Saturday, April 26, 2008

2008 European Individual Chess Championships

Key match-ups for Round 6: Board 1: IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina 2421 RUS 4,5/4,5 IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU Board 4: IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2449 GER 4,0/4,0 IM Muzychuk Anna 2486 SLO Board: 5: GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR 4,0/4,0 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2450 UKR Board 6: IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR 4,0/4,0 IM Dzagnidze Nana 2443 GEO Board 7: GM Hoang Thanh Trang 2477 HUN 3,5/4,0 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2413 ARM

Melekhina Scores IM Norm

From the North American Chess Association website: 10th North American FIDE Invitational - Final Results A week of grueling chess is finally over for both the players and the organizer. At the end of the tournament IM Angelo Young came out on top wth 7/9 followed by triple norm winner WFM Alisa Melekhina and finally in third place with FM Mehmed Pasalic. Alisa was able to pull off the feat of capturing 3 types of norms in a single tournament, even though she came in as the third lowest seat. Perhaps she was prepared greatly, perhaps she was underestimated, perhaps she is seriously underrated. I think it's all three and after taking out IM Amanov in Round 2 everyone else woke up and though - 'Uh-oh she's for real and is here to take my head off.' Alisa methodically took apart her opposition on her quest to prove her status in chess, which she did very nicely. It was a pleasure having Alisa at the tournament (and always similing, proud papa Alex) and we hope she comes back soon to continue her quest to become an IM. Mehmed was in a must win situation against FM Gauri Shankar and pushed and pushed (for 117 moves) in mutual time trouble to scrape out the win, but alas only a draw. The third norm slipped away this time. But there is always next month! Another great young lady to meet was WFM Yuanling Yuan, who despite a subpar performance kept her spirits and smiles on throughout the tournament. We hope our chess friend from the north will come back soon to continue her norm hunt. Of course we have to speak about our event champion - IM Angelo Young. Angelo's goal was to go undefeated however Alisa derailed that idea in Round 4. But Angelo still went on to take first place. All games were drawn in the final round except for Stamnov-Monokroussos which was 1F-0F. Final Standings: 1st place - (7.0/9.0) IM Young 2nd place - (6.5/9.0) WFM Melekina (WIM, WGM, and IM norms scored!) 3rd place - (6.0/9.0) FM Pasalic 4th place - (5.0/9.0) IM Amanov 5th - 6th place - (4.5/9.0) FM Stamnov FM Shankar 7th - 8th place (4.0/9.0) FM ChowIM Vishnuvardhan 9th place (2.0/9.0) WFM Yuan 10th place (1.5/9/0)FM Monokroussos (he dropped out due to illness)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Night Miscellany

Hola darlings! It's storming here now with lots of lightning, I'm going to shut down and hunker down. Tornadoes are in the air. All this is due to a massive cold front coming through; the temperature got up to 78 today, tomorrow it may get up to 38. Yikes! Lots of pouring rain, strong winds, tons of very frightening lightning. Later...

Women's Viking Longship Burial Re-Examined

Vikings acquitted in 100-year-old murder mystery By Alister Doyle Fri Apr 25, 10:06 AM ET OSLO (Reuters) - Tests of the bones of two Viking women found in a buried longboat have dispelled 100-year-old suspicions that one was a maid sacrificed to accompany her queen into the afterlife, experts said on Friday. The bones indicated that a broken collarbone on the younger woman had been healing for several weeks -- meaning the break was not part of a ritual execution as suspected since the 22-metre (72 ft) long Oseberg ship was found in 1904. "We have no reason to think violence was the cause of death," Per Holck, professor of anatomy at Oslo University, told Reuters after studying the two women who died in 834 aged about 80 and 50. "The fracture could have been caused by stumbling or whatever. She could have been seriously hurt, got brain damage. But this fracture alone is no sign of killing," he said. The discovery of the ornate Oseberg oak longboat in south Norway, with a curling prow and the bodies of two women, was one of the archaeological sensations of the early 20th century. Historians believe the Vikings sometimes practiced ritual killings. Arab 10th century traveler Ahmad Ibn Fadlan wrote a detailed description of a Viking burial in Russia where a servant girl was stabbed to death and buried. The bones of the older Oseberg woman showed she had cancer, Holck said of studies since the skeletons were exhumed last year to see if modern technology could discover more about them than when they were re-buried in 1948. "It is a terminal cancer so I'm pretty sure that was the reason for her death," Holck said. It was the earliest documented cancer in Norway. The studies also indicated both women were of high rank -- their diets were largely of meat when most Vikings lived off fish. The teeth of the younger woman showed she used a metal toothpick, a rare 9th century luxury. Historians have long suspected that one of the two was Queen Aasa, mother of Halfdan the Black, father of the first king of all Norway, Harald Fairhair. The old woman suffered from Morgagni's syndrome, a hormonal disturbance that gave her a man-like appearance with a beard and a thick-set body. For the two women, there was not enough DNA to tell if they were related, for instance a queen and her daughter. "There are still more questions than answers," said Egil Mikkelsen, director of Oslo's Museum of Cultural History. (Editing by Jon Boyle)

Rock Art and Stone Sculptures Discovered in India

A somewhat vague article - wish there were some photographs! From The Siasat Daily Rich rock-art sites found in Telangana Friday, 25 April 2008 Hyderabad, April 25: THE Department of Archaeology & Museums has discovered rock-art sites in Warangal and Mahabubnagar districts, priceless stone sculptures in Warangal and a Buddhist settlement in Visakhapatnam. Disclosing to newsmen the discoveries made last month, Director P Chenna Reddy said rock-art sites were found in the reserve forest area near Narsapur and Bandala hamlets in Thadwai mandal of Warangal district and near the Akkamahadevi caves in the Srisialam hill ranges of Mahabubnanagr district by the technical staff of the department. The rock paintings in red, ochre and white pigments depict various types of animals such as such as antelopes and peacocks, human figures representing hunting and dancing, and geometrical designs. The paintings near the Akkamahadevi caves are being ascribed to late Mesolithic times, that is, approximately 3000 BC based on the various animals drawn and style of execution. The rock shelters at Narsapur and Bandal are being associated with Dolmenoid cist chamber burials which helped the department date these painting to Megalithic times (1000 BC onwards). Reddy said more surveys had been planned in the region. Priceless stone sculptures depicting Parswantha, Mahishsuramardani and Brahma with his consort Saraswati seated on a swan are being shifted to the district museum,Warangal. The Archaeology Department has also unearthed a Buddhist settlement in Peddauppalam village in Rayavaram mandal of Visakhapatnam district. An idol of a seated Buddha has been recovered from the site where the department is planning further excavations after obtaining permission from the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi. ************************************************************************************ No ages given for the stone sculptures.


