Thursday, May 29, 2014

2014 U.S. Women's Chess Championship

Totally missed it, darlings, so busy involved in this house thing!  I'm going into this news fresh -- don't even know who won.  So, without further ado, here are the final standings:

ch-USA w 2014 Saint Louis USA (USA), 7-21 v 2014cat. I (2270)
1.Krush, IrinagUSA2489*1½1½½½½112411
2.Zatonskih, AnnamUSA24690*1½½11½112413
3.Abrahamyan, TatevwgUSA2366½0*1½11½112424
4.Nemcova, KaterinawgUSA22820½0*½½1½1152311
5.Zenyuk, IrynaUSA2249½½½½*0½10½42228
6.Melekhina, AlisafUSA2151½00½1*01½½42239
7.Foisor, Sabina-FrancescawgUSA2238½000½1*01142230
8.Ni, ViktorijawmUSA2206½½½½001*0½2196
9.Eswaran, AshrithaUSA197900001½01*12221
10.Baginskaite, CamillawgUSA22670000½½0½0*1996
Round 1 (May 8, 2014)
Abrahamyan, Tatev- Melekhina, Alisa1-046C50Giuoco Piano
Nemcova, Katerina- Krush, Irina0-157B89Sicilian Sozin Attack
Zenyuk, Iryna- Zatonskih, Anna½-½50E12Queens Indian Petrosian
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca- Baginskaite, Camilla1-034E32Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Ni, Viktorija- Eswaran, Ashritha0-183A46Queen's Pawn Opening
Round 2 (May 9, 2014)
Krush, Irina- Eswaran, Ashritha1-039A30English Symmetrical
Zatonskih, Anna- Abrahamyan, Tatev1-048C02French Advance
Nemcova, Katerina- Zenyuk, Iryna½-½38B35Sicilian Defence
Melekhina, Alisa- Foisor, Sabina-Francesca0-153C02French Advance
Baginskaite, Camilla- Ni, Viktorija½-½61A56Old Indian Defence
Round 3 (May 10, 2014)
Abrahamyan, Tatev- Nemcova, Katerina1-047C53Giuoco Piano
Zenyuk, Iryna- Krush, Irina½-½30D38QGD Ragozin
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca- Zatonskih, Anna0-145E34Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Ni, Viktorija- Melekhina, Alisa0-134A04Dutch System
Eswaran, Ashritha- Baginskaite, Camilla1-062B92Sicilian Najdorf with 6.Be2
Round 4 (May 12, 2014)
Krush, Irina- Baginskaite, Camilla1-023E56Nimzo Indian
Zatonskih, Anna- Ni, Viktorija½-½63E60King's Indian without Nc3
Nemcova, Katerina- Foisor, Sabina-Francesca1-029B06Modern Defence
Zenyuk, Iryna- Abrahamyan, Tatev½-½55A33English Symmetrical
Melekhina, Alisa- Eswaran, Ashritha½-½60B23Sicilian Closed
Round 5 (May 13, 2014)
Abrahamyan, Tatev- Krush, Irina½-½41B32Sicilian Labourdonnais
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca- Zenyuk, Iryna½-½47E38Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Ni, Viktorija- Nemcova, Katerina½-½50E17Queens Indian
Eswaran, Ashritha- Zatonskih, Anna0-143C11French Defence
Baginskaite, Camilla- Melekhina, Alisa½-½111A59Volga Gambit
Round 6 (May 14, 2014)
Krush, Irina- Melekhina, Alisa½-½49E10Blumenfeld Counter Gambit
Zatonskih, Anna- Baginskaite, Camilla1-0103D40Semi-Tarrasch Defence
Abrahamyan, Tatev- Foisor, Sabina-Francesca1-038C54Giuoco Piano
Nemcova, Katerina- Eswaran, Ashritha1-054A22English Opening
Zenyuk, Iryna- Ni, Viktorija1-042A41Modern Defence
Round 7 (May 16, 2014)
Melekhina, Alisa- Zatonskih, Anna0-172C02French Advance
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca- Krush, Irina½-½78E32Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Ni, Viktorija- Abrahamyan, Tatev½-½47A46Queen's Pawn Opening
Eswaran, Ashritha- Zenyuk, Iryna1-063E66King's Indian Fianchetto
Baginskaite, Camilla- Nemcova, Katerina0-114E47Nimzo Indian
Round 8 (May 17, 2014)
Krush, Irina- Zatonskih, Anna1-075A13Reti Opening
Abrahamyan, Tatev- Eswaran, Ashritha1-071B32Sicilian Labourdonnais
Nemcova, Katerina- Melekhina, Alisa½-½52C50Giuoco Piano
Zenyuk, Iryna- Baginskaite, Camilla½-½45E11Bogo Indian Defence
Foisor, Sabina-Francesca- Ni, Viktorija0-152A53Old Indian Defence
Round 9 (May 19, 2014)
Zatonskih, Anna- Nemcova, Katerina½-½81E32Nimzo Indian 4.Qc2
Melekhina, Alisa- Zenyuk, Iryna1-047B31Sicilian Rossolimo
Ni, Viktorija- Krush, Irina½-½66B23Sicilian Closed
Eswaran, Ashritha- Foisor, Sabina-Francesca0-140A04Dutch System
Baginskaite, Camilla- Abrahamyan, Tatev0-146E46Nimzo Indian Rubinstein

