Monday, December 22, 2008

Arab Women's Chess Championship

Arab Chess Championship: Egypt’s Mona Khaled Takes Lead Correspondent 23 December 2008 SHARJAH - Mona Khaled of Egypt is in commanding position in the Arab Women Chess Championship after taking a full point lead with 3 rounds to go after defeating Hamza Amira of Algeria. Mona is at the top of the table with 5.5 points. Women: Hamza Amira (3.5) lost to Mona Khaled (5.5); Mouradian Knarik (4.5) bt Latreche Sabrina (4); Mezioud Amina (3) lost to Mir Mahmoud Afamia (4.5); Essa Kulood (3.5) drew with Algildah Nibal (3.5); Fuad Natalie (3.5) drew with Jelda Fatma (3.5); Salem Amna (2) lost to Basil Ziana (3.5); Nouman (2.5) lost to Mona (3).

AICF to Host Women's International Tournament in 2009

AICF has announced it will host a women's international tournament in 2009: From The Tuesday, December 23, 2008 International women’s open MANGALORE: The All India Chess Federation (AICF) secretary, D.V. Mr. Sundar said the AICF would conduct an international open tournament exclusively for women next year. “Mangalore could host the tournament,” he added. “Though women could play in the various open international tournaments, we feel by conducting an exclusive international event for them, we could promote the women’s sport better. “We will bring Woman Grandmasters from abroad for the tournament.” — Principal Correspondent

More Shoveling... A Holiday Hiatus

It was a mere 10 below zero F tonight on the walk home and, now being sufficiently thawed out, I have to once again don the down filled coat, hat, two scarves, gloves and over-mittens to shovel out the drifts from yesterday's fierce windstorm. It's supposed to start snowing again later tonight, and I want to get this out of the way while I can. I've got the pot roast going in the slow cooker, 4 hours tonight, 2 hours tomorrow night and then on warm until dondelion arrives, Goddess willing, right on time (around 7 PM by taxi from the airport). I've still got to scrub the bathrooms and vacuum - and wrap gifts for various people at the office that I will haul in tomorrow morning. The temperature is supposed to moderate tomorrow and creep into the mid-20's F - a heat wave. No down coat tomorrow, back to the fiber-filled jacket and tall boots - there are still lots of drifts on the sidewalks that haven't been removed by weary homeowners and the streets are a mess - the city is having the same problem as moi - nowhere to go with the snow! I won't be blogging at all from Las Vegas - assuming we get there. Between tonight and Wednesday we may accumulate as much as 10 additional inches of snow, and the winds, much calmer today (up to 10 mph) than yesterday (sustained at 20-30 mph, with guest at 40 mph and over), are once again supposed to pick up. So - dondelion and my trip to visit Isis and Michelle in Las Vegas is in the Goddess' capable hands. If there aren't any new posts here for 4-5 days, don't run away darlings, I'll be back! Happy Holidays to all of our readers and fans. We appreciate your support and comments and emails. Now it's time to pull out the shovel and work some more at whittling my waistline down :)

Santa v. Rudolph Grudge Match

From the Muskogee Published December 22, 2008 06:45 pm - Chess battle at North Pole By Eric Morrow Sunday, Dec. 21, was the solstice and the first day of Hanukkah. It also marked the date of the much anticipated grudge match between Santa Claus and Rudolph. The source of the tension was their draw at the North Pole Championship in September. The game ended in a time scramble, as hoof and hand pounded the clock after each move. Rudolph fouled in the scramble when the compact horn on his front right hoof touched a pawn before moving his queen out of danger. The elves and reindeer inhaled as one but Santa moved before the arbiter could compel Rudolph to move his pawn, as required by the touch move rule. On Santa’s next move he, too, accidentally touched the wrong piece, as he reached to check Rudolf with his rook Santa’s sleeve brushed against his king. Dancer and Dasher burst out “Touch move!” But Rudolpf moved his king out of check before the arbiter again acted. Since then, Santa and Rudolph have been taunting each other with trash talk. A small, vocal minority of elves hinted that they can prove that Rudolph secretly got computer assistance when he went outside in the snow to relieve himself. Comet wrote a piece for the “Daily Pole” that Santa just got lucky. Vixon and Sugarplum Mary only fanned the flames when they joined forces and began taking bets. At sundown the match began. The first to win a game won the match. The first two games were hard fought draws. In the third game, however, Santa underestimated black’s attacking potential and failed on his previous move to trade his bishop on b2 for black’s knight at e5. With this hint in mind please try to find how Rudolph mated Santa in two moves. [No board diagram was included in the online version of the article, unfortunately, so we can't see how the pieces were aligned on the board]. Black’s bishop on b8, knight on e5 and queen on f4 are all posed to act in concert. Rudolph struck up the tune by moving his knight to f3, checking white. Black now threatens mate on h2 with its queen supported by either its bishop or knight. Because Santa is in check, he must either take the knight or retreat his king to h1. One way or another the queen next mates on h2. After Rudolph’s knight check on f3, Santa resigned. He took Rudolph’s hoof in hand and said, “Well done. And to all a good night.”
Don't let the author fool you with the references to "hoof" and "horn" - I think the Rudolph he's talking about is actually a coy reference to WIM Anna Rudolf of Hungary, who played in the Dresden Olympiad for Hungary Women's Team. Note the queen's mate attack :) Santa is recently widowed and word has it that he's making a list and checking it twice, looking for a new mate:) It's a wise man who knows that the way to a woman's heart is through a good mating dance. Ho ho ho.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