From Barbara Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Mars Rome's "red" war-god Mars was once an Etruscan fertility-savior Maris, worshipped at an ancient shrine in the Apennines, Matiene.(1) At a similar shrine in northwestern Iran, Matiane (Mother Ana), the Medes worshipped the same god who became Martiya to the Persians, a holy "martyr" also called Immanuel or Imanisi. The inscription of Darius at Behistun says the god was incarnate in a sacred king slain by his people.(2) His spirit ruled what Sufis stil call the "fulfilling" death-and-rebirth process, known as mardiyya or martyrdom.(3) An early Phrygian version of the same sacrificial god appears in greek myth as the flayed satyr Marsyas, slain on a pine tree "between heaven and earth" by order of the heavenly father. Mars was "red" because his basic Indo-European prototype was the pre-Vedic flayed god Rudra, father of the Maruts or sacrificial victims, red with their own blood. Rudra "the red one" was born of the three-faced virgin-mother Marici, Goddess of birth, dawn, and the New Year, a manifestation of the ancient feminine Trinity. Thus, Rudra bore the title of Tryambaka, "He Who Belongs to Three Mother Goddesses." In Japan this Goddess was known as Marici-deva or Marishi-ten, whom later patriarchal writers masculinized as a Buddhist monk. However, this alleged monk always wore the garments of a woman.(4) The same Goddess was Marica to the Latins. She gave birth to the god-king Latinus, ancestor of all Latin tribes. Her consort was the flayed goat god of the Lupercalia, Faunus, another incarnation of Mars, who also appeared in bird-soul form as the sacred woodpecker Picus, giving oracles from the top of a phallic pillar in his shrine.(5) The Martian New Year sacrifices took place in the god's month of March, which once began the Roman year; this is why the "Ides of March" were considered dangerous to kings. In the Babylonian sacred calendar, the same New Year month of atonement sacrifices was Marcheshvan.(6) The astrological sign of this month still begins the year, according to astrologers' tradition. In northern Europe, Mars was identified with Tiw, Tyr, or Tig: names derived from Indo-Germanic dieus, "God."(7) Just as Mars was often confused with the sky-father Jupiter [deus-pater], so Tiw was another name for the sky-father Odin. Tiw's sign was a lingam-yoni arrangement of a phallic spear atached to a female disc. As wielder of the spear or lightning bolt of fertility, Mars-Tiw became a god of battle He was the patron of Roman warriors, who called him Marspiter (Father Mars) and honored him with "martial" exercises on the Campus Martius, site of a temple of Maris in Etruscan times. His sacred day was Tuesday, named after Tiw in English, though it is still dies martis in Latin and similarly named in Latinate languages (French mardi). To account for the inevitable story that the Queen of Heaven as Celestial Virgin gave birth to the sacrificial god, Romans claimed the Blessed Virgin Juno spurned the love of her spouse, Jupiter, and to spite him conceived Mars by her own unaided feminine fertility magic, the lily blossom that represented her own yoni.(8) Notes: (1) Hays, 182; J.E. Harrison, 101. (2) Assyr. & Bab. Lit., 178. (3) Shah, 394. (4) Larousse, 342, 422. (5) Larousse, 207-8. (6) Assr. & Bab. Lit., 170. (7) H.R.E. Davidson, G.M.V.A., 58. (8) Larousse, 202.