ch-USA Armageddon w 2014 Saint Louis USA Wed 7th May 2014 - Wed 21st May 2014
Leading Final Round 1 Standings:
1Abrahamyan, TatevWGMUSA2366=0.5
2Zatonskih, AnnaIMUSA2469=0.5
2 players

ch-USA TB w 2014 Saint Louis USA Wed 7th May 2014 - Wed 21st May 2014
Leading Final Round 2 Standings:
1Krush, IrinaGMUSA24891=1.5
2Abrahamyan, TatevWGMUSA23660=0.5
2 players

GM Irina Krush won her 6th U.S. title and successfully defended her 2013 title.  Again, the top three female players in the country -- Anna Zatonskih, Tatev Abrahamyan, and Krush, battled it out to an exciting climax.  Tatev -- continues to be a bridesmaid, not a bride!  But I have faith in her.  She WILL win the title within the next few years, unless she quits chess altogether.  I just can't imagine that happening, not until she's won her title! 

Article at website of St. Louis Chess Club.  Oh yeah.  GM Gata Kamsky won the men's title.

Women's Prize Structure ($72,000 total; men's prizes were $172,000 total.  Yeah, it's bullshit):

$20, 000
$4, 500
$13, 000
$4, 000
$9, 000
$3, 500
$7, 000
$3, 000
$5, 000
$2, 000
Best Game Prize: $1,000
Total Prize Fund: $72, 000

I was sorry not to see Anjelina Belakovskaia play again this year. 

Two Teenaged Girls Raped and Murdered in Uttar Pradesh, India

May 29, 2014

Indian teen girls gang-raped and hanged from a tree: police


NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Indian police have arrested one man and are looking for four other suspects after two teenage girls were gang-raped and then hanged from a tree in a village in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, police said on Thursday.

The two cousins, who were from a low-caste Dalit community and aged 14 and 15, went missing from their village home in Uttar Pradesh's Budaun district when they went out to go to the toilet on Tuesday evening.

The following morning, villagers found the bodies of the two teenagers hanging from a mango tree in a nearby orchard.

"We have registered a case under various sections, including that of rape, and one of the accused has been taken into custody. There were five people involved, one has been arrested and we are looking for the others," Budaun's Superintendent of Police Man Singh Chouhan told reporters.

Chouhan said a post-mortem confirmed the two minors were raped and died from the hanging. DNA samples have been also been taken to help identity the perpetrators, he added.

The victim's families say the girls were gang-raped and then hanged by five men from the village. They allege that local police were shielding the attackers as they refused to take action when the girls were first reported missing.

It was only after angry villagers found the hanging corpses and took the bodies to a nearby highway and blocked it in protest, say the families, that police registered a case of rape and murder.

A case of conspiracy has also been registered against two constables, said Chouhan, adding that they had also been suspended.

Sex crimes against young girls and women are widespread in India, say activists, adding that females from poor, marginalized, low-caste communities are often the victims.  A report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights in April last year said 48,338 child rape cases were recorded in India from 2001 to 2011, and the annual number of reported cases had risen more than fourfold - 336 percent - over that period.

Women's rights experts and lawyers say rape victims also have to endure harsh treatment from an archaic, poorly funded and insensitive criminal justice system.  Police often try to dissuade victims from complaining and suggest a "compromise" between the victim and the perpetrator, largely because of their insensitivity to sex crimes, but also because police officials are rarely held accountable.

Public outrage over the fatal gang rape of a woman in New Delhi in December 2012 pushed the government into passing a tougher new law to punish sex crimes. This includes sentences of up to two years’ jail for police and hospital authorities if they fail to register a complaint or treat a victim.

(Editing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Ron Popeski)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Made in China: Museum Shut Down After Fake "Relics" Uncovered

LOL!  Maybe they imported the fakes from Vietnam...  They're producing such things cheaper than China, now. 