2008 National 'A' Women's Chess Championship of India

From The - Round 4 Report. Five players currently tied with 2.5/4. Current leader is Kruttika Nadig with 3.0/4. December 22, 2008 Kruttika outplays Swati, in sole lead Kamesh Srinivasan NEW DELHI: Kruttika Nadig sailed past former champion Swati Ghate in the fourth round of the Parsvnath 35th National ‘A’ women’s chess championship at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture here on Sunday. Kruttika played the closed Sicilian with a rare touch of authority to cruise home in 31 moves, for her third win of the tournament. Kruttika is the sole leader with three points, while defending champion Tania Sachdev, Amrutha Mokal, Eesha Karavade, Mary Ann Gomes and Soumya Swaminathan were breathing down her neck with 2.5 points each. On a lively day, when five of the six games were decisive, Kruttika took the cake with her crafty handling of a sharp variation. “I sacrificed a pawn to gain initiative. Eventually, I not only got the pawn back but also a strong positional advantage. I usually don’t play this, but had prepared it in the morning,” said Kruttika. Eesha beats Soumya The fine run of Soumya hit a speed-breaker in the form of Eesha. “I surprised her with the French opening, but she played badly,” said WGM Eesha, after her 34-move demolition of the overnight leader. Amrutha continued to fight hard despite her constant trouble with time. In fact, the lesser the time on her clock, the better she played, as she check-mated the better-rated Padmini Rout in 32 moves. Tania back on track Tania of Air-India revived her fortunes with a clinical performance against last year’s runner-up Kiran Manisha Mohanty. She galloped on an active knight in the end game, against her opponent’s frozen bishop, to grab a crucial point. Asian junior champion Mary consolidated her position with a victory over Pon N. Krithika in 49 moves. The results (fourth round): Amrutha Mokal 2.5 bt Padmini Rout 1; Kruttika Nadig 3 bt Swati Ghate 2; Nisha Mohota 1.5 drew with Bhakti Kulkarni 1; Mary Ann Gomes 2.5 bt Pon N. Krithika 1.5; Tania Sachdev 2.5 bt Kiran Manisha Mohanty 1; Soumya Swaminathan 2.5 lost to Eesha Karavade 2.5.

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

The weather notwithstanding! Despite the dire economic news that is pounding on us nearly non-stop, I am a happy person and filled with the holiday spirit. Someone else is, too... another Golden Eagle has shown up in a Salvation Army pot. From NPR: In Fla., A Mystery, Annual Gift To Salvation Army Listen Now [2 min 1 sec] All Things Considered, December 17, 2008 · For the third year in a row, a Liberty Eagle gold coin worth almost $1,000 was dropped in a Salvation Army kettle. Each time, the coin has been accompanied by a small note, "In memory of Mimi." Megan Spears, resource management director of The Salvation Army of Lee County, Fla., talks about the donation.
The red kettles showed up earlier than usual this year, because the need is greater than ever. I put a dollar in every kettle I pass, and I pass then quite often because there are kettles at both the local Walgreens and Pick 'n Save supermarket that I visit nearly every night after work for something or other. If everyone could put in a small contribution each time they pass a red kettle, Salvation Army would maybe receive enough money to help everyone who needs it through fiscal 2009. These are scary times; you do what you can do and thank Goddess for your blessings, and try to share what you can with others less fortunate, having faith than in due course things will change for the better.

Unique at Chesstique: Chessly Gifts

If you're looking for a last minute chessly gift, or something unique for yourself, please check out our boutique at Chesstique, featuring unique chessly designs by dondelion and Isis. Not the usual stuff. Here is one of Isis' gorgeous hand-made cloth chessboards, this one with satine ribbon, velvetine and gold braided trim. Standard 8x8 playing surface. Several one of a kind pre-made boards are offered, or contact Isis and she'll make up a custom order according to your specifications. We also offer tee-shirts and hoodies for men, women and kids, tote bags, coffee mugs, and various other goodies with our unique Goddesschess designs.

