Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chess Collecting

It's easier than you might think to become a collector. In my house, I have the following chess sets: (1) a magnetized plastic mini-travel set; (2) an alabaster lathe-turned set and board; (3) a mahogony inlaid board and replica Lewis chess set; and (4) a carved wood set that rests inside a folding board. The style is what I would call "modern" and they are very tactile - I love playing chess with those pieces! I wasn't even trying to "collect" sets, LOL! The (1) set was received as a promotional gift back in 1999 when I joined the USCF. The (2) set was purchased on a whim one Christmas season when one of those temporary stores opened up in the mall downtown and I walked past it one day during lunch hour. I don't remember the exact price, but it was under $40. That sucker was heavy and it took me and a friend to lug it from the store back to the office, and from the office to her car after work! What a work-out! That was perhaps 6-7 years ago. As it sits in the family room off of the kitchen at the back of the house (a popular space), I've played a lot of games with that set. The (3) set was a gift I received in September, 2002 from a colleague on the occasion of both of our leaving a firm we'd worked together at for over 12 years. The (4) set was purchased in 2001 on a whim at Napoleon's, a store that carried all kinds of chess stuff (unfortunately, Napoleon's went out of business a couple of years later). I paid $80 for the set, the most money I've forked out for a set! I used to have a basic 12-inch wood board with the squares painted on, with machined but serviceable pieces that was purchased at a Kay-Bee Toy Store in 1999, but it was donated to a charity years ago. One wouldn't ordinarily think that this would be a contribution that would end up anywhere else than in the garbage can - but you would be surprised! Chess sets are regularly requested items at Christmas. My employer participates in a program - you've probably heard of or participated in something similar yourself - where a local organization aiding the disadvantaged is sponsored. Tags with requested gifts (priced $20 USD or less) are hung on a Christmas tree and you can pick a tag. You purchase the gift, wrap it, and put it under the tree. Prior to Christmas all of the donated gifts are delivered to the local charity and handed out to the recipients. I can always find a tag where a chess set is requested. (I have used the online shop that benefits the Susan Polgar Foundation, Inc. to purchase sturdy tournament-quality plastic sets and vinyl roll-up boards). I can see where the process of acquiring chess sets can become quite addicting! There are such gorgeous sets out there, each one more beautiful, or unique, or ugly or - whatever - than the next. The key to collecting, as it is to many other endeavors, is knowledge - and staying away from e-bay :) To acquire knowledge, hang around with people who have it, such as the folks who are members of Chess Collectors International. CCI puts out a quarterly newsletter that features articles on collecting and photographs of sets and other information, and holds a couple gatherings a year in different places all over the world. Read books on collecting and chess sets. Visit exhibits if you can. A lot of information is now available online (thank Goddess for the internet). I recommend you buy what "speaks" to you. My feeling is that if you buy what you like, you won't go wrong. That is the opposite, of course, of collectors who buy with an eye toward investing in something they hope will appreciate in value over time. Then, provenance, design, uniqueness of materials, rarity, etc. become important. So, you'll have to decide what kind of collector you'll be - and what your budget allows. One does not have to be a millionaire though, in order to start a collection of chess sets - as you can I've become something of an accidental "collector" myself and my family thinks I'm nuts! (Probably am...) Visit the online sites of Christie's and Sotheby's auction houses, for instance, do a search for "chess" and you'll see what I mean. Sets can be purchased at auction for under $100 USD, and many antique sets for between $100-200 USD. The sets that are pictured in this blog post are from auctions that Christie's held. Bonham's and other regional auction houses also regularly feature chess sets in their auctions. I sometimes visit the websites of my favorite auction houses and check out what they have coming up for sale or what recently sold. Sometimes I dig further back into the archives of past sales. Here are just a few from a sale at that tickled my fancy: Sale 5198 furniture, carpets & decorative objects 30 October 2007 London, South Kensington Price Realized £75 ($154) Price includes buyer's premium (Three sets for the price of one!) A MEXICAN OBSIDIAN AND GLASS 'AZTEC' STYLE CHESS SET 20TH CENTURY With white and black marble inlaid board The king -- 4in. (10cm.) high; the pawn -- 2in. (5cm.) high; the board -- 13½in. (34.2cm.) wideTogether with a Mexican bone mounted lacquered wood chess set, second half 20th century; the king -- 5¼in. (13.3cm.) high; the pawn -- 3in. (7.5cm.) high; and a softwood and black lacquered wood 'Staunton' pattern chess set, second half 20th century, with painted finials; the king -- 4¼in. (10.8cm.) high; the pawn -- 2¼in. (5.7cm.) high (4) 30 October 2007 London, South Kensington Price realized £63 ($129) Price includes buyer's premium AN ENGLISH BONE 'OLD ENGLISH' PATTERN CHESS SET 19TH CENTURY The king -- 5½in. (14cm.) high; the pawn -- 1 7/8in. (4.8cm.) high Together with an English bone 'old English' pattern chess set, 19th century; the king -- 2¼in. (5.7cm.) high; the pawn -- 1 1/8in. (2.8cm.) high (2)

Friday Night Miscellany

Yes, I'm late again. I decided to do this rather than cut the grass - but I'm feeling guilty about my shaggy looking backyard so I'll get out there shortly (now two hours later and I'm still blogging...) In the meantime, hope you enjoy this eclectic collection of stories and articles: Making urban living better by restoring an ancient waterway: Peeling Back Pavement to Expose Watery Havens. A lengthy but interesting article about what Seoul, South Korea did to restore an ancient stream bed flowing through the heart of the city that had been paved over for ages, and the unexpected benefits that occurred as a result. I think the photo says it all. American city planners - take note. Done right, this would be a way to get people back into the hearts of declining Rust Belt cities. A horrifying story out of Uganda about "ritual killings" a/k/a child sacrifice. The Ugandan Parliament is now "in the process" of crafting legislation that will make child sacrifice a "capital" crime. Guess it's still okay to sacrifice kids in the meantime. Stupid is as stupid does. At the same time the Chinese Communist Corrupts are facing massive increases in people rioting across the land because of justice denied and seething, unaddressed grievances, the government closes down a volunteer lawyer group and is stripping licenses from other attorneys. Talk about cutting one's nose off to spite one's face! The only thing the Chinese Communists have learned from Iran is to stifle the internet and tweeting faster. Guess what guys, that is not going to stop the people in either country. Three guesses as to what will happen to the corrupt Communist regime in China - the same thing that is going to happen to the corrupt Nazi regime in Iran. The only question is when :) Designing Women: -- Madeleine Vionnet threw out the corset and set women's bodies free. (Photo: Vionnet ivory bias-cut silk gown, from Fashiontribes). -- A Jewish girl from the lower east side moves uptown NYC and becomes Hattie Carnegie, one of the most influential designers in American history. Was the speed of light at one time faster than the speed of light? Thinking outside the "box" - and a lesson in questioning underlying assumptions.

2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship

Chess femme standings after Round 7 - 2 more rounds to go! Top female wins $550. Places 1 through 4 tied with 6.0 (all chess dudes) Our friend, Wayne Mendryk (CAN 1440), is also playing. He is currently in 145th place with 3.0. There are 202 players. Apologies to any chess femmes I may have omitted from the standings: 14 IM Irina Krush 2481 5.5 23 WIM Alisa Melekhina 2315 5.0 61 Dalia Kagramanov 1941 4.0 62 WFM Dina Kagramanov 2140 4.0 74 Jasmine Du 1810 4.0 96 Gabrielle Nadeau 1912 3.5 202 Leah Green 1298 0.5

Friday, July 17, 2009

We Need a Female GM or IM or WGM!