Capture the Queen: An Update

Prior post on Esther Elizabeth Reed. From Esther Reed in court for new federal charges By Eric Connor • STAFF WRITER • April 24, 2008 The woman accused of assuming the identity of a missing Upstate woman to con her way into prestigious universities appeared in court this morning to hear new federal charges against her in Greenville that offer more of a glimpse into how authorities allege the 29-year-old high school dropout duped those around her. Before and after her appearance before the judge, Esther Elizabeth Reed sat quietly but curious of the proceedings of other inmates. The Washington native was bound in handcuffs and wearing thick eyeglasses, frequently peeking her head around attorneys standing in front of her and unwittingly blocking her view of the courtroom. The new charges include allegations that she duped boyfriends and professors, moving from state to state touting a false career as a chess champion, convincing educators and professors to write her letters of recommendation and claiming to be in the witness protection program when she sought help to form another in a litany of new identities. A superseding indictment against Reed charges her with new identity theft and fraud charges in connection with allegations that she stole the identity of Brooke Henson -- a Travelers Rest woman who disappeared nearly nine years ago and whom police believe to be dead -- as well as the identities of five other women from across the country. Reed, who herself disappeared in 1999 from a Seattle suburb and was arrested two months ago outside of Chicago to face identity theft charges in Greenville district court, doesn't appear to have had any hand in Henson's death, authorities say. The indictment alleges that the secret lives Reed led -- using her intellect and fake identities to secure more than $100,000 in student loans, as well as engaging in more-minor schemes such as creating fake store receipts and returning them for cash refunds -- stretch to as early as 2001. In March 2001, Reed secured a Pennsylvania driver's permit in the name of a woman the indictment identifies only as "NF" by using "NF's" name, date of birth and social security number, the indictment alleges. As "NF," Reed "engaged in a personal relationship with a West Point cadet and falsely represented to individuals that she earned a living as a chess champion," the indictment alleges. Reed began using the identity of a woman listed in the indictment as "NB" in August 2002 to attend Cal State Fullerton college in the Los Angeles area. "As 'NB,' Reed took numerous classes at California State Fullerton College, specifically debate classes, and convinced a professor to write a recommendation to Columbia University in the name of the person known as 'BH' by falsely representing that she was in the witness protection program and was forced to change her name," the indictment alleges. In December 2003, according to the indictment, Reed used that relationship with the West Point cadet to convince the cadet's mother, a professor at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, to write a recommendation for her acceptance to Columbia University in New York. That same month, Reed used Henson's identity to earn a GED in Ohio, which she then used in California six months later to earn an SAT college admission exam score good enough to qualify for Columbia University, according to the indictment. Over the course of the next two years, Reed received more than $100,000 in student loans to study in the university's School of General Studies, the indictment alleges. In February 2005, Reed applied to the S.C. Department of Vital Statistics for a copy of Henson's birth certificate using an Ohio identification card, Columbia University identification and Henson's social security number, the indictment alleges. A month later, she received the birth certificate in the mail in Northampton, Mass., and a few months later applied for a passport in Henson's name, the indictment alleges. In July 2005, Reed began working in the Ivy League school's "Vice President University Development Alumni Relations Office and was paid $10 per hour for her services," the indictment alleges. A year later, in July 2006, New York City Police confronted Reed to ask her if she was indeed Henson, "to which Reed replied in the affirmative and was able to answer some of the personal family questions in an effort to verify her identity," the indictment alleges. New York police asked Reed to take a DNA test to confirm her identity but Reed declined and "absconded from authorities," according to the indictment. When Reed was arrested two months ago at a Chicago-area hotel, she was using the identity of a woman referred to in the indictment as "JM," the indictment alleges. Reed assumed the identity of "JM" in December 2006 when she got an Iowa driver's license using a fraudulently made birth certificate from Kentucky and fraudulently made marriage license from Nevada, as well as using the identity of a woman referred to as "KW," the indictment alleges. Reed used the "JM" identity to buy a car from a person in Chicago and registered the car in Iowa, the indictment alleges. Authorities arrested Reed on Feb. 2 at a hotel in Tinsley Park, a small town outside of Chicago, after the "America's Most Wanted" television show aired a segment on her. During her time using other identities, Reed also ran up charges on fraudulently obtained credit cards and used her computer to create fake store receipts and return items for cash refund, the indictment alleges. No bond has been set for Reed as she is in jail awaiting another hearing. Reed faces charges in Greenville, the only charges against her, because of allegations that she applied to a South Carolina's agency for a duplicate copy of Henson's birth certificate, U.S. Attorney Walt Wilkins said. She faces the possibility of 47 years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

2008 European Individual Chess Championships

Here are the standings for the top 20 ladies after Round 5: 1 IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU 4,5 2 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina 2421 RUS 4,5 3 IM Peptan Corina-Isabela 2415 ROU 4,0 4 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2413 ARM 4,0 5 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2538 BUL 4,0 6 GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR 4,0 7 IM Muzychuk Anna 2486 SLO 4,0 IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR 4,0 9 GM Cramling Pia 2539 SWE 4,0 10 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2450 UKR 4,0 11 WGM Pogonina Natalija 2470 RUS 4,0 12 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2449 GER 4,0 13 IM Dzagnidze Nana 2443 GEO 4,0 14 Kazimova Narmin 2071 AZE 3,5 15 WIM Nemcova Katerina 2344 CZE 3,5 16 IM Danielian Elina 2479 ARM 3,5 17 IM Matveeva Svetlana 2420 RUS 3,5 18 IM Vasilevich Tatjana 2360 UKR 3,5 19 WIM Batsiashvili Nino 2304 GEO 3,5 20 IM Houska Jovanka 2390 ENG 3,5

2008 European Individual Chess Championships

In Round 5, Kazimova lost behind the black pieces to Victoria Cmilyte, so Cmilyte moves to 4.5 and Kazimova stays on 3.5. I'll have the standings tonight. IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU 3,5 1 - 0 3,5 Kazimova Narmin 2071 AZE

Thursday, April 24, 2008

WIM Audrey Wong Su Yi

An interesting story with a happy ending. From The Star Online Friday April 25, 2008 Out of limbo Quah Seng Sun IT IS settled: Audrey Wong Su Yi’s position vis-à-vis the World Chess Federation (Fide) regarding her title of woman international master. Wong was our first woman international master (WIM), long before Siti Zulaikha Foudzi became only our second WIM. But inexplicably, Wong’s name went missing from Fide’s own list of titled holders. Consequently, Wong’s name was also missing from the Fide rating list. Definitely, it wasn’t in the list of active players because she had not played competitively for more than 20 years but neither was she in the inactive list. She just went missing, as if Fide did not know that she existed. So, for the past 23 years, Wong’s very existence as a Malaysian WIM was in limbo. To re-stake her claim with Fide, she had a certificate from the World Chess Federation acknowledging that she was indeed a woman international master. It was this certificate, as well as a few old newspaper clippings, that she took with her to the reunion dinner last month. That started the ball rolling. The MCF president requested the MCF secretary to take up the matter personally with Fide. E-mails and faxes were exchanged between the MCF and Fide until finally, about three weeks later, an e-mail arrived from the Fide office that said: “Please kindly note that we confirm that Wong, Su Yi Audrey, MAS was the winner of the Asian Girls U-20 1985 Championship. The WIM title has been published in her personal card on the FIDE website. Thank you. Best regards, Baira Tsedenova, Elista FIDE Office.” I’m happy for her. . . . Back to Audrey Wong – she set the standard for Siti Zulaikha to follow who in turn, I’m certain, will set even higher standards for more Malaysian women chess players. Back in June 1985, Wong was in uncharted waters when she set out for Adelaide, Australia. As the national women’s champion then, she represented the country at the Asian under-20 girls’ chess championship. It was a 13-round event with chess players from around Asia taking part. Wong astounded the field with a flying start that saw her score a perfect 10. Ten points from the first 10 games. She was on course to win the championship. However, she then faltered and, eventually, finished the tournament with 11.5 points. Another player – Abhyankar Anupama from India – also scored 11.5 points. Both players tied for first place in the tournament. Florencio Campomanes – who was then the Fide president – decided that both players would be the co-champions and be given the titles. That’s how Wong returned to Malaysia triumphantly with her WIM title. This triumph proved to be the pinnacle of her chess career because it was never to be repeated. True, Wong won the national women’s championship title several times but she never repeated her international success again. In those days, in order for a person to be in the Fide rating list, the player would have to be actively playing and possess a rating of at least 2,200 points. The Asian Girls Under-20 was not enough to give Wong her rating points. That was why, even though she was given the WIM title, she was an unrated titled player. I suppose in the years that followed, Fide did not know what to do with people like Wong who possessed a title but did not have rating points; what’s more, Wong had also become inactive. When Fide computerised eventually, the easiest solution was to remove such players from the rating list. So what’s to become of Wong now that she is again recognised by Fide? After all the effort put in by the MCF, I hope she will not pull back from playing again. I hope she will ease herself back into the local chess fraternity by coming back to play. There are always the local weekend chess tournaments and, of course, if she feels up to it, this year’s national closed championship. She will be an excellent role model for a new generation of women chess players.

