what's going on in Egypt, and Europe, WILL impact us sooner than later.  It's not just about Moore, Oklahoma, people.

    Thousands of Germans evacuate as dam on Elbe river breaks

    By Martin Schlicht and Oliver Keck
    MAGDEBURG/GROSS ROSENBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Thousands of people left their homes in eastern Germany on Sunday as a dam burst on the swollen River Elbe and swathes of farmland were flooded in an attempt to spare towns, with meteorologists forecasting more rain.

    In Magdeburg, one of the oldest cities in eastern Germany and a regional capital, some 23,000 people were asked to evacuate as water levels in the Elbe rose to a record 7.48 meters, around 5 meters above normal and surpassing the level reached in devastating floods in 2002.

    "We helped yesterday to carry sandbags to secure the town. The mood is very depressed and frightened because many people have to leave their homes," said resident Liane Nagen.

    There have been at least a dozen deaths as a result of floods that have hit Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic over the past week.  Officials said more than 8,000 people were evacuated by bus from towns and villages around Aken, south of Magdeburg. Some took their pets or farm animals with them.

    A dam at the confluence of the River Elbe and the River Saale south of Magdeburg burst despite attempts to stabilize it. A dike was also breached, and a crisis unit said the high waters were likely to put further pressure on dikes in coming days.

    Holger Stahlknecht, Interior Minister for the state of Saxony-Anhalt, where Magdeburg is located, said air and land surveillance would be stepped up in response to a threat from a previously unheard-of group calling itself the Germanophobic Flood Brigade to attack the sodden dikes. [What?]

    More than 36,000 people were evacuated across Saxony-Anhalt. In Brandenburg, a largely rural state that surrounds the capital Berlin, some residents were evacuated and flooding of uninhabited areas was planned.

    In Hungary, the Danube was also set to reach record levels in the capital Budapest on Sunday night and Prime Minister Viktor Orban said dikes had been strengthened at critical points to protect the city from flooding.  The deluge reached Hungary on Friday but so far authorities, soldiers and thousands of volunteers have managed to defend the villages and towns along the Danube, piling more than three million sandbags beside its dikes. [Won't make a difference in the end...]

    Carmaker Suzuki, one of Hungary's main exporters, said it would will halt production at its plant in Esztergom, north of Budapest, on Monday because of the floods.


    The damage from the floods in Germany could amount to more than 6 billion euros ($7.93 billion), according to the Cologne Institute for Economic Research. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who faces an election in September, has promised 100 million euros ($130 million) in aid for flooded areas.

    "We'll do everything humanly possible when it comes to reconstruction. Germany is sticking together in an admirable way at the moment and it should stay like that," she said.

    She has been seen visiting flooded regions and speaking to victims and helpers, unlike her Social Democrat (SPD) challenger Peer Steinbrueck, who told German state television on Sunday he would not get involved in a "rubber boot competition".

    "When the worst is over, I'd like to sit down with those affected and discuss in concrete terms what kind of help we can give," he said, adding that he wanted to create an ombudsman to coordinate aid for the victims of flooding. [OHMYGODDESS - WHAT A STUPID FOOL!]

    The pair's response to the flooding could affect their respective chances in the election on September 22. During the floods of 2002, decisive crisis management by SPD Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder gave him a boost in the polls which helped him win a second term.

    Along with citizens and emergency services, around 11,000 German soldiers were helping fight the flood waters on Sunday. The situation in cities like Dresden and Halle and in the state of Bavaria had improved. ($1 = 0.7564 euros)

    (Reporting by Reuters TV and Nadine Schimroszik; writing by Michelle Martin in Berlin; editing by Tom Pfeiffer)

    Water Wars? The Damn Dam...

    Well, we all knew it was coming, sooner or later.

    Unfortunately, the totally disfunctional Islamic government now in charge of the "new" Egypt doesn't know it's ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to diplomacy. Tsk tsk! Yeah, nothing like fundy politicians going on television saying they're go to war with Ethiopia if E goes ANY further with its construction of a massive damn across a portion of the Blue Nile.  Surely Cheops is rolling in his grave (WHEREVER IT IS) right now...

    Well, we ain't seen nothing yet.  As the world continues to suffer through more drastic climate changes thanks to the shift in the Jet Stream and the melting of the Polar Ice Caps, to name just a few well-documented changes that didn't just "creep" up upon us over thousands or even hundreds of years but are happening right here and now, within the average person's lifetime, Ha!  If I live to be 100, as I'd planned previously (I'll wait and see how things are going...) perhaps Mars won't look so forbidding to mankind after all...  Meanwhile, I am sure to be entertained by the antics of the idiots in Cairo.

