Wednesday, October 7, 2020

2020 U.S. Chess Championships (Girls' Junior, Junior, Senior, Women's U.S. Championship and U.S. Championship)

 Just received notification that all five U.S. National Championships will following sequentially and hosted at the St. Louis Chess Club, October 8 - 29, 2020.

Information at St. Louis Chess Club website.  You will be able to watch all events online at U.S. Chess Champs .

October 8:  Combined Opening Ceremony and drawing of lots for all events.

October 9 - 11:  U.S. Girls Junior Chess Championship

October 13 - 15:  U.S. Junior Championship

October 17 - 19:  U.S. Senior Championship

October 21 - 24:  U.S. Women's Championship

October 26 - 29:  U.S. Chess Championship

Ancient Boardgames: Experts find the missing piece (but can't figure out how the game was played)

Hola darlings!

The last of weather warm enough to be able to sit outside in my screened Shezebo and enjoy the breeze, the last of the flowers in my gardens and the sunshine is here this week.  It should last for the rest of the week, but with temperatures declining from the mid-70s F to the mid-60s F by the end of the week.  Being able to sit outside in the privacy of my yard and gardens is such a treat after numerous rainy streaks and cold streaks! 

Below is an interesting article I found this afternoon.  I immediately thought of Mr. Don, and what he might make of this.  How I miss him!  Don would have found this absolutely fascinating and would have chewed on it for weeks, coming up with all kinds of potential hypotheses.  Me, I'm just the same old, same old pragmatically minded legal eagle, LOL!  Don was the experimental balloon, flying high; I was the anchor.  What a team we made.  The 8th year since Don's death will be here in a few days, and yes, it's heavy on my mind.

 The photo above is one of the last taken of Don and I together.  We revisited Spain in 2012, a little more than 10 years after our first trip there in 2002.  This was taken on a cliff-side road overlooking the ancient town of Toledo in mid-January, 2012.  

Article from

Ancient boardgames:  Experts find the missing piece (but can't figure out how to play the game)

'Dogs and Pigs', a set of 5,000-year-old figurines found in Turkey's southeast, is nominated as one of the world's oldest and most crowded games but its rules remain a mystery

By Nimet Kirac in Siirt and Batman, Turkey
9 September 2020 09:18 UTC/Last update:  3 weeks 5 days ago

It’s a curious sight inside the Batman museum, Turkey, where attention seems to be focused on a section to the right of the main exhibition room.

Within a glass display case in the corner, more than three dozen colourful animal figurines are presented on a chequered wooden board. Alongside the elaborately sculpted animals stand similarly tiny artefacts in various abstract and pyramid shapes.

The visitors, including a group of schoolchildren, hover in awe over the gaming pieces in the corner. They speculate over the origins, discussing excitedly the intricate connections they may have.

For 11-year-old Rasan Ekinci, a Batman local who’s been playing chess for three years, usually with her younger sister, the stones in the back rows resemble pawns from a chess board.

"But this seems more fun than chess,” Ekinci says. “I’d want to save up lots of money and buy this."

Her school friends, meanwhile, think some of the more abstract games pieces look like burgers, trees and meteorites.

According to the museum's director, Seyhmus Genc, out of all the collections, visitors are most surprised to see these pieces. “They often ask us how the game may have been played,” he said.

"[They] are signature pieces of our museum by now. I must say they transport me to other worlds also."

Game Set

According to the carbon dating, these handcrafted pieces are around 5,000 years old.

Discovered in an archaeological site in Turkey’s south-eastern Siirt province, they could possibly represent one of the world’s oldest-known board games, sitting alongside the Egyptian Senet, Chinese Go, and Mangala, which is still played in Turkey today.

With or without the title, these items tell an intellectual, sociological story from the Early Bronze Age in eastern Anatolia - a major crossroads and corridor for trade and culture circa 3,100-2,800 B.C.

