Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NM Rachel Ulrich Wins WIM Norm at Chicago Open

Hola everyone!

The Chicago Open was held in Chicago, Illinois May 21 - 25, 2015.  This is a FIDE rated event.

The Open section players list reads like a "Who's Who" in U.S. Chess!  Many participants in the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship were among the field.  All tolled, 113 players were in the Open, including U.S. National Master Rachel Ulrich (WI 2200).  The great news is that Rachel earned a WIM norm for her performance in the Open, finishing with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Meanwhile, sister Susanna Ulrich (WI 1566) played in the U1900 Section and finished with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Many Wisconsinites played in the Chicago Open.  Check it out!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV: June 13 - 14, 2015

Hola darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to announce the resumption of special prizes for female participants in the Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV.  Goddesschess prizes are conditional upon at least two or more females playing in each section.

Here are the details:

http://www.southwestchessclub.com/       ----Southwest Chess Club Website
http://swccchess.blogspot.com/            -----Southwest Chess Club Blog             

One Day Chess Camp in Sheboygan, WI with NMs Rachel Ulrich and Richard Martin !!!

Hola Darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to provide funding for this fabulous FIRST OF ITS KIND event in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Please note:  Goddesschess is paying the registration fees for ALL female participants, regardless of age/experience level.  

So - let me cut to the chase, darlings!  As you may know, Rachel Ulrich, one of the fabulous chess-playing Ulrichs siblings (Tommy, Anne, Rachel, and Susanna, children of Jim and Janet Ulrich) - recently earned her U.S. National Master title at the age of 14 after yet another great tournament performance at the April, 2015 Hales Corners Chess Challenge.  Through behind-the-scenes communications and what-not that I won't bore you with all of the details, a wonderful and first-of-its-kind event has been arranged for JUNE 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Here are the details:

The Sheboygan TUE KNIGHT CHESS CLUB has an awesome opportunity to host a VERY INSPIRING SUMMER CHESS CAMP DAY  event !

Featuring :
 TEEN National Chess Master Rachel Ulrich ! 
 One of the TOP 30 Female Players in AMERICA & Wisconsin's Highest Ranked Female Player !
Current USCF RATING : 2200

12 yr. Susanna Ulrich 
 National Master Richard Martin III 

Goddesschess has provided funding to pay the
Registration Fees for Females of all ages !!  FREE REGISTRATION

 It is an honor to have NM Rachel Ulrich & Susanna as our special guests and I want it to be a packed attendance ! 
Very Limited Space so  PLEASE REPLY EMAIL NOW so I can register you.     DETAILS BELOW...
Ellen Wanek  :o)
(920) 452-8743

  THUR JUNE 11 th , 2015   
Glas coffee house Conference Room 
924 N. 14th. St.   Sheboygan 

10AM - 4PM with Tactical / Strategy Lesson/ Lecture,  Puzzles,  Personal Q & A time , Game Analysis and Simuls w/ the Masters ! 
(Prizes for those who Win or Draw)

Our Chess Club has no funds so I will have to ask for a small Registration Fee to cover NM's lessons, Ulrich family expenses to Sheboygan & Event Prizes.

INDIVIDUAL :   $ 25  ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 
FAMILY    :        $ 50   ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 


My dear chess-buddy, Ellen Wanek, lives in Sheboygan and has dedicated years to teaching chess to students of all ages, but especially to students in primary schools.  Ellen is also one of the driving forces behind Chess in the Park during the summer in Sheboygan where chess is also taught to beginners!

I first met Ellen online - I forget exactly how it happened now, duh!  Regardless, we found each other, that's the important thing!  I've had the opportunity to play with Ellen at some of the Hales Corners Chess Challenges (when my health was better and I had the stamina to do so).  Ever since I first "introduced" her to Goddesschess and its financial support for women's prizes at the Hales Corners Chess Challenges, Ellen has played in every Challenge!  We have become good friends.  She is one of the kindest, most loving, gentle and cheerful souls it has ever been my privilege to meet.  We are such opposites in so many ways, we are a perfect match of friends, LOL!