Hola darlings! As we have previously written, as part of our initiative to support local chess events and, particularly, to encourage female chessplayers to participate in such events, Goddesschess is funding class prizes for chess femmes who play in the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship (September 11 - 13, 2009): Special Class Prizes sponsored by Goddesschess: Section B - $45 for best finish by female player Section C - $35 for best finish by female player Section D - $25 for best finish by female player These prizes are in addition to any class prizes that may be won by female players. Goddesschess' experiences with the people who are sponsoring and putting together the 2009 Montreal Open Chess Championship have been a great pleasure. We are sympatico with those who are working to present the best-yet Montreal Open. To paraphrase Humphrey Bogart's last line in "Casablanca" - this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship :) Goddesschess is therefore pleased to announce guaranteed additional financial support for a Female GM or IM, or a WGM titled player to this year's Montreal Open. Women's World Chess Champion GM Alexandria Kosteniuk talks about this quest at her chess blog. If you are interested, or if you have a lead to a female GM or IM, or a WGM who might be interested in participating in the 2009 Montreal Open, please contact for further information on terms and financial support provided.

Politiken Cup

This is the most entertaining introduction to a tournament I've ever read! What will happen to the frantic Chess Queen? Eek! There once was a queen who would do anything to fight for her king. Her powers on the battlefield were almost unlimited. She could move in any direction and get where she wanted to go in an instant. She had a small army also willing to die for their king. Eight farmers who could move only forward and not retreat, but who were good at staking out territory. Two knights on horses who jumped at a slight angle. Two elephants who moved with alarming quickness in diagonal lines across the battlefield (she started calling them ‘bishops’ after her conversion to Christianity). And two chariots (which she called ‘rooks’ from her knowledge of Persian). Her only problem was that the enemy had a queen with exactly the same powers and the same kind of ferocious army. She knew she’d have to rely on strategy rather than brute force, and that she’d have to hold back and let her henchmen spill some blood before she came along to clean up. First she sent out some farmers to establish control of the center of the battlefield. Then she sent out the knights to protect the farmers. She quickly built a human shield of three farmers and a chariot for her king to hide behind. Things were going well until the enemy elephants cut down her knights and her farmers were left exposed. The enemy farmers cut hers down like butter. ‘Useless fools!’ she screamed. She had to dash out to the rescue much earlier than she wanted. She killed the elephants and took down a knight but left herself completely exposed to enemy attack. She knew the kingdom depended on her, and for the first time in her life she felt all alone. To find out how this story ends. . . The Copenhagen Chess Festival 2009 including Politiken Cup 2009 and Nordisk Championship begins July 18, 2009 and ends July 26, 2009. Official website (English). Thanks much to Brendan Cooney for writing such a cool intro to this popular event. Traditionally, several top-rated chess femmes participate in the Politiken Cup! This year's enrollees include (this is not a full list of chess femmes): GM Marie Sebag (FRA 2531) WGM Viktorija Cmilyte (Lithuania) 2470 (Photo above) WIM Svetlana Agrest (country???) 2260 Eva Jiretorn (country???) 2150 Sebag and Cmilyte will have their work cut out for them, as the top GMs include a player over 2700 and many in the high-2600s.

Life in Lubbock, Texas

Lubbock is known for Texas Tech University's beautiful campus and, since 2007, the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), which is part of Texas Tech. I understand that since SPICE began functioning, Texas has moved into the #1 spot for states in the United States with USCF registered chess players, thanks to its hosting of numerous new scholastic and open tournaments. (More information about SPICE and chess scholarships). And then, there is the exciting new SPICE Invitational, where up-and-coming chessplayers are invited to participate in a tournament with a chance to earn IM and GM norms, and the prestigious SPICE Cup, which started in 2007 and has grown in popularity and ELO rating since it's inaugural year! (2009 information) By popular demand, 2009 will host two sections of players for the first time! But Lubbock isn't just a college and chess town. It is also the home to one of the premiere Paleo-Indian archaeological sites in the United States. Story at The Daily Toreador Lubbock Lake Landmark offers ancient insight, historic findings Hannah Boen Issue date: 7/17/09 Section: La Vida Every July since the 1970s, university students from across the globe have gathered in the same area to catch a glimpse of human life 12,000 years ago. The Lubbock Lake Landmark is the location of a late Paleo-Indian site that continuously has been excavated since its discovery during the Great Depression. Katherine Ehlers, a graduate research assistant from Midland, has been visiting the site each July for six years to discover and study pieces of history. "The more we can learn about how people live and adapt, the better," said Ehlers, the site's crew chief. "These things are relevant to today if we can study the trends of people thousands of years ago." Ehlers has spent much of her time as an undergraduate and graduate student at Texas Tech doing regional research in the Caprock area and has the artifacts to prove it. Halfway into this year's dig, her group has found Bison bone and some stone tools, clues into what life was like for humans thousands of years ago. "I think it's neat that people have been hanging out in Lubbock for that long," she said, "and we're still here." Disa Wiberg is an osteology masters student from Lund University in Sweden, and she is spending six weeks of her summer in Lubbock to be part of Ehlers' crew. "It's a good experience," she said. "You get responsibility, and you get to learn about every aspect of archeology." Wiberg and a handful of other students spend each day digging and studying, and each night in tents near the dig site. The students work, eat, sleep and shower outdoors. Although she admitted the West Texas heat was unpleasant, this is her second year to visit this dig site, and said it would probably not be her last. "I come here partly for the experience," she said, "and partly for the great people." Nicole Cotto, a sophomore anthropology major from Loyola University in Chicago, said she has enjoyed spending time with a diverse group of students who share her interests, however, was hesitant about spending six weeks of her summer in Lubbock. "Texas seemed kind of far," she said, "and I thought, 'What the heck? Lubbock? What is in Lubbock?'" Cotto said this is her first time to work on a dig site and has enjoyed the experience and the history the site has to offer. Both students believe they are working on a site that is providing valuable experience in their respective fields. Lubbock Lake Landmark education program manager, Susan Rowe, said the site has so much history to offer, students have only made a small dent in researching the area since they began digging more than 30 years ago. In the past three decades, full skeletons have been found on site of an ancient bison, a Columbian mammoth, a giant armadillo and a giant short-faced bear. Although the dig site attracts attention from students worldwide, Rowe said it is a good opportunity for Tech students as well. "I would suggest anyone looking for field experience with archeology or anthropology look here first," she said. Lubbock Lake Landmark plans to continue to study anything they can find on their historical site, she said, in order to learn the interactions and environments of the first Lubbock residents. Students interested in volunteer opportunities at the dig site may visit for more information.