Despite tensions caused by occasional periods of regional conflict, including the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ party’s (PKK) armed campaign against the Turkish state and the Syrian War across the border, the field phase of the project, which was carried out as part of the Ilisu Dam rescue excavations, launched in 2007 and ended in 2019, before the hydroelectric plant became active.

"[I’m] very happy we found all the pieces before excavations had to end,” Saglamtimur, who teaches at Ege University in Izmir, told Middle East Eye.

"The gaming set of 40 pieces discovered in the [Basur Mound] is nominated to be the world’s oldest and most crowded game set ever found."

"Although they steal the show from the other findings,” he said, adding that to him the Early Bronze Age site is most remarkable because of the large number of findings in 18 tombs.

These include 80kg of metal objects (mostly copper alloy, as well as gold and silver), thousands of beads and jewellery with mountain crystals, and human bones, which hint that children were sacrificed here.

As for the game, the first 39 pieces were discovered in 2012, found buried together by one of the tombs, and were then moved to the neighbouring Batman province for public display in the museum.

In February this year, Saglamtimur announced that the game's pieces were complete - the fourth elephant figurine had been discovered in the excavations in late autumn, completing all 40 pieces.

"All but the board,” the archaeologist noted. “It must have eroded over time. We found some wooden pieces that had eroded by [the tomb]. The [board] in the museum was made for display purposes."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Katherine Neville (Author of "The Eight") on the Autumn Equinox

 Hola darlings!  I hope everyone is staying safe and sound during this awful time in our history.  I have been more of a homebody since retiring at the beginning of 2015, but now I can't even take my couple of trips a year - too afraid to travel for fear of getting infected with COVID-19.  

I've always been pretty darn cautious and perhaps over-analytical at times, but now, I'm downright paranoid about staying as safe as I can.  My ventures out these days are limited to the supermarket and talking to neighbors from a distance of 6 feet or more - outside only.  I wonder if I'll see as many of them in the depths of winter when it's 20 below.  Can one still do yard work in the winter??? Other than shovelling snow, of course.  Maybe I'll keep my exercise up this winter by shovelling my way around the block...

Katherine Neville has sent her quarterly email letter to fans of hers who sign up at her website (  

Here is the introduction to her Autumn Equinox Newsletter 2020:

Autumn Equinox Newsletter
September 21, 2020

Equal Day and Night
The Equinox ("Equal Night") is the event that comes twice a year, when day and night are equal in length. The autumn equinox (in the northern hemisphere) marks the turning point when our daylight hours grow shorter and darkness grows longer.

Read more about this turning point of the year in my previous (and prescient) Autumn Equinox Newsletter from 2017.

And so, here is what she wrote about autumn in the 2017 Newsletter:

Autumn Adventure in Art Newsletter
September 21, 2017

Happy Autumn Equinox

Happy New Moon of Autumn! On the equinox (the time each year when day and night are equal) we’d better get stocked up for the winter — which already proves, this year, to be a long one, ushered in by hurricanes, earthquakes and tidal waves of change.

As described in my book, The Magic Circle: Mother Nature fires the first shots over the bow in our major transition to a new cosmic cycle. This flux, as predicted since ancient times, is soon to be followed by upheavals in the fabric of the world socio-economic order. Those who will survive and prevail in this roller-coaster ride are those (like my heroine Ariel Behn) who can out-ski an avalanche! Or at least those who can be flexible enough to “hang ten” on the Surfboard of Life.

Flux, indeed!  Ha.  I think I need to pull out "The Magic Circle" and read it a second time, perhaps I missed something the first time around, admittedly years ago.  Perhaps it could give me some comfort while we wait out this pandemic, the economic destruction it has wrought and waiting for the Fascists in the party formerly known as Republicans to drop dead or be kicked out of office by we, the people, whichever comes first.  

I keep telling myself "this too, shall pass."  And I know it will.  But for far too many, they will pass away to the Happy Hunting Groundes and never see the end to this horror movie.  I may too, although I really really really want to live long enough to spit on Donald J. Trump's grave - if the family is stupid enough to disclose his burial location when he finally does croak.

