Saturday, August 25, 2007
From the Baltimore Times Online:
Grand Master Maurice Ashley visits Huber's Knights of Valor Chess Ministry
by Ellen Andrews
Originally posted 8/24/2007
Maurice Ashley sat quietly, hands folded at rest, but his very presence at this Northeast Baltimore church's chess tournament speaks volumes about his commitment to the game and its community. Maurice Ashley, first African American Grand Master of Chess, kept his promise to come to Baltimore to play Huber's Knights of Valor (KOV) chess ministry in a series of simultaneous chess games - blindfolded. Before the games Ashley spoke to the audience of enthusiastic KOV members, ages 6 to 21, the KOV chess moms, church staff and others-all supporters and lovers of the game of chess. He regaled them with stories about actor Will Smith and a trick played on jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and others he's met through the game of chess.
Kenneth Tabron or rather, Sir Kenneth Tabron, founder and leader of the KOV, invited Grandmaster Ashley to come to Baltimore upon meeting Ashley during KOV's trip to New York City. Ashley and Tabron's mutual love of the game and concern for inner-city youth gave them much in common. Also on hand for the event was Michael McDuffie, Chess Ambassador of Buffalo, NY and Baltimore City Public School's Steve Alpern who's office oversees chess clubs in sixty schools citywide. McDuffie spoke of Buffalo's 50% dropout rate and the $49.7 million funded for before and after-school programs serving under-performing students and to promote chess as a tool “to teach life skills; help kids think of a plan B and a plan C. Chess teaches math and critical thinking skills,” said McDuffie, who is brother to David McDuffie, who lives in Baltimore and is known in the chess world as the Pawn Master.
The Pawn Master took the office of moving Grand Master Ashley's pieces called out during the course of the blindfold match, which was filled with laughter and what might be called chess “trash” talking. Knights of Valor members, Paris Alexander, Dishaye Davis and Michael Greene had the honor of being soundly “whupped” by Maurice Ashley and now have a story to tell for years to come.
Ashley signed autographs, and spent time with the children teaching in his gentle but direct way the game of chess, prompting them to think deeply about their moves. “One thing they need is board awareness,” said Ashley. “They tend to get tunnel vision and forget about where other game pieces are and how to best use them. This is something they need to do everyday, play the game.
When asked what motivated him to reach out to kids, Ashley thought about the question for a moment and then answered: “I didn't grow up with my parents around, so I missed that kind of close relationship. I realize that now because of my own relationship with my son. So when I meet these young people I remember that chess and the people who mentored me filled that gap, supplied that connection for me. When I meet kids in chess groups like these I know what this connection [with caring adults and peers] can do for a child. It's a chance to connect.”
Friday, August 24, 2007
Komosmolskaya Pravda notes that in a previous incident this autumn chipmunks terrorised cats in a part of the territory.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Humpy elated at rare feat
Wednesday, Aug 22, 2007
HYDERABAD: For 20-year-old Koneru Humpy, becoming a super Grandmaster is a high point of her career which should only spur her in future.
She became the second woman after Judith Polgar to do so in women’s section.
Speaking to The Hindu on her return from the Dubai international tournament, the former World junior champion said that after a shaky start where she won just 2.5 points from the first five rounds, she never thought of achieving any thing special.
“Especially after the loss to Tejas Bakre I was terribly disappointed. But later things moved dramatically in my favour and a win over top seed GM Evgenij Miroshnichenko of Ukraine (ELO 2671) helped me in winning those crucial ELO points which gave me this rare privilege,” Humpy, the first Indian woman to achieve this feat, said.
How significant is this achievement in the long-term perspective of her career? “Now obviously, it is difficult to sustain this high-level of rating. I have to be consistently brilliant. If you consider the fact that after V. Anand and K. Sasikiran, I am the only other Indian to achieve this feat, you can understand the pressure on me,” she said.
“Honestly, I never thought I would become a Super GM in the Dubai event itself and I dedicate this to my parents — Ashok and Lata,” she said. Perfect platform
Humpy feels that the European Club championship from October 2 to 10 and Macau Asian Indoor Games from October 26, where five gold medals in chess are at stake, should be a perfect platform for her preparations for the next year’s World championship.