New Discoveries at Xi'an

Ongoing excavations at Xi'an have revealed exciting new finds. Archeologists report new findings at terracotta army site 2009-07-17 13:40:04 XI'AN, July 17 (Xinhua) -- Archeologists have found up to 100 terracotta warriors and an army officer at the world heritage site in Xi'an, northwest China's Shanxi Province, a month after they began a third excavation of the site. "Our most exciting discovery so far is the army officer," said chief archeologist Xu Weihong. He said the life-sized figure was found lying on its stomach behind four chariots. "We can't see its face yet, but the leather gallus on its back is distinct." Xu said the gallus was typical of army officers in the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.- 207 B.C.). "We need extra care to bring it out of the pit and restore its original color, which may take a few months." He said the figure was originally painted in different colors. "The original colors have faded after more than 2,000 years of decay, but a corner of the officer's robe suggested it was in colors other than the grayish clay." Except for its broken head, the army officer was largely intact compared with other newly-discovered clay figures, most of which were found seriously damaged, some even fragmentary, Xu said. Liu Zhancheng, head of the archeology arm of the Xi'an-based terracotta museum, estimated the year-long excavation would hopefully unearth about 150 terracotta warriors. Richly colored clay figures were unearthed from the mausoleum of Qinshihuang, the first emperor of a united China, in the previous two excavations, but once they were exposed to the air they began to lose their luster and turn an oxidized grey. The 230 by 62-meter No. 1 pit, which is currently under excavation, was believed to contain about 6,000 life-sized terracotta figures, more than 1,000 of which were found in previous excavations, said the museum's curator Wu Yongqi. The State Administration of Cultural Heritage approved the museum's dig of 200 square meters of the site, and the excavation is likely to continue if it proves fruitful. Most experts believe No. 1 pit, the largest of all three pits, houses a rectangular army of archers, infantrymen and charioteers that the emperor hoped would help him rule in the afterlife. The army was one of the greatest archeological finds of modern times. It was discovered in Lintong county, 35 km east of Xi'an, in 1974 by peasants who were digging a well. The first formal excavation of the site lasted for six years from 1978 to 1984 and produced 1,087 clay figures. A second excavation, in 1985, lasted a year and was cut short for technical reasons. The discovery, listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO in December 1987, has turned Xi'an into one of China's major tourist attractions. Editor: Li Xianzhi

Vinland Map Back in the News

I love old maps, I find them - and their stories - absolutely fascinating! The Vinland Map is one of the most controversial. Is it real? Is it a fabulous fake? Article at Reuters Vinland Map of America no forgery, expert says Fri Jul 17, 2009 5:09pm EDT By John Acher COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - The 15th century Vinland Map, the first known map to show part of America before explorer Christopher Columbus landed on the continent, is almost certainly genuine, a Danish expert said Friday. Controversy has swirled around the map since it came to light in the 1950s, many scholars suspecting it was a hoax meant to prove that Vikings were the first Europeans to land in North America -- a claim confirmed by a 1960 archaeological find. Doubts about the map lingered even after the use of carbon dating as a way of establishing the age of an object. "All the tests that we have done over the past five years -- on the materials and other aspects -- do not show any signs of forgery," Rene Larsen, rector of the School of Conservation under the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, told Reuters. He presented his team's findings at an international cartographers' conference in the Danish capital Friday. The map shows both Greenland and a western Atlantic island "Vinilanda Insula," the Vinland of the Icelandic sagas, now linked by scholars to Newfoundland where Norsemen under Leif Eriksson settled around AD 1000. Larsen said his team carried out studies of the ink, writing, wormholes and parchment of the map, which is housed at Yale University in the United States. He said wormholes, caused by wood beetles, were consistent with wormholes in the books with which the map was bound. He said claims the ink was too recent because it contained a substance called anatase titanium dioxide could be rejected because medieval maps have been found with the same substance, which probably came from sand used to dry wet ink. American scholars have carbon dated the map to about 1440, about 50 years before Columbus "discovered" the New World in 1492. Scholars believe it was produced for a 1440 church council at Basel, Switzerland. The Vinland Map is not a "Viking map" and does not alter the historical understanding of who first sailed to North America. But if it is genuine, it shows that the New World was known not only to Norsemen but also to other Europeans at least half a century before Columbus's voyage. It was bought from a Swiss dealer by an American after the British Museum turned it down in 1957. It was subsequently bought for Yale University by a wealthy Yale alumnus, Paul Mellon, and published with fanfare in 1965. The lack of a provenance has caused much of the controversy. Where the map came from and how it came into the hands of the Swiss dealer after World War Two remain a mystery. (Editing by Tim Pearce)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

New Findings on "Snake Cult"

Oh yes, the Goddess in the form of a serpent rears up and - well - you can read for yourself. Just be sure to substitute feminine pronouns for masculine pronouns, and Goddess for God, and the article will make very good sense. Please also keep in mind that the Iron Age is relatively recent in historical terms. New findings on snake cult challenge Iron Age theories John Henzell Last Updated: July 16. 2009 1:29AM UAE / July 15. 2009 9:29PM GMT New research into a snake cult that lived in the mountains near Masafi during the Iron Age will be presented next week at the world’s leading conference on Arabian archaeology. Initial excavations at the Al Bithnah site, between 2000 and 2004, indicated that it had been the meeting place for a religious cult based around snake iconography between 2,500 and 3,100 years ago. Anne Benoist, the French archaeologist who headed the dig, will tell the Seminar for Arabian Studies in London that a new meeting place has been found near the first, with their proximity challenging theories about territorial organisation, religion and collective life in eastern Arabia during that era of the Iron Age. The artefacts unearthed by Dr Benoist’s group include incense burners and posts decorated with snakes, along with signs that copper had been mined and smelted. They indicated a god symbolised by a snake, in common with iconography found elsewhere on the Arabian peninsula [and much older serpent iconography in both Mesopotamia and Egypt, not to mention well-established serpent-worshipping centers elsewhere in the Middle East], and supported theories that there was an ancient but complex society with separate roles for priests and bureaucrats. At the time, snakes were considered to be symbols of knowledge and prosperity. Similar sites have been found elsewhere in the UAE and in Oman, Yemen, Bahrain and southern Iran, suggesting that there were cultural and trade links during the Iron Age. Dr Benoist’s presentation will be one of dozens at the three-day seminar in the British Museum, which begins next Thursday. Other speakers will address connections between the Levant and Southern Arabian communities in the Pleistocene era, the use of fragments from early Qurans to describe the development of written Arabic, and new methods to investigate sites at the bottom of the Gulf, which was above sea level 18,000 years ago at the last glacial maximum.
Cf. All the stuff in the Old Testament about the Copper Serpent (a well-established goddess-worshipping cult exported out of Egypt when the Hebrews left for the "Promised Land") For a "far out" take on ancient serpent symbolism in the Middle East, check out "The Gnostic Secret of Solomon's Temple" by none other than Philip Gardiner See also this entry from Ancient Goths, a Google blog, for lots of images of Iron Age serpents and serpent symbolism from the Iron Age See also references to serpent goddesses in When God Was a Woman, by Merlin Stone (couldn't the author come up with a better name than that???), at Google books. The reference to the goddess "She" reminded me so much of my college days when, for some course or other, I ended up reading the classic H. Rider Haggard novel She.

San Sebastian International Women's Chess Tournament

(a/k/a Donostia Chess Festival) July 7 - 16, 2009 Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa Tournament Final standings for the chess femme event: 1 IM Milliet Sophie FRA 2388 2 WGM Melnikova Yana RUS 2285 6,0 3 IM Tania Sachdev IND 2410 6,0 4 WGM Zakurdjaeva Irina RUS 2305 5,5 5 WGM Pokorna Regina SVK 2381 5,0 6 WGM Michna Marta GER 2379 4,0 7 WIM Rozic Vesna SLO 2239 3,5 8 WGM Hamdouchi Adina-Maria ROU 2324 3,5 9 WGM Ionica Iulia-Ionela ROU 2263 2,5 10 WGM Karlovich Anastazia UKR 2211 2,0 Results of games Round 9: WGM Ionica Iulia-Ionela 2263 1/2 WGM Pokorna Regina 2381 WIM Rozic Vesna 2239 0-1 IM Tania Sachdev 2410 WGM Melnikova Yana 2285 1/2 WGM Zakurdjaeva Irina 2305 WGM Michna Marta 2379 1/2 IM Milliet Sophie 2388 WGM Karlovich Anastazia 2211 1/2 WGM Hamdouchi Adina-Maria 2324 IM Tania Sachdev had the only decisive game in Round 9, moving her up to take third place. I expect Sachdev is disappointed with her showing in this event. More studying, Tania! That will do the trick.