I am worried about my country, the people in it, and everybody else all around the world.  Most people do not WANT or NEED Fascist dictators to tell them what to do, what to think and how to act (grovel at their stinking feet, of course).  But here in the United States, that what we've got - a traitorous fraud masquerading as a human being living in the White House, and other countries have been taken over by the same kind of vicious, selfish, murderous and monstrous mentality. 

Neville wasn't kidding when she called her 2017 Autumnal Equinox post prescient.  We most certainly are in "flux" in all ways - the environment, the climate, mass extinctions of animals and humans soon to follow (due to mass starvation as well as world-sweeping pandemics, we ain't seen nothing yet), natural disasters of unimaginable scope, collapsing economies inflicting utter destitution, homelessness, starvation and death on billions, collapsing governing institutions all around the world, and the Fascist world of "1984," Hitler's Germany, Stalin's and Putin's Russia, China, again rearing its vile/evil head in countries that people used to consider sane, the list is endless. Notice that vile and evil are anagrams of each other, how fitting.

And here I sit, typing away, in between running outside every 30 minutes to move the hose around the back yard lawn and garden beds.  And now I'm going to move my computer out to my Shezebo because it's above 75 out and lovely, warm and dry enough to be easily breathable, despite the haze in the sky (smoke way up in the whatever-sphere from the wildfires out west, visiting us and Europe via the Jet Stream).  Talk about cognitive dissonance, Holy Hathor!  I will pour myself a glass of cheap pink (out of the box) wine and settle in for a few hours of reading with my feet up on a hassock.  

Celebrate the Autumn Equinox, start stocking up for the winter, it's going to be a tough one and I'm not only talking about the weather.  Thinking of you all, darlings, worried for you and the entire world.  But as the beautiful blooms on this Rose of Sharon attests, I thought it was a goner for sure after the two hard freezes we had in April after everything had thawed and the snow was finished (so we thought).  It looked - and felt - dead.  I waited and waited and waited for it to show some sign, any sign, of life.  I would carefully snip off branches looking for green underneath the bark.  Nope.  Looked for any sign of leaf buds forming in June.  Nope.  Toward the end of July, when I'd finally decided that the sad ghost of what used to be a lovely shrub should be hacked up and dug out of the garden bed, she started showing life - barely enough to justify keeping her, but keep her I did.  And this photo was taken about 30 minutes ago.  She gives me the most beautiful flowers pure white, large, with a deep burgundy center and a bright golden yellow stamen.  During these desperate times, she came through again.  We will survive.  We will - persevere.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Who Thinks Chess Isn't Sexy?

 Hola darlings!  I'm still here, alive and kicking, and I haven't forgotten you.  Take a look at this, and feast your eyes on Keira Knightley while you're at it (mine went right for the chess board and pieces - YUM!)  Take care, stay safe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

CCI Biennial Meeting Lectures in St. Louis In Person and Online!

Hola! Received an email from Tom Gallegos of Chess Collectors International with an update on the arrangements made for the re-established CCI Biennial Meeting coming up soon in St. Louis.

Dear CCI Members and Friends,

We hereby announce that CCI’s 19 th Biennial will be what is called a “hybrid” event – part in-person, and part online.  We cordially invite you to attend, from the comfort of your own home.

PLEASE ATTEND OUR SCHEDULED WEBINARS, 9 am to noon, CDT, September 3 and 4, 2020.

It breaks our hearts that so many of our friends and fellow collectors cannot be with us in St. Louis for our meeting in September.  We’d been hoping to welcome as many as 60-80 of you on the originally scheduled date, back in May.  Now, with our September postponement date just around the corner, and the pandemic grinding on and on, it looks like the actual number of attendees will be much closer to 10.  (And we need every last one of these folks!)

With this in mind, we have decided to share as much of the conference as possible with the rest of you.  We know the morning lecture series is only part of the overall conference, but it's an important part.  These lectures, at least, can be broadcast as Zoom webinars.  Most of the lectures will also appear in our printed program (currently over 100 pages, and counting) which will be available to non-attendees shortly after the conference.  For a small donation to the club to cover costs, of course.