I was out of touch with Ellen while I was in Las Vegas on vacation, so I cannot truthfully tell you whether all the spaces for the chess camp and/or the simul with NM Rachel Ulrich and NM Richard Martin have been filled.  So, please contact Ellen directly with your inquiries about the Summer Camp.

Any excess Goddesschess funds not used to pay for registration fees will be applied to providing prizes for players and to help defray costs incurred by the chess instructors for their gracious participation in this great event.

Split Between Domesticated Dogs and Wolves Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

As long as there have been preserved written words, the close connection between the Goddess and dogs/canines has been recorded -- extremely ancient "legends" dating back to times thousands of years before written languages were invented to record them.  Similar connections exist between the Goddess and cats/felines and the Goddess and cows/bovines.  Somewhat later but still extremely ancient connections also exist between the Goddess and horses and the Goddess and birds. 

My fascination with the link between the Goddess and canines is not only related to my love for dogs, it is also rooted in the link of the Invisible Hand of the Goddess via dogs to ancient board games.  It therefore comes as no surprise to me that the boundaries of our understanding of the ancient link between womankind in particular, because it was most likely women who first domesticated canines, is being consistently pushed further and further back into "herstory" both by ongoing discoveries and re-examination and re-interpretation of earlier discoveries. 

Here's the latest, from the Science Section of The New York Times:

Family Tree of Dogs and Wolves Is Found to Split Earlier Than Thought

The ancestors of modern wolves and dogs split into different evolutionary lineages 27,000 to 40,000 years ago, much earlier than some other research has suggested, scientists reported Thursday.

The new finding is based on a bone fragment found on the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia several years ago. When scientists studied the bone and reconstructed its genome — the first time that had been done for an ancient wolf, or any kind of ancient carnivore — they found it was a new species that lived 35,000 years ago.

Based on the differences between the genome of the new species, called the Taimyr wolf, and the genomes of modern wolves and dogs, the researchers built a family tree that shows wolves and dogs splitting much earlier than the 11,000 to 16,000 years ago that a study in 2014 concluded.

Their study also gives some dog-park bragging rights to owners of Siberian huskies and Greenland sled dogs, which have inherited a portion of their genes from the Taimyr wolf.

The history of dogs is still murky, however, because it seems that different kinds of wolves and dogs have interbred at different times in different places over the past tens of thousands of years.

Love Dalen, of the Swedish Museum of Natural History and an author of the report in Current Biology, said that the simplest explanation for the new evidence “is that dogs were domesticated as much as 30,000 years ago.”

But, he said, the researchers’ work does not prove that this is what happened. Pontus Skoglund, a research fellow at Harvard University and the first author of the research paper, said, “We can’t just look at the DNA and say whether a canid was living with modern humans.”

Laurent Frantz, a researcher at Oxford who also studies canine evolution, said that he thought the work was “a great milestone in studying wolf populations,” although he said the timing of the domestication of dogs remained unclear.

The bone fragment was found by Dr. Dalen a few years ago when he was collecting fossils of ancient mammals on the Taimyr Peninsula. He said that for one unidentifiable fragment, he wrote in his field notebook, “Reindeer?”

But genetic tests showed that that fragment belonged to a wolf, and subsequent carbon dating put it around 35,000 years old. At that point, Dr. Dalen said, Dr. Skoglund suggested sequencing the genome.

As to the impact of the new research, Dr. Dalen said, “I think it would be presumptuous to assume that it would settle anything, given how contentious the field is.”
Contentious indeed!  Only think what fields of inquiry this latest research might lead to -- for instance -- cross-cultural contact among previously allegedly "distinct and isolated" populations of human beings on a scale that many (most) experts would find hard to accept, allowing for the cross-breeding of various species of domesticated canines.  Of course, cross-cultural contact among allegedly isolated populations where their doggies are making whoopie with each other also suggests the possibility that humans may also have been taking advantage of the novelty of making whoopie with the visitors.  And then there is the issue of cross-cultural trade over seemingly impossible distances, which evidence suggests did take place.  Hmmm....