Alexander the Great's "Crown," Shield Discovered?

From the National Geographic, a story of archaeological detective work and evidence of the barbaric mindset of the ancient Greeks - they killed innocent women and children along with the primary targets (the males). Sara Goudarzifor National Geographic News April 23, 2008 An ancient Greek tomb thought to have held the body of Alexander the Great's father is actually that of Alexander's half brother, researchers say. This may mean that some of the artifacts found in the tomb—including a helmet, shield, and silver "crown"—originally belonged to Alexander the Great himself. Alexander's half brother is thought to have claimed these royal trappings after Alexander's death. The tomb was one of three royal Macedonian burials excavated in 1977 by archaeologists working in the northern Greek village of Vergina. Excavators at the time found richly appointed graves with artifacts including a unique silver headband, an iron helmet, and a ceremonial shield, along with a panoply of weapons and an object initially identified as a scepter. "[Archaeologists] announced that the burial in the main chamber of the large rich [tomb] was that of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, who was assassinated in 336 B.C," said Eugene N. Borza, professor emeritus of ancient history at Pennsylvania State University. But recent analyses of the tombs and the paintings, pottery, and other artifacts found there, suggest that the burials are in fact one generation more recent than had previously been thought, Borza said. Rest of story.

Possible Fire Temple Discovered In Iran

Possible Existence of a Sasanian Fire Temple in Sarab-e Mort April 24, 2008 LONDON, (CAIS) -- Archaeologists working at Sarab-Mort site in Kermanshah Province announced the news of the possible discovery of a Sasanian Fire Temple adjacent to the Parthian Manor house, reported Persian service of ISNA on Monday 21, 2008. “During this year’s [archaeological salvage] excavation, we have unearthed the religious section of the structure; it consists of a Chahar-Taqi (free-standing Zoroastrian Fire Temple), which in fact was a private chapel,” said Yousef Moradi, director of archaeological salvage operation team at Sarab-e Mort. The Parthian manor house consists of various sections including official, administrative, ceremonial and religious. Moradi stated: “we started our excavation in the Parthian manor house last year. Last season we discovered the official, administrative and ceremonial quarters, and this year the religious section. However, the residential quarter has totally been destroyed and there is no hope of finding the private chamber belonging to the lord of the manor.” Initially, the private and residential sectors of the manor-house were destroyed partly in 1980s during the Iran-Iraq war and the remaining part was demolished in recent decade as the result of the dam construction activities. In regard to the Zoroastrian fire temple he said: “located in the southern corner of the structure there is a small area, which points out to its function and origin as a Sasanian fire temple. However, we cannot be sure until we complete our excavation.” According to Moradi, the manor house was built during the Parthian dynastic era (248 BCE -224 CE) and was in use during the succeeding dynasty, the Sasanians (224-651 CE). Apparently the discovered religious section was an annexation. Further excavations however at a lower level will shed more light about its origin. Iranian archaeologists began their second and last season of archaeological salvage operation at Sarab-Mort archaeological site in Kermanshah Province in February 2008, prior to the site soon being submerged once the newly built Dam becomes operational. Discovery of plaster in the ceremonial hall indicates that the walls of this building were most probably covered with stucco-decorations which have been destroyed over time. This manor house covered an area about 5,000 square meters. Sarab-Mort is situated near a stream known under the same name and it is located 3 kilometres east of Gilangharb in Kermanshah province. The site consists of three archaeological mounds (Tappeh). The area of Sarab Mort is renowned for its mort (myrtle) trees. Myrtle was considered as a sacred plant by the ancient Iranians, and its leaves and fruits were used during Mithra and Anahita cultic ceremonies.