A few days to a week before the conference, you will receive a Webinar invite from our Zoom account.  This is not spam, though some of you may find it in your spam folders.  To register, please click on the link you will find in that invitation.  You will have complete flexibility to attend as much or as little of the talks as you wish.  The talks will hopefully also be recorded, so as to be available for posterity, just like the printed versions. They will be posted, either on our new CCI website, or possibly on YouTube.

We have a wonderful group of talks scheduled.  You will hear a great deal about the relationship between chess and pandemics; the French Enlightenment as it relates to chess history, and John McCrary of the USCF will speak about the evolution of chess rules.  We will even have Dr. George Dean presenting some of his 18 th century sets; and Allan Savage to enlighten us about Thomas Jefferson as a chess player, both of them speaking to you remotely.  We will also squeeze in a short business meeting on Friday.  Our latest revised schedule is as follows:

Thursday, September 3rd

09:00 – 09:15  CONFERENCE WELCOME – Tom Gallegos & Luann Woneis
9:15 – 10:15  HOW TO CHECKMATE A VIRUS (Keynote Address) – Luann Woneis
0:15 – 10:30  Fresh air break, and coffee
0:30 – 11:30  ENLIGHTENMENT – Tom Gallegos
1:30 – 12:00  CHESS MASTERWORKS OF THE 18 th CENTURY – Dr. George Dean

Friday, September 4th

09:00 – 10:00  THE EVOLUTION OF CHESS RULES – John McCrary
0:00 – 10:15  Fresh air break, and coffee
0:15 – 10:45  JEFFERSON AS A CHESS PLAYER – Allan Savage (online)
0:45 – 11:15  CAISSA, A POEM – Read by Tom Gallegos
1:15 – 12:00  CCI BUSINESS MEETING – Tom Gallegos & Gordon Clapp

Our timeframe for these talks is an estimate.  We will endeavor to stay on schedule, but you may find one or more sessions do not begin or end exactly on time, depending on what is happening in the room.  There will be a Q&A button for you to ask questions at the end of each speech.  The speaker will repeat your typed question, and will normally answer it verbally.

This means we will be scheduling TWO SEPARATE, 3-HOUR WEBINARS.  One for each morning, starting at 9 am.  However, you should only need to register one time, for both.  You may then attend as much or as little of the talks as you desire.

This is CENTRAL DAYLIGHT TIME.  If you are in another part of the country, please adjust for your time zone.  If you are in the UK, the talks will begin at 15:00 (3 pm) your time.  Most of the Continent of Europe will find the talks beginning at 16:00 (4 pm).

There is no cost to register and attend these two webinars.  If you have a reasonably up-to-date computer and an internet connection, you should be able to attend.

I’m afraid with only Luann and I running the system while also speaking, there will not be a tech support person to help if you have system issues either morning, but we will record these talks and post them later for those of you who are interested, but cannot attend the live version for whatever reason.

Luann and I have been taking a crash course in how to host webinars on Zoom, so our skills are still somewhat fresh, but we really think we can do this.  We hope the webinars will allow everyone to participate in our conference, at least to some extent.

The CHESS AUCTION at Link Auction Galleries is scheduled to take place the next day, at 10:00 am on Saturday, September 5 th.  That’s 16:00 (4 pm) for the UK; and 17:00 (5 pm) for most of the rest of Europe.  You will find it online at Link Auction Galleries.

The auction is one more segment of the conference that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.  Link has 267 lots of chess sets and other chess items ready to go.  Get ready to bid!

And ... "SEE" you in Saint Louis!

Best Regards,

Tom Gallegos and Louann Woneis

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Chess Collectors International (CCI) Biennial Meeting in St. Louis Back On


I am terribly delinquent in posting this information, but in case you are interested in possibly attending, here is the information.  

Oops - I see the registration form was supposed to be submitted by July 31, 2020 - but if you are interested I would recommend you contact CCI directly about registration.