Native American Gaming Pieces and "Dice" Shed Light on Promentory Culture in Utah

For the curious, please check out Stewart Culin's "Games of the North American Indians," a wonderful resource that is now available online (Holy Hathor!) It is a treasure trove of information gathered by Culin on various games and sports played by North American Indians including extensive drawings, oral traditions, and testimonies of various old-timers and collectors of gaming artifacts alive at the time Culin was traveling the North American continent collecting his information.

Article at Westerndigs.org

Hundreds of Dice, Game Pieces Found in Utah Cave Shed Light on Prehistoric Gambling

Floral Offerings in Ancient Graves

Hola everyone!  I'm back from sunny and warm Las Vegas.  It was a great trip.

My hotel was smack dab outside Rock in Rio that was held last Friday and Saturday - OMG!  Navigating around the street concert area (for vehicles) was a nightmare!  I tried to avoid the mad crush of people as much as possible.  The hotel (I stayed at Circus Circus this visit) was pleasantly busy beforehand but not like the mob scenes that can occur when there's a chess tournament in town or one or more conventions, but last week Thursday the place was inundated with arrivals for the weekend concert and, perhaps, the music awards that were hosted in LV live last Sunday night.  Of course when I'd planned my trip I had no idea these things were going to be going on during my LV stay.  Oh well, LOL!

I ate too much, drank too much, talked too much.  I did not go shopping except to one thrift store on a trip with Isis who combs through thrift stores like a pro to find vintage items for her online shop.  It was a real education watching Isis do her thing at the thrift store, wow!  I picked up a small decorative plate, one other item that for the life of me now I cannot remember, and my prize score was a black and white porcelain of a beautifully detailed horse.

Now, you may be wondering "how is it she doesn't remember what she bought?  Can't she just go look and write it down?"  Well, no, I can't do that because I don't have the things with me!  We decided rather than cramming the items into my luggage, my purchases, together with several really cool items (including a new egg for my ever-growing egg collection) that Isis surprise gifted to me, would be shipped to my home.  Since Isis has re-entered the world of vintage items and clothing via her e-bay shop (years ago she had a bricks-and-mortar location) she quickly became expert at packing items for safe arrival via US Mail, FedEx and UPS.  I should have the box in a few days, woo woo!

So - back to my much more sedate and slow-paced life of retirement in good ol' Milwaukee :)

The Red Lady of El Miron (cave site in Spain) made the news again this past week.  She lived and died approximately 18,000 years ago and was evidently reburied at some point, perhaps after her original grave site had been disturbed by predators.  Before she was re-interred, her bones were painted in a glittery (crystallized minerals laden) form of red ocher.  The "big" news about her discovery, though, wasn't the fact that she had been painted in red ocher, but that there was evidence a floral offering may have been included in her second grave, based on pollen found in the grave site.

Here is the latest article on the Red Lady of El Miron from Live Science:

Ancient Mourners May Have Left Flowers On Red Lady Grave, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, May 20, 2015

I knew about the somewhat controversial findings surrounding possible evidence of flowers left in or on a grave of a Neanderthal woman buried some 60,000 years ago in Shanidar Cave in the Kurdistan area of Iraq.  See, for instance:

The Skeletons of Shanidar Cave, Owen Edwards, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2010.

For further information on Neanderthal burial practices, see Burial, Ritual, Religion, and Cannibalism at neandertals.org.

A more recent gravesite, a 14,000 year old burial in Raqefet Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, written about in this article (a man and woman buried together in a pit grave):

Oldest Grave Flowers Unearthed in Israel, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, July 1, 2013.  Note:  This article dates the Neanderthal burial with evidence of flowers to some 35,000 years ago, in stark contrast to Owen Edwards' article which dates the burial to some 60,000 years ago.  Perhaps two different burials are indicated.
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