2008 European Individual Chess Championships

Hola! I'm too tired to do the update to Chess Femme News tonight so I'm posting the info on Round 4 Women here - top 20 finishers: Rank Name IRtg FED Pts BH. BH. vict Fide Rtg+/- 1 IM Kovalevskaya Ekaterina 2421 RUS 4,0 4,0 9,0 4 10,0 13 2 IM Cmilyte Viktorija 2466 LTU 3,5 5,5 10,0 3 9,5 9 3 Kazimova Narmin 2071 AZE 3,5 5,0 10,5 3 9,0 73 4 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2538 BUL 3,5 5,0 9,5 3 8,5 5 5 IM Peptan Corina-Isabela 2415 ROU 3,5 4,5 10,0 3 9,5 9 6 IM Muzychuk Anna 2486 SLO 3,5 4,5 9,0 3 8,5 8 7 GM Lahno Kateryna 2479 UKR 3,5 4,5 8,5 3 9,0 8 IM Dzagnidze Nana 2443 GEO 3,5 4,5 8,5 3 9,0 9 9 GM Cramling Pia 2539 SWE 3,0 5,5 11,0 2 7,5 -2 10 WGM Stepovaia Tatiana 2378 RUS 3,0 5,5 10,5 2 8,5 6 11 IM Gvetadze Sopio 2350 GEO 3,0 5,5 10,5 2 8,0 18 12 IM Mkrtchian Lilit 2413 ARM 3,0 5,5 10,0 2 8,5 7 13 WIM Nemcova Katerina 2344 CZE 3,0 5,5 9,5 3 9,0 18 14 IM Ushenina Anna 2474 UKR 3,0 5,0 10,0 2 8,5 1 15 IM Matveeva Svetlana 2420 RUS 3,0 5,0 10,0 2 8,0 4 16 WGM Zhukova Natalia 2450 UKR 3,0 4,5 9,5 2 8,5 4 17 IM Danielian Elina 2479 ARM 3,0 4,5 9,0 3 7,0 1 18 IM Paehtz Elisabeth 2449 GER 3,0 4,5 9,0 2 8,0 3 IM Lomineishvili Maia 2400 GEO 3,0 4,5 9,0 2 8,0 6 20 IM Vasilevich Tatjana 2360 UKR 3,0 4,0 8,5 3 9,0 6 As you can see, the "usual suspects" are in the top rankings after Round 4 - but the big story is Narmin Kazimova. Who? I'd never heard of her - nor recall seeing her name crop up in tournament reports. So who the heck is she and how is she managing to stay on par with the top players given her vastly inferior ELO??? There must be a story there, darlings! Ohmygoddess, she's a baby! According to the official FIDE website, she was born in 1993! Her first FIDE-rated games showed up in January, 2006 - from the 2004 World Youth Chess Championships U-12! There was no reported activity before or after, until 3 events for all of 2007. She played in the World Youth Chess Championships in Turkey in November, 2007 where she scored 5.5/9; and four tournaments in Azerbaijan in late 2007 (2) and early 2008 (2). In this event, in Round 4, Kazimova (W) defeated WGM Salome Melia (GEO 2413) (B); in Round 3, Kazimova (B) drew with GM Pia Cramling (W); in Round 2 she defeated WGM Baira Kovanova Baira (RUS 2372) (B); in Round 1 she (B) defeated WFM Ekaterina Akatova (RUS 2320)(W). Can she keep it up?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Goddess Mariamman

Wow! Incredible information about the Goddess Mariamman from - lots of photos to describe the story as it unfolds. It's India, it's real, it's 21st century and simply, totally, unbelievable. And the people live this every single day. A Goddess for Summer April 23, 2008 Deepa Krishnan The fierce April heat brings with it rashes, skin diseases and the dreaded pox. Before it was eradicated in India, smallpox was one of the most feared diseases of summer. Chicken pox is still a big worry for Indian parents. Many communities believe it is the wrath of the Goddess Mariamman that brings on these diseases, and that she must be propitiated to ward off the pox. In Mumbai [formerly Bombay], a small community from Andhra Pradesh worships the Goddess Mariamman every summer, seeking protection from smallpox, chickenpox and all forms of disease. My housemaid is from Andhra Pradesh, so I went with her to see the annual Mariamman ceremony. Mum came along, of course, to find out what it was all about. The first thing we saw (heard) were the drums. Three men came walking from a little lane, and posed for me. Rest of article.

Random Round-Up

Wow! Mr. Don has outdone himself this week putting together the April 20, 2008 edition of Random Round-up at Goddesschess. The headline starts with the board games carved into the living rock on Kharg Island, Iran, that were reported on April 19th, but after that, well - you have to see where he takes you on this week's magical mystery tour of board games and history.

Benefiel Awarded Fellowship from Archaeological Institute of America

Rebecca Benefiel, assistant professor of classics at Washington and Lee University, received the Olivia James Traveling Fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America for 2008-2009. It's designed to support field research in the Mediterranean, and there is only one fellowship of this kind given out per year. The award is $25,000. Benefiel will spend this fall and next spring on-site in Pompeii and in Rome working on her book, "Pompeii and Her Neighbors: Civic Identity, Social Interaction, and Ancient Graffiti."More than 11,000 inscriptions (ancient "graffiti") on the walls of ancient Pompeii have been discovered and recorded since excavation of the site began in the 18th century. These writings provide interesting information about the social interaction taking place among residents of different communities. Benefiel said that they show there is a "good amount of civic pride and civic rivalries, especially between Pompeii and her closest neighbor, Nuceria." "I am thrilled about this opportunity," she said. "It's the best fellowship I could have gotten for my project because it is designed to support research in the field. For my research, being on-site in Pompeii is invaluable. Published photos exist for fewer than 1% of these graffiti. "I have gone to Pompeii for brief research trips and every time I go, I encounter something unexpected that affects my approach to, my thinking about, and my understanding of these ancient writings. There is no substitute." Benefiel received her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University.

Chess News Update

Chess Femme News has been updated, April 23, 2008. Scroll down for latest news (and be sure to hit your refresh button).

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Five Year Old Discovers Ancient Stone Tools

Archaeologist responds to find By Betsy Levinson Tue Apr 22, 2008, 04:09 PM EDT Finding stone artifacts that are approximately 4,000 years old is not just rare, it’s never happened in Littleton (Massachusetts), said Martin Dudek of J. Milner Associates, an archaeological consulting firm on Great Road. “I’ve never seen stone axes that are found on private property,” said Dudek after confirming that five-year-old Dalton Blake dug up two Native American tools in his grandmother’s backyard earlier this month. Dudek said artifacts like those are usually found in collections, historical societies or farms. “They are well known tools; they are not a unique class of artifact,” said Dudek, “but digging them up in a backyard is very rare.” He said finds like Dalton’s are increasingly unusual along small streams since the sediment has shifted over the last centuries and most artifacts are now found along the mouths of big rivers or the ocean. “Many were found in the 1800s to early 1900s from those that walked through fields,” he said. He said he noticed from the photo of Dalton that ran in the April 10 Littleton Independent that the tools were probably in subsoil, or class B soil that is geologically below the surface. C soil is glacial till, he said. “Often, tools are found in subsoil, or mixed in what is known as a plow zone,” said Dudek. “Dalton may have dug deeper than the surface soil.” Dudek gave forms to register the site to Andrea Curran, a friend of Dalton’s grandmother, Donna White. Curran brought Dudek the artifacts after White, a historian, revealed to her what Dalton had found. “I was in awe,” said White when Dalton ran to the house saying he’d found ‘a rock in the shape of a man.’” Dudek said the Nipmuc natives were living in the Littleton area at the time, and could have been the site of a hut or “tool use area,” or it could be related to a burial site. “It is a valid possibility,” said Dudek. Dudek said the state historical commission would come out and catalog the site if White were to register it. Dudek said the natives used stone tools such as the axe “at least until the European explorers arrived,” citing other stone implements such as hatchets and machetes. Dudek is proud of Blake and his find. He said he first developed a love for paleontology at age 5, so he can relate to Blake’s excitement.

