Friday, May 6, 2011

2011 European Individiual Women's Chess Championship

After Turkey punked out and in a snit fit decided it was not, after all, going to host the 2011 European Individual Women's Chess Championship that it had previously contractually committed to host, I didn't know what the heck was going to happen, but assumed the worst that the event would just be cancelled.  After all, who gives a flying-f about "women's chess" when it comes right down to it, heh?  Just some of us women. 

But lo and behold, through who knows what kind of machinations and behind-the-scenes-dealing dos, the event is being hosted in Tbilisi, Georgia, beginning May 7, 2011.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Georgia has a long, proud tradition of producing incredibly strong chess players (male and female).  You can probably find stories online about how, "back in the day" every Georgian woman included a chessboard and pieces in her heritage chess (hope chess - oops - chest).  I don't know if young ladies still make heritage or hope chests for themselves.  I created one the year I turned 16 and spent a lot of my hard-earned minimum wage money to buy a package deal.  How well I remember going to the Marine Bank on 16th and Greenfield with my mom to open my very first savings account! Goddess, even then I was responsible.  I was so fricking boring. 

Those package deals used to be offered by door-to-door salesmen who represented specific products but had cross-selling deals with other producers of goods.  Yeah, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1966 we weren't very much touched by "hippies," and women's liberation wouldn't come to life until the early 1970s, after I was already out of high school and working my butt off full-time.  I did NOT marry my high school sweetheart, I was intent on becoming a Della Street clone (although we didn't know anything about "clones" back then), but let me tell you, perhaps 90% of the girls I graduated with did marry within a year or two of graduating high school - including all three of my younger sisters.  Wow - things are certainly different now.

My hope chess - oops - chest - is cedar lined (it still gives off a pleasant cedar scent to this day and I store linens in it).  It's taken a few knocks through the years and the lid is a mess, unfortunately, thanks to a major SCRATCH and GOUGE that my brother-in-law Fred somehow managed to do during my last move - in 1990 - from an apartment into this very house.  Ah well.  He has a good heart.  The cedar chest is tucked away inside the walk-in closet in the master bedroom, so no one sees the deformed lid except me. It is made mostly of wood but - as a product of  "advanced science" in the '60's it has plastic accents glued on to make three sort of mini "panels" that are supposed, I think, to look "inset" across the front facade.  It was funky even in 1966, LOL!  But hey - it was a LANE CEDAR CHEST.  LANE was the best of the best - the premier line in cedar chests. If a girl did not have a LANE CEDAR CHEST she was - well...

But, time marches on for LANE CEDAR CHESTS and me too.  I'm turning 60 this year and let me tell you frankly darlings, it SUCKS.  Whatever mojo the LANE CEDAR CHEST was supposed to produce did NOT work for me, that's for sure, because I haven't married.  Glad I didn't, frankly!  No kids either. Well, I am  Old School, like I said.

My cedar chest purchase was actually a front for buying West Bend  three-ply aluminum cookware, which I proudly use to this very day -- yeah, I broken open the hopeless chess in 1970 when I moved to my very first apartment with two other young ladies and we needed pots and pans! 

I guess I broke the LANE CEDAR CHEST mojo.  Instead, I went to night school and summer school while working full-time and got myself educated, got a degree, and then another degree, made a little money, built a custom-made home, traveled/travel to some interesting places, made life-long friends all over the world and generally have had a rip-roaring good time, all the while continuing to educate myself through extensive reading and research because - ah ha! - I discovered a passion for chess when I was 48 years old.  The rest, as they say, is herstory. 

But what, you say, does any of this trip down Jan's Memory Lane have to do with the European Individual Women's Chess Championship?  Good question. Wish I had a good answer. How about this: There is no chess unless there are players, and there are no players unless there are individuals who have come, in whatever way, to want to, and then actually do, play the game.  Chess has a mojo of its own, just like the LANE CEDAR CHEST mythos with which I grew up. 

As in prior European Individual Women's Chess Championships, once again in 2011 some of the best chessplayers in the world, who happen to be female, will meet in Tbilisi and fight it out over the chessboards for the title and good prize money.  I just love this event!

Because I'm lazy this evening here is a link to some of the vital information you need to know about this Championship from GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's chess blog.  Kosteniuk is competing for the tihe title and you can read about her quest for the title.

Official site for 2011 European Individual Women's Chess Championship.

Complete players' list - it's awesome!  In truth, I couldn't pick a suitable cut-off point for publishing a "Top Players List" here because I kept seeing another favorite player who might have a chance, and then another, and another.  Here are the Top Ten - and no way am I predicting at this point that the winner of this year's Championship will be one of them:

No. Name FideID FED Rtg
1 IM Kosintseva Nadezhda 4134974 RUS 2567
2 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 4133471 RUS 2559
3 GM Dzagnidze Nana 13601903 GEO 2557
4 IM Muzychuk Anna 14111330 SLO 2537
5 GM Lahno Kateryna 14109336 UKR 2530
6 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 4128125 RUS 2522
7 GM Danielian Elina 13300210 ARM 2506
8 GM Stefanova Antoaneta 2902257 BUL 2506
9 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 12801259 LTU 2504
10 IM Muzychuk Mariya 14114550 UKR 2473

Creditable goals for these chessplayers is a march toward 2600 ELO.  Time to do it, ladies.  I think each and every one of you has the talent. The question is - can you become as obsessive about chess as the top level male players are today?  And what would the cost be to do so - and I'm not talking about $$$. 

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