Reported at The Telegraph (UK) online:

Chinese museum shut over fakes

A museum in China has been told to close after almost a third of its exhibits were found to be fake

By Oliver Smith, and agencies
11:52AM BST 22 May 2014
According to the Global Times newspaper, Lucheng Museum, in the province of Liaoning, was investigated by police who found thousands of counterfeits among its collection of 8,000 items.
The counterfeits included a sword supposedly from the Qing Dynasty, and claimed to be worth 120 million yuan (£11m).
Around 300 new museums have been built in the last year, according to Chinese state media, but the closure is likely to raise further doubts about the authenticity of their exhibits. Experts have already warned that China’s antiques market is rife with fakes.
Last year the 60 million yuan (£6.4 million) Jibaozhai Museum, located in Jizhou, a city in the northern province of Hebei, shut its doors amid claims that many of its cultural treasures were in fact forgeries.

Ancient Coin Mold Points to Counterfeiting in 100 CE

Here's another old saying from the Bible, courtesy of King Solomon (allegedly):  There is nothing new under the Sun... Forgery and counterfeiting, as old as man.

Story at The Deccan Herald
Tuesday 27 May 2014
News updated at 1:35 AM IST

Mould for minting Roman coins found in Talkad

Akram Mohammed, Mysore, May 19, 2014, DHNS:
For those who think financial fraud or circulating fake currencies is a modern day phenomenon, an ancient Roman coin mould on display at the Department of Archaeology, Museums and Heritage in the city is a startling revelation.
The Roman coin mould, which is being displayed for the first time since its excavation in 1993, indicates that fake coins were in circulation around 19 to 20 centuries ago. The terracotta mould is among the most important objects displayed at the exhibition, apart from terracotta figurines, iron objects, bronze dies, stone beads.

The mold is gold, har :)

M S Krishnamurthy, a retired professor of Archaeology who led the team that unearthed the mould, told Deccan Herald that it was a mould for Roman coins in circulation during the first century AD. “The coins probably were minted either during the period of Augustus or his son Tiberius,” he said.
“In the area where we spotted the mould, a foundry with a crucible was also found. Considering this, it is possible that a person living in Talkad was minting duplicate coins of Romans,” he said. He added that it was one of the rare and unique moulds excavated in the State.

Archaelogist Gowda N L said that the mould contained an inscription of Greek goddess Livia with words, ‘Maxim Pontis’.

“The coins with the same inscriptions were in circulation around the country. Roman coins belonging to the first century AD have been found in various excavation sites around the country. However, such a terracotta mould has never been found elsewhere.”
He added that the coins might have been minted at Talkad and circulated around the country. “It is possible that the value of Roman currency was more in India during the period, which might have led a few individuals at Talkad to indulge in minting fake coins,” he added.

Villagers Protect Archeological Site as Civil War Rages

Oh my!

From the UCLA News Room online:

Archaeologist, villagers protect ancient Syrian city as civil war rages


The discovery received international media attention and acclaim for Buccellati and his wife, Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati, a visiting professor with UCLA’s Cotsen Institute of Archaeology.
Buccellati, a professor emeritus of Near Eastern Languages and Culture and history as well as the director of the Cotsen's Mesopotamia Area Lab and International Institute for Mesopotamian Area Studies, had hoped that the next 20 years would lead to even more discoveries at Urkesh as well as the development of an archaeological park to welcome and educate visitors to the site and preserve a national treasure.
But civil war, now three years old, has put those plans on hold. Because of the eruption of violence in Syria, the Buccellatis haven’t been able to visit the site since December 2011. They became among the last foreign archaeologists to visit Syria.
"The reason we cannot go back is tragic," said Buccellati about the violence between the Assad government and opposition groups that has taken the lives of at least 120,000 and displaced more than 6 million people from their homes. "It is devastating to see what is happening in Syria."
So far, the violence hasn’t reached the site, which is located in a rural area that just recently received potable water and a sewer system.
"Our particular area is more protected, but there have still been battles within 60 kilometers (37 miles) in either direction so the area is potentially at risk," said Buccellati.
His efforts to win the cooperation of the local people who now serve as gardians of the site are documented in a recent report, "In the Eye of the Storm," that details how a plan to protect Urkesh from crumbling unfolded there.
Six Syrian villagers, whom Buccellati is constantly in touch with via cell phones, e-mail and Skype, work at the site. One of their main duties is protecting the site’s centuries-old mud brick walls from rain and snow. So far, the damage to the mud brick has been minimal because the workers have covered the site with metal trellises and tarps.

Villagers covering Urkesh archaeological site.
UCLA and Gulfsands, a London-based oil company that operates in Syria, help fund the villagers’ employment.

New House Found!

Hola darlings!  I've been neglecting both of my blogs while engaged in an intense search for a new home. I will spare you the details :)  I am happy to report that, at last, I found a lovely home and may be moving by the end of June - more quickly than I'd anticipated.

I am frantically running around trying to get projects done around here.  The spirit is willing but the body is weak, as the biblical saying famously notes.  Now that the weather has finally improved here, I've been several weekends out in the yards doing winter clean up, and now the grass is growing leaps and bounds.  It takes several hours to cut the front and back lawns each weekend.  I love working outdoors, but it sure does cut into my weekends, which are the only time to get those projects around here finished!  I'm too tired at night when I get home from the office to do much of anything these days.  Retirement is 920 days away and counting down...