Chess Queen: Aurora Stella Esquivel

From UNAL Website Her Focus: Checkmate in the International Tournaments Date: (15/7/2009) Facultad de Ingeniería Mecánica y Eléctrica Aurora Stella Esquivel — FIME´s student that represents the UANL in chess — faces new challenges before the world preliminary and the Centro American and Open Chess Tournament. By Karolina E. Cárdenas Acosta After seven years reigning within the State and Regional Chess Tournament and a National Championship — obtained in August 2008 in Mexico City by competing against 49 participants in the open category — Aurora Stella Esquivel de Leon will encounter a new challenge. Supported by our Leading Academic Institution’s President, Engineer Jose Antonio Gonzalez Treviño, the young chess player participates in international competitions promoted by her father, Joaquin Manuel Esquivel Rivera and by the Cuban trainer, Justo Triano. Her long experience in this board game has taken her to the most important tournaments by being part of the national selections for either individual or team’s competitions. Such was the case of the individual world’s eliminatory round that currently takes place in El Salvador — from July 10th to the 15th — and where the best chess players from Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Venezuela, and Mexico compete. In the same way, and after her commitment in that country is fulfilled, the 18 year-old player will participate in the Centro American and Open Chess Tournament in Colombia. However, her agenda has no empty pages. When she comes back to Mexico she will show her best moves and strategies at the “UAEM 2009 Universidad Nacional,” which will take place from August 24th to September 9th in Cuernavaca, Morelos. Besides, she will also partake in other tournaments, on the next month, within the country. Expert chess player reveals the secret to success After ten years of experience in the mental sport — due to the complexity and the intellectual exercise to which the player is subjected to —, the fifth semester School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering’s (Spanish abbreviation FIME) student assures that training, effort, and this sports liking are key for the triumph. “Training is essential for the chess´ development. The player must know how to memorize, and analyze the game in order to have alternatives. I practice on the Internet to get familiar with more movements,” explains the national champion and the national selection representative. Her experience at the Pan-American Games in Ecuador 2005, the interuniversity tournaments, the “Universiadas Nacionales,” and the World Championship in Germany,— where she participated with the Mexican Olympic team — are proof of her quality in this board game. Though this has been his favorite game, a few people know the other side of the story of such a brilliant player for this versatile student of Electronics and Communications Engineering practices more than one. Basketball, softball, and soccer are part of Aurora Esquivel sport’s résumé. “I have always loved sports, and I have had the opportunity to stand out in some of them, mostly in softball and football soccer,” commented the FIME´s team leading player, with which she was twice champion in the Football Soccer University´s Tournament. Backed up by her perseverance, intelligence, and capacity, this multifaceted sports player, embarks in this trip with the purpose of becoming the world’s champion.

IM Tania Sachdev Nominated for Arjuna Award

Summarized from The Times of India: AICF recommends Negi, Tania for Arjuna Mohammad Amin-ul Islam, TNN 17 July 2009, 12:36am IST New Dehli: Here's some good news for Capital's chess followers. Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi and International Master Tania Sachdev are the only two recommended by All India Chess Federation (AICF) for this year's Arjuna awards. Interestingly, till date, no chess player from the Capital has got this award. Last year, Dronavalli Harika was the only Arjuna awardee in chess. While Negi became world's second youngest GM in 2006, Tania is still an IM beside being a WGM which doesn't fall in the same rank as a GM which is harder to achieve. Arjuna awardees in chess over the years: Manuel Aaron (1961), Rohini Khadlikar (1980), Dibyendu Barua (1983), Pravin Thipsay (1984), V Anand(1985), DV Prasad (1987), Bhagyashree Thipsay (1987), Anupama Gokhale (1990), S Vijayalakshmi (2000), K Sasikiran (2002), Koneru Humpy (2003), Surya Sekhar Ganguly (2005), P Harikrishna (2006), D Harika (2008). (Bolded names are female).

San Sebastian International - Women's Tournament

Diputación Foral de Gipuzkoa Tournament (part of Donostia International Chess Festival a/k/a San Sebastian International). One more round to go! Standings after Round 8 (information from; see also official website in English): WGM Pokorna Regina 2381 ½ – ½ WGM Karlovich Anastazia 2211 WGM Hamdouchi Adina-Maria 2324 ½ – ½ WGM Michna Marta 2379 IM Milliet Sophie 2388 1 – 0 WGM Melnikova Yana 2285 WGM Zakurdjaeva Irina 2305 1 – 0 WIM Rozic Vesna 2239 IM Tania Sachdev 2410 1 – 0 WGM Ionica Iulia-Ionela 2263 1. IM Milliet Sophie FRA 2388 - 6,5 2. WGM Melnikova Yana RUS 2285 - 5,5 3. WGM Zakurdjaeva Irina RUS 2305 - 5,0 4. IM Tania Sachdev IND 2410 - 5,0 5. WGM Pokorna Regina SVK 2381 - 4,5 6. WIM Rozic Vesna SLO 2239 - 3,5 7. WGM Michna Marta GER 2379 - 3,5 8. WGM Hamdouchi Adina-Maria ROU 2324 - 3,0 9. WGM Ionica Iulia-Ionela ROU 2263 - 2,0 10. WGM Karlovich Anastazia UKR 2211 - 1,5

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rethymno 2009 International Open

One Hundred (100) players are taking part in this tournament in beautiful Rethymno, Greece, July 12 - 19, 2009. Here are the standings of the chess femmes participating (hope I didn't miss any) after R5: (9) IM Dembo Yelena GRE 2466 4,0 (13) IM Gaponenko Inna UKR 2428 4,0 (18) GM Stefanova Antoaneta BUL 2535 4,0 (24) WGM Paulet Iozefina ROU 2327 4,0 (37) IM Turova Irina RUS 2387 3,5 (46) WIM Chulivska Vita UKR 2304 3,0 (48) WIM Stiri Alexandra GRE 2163 3,0 (67) Sirletti Sonia ITA 1942 3,0 (78) Markaki Sofia U12 GRE 1709 3,0 Current leaders: (1) GM Werle Jan NED 2575 4,5 (2) GM Tukhaev Adam UKR 2534 4,5 (3) IM Smith Bryan G USA 2467 4,5 (4) GM Antic Dejan SRB 2523 4,5 Come on Stefanova, you can beat these dudes! Who is IM Bryan G Smith USA? I do not believe I have heard of him before!