June 17, 2020 
Dear CCI Members, Friends and Associates, 

As the economy, and indeed, civilization itself, slowly begin to reopen following the coronavirus pandemic of the past few months, I am pleased to announce that we will now go ahead with our postponement date, and hold CCI's 19th Biennial Congress in St. Louis from September 2 - 6, 2020, as planned. 

This has not been an easy decision. Far from it. Nor is it a final decision. New cases of COVID-19 are beginning to spike in some of the states that are reopening too quickly. There is still no vaccine in sight, though treatments have improved somewhat. And problems with things like PPE and testing have become much less acute since we were forced to postpone back in March. The recent civil unrest across the country in response to the tragic killing of George Floyd and other incidents of police brutality seems to be calming down. And who knows what other disasters may await us in the near future? 

Our meeting could still be canceled due to circumstances beyond our control. Rest assured that we will not attempt to hold the meeting in contravention of any duly authorized public health directives. If widespread lockdowns and stay-at-home orders return, particularly to the state of Missouri and the city of St. Louis, we would surely be forced to cancel the meeting completely, probably for the duration of this year. Short of that, however, we will be going forward with the meeting. There is no real "certainty" to be found, but we simply believe it is time for someone to strike a note of optimism, and reclaim the right to make plans about our futures. St. Louis is reopening in phases. By July 20th, businesses and restaurants there will not have any capacity limitations, as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Mask-wearing is strongly encouraged in the city (and required for most employees in public areas). 

We have already been in contact with many of you about our meeting. And we've heard every opinion under the sun, ranging from, we MUST cancel the meeting altogether, to we MUST hold the meeting, if at all possible. And every opinion in between. It has been interesting: Some of our older members have said they will not travel at all this year, period. But just as many of our OLDEST members have said that if the meeting is delayed until 2021 or 2022 (as many have urged), they fear they just may not live long enough to see it happen. They say they want to attend a meeting THIS year, and the virus be damned. It is for these members that we feel we must proceed with the meeting. However, you will note many important changes: It will probably be a much smaller gathering than we had originally planned. Quite a few of you have said you would not chose to travel so soon after the pandemic. And many European members may still have travel bans in place preventing them from attending, even if they wanted to. At this point, we think a meeting of even 15 - 20 people would be a great success. (Of course, if the meeting turns out to be larger, we will welcome you all!) 

We are getting a lot of help and encouragement from the hotel, the auction house, and the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF), among others, that this small, yet historic meeting should take place. But the pandemic is not exactly over, and it will not simply be business as usual. There will be, as they say, a "new normal" with which we must all cooperate. There will be masks and hand sanitizer provided for all our conference attendees. We are hoping to create a chess-themed mask, in honor of this unprecedented meeting, guaranteed to become the most unique chess collectible to appear in many a year. The wearing of masks will be encouraged to the extent it is practical, but not required. There may even be disposable gloves available at certain times. We will be practicing physical distancing to the extent possible and practical for the various events. We will have temperature guns available, which we may use to take attendees temperatures at registration and various other times. Feel free to grab one and take OUR temperatures as well, if the spirit moves you. Temperature-taking will not be required, nor forced on anyone who objects. 

We will NOT ask attendees to sign any sort of liability waiver. However, we do emphasize that this meeting is being held for the benefit of persons who voluntarily CHOOSE to attend, and we therefore do ask that you take some personal responsibility for your own attendance. CCI is not a deep-pockets organization anyway, and as a practical matter it would be extremely difficult to recover damages for an allegation that you contracted COVID-19 by attending our meeting, given the standard of proof that courts require. (I am not an attorney, however, and this may not be construed as legal advice.) Our common goal is to hold this meeting without ANYONE becoming sick as a result, and we therefore plan to take any and all reasonable measures to protect the health and safety of our attendees. 

Here's what's still ON about the meeting:

HOTEL: The Chase Park Plaza has said they will work with us, and not hold us to the room minimums we had previously negotiated. They understand our meeting is likely to be much smaller than originally planned. We should still be able to have some sort of gala dinner there, though it may be a reduced and somewhat muted affair, with physical distancing measures in place. 