Significant Find on Fiji

Fiji jewellery box find stuns archeologists 22 APR 2008 Archeologists have discovered a 3000-year-old pot in Fiji containing jewellery believed to have been made by the South Pacific’s original settlers – the Lapita people. The discovery was made by an excavation party from the Fiji-based University of the South Pacific and the Fiji Museum at Bourewa in Natadola on the Coral Coast. The dig at Bourewa, which is the earliest human settlement in Fiji, unearthed the pot and a thick piece of “exquisitely decorated pottery”. The Lapita people were the first colonists of Pacific Island groups, including the eastern Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa. The descendants of the Lapita people, who disappeared as a distinct cultural group around 550 BC, live in these countries today. Fiji Museum's Sepeti Matararaba found the jewellery made of shells. "As Sepeti continued excavating, he found in the middle of these two rows an upturned pot," says USP’s School of Geography's Professor Patrick Nunn. "It was filled with shell jewellery. Nine shell rings of different sizes, four shell bracelets, six straight units with drill-holes." Another researcher also found a pot. Professor Nunn said when she got it out she was initially disappointed because it seemed to have no decoration on it.Then she turned it over. "She saw the most extraordinary find ever made in Fiji," Professor Nunn said.Cut into it was the eyes and nose Lapita motif, made of very fine dots and all in-filled with lime. Excavations involved more than 70 people, including 38 students from the University of the South Pacific. The project was directed by Professor Nunn from the School of Geography at the University of the South Pacific, supported by Roselyn Kumar from the University and Matararaba. Researchers from universities in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, USA and UK were also involved.

Chess News Update

Chess Femme News has been updated, April 22, 2008 (scroll down for latest news).

Monday, April 21, 2008

Native American Tribe Wants to Promote Ignorance

The tribal leaders who are promoting this agenda are disgusting. They want to repatriate remains and artifacts from a museum and rebury them (indeed, from the sound of the article, they want to repatriate everything in every museum in the country, and deprive everyone in the United States any access to the pre-European history of this country), so that people can no longer look, study and learn. That stance is nothing less than the willful promotion of ignorance. If this tribe truly wants Native American remains to be reburied (assuming they are Native American), fine - but the artifacts belong to everyone, to be available for learning and educating everyone on the history of mankind. From United Press International Tribe wants university to return remains Published: April 17, 2008 at 7:47 PM DETROIT, April 17 (UPI) -- A group of Native Americans is demanding that the University of Michigan return the tribal remains and artifacts it has acquired. Led by the Saginaw Chippewa of Mount Pleasant, Mich., the Native Americans say hundreds of human remains, and the funerary objects buried with them, are being wrongly held, and they want to rebury them, The Detroit News reported Thursday. The controversy pits one of the nation's most renowned archeology departments against one of the nation's most wealthy tribes. "This is a first step. The University of Michigan was a logical move," said Shannon Martin, director of the tribe's Ziibiwing Center, a $9 million museum on the Chippewa's reservation. "We thought we would go with the most difficult (institution) and stake our claim and position." David Hurst Thomas, the curator of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, said the controversy is simple. "It's about power and control of the past and who gets to tell the story of the past," he said. © 2008 United Press International. All Rights Reserved.This material may not be reproduced, redistributed, or manipulated in any form. ****************************************************************************************** Consider the wider issues. This isn't just about reburying remains. James Cuno is president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the author of “Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage,” published by Princeton University Press in 2008, writes about the issues and problems in Who Owns the Past? - Antiquities from great cultures belong to humanity, not nation states that emerged centuries later (April 21, 2008).

Chess News Update

Chess Femme News has been updated, April 21, 2008.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Gimpy the Squirrel

Hola! It's been a depressing sort of day. The weather is beautiful - for a change - and I actually dosed for awhile today outdoors in the sun while I was reading the latest issue of Chess Life magazine, yippee! But the news, oh my, the news. One of my pleasures on Sunday is reading different things online and posting about them here. I usually find a lot of interesting items at The New York Times. But today I scoured The Times and was appalled, and got depressed. News about food shortages, news about the rising cost of oil and the looming shortages in that commodity too, news about the eroding of the American middle class, now only 16% of all Americans make wages higher than $20 an hour. We are in danger of becoming the first generation of Americans who will not live as well as our parents - and our children certainly will not. If that isn't pathetic, I don't know what is. More bad news about global warming and climate change. One gets the vision that my senior years will be spent huddled with freezing, hungry people in underground dugouts around meager coal fires, eating roasted worms. All the animals will be gone, all the wood will be gone, we won't be able to afford oil or gas to eat our homes, which will be deconstructed for the lumber and other materials they contain, all the food will be gone. One-third of the coasts of the United States will be under water and the rest of the country will be scoured by relentless hurricanes, floods and drought. In the developing nations about 8.5 billion people will be jostling for elbow room and killing each other over whatever is left to scarf out of the ground. The oceans will be dead, all animals will be gone, even the insects will be in danger of extinction as people turn to them as the only food source left. May as well just blow my brains out now and get it over with. Sigh. BIG sigh. So I want to tell you about litle Gimpy the squirel, who always makes me feel better whenever I see her. I do not know exactly what befell Gimpy, but she showed up in the back yard one day in laste autumn last year, with her tail bent at a weird angle and moving very strangely - sort of like dragging/hopping. She was absolutely terrified of me - whenever my shadow came anywhere near the patio door she would drag/hop out of sight. But she stuck around, no doubt because of the plentiful and easily acquired food I toss out in the mornings and the evenings, day in and day out. When dondelion visited over Christmas I pointed her out to him. Slowly, very slowly, she got used to seeing me - but she would still run up a tree for safety when I opened the patio door to throw out some tempting nuts for her. Unlike the other squirrels who hang around here, she doesn't come running when I make my squirrel "mooching" sound - they know that's the signal for food. Maybe because of the constant food supply, Gimpy survived this long hard winter, and actually came through with some weight put on! The broken end of her tail fell off about 2 or 3 weeks ago, so now she just has about a five inch stub. I don't know if it will grow back. When she first arrived, I suspected that she had an injured paw or leg, thus causing her very strange gait - but until recently I could only guess because she would not come close enough (or hold still in one position long enough) for me to get a good long look! Gimpy has gotten sufficiently used to me now that she comes up on the deck to grab peanuts, as long as I stand quietly behind the closed patio door. So I was able to get a good look at her, at last. She is missing her right front paw - it's not there at all. I suspect that whatever fate caused her broken tail also caused her to lose her paw, and thinking back on how she moved when I first saw her in the yard, she may have had an injured rear left leg too. But now she is fat and sassy and the boy squirrels are chasing her all over the yard. She has lost her funny gait and moves pretty much just like the others in my tribe of squirrels do. When she eats the nuts I toss out with free abandon (I spend more on nuts for the squirrels than I do on food for myself) she holds them between her good left paw and her stump. I expect she'll have a litter later in the summer. And so Gimpy, Goddess love her, was able to adapt and survive. I will try and get a picture of her to post here - so far I've been unsuccessful - she's just too fast for me! So perhaps there's a lesson here, although I seriously doubt that there will be any "Goddess raining peanuts from Heaven" down upon us sorry-butt humans - so, maybe not. I don't know. I just know that seeing Gimpy makes me feel better.