1st Artemis Cup

I love the name of this tournament! Taking place on Leros island takes place 11th-19th July 2009 (72 players). Report from The Week in Chess: Some early surprises: Mchedlishvili (2592) - Post (NED, 1951) ½ - ½ ! (1st rd.), Kostiukova L. (2208) - Shneider Al. (2539) ½ - ½, Nikolaidis I. (2510) - Muhren W. (NED, 2188) 0-1! (2nd rd.). The top-5 encounters of the 3rd rd.: Miroshnichenko (UKR, 2696) - Estremera (ESP, IM 2394) ½ - ½, Hunt Ad. (IM, 2428) - Gelashvili (GEO, 2605) ½ - ½, Kourkounakis (IM 2378) - Timoshenko G. (2556) ½ - ½, Mastrovasilis Ath. (2475) - Kotrotsos (2359) 1-0, Calzetta (WGM, 2344) - Jeremic (2487) ½ - ½. Top chess femme standings after 3 Rounds: 8. Calzetta Ruiz Monica WGM ESP 2344 2.5 14. Muhren Bianca WGM NED 2312 2 23. Frank-Nielsen Marie WFM DEN 2000 2 Monica Calzetta was a favorite player of The Chief (IM Ricardo Calvo).

2009 Canadian Open Chess Championship

Taking place in Edmonton, Alberta, July 11 - 19, 2009. Coverage and website provided by Monroi. The top-rated female player in the Canadian Open (203 players) is IM Irina Krush. After Round 4, five players are tied for first place with a perfect score of 4.0: 1 GM Victor Mikhalevski 2631 4.0 2 GM Hua Ni 2701 4.0 3 GM Mark Bluvshtein 2598 4.0 4 GM Surya Ganguly 2637 4.0 5 FM Raja Panjwani 2418 4.0 Krush is currently in 20th place with 3.0. Other chess femmes (I apologize to any I may have missed): 61 Dalia Kagramanov 1941 2.5 62 Gabrielle Nadeau 1912 2.5 64 WFM Dina Kagramanov 2140 2.5 77 WIM Alisa Melekhina 2315 2.5 107 Jasmine Du 1810 2.0 108 Nicka Kalaydina 1879 2.0

Moza Al Mansouri Wins Gold for UAE

Rich haul for UAE junior chess team By K.R. Nayar, Senior ReporterPublished: July 15, 2009, 22:41 Dubai: The UAE junior chess team has returned with two gold medals, one bronze and a silver from the Arab Junior Chess Championship held in Damascus, Syria. The promising juniors hailing from the different emirates performed brilliantly in the Under-eight, Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 age categories. Nine-year-old Moza Al Mansouri of Al Ain Club emerged as the Arab Junior Chess Champion in the Under-10 category winning all of her nine games. She became the only player to achieve a 100 per cent score. . . . Speaking to Gulf News, Moza said: "I dedicate this victory to my country. I won mainly due to the excellent preparations, ideal playing conditions and support from my team members". Rest of article.

Archaeological Site Destroyed in Iran

The Islamic Nazis in Iran are up to their old tricks - business as usual - while the prisons are full of fresh meat (due to recent upheavals that the regime is trying very hard to keep out of the eyes of the world) to torture, rape and kill at the leisure of the Revolutionary Guard. Isn't it ironic that the very things the Iranian people fought to overthrow 30 years ago are now embodied in an "Islamic republic." Here's the article from CAIS: A Large Parthian Site in Khuzestan Province Seriously Damaged & Partly Destroyed Tuesday, 14 July 2009 08:11 During the widening of a road by the Islamic Republic’s controlled Iran’s National Oil Company near the city of Ahwaz, a large historical site dating back to the Parthian dynasty (248 BCE - 224 CE) was seriously damaged and some sections were completely destroyed, as reported by the Persian service of the Friends of Khuzestan’s Friends of Cultural Heritage Society (TARIANA). Apparently the destruction of the site began over a decade ago by the Islamic Republic’s Construction Jihad Foundation. The name and the exact location of the site have been kept secret for security reasons. “Destruction of this important site which its’ name cannot be disclosed for security reasons, began in 1990s by the Jihad Foundation,” said Mojtaba Gahestuni, the director of Tariana. “The ancient site is over 150 hectares and there is evidence of mudbrick walls, large cut stones, stone-constructions, a fire-alter as well as decorated potsherds scattered over the site,” said Gahestuni. He continued “in this site there is a large cemetery which is covered with broken pieces of large red coloured-torpedo shaped earthenware urns, typical of Parthian dynastic art and black-wares dating back to the 1st millennium BCE.” Currently the ancient Iranian site is left unprotected at the mercy of the Oil Company’s bulldozers and smugglers alike. The responsibility of the security of the site lies with the provincial Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organisation (KCHHTO) but no action has been taken yet to protect it. Not so surprisingly, but ironically KCHHTO has been responsible for the destruction of many pre-Islamic Iranian sites in the Khuzestan Province. “KCHHTO is fully aware of the site’s cultural and historical importance, not only have no measures been taken to secure the site, but also no steps were made to register the site on the national heritage list or commission a preliminary archaeological survey to demarcate the boundaries of the site,” said Gahestuni. Registering a site in today’s Iran does not mean anything as many archaeological and historical sites which were registered on the list some since 1930s have been damaged and even totally obliterated and nothing was done to protect them, such as last years destruction of a Partho-Sasanian site in Susa. The Parthian site contains a free-standing stone structure which is believed to be a Parthian Mausoleum. “In the site there is a large cubic-structure made of stone and saruj mortar, which is 2 meters in height, 6 meters wide and has a 2 meter foundation. Primarily we thought the structure was an ābanbār (water storage), but it is more likely to be a mausoleum.” He concluded “if any archaeological researches are to be conducted on the site we will surly find the coinage and written-evidence to obtain more information about the ancient site.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Great Goddess: A Random Round-Up :)

Pardon my borrowing from Goddesschess, dondelion, webmaster of Goddesschess for many years and editor (along with chief cook and bottle washer) of G'chess' popular weekly column "Random Round-up." Here are a couple of goddess references I came across tonight that I thought you would appreciate:

Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

GM Susan Polgar has sponsored a national all-girls invitational chess tournament for the past six years. It seems like yesterday when I first read about this prestigious event, and the rigorous qualification requirements! Here we are in 2009. The following information is from a press release issued by the USCF website about the 6th Annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls: New Chess Champion to be Crowned at Texas Tech University FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14, 2009 Contact: Dr. Rice Rich LUBBOCK, TEXAS The sixth, annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (SPNI), which is the most prestigious all-girls national championship in the United States, will take place July 26-31, 2009 at the Frazier Alumni Pavilion on the Texas Tech University (TTU) campus in Lubbock, Texas. To be eligible to play, each state can nominate one talented young female chess player 18-years-old or younger. Winning the Susan Polgar National Open for Girls or the Susan Polgar World Open for Girls also qualifies one to compete at SPNI. The defending champion and current members of the Susan Polgar All-Star Chess Team also receive invitations. Thousands of girls compete annually in a variety of events to gain eligibility. This is the second year that Texas Tech University will host this prestigious event, and it has an agreement with the USCF to do so until 2017. Thanks to the generous sponsorship from the TTU’s Provost’s office, each qualified player receives free accommodation on TTU’s campus at Gordon Hall, as well as three free meals a day on campus at the “Fresh Plate” for the duration of the six-day event. In addition, TTU will award a four-year academic scholarship each year to the highest-finishing player who has not graduated from high school by August of the year of the tournament. A record fifty-two players from across the country participated in the main event in 2008. The winner of the 2008 SPNI was Courtney Jamison of Texas. This year, the record will be broken as sixty young and talented young female players have already confirmed their participation. Further information is contained in the rest of the press release.