Mysterious La Palma Stone

Story from No estimate of age of these findings was given in the story - not even a hint. I found that rather odd. Also note the reference to tourists already showing up in the area because of publicity (?) given to these recent finds, and how the regional authorities are already geared up for an influx of tourists, busy training guides and setting up rest-stops and food vendors! Hmmmm... I guess I just have a suspicious mind. The "stone" is interesting - no way of telling from the photograph how big it actually is (no size was given in the story), but it looks large - and long. At first I thought it was a vertical carving, like on a cliff face (the story did mention caves), but after looking at it more closely I see mountains on the horizon with sky above, so this rock or stone is laying horizontally on the ground. All the easier to carve??? I see what looks like a grid of lines (for a board game?) (upper portion) and what look like cup holes (lower portion), in addition to a sort of zig-zag line that ends in what looks sort of like an angular figure-eight (center of stone, lower portion). Petroglyphs, ceramics, dwellings and cave art found in Amazonas, Peru Bagua Grande, Dec. 16 (ANDINA).- Petroglyphs, dwellings with vaulted niches, ceramics and cave art were discovered during cleaning works in Pachallama hill, located in the village of La Palma, in Jamalca-Utcubamba (Peru’s Amazonas), according to researchers who arrived in the zone. Elvis Chugna, archaeologist and member of the research group of the Sub-regional Directorate of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Bagua-Utcubamba, said that these findings have been confirmed by a recent expedition sent to this zone. He recalled that a first expedition group, integrated by local authorities and of the provincial municipality of Utcubamba, has recently reported this finding. Chugna indicated that the petroglyph includes a group of elements which designs can be viewed according to the sun’s position; in the morning, some geometric shapes can be seen, and at noon, and sunset others figures emerge. In the zone, several caves have been also found with ceramics, thermal waters, fossil mollusks, and impressive flora and fauna, besides of a great variety of orchids. In turn, Benedicto Perez Goicochea, coordinator of the area’s tourist circuit denominated Pachallama, said that due to this discovery, 124 tourists have already visited the zone who have been properly registered in a visitor book. He said that an accommodation is fitted out for tourists that arrive in this place, located three kilometers far from Pachallama hill. The food and security are in charge of peasant patrols of the zone. Pérez also indicated that community members are organized and they continue with the cleaning works. About five hectares have been cleared in the zone (covered of lush vegetation) finding evidences as the petroglyph, which is a stone with engravings and geometric designs that inhabitants denominate the mysterious stone of La Palma. Elkin Herrera, director of the Sub-regional Directorate of Foreign Trade and Tourism of Bagua-Utcubamba, said that a series of activities have been launched in La Palma village such as courses of orientation and training of people, who have been organized as tourist guides. (END) APV/JOT/GCJ/LVT
One other note - there was only one other photograph of a find from this discovery - photograph two in the Andina article shows a partially re-assembled piece of pottery. Again, no age given. There were no photographs of the "cave art" or "vaulted niches" inside the caves. I understand that a newspaper has limited space to present a story - but why show a broken piece of pottery when you could show a cave painting instead? This all seems rather strange to me, and more than a bit suspicious.

Bronze Hoard Discovered at Cuzco

From 277 bronze artifacts found at Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman Cusco, Dec. 17 (ANDINA).- Skilled workers and professional staff of Peru's National Institute of Culture in Cusco (INC) founded 277 bronze artifacts (champi) when conducting archaeological research at the Archaeological Park of Sacsayhuaman located on the outskirts of Cusco 179 plumbs (cylindrical cone-shaped weights) of different types and 98 nose rings were discovered inside the enclosure No. 06 of the archaeological site of Inkacárcel that, according to preliminary investigations, was a warehouse or "qolqa". The director of the archeological park, Washington Camacho, said that these artifacts were found with decomposed human remains, and burned products such as corn, among others. He highlighted the importance of this discovery, which would confirm the hypothesis that Incas had different methods of construction used to build their houses, and employed high-quality techniques to control vertical alignments of their buildings. (END) NDP/PZA/JOT/

Orion over Mount Nemrut (Turkey)

A breathtaking photo. See the larger photo for its full impact. Orion Dawn Over Mount Nemrut Credit & Copyright: Tunç Tezel (TWAN) Explanation: What's that in front of Orion? Forty kilometers north of Kahta, Turkey, lies Mount Nemrut, a mountain adorned with the fragments of vast statues built over 2000 years ago. The stone sculptures once stood nearly 10 meters high and depicted lions, eagles, various ancient gods, and King Antiochus I Theos, who ruled Commagene from 86 BC to 38 BC. Ruins of the bodies of several sitting figures are visible on the hill above, illuminated by moonlight. Zeus' head can be found near the above image's center, while the king's head is seen next closest to the horizon. Visible far in the distance in this image, taken three months ago, is the familiar constellation of Orion. The red patch just below Orion's belt is the Orion Nebula, while the bright star to the left of Orion is Sirius. On the far left, a red and brightening horizon announces that the Sun is beginning to rise.

Something Wrong with this Picture...

Is it only me, or is there something wrong with this picture? Why are these chess dudes (2008 Nanjing), only one of whom is Chinese, all dressed in these 21st fantasy versions of the Mao jacket? YECHY - and damn scary, too! What does this say about the modern Chinese mentality? Reminds me of the Borg - EEK! Now that's really scary! (Photo from Susan Polgar's excellent blog)
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