Goddess Neith

From Barbara Walker's "A Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets." Neith Triple Goddess of Sais, also called Anatha, Ath-enna, Athene, Medusa. Egyptians said her name meant "I have come from myelf." She was the World Body, the Primal Abyss from which the sun first rose, and "the Cow, who gave birth to Ra."(1) She was the Spirit Behind the Veil, whom no mortal could see face to face. She called herself "all that has been, that is, and that will be," a phrase copied by the Christians Gospels (Revelation 1:8). She was older than dynastic Egypt. Her symbol was borne by a prehistoric clan, and her name by two queens of the first dynasty. Greeks knew her as Nete, one of the original trinity of Muses at Delphi.(2) In the Bible she was called Asenath (Isis-Neith), Great Goddess of the city of Aun, which the Jews rendered "On." Her high priest Potiphar was made her "father," as Teiresias was made the "father" of the Goddess Mante, and Brahma was made the "father" of the Goddess Sarasvati (genesis 41:45). The Goddess herself was made the spouse of Joseph, whose Egyptian name meant "he who was brought o life by the word of the Goddess (neter)."(3) Notes: (1) Budge, G.E., 1, 451, 459; 2, 299. (2) Larousse, 37, 118. (3) Budge, D.N., 34-35. See information on some of these related goddesses: Ana, Anatha, Anna, Diana, Hannah, Inanna, Jana, Juno, Nana, Nanna, St. Anne More information on Neith at Wikipedia.

JAPFA Chess Festival

News on Irene Kharisma Sukandar's quest for a WGM norm: April 21, 2008 Irene edges 1st Grandmaster norm The Jakarta Post, Jakarta Indonesia's chess star Irene Kharisma Sukandar is only one win away from earning her first Grandmaster norm after she beat the odds by outsmarting top seed Woman Grandmaster Li Ruofan of Singapore in the ninth round of the Japfa Chess Festival. The 16-year-old Woman International Master, who is expected to become the first Indonesian to claim the Woman Grandmaster title, ended Ruofan's unbeaten run on the 23rd move in Saturday's evening match at the Indonesian Sports Council in Central Jakarta. "I was surprised I won," she told The Jakarta Post. This was Irene's first win over the overnight leader. She drew Ruofan in both their meetings last year. "I guess she (Ruofan) was too tired so she made a fatal blunder in the middle of the game. She did not play her best," Irene said. Despite the victory, Irene, who has bagged 5.5 points from three draws and four wins during the tournament, must win the last round against Woman Grandmaster Jana Krivec of Slovenia on Sunday to garner 6.5 points, the points required to claim a Grandmaster norm. In the eighth-round match in the morning, Irene drew Pokorna on the 39th move. Irene admitted the final match would be tough for her. She will be playing the black side in the match, a position she believes is unfavorable for taking the offensive. "I hope I can play relaxed and do my best, because it is such a decisive match," she said. "I found I could play my best when I played with a lot of composure. I hate that I did not find my best earlier on," she The Jakarta Post. Irene dropped her third and fourth rounds to Woman Grandmaster Regina Pokorna of Slovakia and Slovenian Krivec before finally regaining her momentum. She will spend the night preparing tactics for Sunday's match with her coach Tiber Karolyi of Hungary. She said earlier she needs "a miracle" to win her first norm after missing a golden opportunity last month during the Rector International Cup tournament in Ukraine. During the Cup, she posted 6 points, only one point away from grabbing a Grandmaster norm. Despite her loss on Saturday, Ruofan still topped the standings with 6 points. The 30-year-old player acknowledged the competition was really tough. Irene and Pokorna share second place with 5.5 points. At the time of writing, Catherine Perena of the Philippines was taking on Slovenian Krivec. ... (ind)