“Essentially, I will be looking to improve my opening repertoire and also be a much better player in rapid chess which is likely to be the format for the World championship. And my father Ashok will continue to be my coach,” Humpy said.
“This Super GM title, coming close on the heels of the Padma Shri and my father being nominated for the Dronacharya Award, should only make us try for much bigger things in future,” Humpy said.
Construction of the Amber Room began in 1701. It was originally installed at Charlottenburg Palace, home of Friedrich I, the first King of Prussia. Truly an international collaboration, the room was designed by German baroque sculptor Andreas Schlüter and constructed by the Danish amber craftsman Gottfried Wolfram. Peter the Great admired the room on a visit, and in 1716 the King of Prussia—then Frederick William I—presented it to the Peter as a gift, cementing a Prussian-Russian alliance against Sweden.
On June 22, 1941, Adolf Hitler initiated Operation Barbarossa, which launched three million German soldiers into the Soviet Union. The invasion led to the looting of tens of thousands of art treasures, including the illustrious Amber Room, which the Nazis believed was made by Germans and, most certainly, made for Germans.
It seems hard to believe that crates of several tons of amber could go missing, and many historians have tried to solve the mystery. The most basic theory is that the crates were destroyed by the bombings of 1944.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Published: August 19, 2007
- This review of a television program from The London Independent on July 26, 1999: Far Out (Sun C4), a series that sets out to recast British history in the 20th century in New Age form. Most of the time, the programme's uncritical endorsement of loopy claims is simply irritating - as this week, when we were told that "As the men went off to war in 1939, some of the women they left behind began to discover they had special powers of premonition..." When the story moved on to the so-called "Magical Battle of Britain", it overstepped the mark. One woman remembered trying to combat Nazism's psychic assault by projecting loving thoughts, while a witch talked of dancing round bonfires (smouldering, so as to abide by black-out regulations), chanting "Can't cross the sea, can't cross the sea". And hey, the Germans didn't invade: coincidence - or something far stranger? Illustrating this deluded, self- aggrandising nonsense with footage of the real Battle of Britain, the one in which people were killed and maimed, lifted it beyond mere stupidity into downright tastelessness.
- This website entry at Llewellyn Encyclopedia: It was the goal of the occultists [Note: more than Fortune and her group were involved, evidently] to prevent a Nazi invasion of England.
- And then I found this from The Cabinet of Wonders blog, a recent entry, from May 16, 2007: We have previously looked at Ian Fleming and his involvement in the psychic defence of Britain, but was he responsible for clamping down on other magical activity during the war?
Yes, it’s that Ian Fleming, the guy who wrote the James Bond novels! Good Goddess! There’s lots of interesting links and information in this particular blog post, and the comments are educational in and of themselves.
Evidently Fortune, Fleming and Aleister Crowley, the infamous occultist, had acquaintance with each other and may perhaps have collaborated at times during WWII in performing magical - well, experiments I guess I'd call them to try and stop or at least slow down the Nazis. And – brace yourselves – Ron Hubbard fits into this too – you know, the "L. Ron Hubbard" of scientology fame.
Well! One could get lost in such research, but in the end, it doesn’t have anything to do with regular chess (although there's always Enochian Chess that was played by the Golden Dawn people) and so I’m dropping it, but I thought it was interesting. We’ve all heard the old chestnut about the truth sometimes being stranger than fiction, and in this case, I’d say that’s the truth!
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Download the Regulation, Invitation and Registration form.
Semnan, Aug 18, IRNA [Islamic Repubic News Agency]
Ten countries have so far announced readiness to take part in Asian Women Chess Championships, due to be held in Tehran from September 2-11.
Head of the Chess Federation's Competitions Committee Hamid-Reza Pour-Shahmari told IRNA on Saturday that China, Bangladesh, Vietnam and India are among the participating contenders and that the number of participants including some from Asia, are to increase.
Pour-Shahmari said 40 chess players are to take part in the Swiss-method contests. ********************************************************************************************
Whether she resides in Italy or on the California coast, the statue of Aphrodite will always exude power and charm.
from the August 16, 2007 edition
But I know the truth: The real reason she's dressed in a loose toga is to downplay those thunderous thighs. The woman is smart – she knows she wouldn't look good in a miniskirt.