Another Female Sacrifice Found in Peru

Remains of sacrificed woman found in indigenous citadel in Peru Posted July 14, 2009 From Lima - Archeologists in northern Peru have found the remains of a woman who was apparently killed in a 15th-century sacrifice to calm the wrath of nature. The find was made in Chan Chan, the oldest mud citadel in the Americas, archaeologist Raul Sosaya said Tuesday. The expert said the skeleton corresponded to a woman who was 1.55 metres tall and aged about 17. She died around the year 1460 and belonged to the Chimu culture. Archaeologists found the body as they were working on the restoration of the outer walls of Chan Chan, around 600 kilometres north of Lima. Sosaya said that one of the woman's feet had been amputated before she was hanged and her body thrown out near a wall. The gestures on her face suggest that she screamed before she died, and archaeologists think that she was sacrificed. From what researchers know of the Chimu culture, the amputation of a foot was meant to prevent the sacrificed person from leaving the site in later lives. "The ancient Chimus conjured themselves to ask that the rain stop. Today we have the evidence of a sacrifice that sought that climate phenomena did not destroy the monument," said Cristobal Campana, the head of the team of archaeologists. About 40 per cent of the infrastructure of the Chan Chan site turned to mud in 1982-1983, due to rains from the climate phenomenon known as El Nino. Copyright, respective author or news agency
How closely connected are the Chimu to the Inca? Are they not connected at all? Was there cross-cultural contact between Chimu and Inca and if so, when did it start and for how long did it continue? Can any comparisons be made between this Chimu sacrifice and the sacrifice of the 33 people, who were mostly female and mostly children and teenagers, who were sacrificed by the Inca that I have posted about previously? article: One 16-17 year old female

What Conspiracy Theory Do YOU Believe In...

This is a popular conspiracy! Personally, I don't care if "Man" landed on the Moon or not. For the record, what I remember is spending the evening while I was babysitting for my Aunt Dolly with my high-school sweetheart. We watched the first step of man on the moon on television together and I believe Walter Kronkite was there, leading us every step of the way, and also acting as a strict chaperone. I don't believe it was faked - there was no need to fake it then, and no need to fake anything now (not that they could get away with it now, anyway). Article is from The New York Times Vocal Minority Insists It Was All Smoke and Mirrors By JOHN SCHWARTZ Published: July 13, 2009 They walk among us, seemingly little different from you or me. Most of the time, you would never know of their true nature — except that occasionally, they feel compelled to speak up. Take an example from Lens, this newspaper’s photography blog. A recent feature, “Dateline: Space,” displayed stunning NASA photographs, including the iconic photo of Buzz Aldrin standing on the lunar surface. The second comment on the feature stated flatly, “Man never got to the moon.” The author of the post, Nicolas Marino, went on to say, “I think media should stop publicizing something that was a complete sham once and for all and start documenting how they lied blatantly to the whole world.” Forty years after men first touched the lifeless dirt of the Moon — and they did. Really. Honest. — polling consistently suggests that some 6 percent of Americans believe the landings were faked and could not have happened. The series of landings, one of the greatest gambles of the human race, was an elaborate hoax developed to raise national pride, many among them insist. They examine photos from the missions for signs of studio fakery, and claim to be able to tell that the American flag was waving in what was supposed to be the vacuum of space. They overstate the health risks of traveling through the radiation belts that girdle our planet; they understate the technological prowess of the American space program; and they cry murder behind every death in the program, linking them to an overall conspiracy. And while there is no credible evidence to support such views, and the sheer unlikelihood of being able to pull off such an immense plot and keep it secret for four decades staggers the imagination, the deniers continue to amass accusations to this day. They are bolstered by films like a documentary shown on Fox television in 2001 and “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Moon” by Bart Sibrel, a filmmaker in Nashville. “There are smart, normal people who buy into these conspiracy theories,” said Philip Plait, an astronomer and author who counters the conspiracy theorists point by point and at excruciating length at his “Bad Astronomy” Web site. He is one of many people who have joined the fight to affirm that It Happened. A group effort, at, debunks with gusto; its main author, Jay Windley, named the site for the Moon base in Arthur C. Clarke’s classic science fiction novel, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Even though the so-called evidence from the conspiracists can clearly be proved wrong, Mr. Plait said, understanding the proof can require a working knowledge of history and photography and of science and its methodology. “You’ve got to do the work; you’ve got to put the elbow grease to it,” he said, “and most people don’t do the work. So these things get traction.” Mr. Marino, the author of the post on the Lens blog, is a 31-year-old architect born in Argentina. In an e-mail interview, he said that the political corruption during the years of dictatorship in his country shaped his thinking: “I started to realize how political corruption operates and how it is the interests of a few in power that really governs our world.” As he traveled the world — he now lives and works in China — he picked up books contending that the landings were faked and saw documentaries including Mr. Sibrel’s, he said, which paints a dark portrait of political manipulation during the Nixon administration and somehow ties in the Vietnam War, the Titanic and the Tower of Babel before even getting to the supposed photographic evidence of lunar deception. Mr. Sibrel, who sells his films online, has hounded Apollo astronauts with a Bible, insisting that they swear on camera they had walked on the Moon. He so annoyed Buzz Aldrin in 2002 — ambushing him with his Bible and calling him “a coward, and a liar, and a thief” — that Mr. Aldrin punched Mr. Sibrel in the face. Law enforcement officials refused to file charges against Mr. Aldrin, the second man on the Moon. In an interview, Mr. Sibrel said that his efforts to prove that men never walked on the Moon has cost him dearly. “I have suffered only persecution and financial loss,” he said. “I’ve lost visitation with my son. I’ve been expelled from churches. All because I believe the Moon landings are fraudulent.” Ted Goertzel, a professor of sociology at Rutgers University who has studied conspiracy theorists, said “there’s a similar kind of logic behind all of these groups, I think.” For the most part, he explained, “They don’t undertake to prove that their view is true” so much as to “find flaws in what the other side is saying.” And so, he said, argument is a matter of accumulation instead of persuasion. “They feel if they’ve got more facts than the other side, that proves they’re right.” Mark Fenster, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law who has written extensively on conspiracy theories, said he sees similarities between people who argue that the Moon landings never happened and those who insist that the 9/11 attacks were planned by the government and that President Obama’s birth certificate is fake: at the core, he said, is a polarization so profound that people end up with an unshakable belief that those in power “simply can’t be trusted.” The emergence of the Internet as a communications medium, he noted, makes it possible for once-scattered believers to find one another. “It allows the theory to continue to exist, to continue to be available — it’s not just some old dusty books on the half-price shelf.” Adam Savage, the co-star of the television show “MythBusters,” spent an episode last year taking apart Moon hoax theories bit by bit, entertainingly and convincingly. The theorists, he noted, never give up. “They’ll say you have to keep an open mind,” he said, “but they reject every single piece of evidence that doesn’t adhere to their thesis.” For those who actually went — and have I mentioned that we did land astronauts on the Moon? Six times? — the conspiracy theories are simply galling. Harrison Schmitt, the pilot of the lunar lander during the last Apollo mission and later a United States senator, said in an interview that the poor state of the nation’s schools has had predictable results. “If people decide they’re going to deny the facts of history and the facts of science and technology, there’s not much you can do with them,” he said. “For most of them, I just feel sorry that we failed in their education.” An earlier version of this article misstated who was in a Moon photograph on the Lens blog.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Follow-Up on Those 33 Mummies Found in Peru