Linguistics Again - The Yenseic-Na Dene Connection

Prior post. I found this story at Mike Ruggeri's "The Ancient Americas Breaking News": From The Anchorage Daily News Distant Native languages bridge Bering Sea Siberian culture's words have echo in North America By GEORGE Published: March 4th, 2008 12:41 AM Last Modified: March 4th, 2008 03:31 AM A remote population of a few hundred indigenous Siberians who live thousands of miles west of Alaska speak a language that appears to be an ancient relative of more than three dozen Native languages in North America, experts say. A panel of respected linguists who met in Anchorage on Friday are hailing new research that links the Old World language of Ket, still spoken sparingly along the Yenisei River in western Siberia, and the sprawling New World family of Na-Dene languages -- a broad grouping that encompasses the many Athabascan tribes in Alaska, along with the Tlingit and Eyak people, as well as Indian populations in western Canada and the American Southwest, including the Navajo and the Apache. Other than Siberian Yupik, a regional Eskimo dialect that straddles the Bering Strait, a connection between North American and Asian language families had never before been demonstrated. The research by University of Western Washington linguist Edward Vajda, who spent 10 years deciphering the Ket language, drew upon parallel work by three Alaskans -- Jeff Leer, Michael Krauss and James Kari, professors of linguistics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks -- who independently detailed patterns in Na-Dene languages. Establishing that two such far-distant language groups are closely related is both demanding and rare in the exacting field of historical linguistics, according to participants who attended a language symposium at the annual meeting of the Alaska Anthropological Association. That Interior Indian languages spoken in North America are related to languages spoken in Asia has long been assumed, since other fields of science have widely concluded that the Americas weren't populated until ice age hunters migrated across a temporary land bridge from the old world to the new some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago. And as early as 1923, other linguists speculated specifically about a genetic link between the Yeniseic family of languages spoken along the Yenisei River (of which Ket is now the only surviving member) and the Na-Dene family, spoken in North America. Ten years ago, American linguist Merritt Ruhlen did so again after producing a list of 36 cognates -- comparable words in two languages that sound alike and mean the same thing. But producing lists of similar-sounding words isn't sufficient evidence to establish a real genetic relationship between two languages, declared Bernard Comrie, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, speaking at the conference. That's because cognates can also occur by accident or chance -- when selective words are adopted by travelers from unrelated languages, or when words have a universal appeal. [Yeah, okay. So, what are the odds that this happened 15,000 years ago in a remote region of Siberia???] What makes the new finding so exciting, Comrie said, is that it's based on complex and verifiable morphologies that show how certain Ket words were systematically altered to create Athabascan words -- or vice versa (the research doesn't speculate on which language came first or when). Vajda began studying the Ket language firsthand in the 1990s after the Iron Curtain fell and he interviewed Ket speakers in the southwestern Siberia city of Tomsk, as well as in Germany. "There is no road and no train," Vajda said in an interview last week in Anchorage, here to address the symposium. "You have to go by steamboat or helicopter to get there." Through his research and interviews, Vajda determined that there are about 1,200 people who say they are Ket, including about 200 people who speak the language. But only about 100 speak Ket fluently, Vajda said, and nearly all of them are now older than 50. "They were the last hunters of north Asia that didn't have any domesticated animals that they used for food," he said. "They moved around, they didn't live in the same place." That came to an end when the Stalin regime in the Soviet Union forced the Ket to live in villages. Now their traditional lifestyle is nearly gone, Vajda said -- and their language is disappearing too. While trying to capture it before it vanishes altogether, Vajda gained a new understanding about the peculiarities of Ket verbs, suffixes and tonalities -- which are unlike any of the other Siberian languages to the east. Comparing what he learned with research conducted independently in Alaska, Vajda began to find words the two languages had in common. A news release issued this week by the Alaska Native Language Center at UAF concurs, noting language similarities "too numerous and displaying too many idiosyncratic parallels to be explained by anything other than common descent." Among linguistic scholars elsewhere who've reviewed Vajda's paper in its draft form and reacted favorably so far is Dr. Heinrich Werner of Bonn, Germany -- a world authority in the Ket language, whose work Vajda cited and incorporated into his own, along with that of the Alaskans. Vajda thinks his research might be a door-opener for scientists in other fields, including those who work in human genetics and archaeology, to proceed with additional comparisons of the two cultures. He says it also points out the necessity and urgency to record dying languages before they disappear.

Chess News Update

Chess Femme News has been updated, April 20, 2008! A special note of congratulations to GM Susan Polgar for her official appointment as Ambassador for the 2008 Dresden Chess Olympiad. Ms. Polgar will also be in charge of international media for the Olympaid. Paul Truong has been named official photographer of the Olympiad. More information at the Susan Polgar blog.

Kharg Island Game Boards Confirmed

Prior post.

I looked for a confirming story last night and did not find one, but here's one that I found this morning, published by the Tehran Times. Here is the photo accompanying the story.

View Rate : 394 # News Code : TTime- 166719 Print Date : Sunday, April 20, 2008

Ancient game boards and compass discovered in southern Iran
Tehran Times Culture Desk

TEHRAN -- Archaeological studies on some engravings on rocks on Khark Island have identified them as a compass and ancient game boards.

The engravings are between 2000 and 3000 years old, archaeologist Reza Moradi Ghiasabadi, who conducted the recently concluded studies, told the Persian service of CHN on Saturday.

The compass has been etched in rectangular form with rounded angles on a flat rock located on the ground beside an ancient route, Moradi Ghiasabadi explained. A curve has been engraved on the upper half and four lines forming a cross stretch to the four sides of the rectangular shape, he noted. The lines have been placed in a position to determine the cardinal points and have only two degrees of error based on the Global Positioning System (GPS), he added.

The compass has been damaged in some parts because it appears to have been severed from a larger rock in a collapse. “It is a unique discovery in Iran and a great effort should be made to safeguard it because we must not relocate it due to its use in positioning,” Moradi Ghiasabadi noted.

He has also discovered a series of game boards carved in different shapes on stone and coral rocks, mostly on the shoreline. The game boards, which are being threatened by erosion, bear round holes measuring four to ten centimeters in diameter.

Archaeologists had previously discovered wooden game boards at the 5200-year-old Burnt City, near the city of Zabol in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, and a similar game board made of stone in Kermanshah. [Actually, as far as I am aware, only one wooden game board was ever recovered at Shar-i Sokhtah, the Burnt City - I wrote about it in an article at Goddesschess].

The Khark game boards have been created in different shapes and are something like modern backgammon boards, Moradi Ghiasabadi stated. He has identified seven types of ancient game board on the island so far.

In mid-November 2007, an Achaemenid era stone inscription was discovered during a road construction project on Khark Island, which reads “(This) land was a dry area with no water; (I) brought happiness and welfare, Bahana… water wells.” The cuneiform inscription, which is etched on a piece of uneven rock encrusted with coral, is also threatened by the forces of nature and vandalism because the valuable relic has been provided no protection. Photo: An ancient game board, Khark Island
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