NOTE: If you previously made a hotel reservation for the May meeting, it has NOT been cancelled, unless YOU cancelled it. All such reservations have simply been moved to the September dates. The hotel is expecting you. If you have NOT yet made your reservation, please contact Kelly Toal at ChiChi Travel, at telephone 314-678-0500. ChiChi Travel is our exclusive booking agent for the Chase Park Plaza, our official conference hotel.  Only they can ensure that you receive our special Chess rate of $159 per night, which applies whether you wish to sleep 1, 2, 3 or even 4 people to a room. 

AUCTION: Link Auction Galleries is continuing to hold auctions this summer as scheduled. They are still planning to hold ours on Saturday, September 5th. Previews are in-person, but all bidding is online only. They will make an exception to this for our group, so if you attend the meeting, you will be able to bid in person at Link, if desired. They are planning to add a second online bidding platform for maximum internet exposure. CCI members who don't attend the meeting will still be able to participate in the auction, at least, from the comfort of their own homes. Link is currently holding roughly 300 lots of chess sets and other chess items, primarily from the Sarisohn collection, with additions from the Raphaelli and Gallegos collections. They are still able to take more items, if any of you wish to consign.  

WORLD CHESS HALL OF FAME: The WCHOF is currently closed to the public until further notice, but our latest information is that they are considering a reopening date sometime in July. Our museum exhibition, "Dare to Know: Chess in the Age of Reason" is almost completely set up, but still awaiting several world-class sets from the Dean collection which were held up due to the pandemic. They should arrive and be installed in plenty of time for our meeting. In the unlikely event that the WCHOF does not reopen to the public by the time of our meeting, they have said they would give our group a private tour of this historic exhibition. 

GATEWAY ARCH MUSEUM: This should be fully reopened, and our excursion there should not be impacted in any way.

Here is what we DON'T KNOW about the meeting: 

WHITHERWARD CONCERT: This was not held on May 27th, as all events at the WCHOF were cancelled. We doubt this will be rescheduled for our Labor Day weekend meeting, but we will let you know if it is. 

RIVERBOAT CRUISE: The Gateway Arch riverboat cruises are slowly beginning to reopen. We have a signed contract with them, and had already made a deposit when the pandemic hit. However, we have not yet been able to make contact with them to confirm our reservation. 

CHESS MARKET AND SIMUL: We will hold these events if at all possible, but at the moment we are still working out the details, and cannot guarantee that they will occur. Both events would have to be held in a new, physically distanced format. 

SPEAKERS: Several of our scheduled speakers have had to drop out, and we are currently in the process of scheduling replacements. There should still be a full slate of talks (probably to be given from behind a sheet of plexiglass), but they will be on a somewhat different group of topics. If you agreed to give a talk and still plan to attend, we still want you on the schedule. One of the talks we are now planning will be entitled, "How to Checkmate a Virus: Lessons from the Enlightenment." 

Hope to see you all in St. Louis, or as many of you as possible! 

Best Wishes, 
Tom Gallegos and Luann Woneis, Organizers

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Pretty Darn Cool Ancient Viking Board Game Piece Discovered

(Originally written on April 6, 2020 and somehow, it ended up in my "Drafts" and did not get publish - until now.  JN)

I'm very delinquent reporting this discovery, but now that I'm essentially grounded at home base for who knows how long during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that, of course under our MAGA orange-faced Cheerleader in Chief has projected the USA into the top world position for most infected citizens and on track to outpace every other country in deaths attributed to COVID-19, I'm going to be doing some catch-up because there's only so much yard work a girl can do in a day.  Besides, it's going to be raining for the next four days straight.  Blech!

Take a look at this beautiful gaming piece!

Hnefatafl gaming piece discovered from an archaeological dig trench dated
to the 8th or 9th centuries CE at Lindisfarne, United Kingdom.