Yesterday I filled the staple holes and some gouges I made digging them out in the staircase.  The holes, and about a gajillion staples, were left behind when I removed the ratty old carpeting a year ago June!  That project sat for a long time, until I sold the house!  Today I sanded down the stairs to leave a (hopefully) smooth surface for refinishing.  I will be putting on a wood conditioner shortly, but right now I'm set up outside enjoying the warm weather.  A storm is coming, I can see it off to the northwest.  It's hot and muggy right now, and overcast.  I had planned on also finishing the stripping of the wallpaper in the family room over this Memorial Day three-day weekend, but that's going to have to wait. I've no intention of turning on the central air to coll down and dry out the house, so hard physical labor will have to wait for another day :)  Today is the warmest of the three -- I actually got quite a bit accomplished Saturday and yesterday (Sunday).

Here she is, so cute!  Just wait until I get a lovely new garden going in the front and add planter boxes
underneath the windows.  And a beautiful trellis between the two ranch-windows.  The architecture is
calling for some vertical accents and circles -- maybe a circular flag-stone area in the middle of the yard centered
on the picture window, with a bird bath in the middle.  A pergola stretching across the front stoop to the end of
the house nearest the driveway, to provide much needed shade in the living room with this western exposure!
Many more improvements planned.  Yes -- it's true!  I'm going to turn into one of those little old ladies
with fake red hair puttering around in her garden...but I will NEVAH wear a house dress, darlings.

So, the new house -- it is some 500 square feet smaller than my current home, which I had built in 1990.  It's a 60 year old one story ranch with beautiful hardwood floors and much smaller front and backyards.  Nearly everything is new in or on the house: new siding; new exterior doors; new concrete patio in the backyard; new steps leading down to said patio from new patio door installed in the dinette area of the kitchen with new laminate floors; new air conditioning unit; new high-efficiency furnace; new privacy fence/gate along the south lot line (borders the driveway.  I will have some painting to do on the inside, and the landscaping -- well, let's just say my gardener's fingers are already itching to get at it!  The kitchen was remodeled in about 2010 and has lovely new appliances.  I will be doing some remodelling of that space, though, to make it exactly as I want it.

A lot of my furniture is being left behind for the young couple who bought my house.  It's a small house!  There is a lower level (basement) rec room that will provide additional living space, but it needs some updating (okay, a lot of updating).  The furniture I am taking with me is too big for the little ranch house!  But I'll make it work.  After all, there is a nice bar in the rec room:

And what self-respecting gal born and raised in Beer City USA doesn't like her own personal bar...

So, I'm going to be consumed with projects and packing, all the logistics of moving to a new home, getting the financing in order and the closing done so I get the keys to the new place.  Oy!  I must be crazy.  Downsizing is a lot of work!  I'll be neglecting the blogs for awhile, alas, but a version of sanity will eventually return to my house and the blog will (eventually) resume it's former pace of posts.  Have patience with me, darlings!

Sarcophagi of Ancient Singer Found In Tomb of Princess

This is an interesting discovery in an 18th Dynasty tomb at Saqqara, at ahramonline:

Funeral relics of pharaonic singer unearthed at Saqqara necropolis
Three painted sarcophagi belonging to an Ancient Egyptian singer have been unearthed at Saqqara
Nevine El-Aref , Saturday 17 May 2014
During excavation works carried out in Bastet cemetery at the Saqqara necropolis just outside Cairo, French archaeologists stumbled upon three wooden sarcophagi belonging to Ta-Ekht, a singer in a sacred choir in the 18th dynasty period (1543–1292 BC).
Presumably Ta-Ekht.  She looks rather like Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra...

Mohamed Ibrahim, the antiquities minister, said that the sarcophagi were found inside each other. The outer sarcophagus is a little deteriorated while the middle and inner ones are well-preserved.

Ibrahim told Ahram Online on Saturday that the sarcophagi were unearthed during excavation works at the tomb of the daughter of 18th dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten, Maya, who was known as Meritee Atun.

Ali El-Asfar, head of the ancient Egyptian antiquities department at the ministry told Ahram Online that the sarcophagi depict the facial features of Ta-Ekht and are decorated with paintings of foliage.
Some elements of Ta-Ekht's funerary collection were also found inside the middle sarcophagus, including two wooden headrests and a rectangular wooden box inlaid with ivory.

The box contained a collection of beauty tools were found, including a spoon with a gazelle-shaped handle, two eye liner containers, a collection of faience beads, and a faience amulet in the famous “eye of Horus” shape.

El-Asfar said that studies are now being conducted to find out why the singer’s sarcophagi were located inside Maya tomb.
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