We already knew this, but this article gives more specifics about the 33 mummies, the majority of which were young females, who were sacrificed. Peru mummies 'were human sacrifices' 13 July 2009 02:10:00 PM Source: AP/SBS Utah University professor Haagen Klaus is an expert in bio-archaeology and has been analysing and examining the human remains found in 2007 at the Chotuna Huaca, a site located north east of Chiclayo. "(The) majority of them were sacrificed using a very sharp bladed instrument, probably a copper or bronze tummy knife. And for the majority there are a several combinations, complex set of variations on cutting of the throat, " Mr Klaus said. Sacrifices were made "to make sure that there would still be rain and agricultural fertility", Klaus explained. What made the discovery so unusual in the eyes of the experts was that most of the mummies were females. "The blood sacrifice of a large group of women is something that is very, very unusual, it is the first time we have ever seen this", Mr Klaus said. In fact, 30 of the 33 bodies were female and according to Klaus they were all very young when they were sacrificed. The majority hadn't reached 15-years-old and some of the mummies were children no older than nine. Professor Klaus explained that in Andean society children weren't considered human beings. "Children are not human beings because human life comes from mountains. And when a child is born, a child is likened to a wild uncontrollable mountain spirit," Klaus said. [If this is true, when did a "child" become an "adult" in this culture? One of the sacrificed victims was pregnant, according to an earlier report. Isn't that evidence of being an "adult?"] In an excellent state of conservation, many still with their hair and teeth intact, the mummies have provided endless study material for Klaus. He was able to extract DNA, learn about the illnesses they had, their diets, their ages, causes of death and even possible kinships among the mummies.

Time Team America to Investigate the Topper Site

A PBS special will debut on July 15, 2009, featuring the Time Team America investigating the Topper Site in South Carolina, including the controversial assertions by its excavators that their findings show man may have been here as early as 50,000 years ago. Here is information from About Archaeology. Here is the PBS website on the special - preview video included and local listings.

8,000 Year Old Dwelling Discovered on Isle of Man

Great Britain continues to yield pristine ruins: Prehistoric dwelling unearthed at Isle of Man Airport Published Date: 13 July 2009 By ADRIAN DARBYSHIRE A PREHISTORIC dwelling – 3,000 years older than Stonehenge – has been unearthed during construction of the runway extension at Isle of Man Airport. Dating back an astonishing 8,000 years to the time when the first human settlers returned to the Isle of Man after the end of the Ice Age, it is probably the oldest dwelling ever found in the Island. Featuring the foundations of a strongly-built shelter, filled and surrounded by thousands of pieces of worked flint, the charred remains of wood, and hundreds of hazelnut shells, the major archaeological find is certain to make headlines around the world. It has been unearthed as fieldwork at Ronaldsway nears completion, with diggers due to finish excavating in the middle of ths month and the project on schedule to be completed by the end of the year. The site has already attracted interest from a BBC team filming the next series of Coast, and has recently been visited by Professor of Archaeology Peter Woodman, who excavated a similar, but less well-preserved, site eroding out of the cliffs just over 100 metres away in the 1980s. Manx National Heritage field archaeologist Andrew Johnson said: 'Archaeologists hesitate to call a structure of this kind a "house", because the received wisdom is that 8,000 years ago people constantly moved through the landscape as nomads, gathering their food from the land, rather than staying put and farming and harvesting it. 'But this building was constructed from substantial pieces of timber, and had a hearth for cooking and warmth. 'Its occupants lived here often, or long enough to leave behind over 12,000 pieces of worked flint together with the tools needed to flake them, and food debris in the form of hundreds of hazelnut shells.' The 8,000-year-old dwelling was found at the east end of the airport where a new taxiway extension is being built. Radiocarbon dates have not yet been obtained but archaeologists confirm that it is 'probably' the oldest dwelling yet found on the Isle of Man. So far, they have made their preliminary interpretations based on their observations in the field. Much painstaking study and analysis will follow. Since comparatively few materials can survive in the ground for such a long period – unburnt wood, horn, bone, leather etc will have long since rotted away – it will be important to get maximum information from those remains which have been found. The excavation has been undertaken by Oxford Archaeology North and monitored on behalf of the airport by Manx National Heritage. Current archaeological works originally began in May last year following the discovery of a 3,000-year-old Bronze Age village, three burials and numerous artefacts, including thousands of pieces of pottery and worked flint.

Southwest Chess Club: Club Championship

There's still time to play in this year's SWCC Club Championship - here's the latest from Allen Becker: Chessplayers, Our club championship started last week. We already have 40 players battling it out. It's not too late to join the tournament, since we are allowing up to two 1/2-Point Byes during the 6-round event. You can start play in Round 2 this week with a 1/2-Point Bye for Round 1. However, if you wish to join the tournament for Round 2, I must hear from you today, or Tuesday at the latest. Meanwhile, updated pairings can be found on our blog. Anyone can make comments on the blog, and we will update the blog regularly with news, standings, pairings, etc. Pairings are always tentative, so check the blog for any pairings updates. We resume our Summer Lecture Series this Thursday at 6:00 pm. We do these lectures for the chess community, especially the younger chess players, and a lot of work goes into our lectures, so please try to attend if at all possible. Allen Becker will give a lecture this Thursday. Next week, Sheldon Gelbart will lecture. Other lecturers lined up after that include Ray Hayes and John Veech. Please let me know if you'd like to give a lecture, or suggest a topic. Thanks! Here are the standings in the Club Championship so far: Southwest Chess Club Championship -- Cross Table No. Name St Rate 1 Score 1. Hayes, Raymond C (1).......... WI 2100 W27 1.0 2. Becker, John R (2)............ WI 2050 W28 1.0 3. Veech, John (3)............... WI 2038 W29 1.0 4. Becker, Allen J (4)........... WI 2010 W26 1.0 5. Cirillo, Corrado (7).......... WI 1826 W30 1.0 6. Grochowski, Andrew (8)........ WI 1788 W31 1.0 7. Schneider, Thomas (9)......... WI 1782 W32 1.0 8. Pokorski, Jeffrey (10)........ WI 1733 W33 1.0 9. Grochowski, Robin (11)........ WI 1680 W34 1.0 10. Sagunsky, David L (12)........ WI 1654 W35 1.0 11. Fogec, Thomas G (14).......... WI 1623 W36 1.0 12. Zhou, Jerry Zhexua (15)....... WI 1566 W37 1.0 13. Hildeman, Jonathan (17)....... WI 1485 W38 1.0 14. Demler, John A (18)........... WI 1483 W40 1.0 15. Seghers, Evan Char (19)....... WI 1404 W39 1.0 16. Neumann, Curt E (25).......... WI 1188 W25 1.0 17. Coons, James J (6)............ WI 1843 D22 0.5 18. Mhaskar, Rohan (13)........... WI 1653 -H- 0.5 19. Joachim, Peter Jam (21)....... WI 1398 D20 0.5 20. Huang, Joanna (20)............ WI 1398 D19 0.5 21. Luebbe, Justin Jos (26)....... WI 1140 -H- 0.5 22. Seghers, Reid Nath (27)....... WI 1099 D17 0.5 23. Seghers, Mark Staf (28)....... WI 1000 -H- 0.5 24. Glumm, Jacob Willi (32)....... WI 724 -H- 0.5 25. Cardenas, David R (5)......... WI 1914 L16 0.0 26. Penkwitz, Robert (16)......... WI 1486 L4 0.0 27. Gaddameedi, Vilas (22)....... WI 1377 L1 0.0 28. Mohammed, Sarfaraz (23)....... WI 1319 L2 0.0 29. Huang, Alena (24)............. WI 1271 L3 0.0 30. Sachdev, Rishi (29)........... WI 918 L5 0.0 31. Adavi, Pranav (30)............ WI 765 L6 0.0 32. Khunger, Shagun (31).......... WI 740 L7 0.0 33. Bepar, Naisha (33)............ WI 718 L8 0.0 34. Schneider, Claudia (34)...... WI 699 L9 0.0 35. Khunger, Simran (35).......... WI 696 L10 0.0 36. Huang, Sabrina (36)........... WI 670 L11 0.0 37. Lippert, Charles D (37)....... WI 569 L12 0.0 38. Sachdev, Ravina (38).......... WI 101 L13 0.0 39. Sachdev, Raman (40)........... WI nnnn L15 0.0 40. Jester, James W (39).......... WI nnnn L14 0.0