    From Yahoo News

    'No Nile, no Egypt', Cairo warns over Ethiopia dam

    By Shadia Nasralla
    CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's foreign minister, vowing not to give up "a single drop of water from the Nile", said on Sunday he would go to Addis Ababa to discuss a giant dam that Ethiopia has begun building in defiance of Cairo's objections. [Right, dude.  Way to start negotiations from the get-go -- we won't give us a SINGLE DROP OF WATER.]

    Speaking to Egypt's state news agency MENA two days after the Ethiopian government flatly rejected a request [? request? More like a threat of war if construction was not halted] from Cairo to halt the project, Mohamed Kamel Amr said Egyptians view any obstacle to the river's flow as a threat to national survival.

    "No Nile - no Egypt," he said, highlighting the pressure on the Egyptian government, whose popularity is wilting in the face of economic troubles, to prevent the hydro power plant cutting already stretched water supplies for its 84 million people. [How about reinstituting the birth control programs that were very popular under the former regime, you dildo heads?]

    Last week, Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador after politicians in Cairo were shown on television suggesting military action or supporting Ethiopian rebels - a mark of the threat felt in Cairo from the plan to dam the Blue Nile, the tributary that supplies the bulk of water downstream in Egypt.
    "Egypt won't give up on a single drop of water from the Nile or any part of what arrives into Egypt from this water in terms of quantity and quality," Amr told MENA, noting that Egypt has little rain and is effectively desert without its great river.

    Speaking at a news conference, he declined to detail the action Egypt might take next but noted Ethiopian assurances that Africa's biggest hydro station would not cut water supplies.

    "We have a plan for action, which will start soon," Amr said. "We'll talk to Ethiopia and we'll see what comes of it. Ethiopia has said it will not harm Egypt, not even by a liter of water. We are looking at ... this being implemented."

    Countries that share the Nile have long argued over the use of its waters, repeatedly raising fears that the disputes could eventually boil over into war. Egypt, struggling with a shortage of cash and bitter internal political divisions following a 2011 revolution, called on Ethiopia to stop work after engineers began diverting the course of the Blue Nile late last month.

    In Addis Ababa, a government spokesman called that request a "non-starter" and dismissed threats from Cairo of "sabotage" and "destabilization", saying attempts by Egypt under its previous military rulers to undermine Ethiopian leaders had failed.

    The possible downstream effects of the $4.7-billion Grand Renaissance Dam, some 40 km (25 miles) from Ethiopia's border with Sudan, have been disputed and full details are unclear.

    While letting water through such dams - of which Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia already have several - may not reduce its flow greatly, the filling of the reservoir behind any new dam means cutting the river's flow for a time. Evaporation from reservoirs can also permanently reduce water flowing downstream.

    Now 21 percent complete, the new dam on the Blue Nile will eventually have capacity of 6,000 megawatts and is central to Ethiopia's plans to become Africa's leading exporter of power.

    Sudan, which borders Egypt and Ethiopia and also gets much of its water from the Nile, said it supported the project. [Okay, so where was the Egyptian government when this dam project was on the drawing board, and before construction even began?  Were there no consultations, no negotiations going on before hand -- I don't believe that for a second!]

    "The Grand Renaissance Dam brings many benefits and blessings for us," Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman told reporters in Khartoum.

    He gave no details, but Sudanese officials have said the dam will enable Ethiopia to export power to Sudan, a country with frequent outages and one of its closest allies in Africa.
    (Editing by Alastair Macdonald, Tom Pfeiffer and Kevin Liffey)

    P.S.  Did I forget to mention that the Islamist government in Cairo probably wouldn't hesitate to start a war it cannot possibly win, if only to rally the populace behind it -- you know, life and death of our country and all that jazz.  An obvious ploy to try and distract the populace from the increasingly deteriorating conditions going on around them around them.  Hmmm, no bread, no problem.  Hmmm, no free-spending average-Joe AMERICAN and ENGLISH tourists, no problem.  Waiting in lines to fill up with adulterated gasoline, no problem.  No garbage pick-up, no problem.  No clean wate rto drink, no problem.  No water to grow our crops -- whoa, now that's a problem...  Hey yeah, Abdul, our government frigging sucks and can't see the pyramids for the mounds of garbage being piled up all around them in the desert, but they want us to go to war over our water rights.  Okay, let's go, dude.  Geez, where is the Hind of Hinds when we need her...
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