A Timely Reminder of the Lessons of History: Katherine Neville's August 1, 2020 Newsletter

I hope you are all staying safe during this extremely trying time in our country, in the world, and in our history.  May the Hand of the Goddess Shelter you from all harm.

Dealing with one crisis is bad enough; trying to deal with three is - existential.  We are facing a world health crisis in the form of the insidious COVID-19 pandemic, a world economic crisis that has resulted from the killer pandemic (although the current recession in the United States actually started during the last two quarters of 2019 under the auspices of Donald J. Trump, before the novel coronavirus pandemic was a "thing."  Whatever Trump touches dies*).  The third crisis is, perhaps, even more destructive in the United States particularly, than the first, because it threatens not only the lives of Americans, but the life of our very country: a crisis in the form of battle fronts in a variety of forms against the forces of Trump's Fascism.

Katherine Neville has not been a prolific writer of novels in her lifetime, but a couple of the novels she has written had a tremendous impact on my life - in ways I could not foresee at the time I read them.  Indeed, the seeds for the synthesis of what would eventually become Goddesschess were planted years before in the form of Katherine Neville's novel "The Eight."  It was first published in January 1989 and I purchased my paperback edition in early 1990 for $5.95.

Image from Wikipedia.

Seems an eon ago in more ways than one. I don't remember the exact circumstances in which I decided to buy the book, perhaps it was this tagline on the back cover "A feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark."  The Washington Post Book World.  And the symbol on the front cover - a sort of "figure 8" laying on its side.  For some reason, it struck me - maybe because for many years back in the 1960s when I was a teenager I watched "Ben Casey," a television medical drama that every week's intro started out with a hand holding a piece of chalk writing on a chalkboard and describing the symbols as a male hand drew them:  Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity. That sort of "sideways 8" was the symbol for "infinity."  

And the tag line appealed.  I was and remain a feminist.  I was born and raised a feminist from two bloodlines of families with generation after generation of strong, tough women. They had to be, in order to go through what their lives were and to survive.  Women who didn't take NO for an answer, women who were never afraid to go toe to toe with anybody, women who were strong, tough, fighters when necessary.  Women who were pioneers and helped settle our country; women who sought out education, including the first college-graduates in our respective family lines.  It was the women who led the charge, and the men in our family, including my father and his father before him, who encouraged their daughters to go for it all.  

Now yellowed with age and with permanently dog-earred pages and scribbled inked notes in margins here and there, I have read my beloved copy of this novel a few times and parts of its I have read over and over many times.  And like watching a favorite movie over and over again, each time, I gain some new insight.

Many of Neville's fans are devotees and she maintains a popular website, issuing periodic newsletters.  I think this August 1, 2020 newsletter is especially relevant to our time and what we in the United States in particular are going through right now.  Maybe you won't agree, or maybe you will gain some new fresh insight, who knows?  Katherine Neville's Lammas New Letter, August 1, 2020.

*From the non-fiction best seller "Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever," by Rick Wilson.  Wilson is one of the co-founders of The Lincoln Project, which has the uncanny ability to get under Donald J. Trump's skin and truly killer sensibilities when it comes to making gut punches in the Project's political ads.

Friday, April 3, 2020

WIM Arianne Caioli Dead at 33 (1986 - 2020)

Sad news.  I remember many years ago reading about two chessplayers who got into a fistfight over her at a FIDE event.

Not accredited.  Photo found at Public Radio of Armenia website.
Caioli and her husband GM Levon Aronian.

Caioli was married to GM Levon Aronian in 2017.  She died in hospital on March 30, 2020 two weeks after being involved in a serious car crash.


New York Times, "Arianne Caoili, Chess Master, is Dead at 33," by Dylan Loeb McClain, April 2, 2020., "Chess Champ Levon Aronian's Wife Died Two Weeks After Crash," by Asbarez Staff, March 31, 2020.

St. Louis Chess Club (video at Youtube), "2019 Croatia Grand Chess Tour: WIM Arianne Caioli Interview," by GM Maurice Ashley, July 6, 2019. 

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