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Squirrel with a Problem

From (an NBC affiliate in Colorado) (GREENVILLE, S.C. - We share our neighborhoods and parks with a lot of critters and sometimes those two worlds collide - literally for this little guy. A squirrel somehow got a yogurt container stuck on its head at a local rose garden. A news photographer captured the strange scene while he working on a story on the campus of Furman University in South Carolina. The squirrel leapt and flailed blindly from bush to bush. After shooting the video, the photgrapher helped the squirrel by removing the container off its head. (Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved)

Iran Discovers Large Paleolithic Site

Since again the location was clearly indicated in this press report, thank the Goddess this is "merely" a Paleolithic site, with no gold, no pottery, no ancient gameboards - will the looters flock there? Let's hope not. One could suspect, since this is an official outlet of the Islamist government of Iran, that the government publishes such details in the hopes that looters WILL invade valuable archaeological sites and destroy them - thereby wiping out the history of the area prior to the rise of Islam. Very very sad. Please note, where that curved indentation along the northern border of the country lies the Caspian Sea. Iran's largest Paleolithic site found in Semnan Sat, 11 Jul 2009 17:07:53 GMT Archeologists have found Iran's largest Paleolithic area in the Mirk hill, located in the southern part of the city of Semnan. Dating back to the middle-Paleolithic era, the 4-hectare area has yielded numerous ancient objects belonging to Neanderthals. “Studies show that Paleolithic people had been living in this region between 40,000 to 200,000 years ago,” said head of the archeology team Hamed Vahdatinasab. “The area is very important in the sense that it is the largest of its kind in Iran and the Middle East and houses thousands of ancient stone tools,” he added. Vahdatinasab also said that the source of stone for the inhabitants was found 16-kilometers from the site in the hillsides looking onto Semnan. The recent finds were discovered during archeological studies in the natural hills of Delazeyan and Mirk, which were first excavated around 1984. TE/HGH

Ancient Beauty Cream Formula Revealed

This story shows me that some things haven't changed very much in 2200 years! This sounds something like the classic Pond's cold cream. Story from MSNBC online: 2,000-year-old cream shows aristocrat’s taste Tuscan discovery was found almost intact in a cosmetics case By Rossella Lorenzi updated 6:15 p.m. CT, Fri., July 10, 2009 Italian archaeologists have discovered lotion that is over 2,000 years old, left almost intact in the cosmetic case of an aristocratic Etruscan woman. The discovery, which occurred four years ago in a necropolis near the Tuscan town of Chiusi, has just been made public, following chemical analysis which identified the original compounds of the ancient ointment. The team reports their findings in the July issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. Dating to the second half of the second century B.C., the intact tomb was found sealed by a large terracotta tile. The site featured a red-purple painted inscription with the name of the deceased: Thana Presnti Plecunia Umranalisa. "From the formula of the name, we learn that Thana Plecunia was the daughter of a lady named Umranei, a member of one of the most important aristocratic families of Chiusi," the researchers wrote. Indeed, the wide rectangular niche tomb certainly represents the noble origins of the deceased. The ashes of Thana rested in a small travertine urn, decorated with luxuriant foliate elements and the head of a female goddess, most likely the Etruscan Earth goddess Cel Ati. Nearby, the archaeologists found a cosmetic case, richly decorated with bone, ivory, tin and bronze elements. The feet of the box featured bone carved in the shape of Sirens. The case was filled with precious personal objects: a couple of bronze finger rings, a pair of tweezers, two combs and an alabaster unguentarium vessel — a vase-shaped jar — of Egyptian origins. "The entire content of the cosmetic case was found under a clay layer which deposited throughout time. This made it possible for the ointment to survive almost intact despite (the fact that) the vessel had no cap," Erika Ribechini, a researcher at the department of chemistry and industrial chemistry of Pisa University, told Discovery News. Solid, homogeneous and pale yellow, the ointment revealed fatty acids in high abundance. "This is almost unique in archaeology. Even though more than 2,000 years have passed, the oxidation of the organic material has not yet been completed. This is most likely due to the sealing of the alabaster unguentarium by the clayish earth, which prevented contact with oxygen," Ribechini said. After analyzing the material, the researchers established that the contents of the vessel consisted of a mixture of substances of lipids and resins. "The natural resins were the pine resin, exudated from Pinaceae, and the mastic resin, from Anacardiaceae trees. The lipid was a vegetable oil, most likely moringa oil, which was used by the Egyptians and Greeks to produce ointments and perfumes," Ribechini said. Also called myrobalan oil, moringa oil was mentioned by Roman scholar Pliny the Elder (23 A.D. - 79 A.D.) in his celebrated Natural History as one of the ingredients in the recipe of a "regal perfume" for the king of Parthes. Since moringa trees were not found in Italy — they are native to Sudan and Egypt — and given the Egyptian origins of the alabaster unguentarium, the researchers concluded that the ointment was imported to Etruria.

Treasure Trove in Turkey!

From Jewelry of the Parion Princess unearthed July 12, 2009 ÇANAKKALE - Archaeologists in the Turkish Aegean town of Çanakkale are celebrating the new discovery of a 2,200-year-old sarcophagus in the ancient city of Parion, one of the most important centers of the Helenistic era. Golden earrings, rings and crown pieces have been found in the sarcophagus, which is believed to have belonged to a princess. An archeological team headed by Prof. Cevat Başaran unearthed the sarcophagus three days ago during excavations conducted in the village of Kemer near Biga, northeast of Çanakkale. "We have discovered an important finding at the necropolis, which is the cemetery of the ancient city," Başaran said. "This grave is most likely 2,200 years old. The golden jewelry shows this is the grave of a rich woman. We may call her the ’Princess of Parion.’" Başaran pointed out that the sarcophagus contained a golden crown adorned with many gems, two golden earrings bearing the symbol of Eros and two golden rings. One of the rings was still on the finger bone of the skeleton, the professor added, noting that most of the bones were ruined due to moisture caused by the grave’s proximity to the sea. Approximately 200 graves have been excavated at the ancient city of Parion. Other unearthed findings include "gifts for the dead," such as teardrop bottles, oil lamps and toys.Based on the findings, Başaran said he believes Parion was a glorious city ruled by the rich elite of the Hellenistic age. Excavations have been going on there for the past four years and have also unearthed jewelry believed to belong to the king and queen.

Rout and Mohanty in Tournament

I'm not sure what tournament this is talking about - I couldn't find anything on the FIDE calendar. Padmini, Kiran in International Open Chess Tournament Sunday, July 12, 2009 Bhubaneshwar: The state women international master (WIM) Padmini Rout and Kiran Manisha Mohanty are among the Indian Junior team comprising of six boys and six girls playing in 3rd International Open Chess Tournament that began at Holland as part of the All India Chess Federation effort to give International exposure to Indians in various international events. Both the Orissa girls shared the top position with other six players, who scored one point each by the end of first round.
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