Saturday, August 6, 2011

Chess Femme News!

Hola darlings!  It's a lovely day here - at least, when out of the Sun, which is extremely intense; or maybe my skin has just gotten more sensitive and so it only feels more intense.  Anyway, the dew point has dropped below 70 (imagine that!) and it's the shady part of the afternoon in the backyard, I'm on the deck with the laptop with the sprinkler going and enjoying the moment.  I had my walk earlier in the day, I've already posted several items here (earlier), I've been reading with my feet up, and best of all, I'm making a cheeseburger casserole tonight for supper, yum!
I should have cut the grass today - I keep telling myself that as I sit here, lounging.  Tomorrow may be stormy.  Oh well.  The cicadas are singing their seductive buzzy song in the trees, the squirrels are lazing about, froggy-legged, on the top of the retaining wall, the fledgling cardinals are frolicking about in one of the Newport plum trees taking a "bath" amongst the wet leaves as the sprinkler passes back and forth, and all is well in my little bit of world.

2011 U.S. Open - Orlando, Florida
The U.S. Open concludes tomorrow.  Nakamura, obviously pissed off with his piss-poor performance in Dortmond, has charged to the front of the Open with, according to The Week in Chess, two more rounds to go.  The Open field is huge - 367 players.  I've scrolled through the list quickly a couple of times and only found a few chess femmes in the top third of the standings -- I've included the top players after R7 for comparison:

No. Ttl Name                         St  Rate Pts Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 Rnd7 Rnd8 Rnd9
  1 GM  Nakamura, Hikaru             MO  2863 6.0 W238 W118 D158 W 73 W 17 W  5 D  7 A6   ---
  2 GM  Ramirez, Alejandro           TX  2660 6.0 W182 W110 W 42 W 32 W 30 D  7 D  8 A5   ---
  3 GM  Lenderman, Aleksandr         NY  2602 6.0 W144 W116 W 49 D 19 D 34 W 35 W 29 A7   ---
  4 GM  Mitkov, Nikola               IL  2594 6.0 W248 W125 W 50  -H-  -H- W 76 W 33 A8   ---
  5 GM  Goldin, Alexander            KY  2589 6.0 W249 W143 W 72 W 10 W 11 L  1 W 34 A2   ---
  6 GM  Sundararajan, Kidambi        IND 2556 6.0 W178 W111 W 44 W 20 D 31 D 27 W 41 A1   ---
  7 IM  Esserman, Marc R             MA  2554 6.0 W186 W 84 W 54 W 35 W  9 D  2 D  1 A3   ---
  8 GM  Zapata, Alonso               COL 2511 6.0 W179 W 25 W 97 D 23 W 36 W 31 D  2 A4   -H-

54 WIM Zepeda, Lorena Marisela      ESA 2194 5.0 W239 W174 L  7 W128 W184 L 46 W126 A41  ---
65 FM  Melekhina, Alisa             PA  2352 4.5 W276 W164 W 59 L 26 W 58 L 16 D 76  --- --- 90     Myers, Dominique             NC  1995 4.5 W318 L 41 W231 W190 D 55 L 44 W201 A77  ---
116     Regam, Jessica               PA  2076 4.0 W311 L  3 W151 L 68 W185 L 48 W231 A143 ---

Here are the final standings from the U.S. Girls Junior Open that was held concurrently:
No. Name                       St  Rate Pts TBrk1 TBrk2 Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 
  1 Gologorsky, Rachel         FL  1978 5.0  18.5  21.0 W 10 W  6 D  9 W  3 D  2 W4 
  2 Andreeva, Elena            RUS 2068 4.5  20.0  22.5 W  7 W  5 W  4 W  9 D  1 L3 
  3 Regam, Jessica             PA  2076 4.0  19.0  21.5 W  8 L  9 W  7 L  1 W  6 W2 
  4 Wu, Katherine              VA  1786 4.0  18.0  19.0 W 15 W 11 L  2 W  5 W  9 L1 
  5 Tsai, Amy                  FL  1687 4.0  16.0  18.0 W 14 L  2 W 10 L  4 W 11 W7 
  6 Vazquez Maccarini, Danitza PR  1727 3.5  16.5  18.5 W 12 L  1 D  8 W 11 L  3 W10 
  7 Zhao, Audrey Jin N         CA  1583 3.0  13.0  18.5 L  2 W 15 L  3 W 12 W  8 L5 
  8 Chen, Kelly                AL  1616 3.0  11.5  17.5 L  3 W 13 D  6 D 10 L  7 W9 
  9 Wiener, Alexandra          CT  1863 2.5  17.5  22.5 W 13 W  3 D  1 L  2 L  4 L8 
 10 Avirneni, Saithanu         GA  1285 2.5  13.5  18.5 L  1 W 12 L  5 D  8 W 15 L6 
 11 Dasari, Srihitha           GA   844 2.5  11.5  15.5  -B- L  4 W 14 L  6 L  5 D12 
 12 Dasari, Samhitha           GA  1001 2.5   9.5  13.0 L  6 L 10  -B- L  7 W 13 D11 
 13 Sabatka, Brittney          OK  1185 2.5   7.5  10.5 L  9 L  8 D 15 W 14 L 12 -B- 
 14 Nayberg, Simona            CA   927 2.5   5.0   9.0 L  5  -H- L 11 L 13  -B- W15 
 15 Ma, Jenny                  NH  1168 1.5   9.5  13.5 L  4 L  7 D 13  -B- L 10 L14 

British Chess Championships 2011
The 98th Championships concluded earlier today (August 6) and GM Michael Adams claimed the title again, but not without stiff competition from GM Nigel Short and a mini-play-off for tie-break!  Well done!  He's a favorite player.  Not to be denied, IM Jovanka Houska, won the British Womens Champion 2011, for her 4th title in a row, scoring 7/11 (+5,=4,-2). She also becomes English Womens Champion 2011.

Politiken Cup 2011
Oh for Goddess sake!  IM Anna Zatonskih had to play her husband, GM Daniel Friedman!  Shouldn't there be some kind of rule about this?  Yesterday the Kosintseva sisters played each other all the way to a rip-roaring (not) short draw in the Women's Grand Prix Rostov. 

8.23.USA WGM Anna Zatonskih½-½4.Tyskland GM Daniel Fridman

More later.  Right now I can't get the tables to cooperate with me and I'm running low on battery (already).  Anna is in 27th place with 6.5; Friedman is in 17th place also with 6.5.

From Susan Polgar's chess news blog:

Saturday, August 06, 2011
Memorial of Krystyna Holuj-Radzikowska Women's Tournament

USCF Names St. Louis, Missouri Chess City of the Year

Meet us in St. Louis September 9 - 11, 2011!  Chess Collectors International continental meeting at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, Grand Opening of the relocated World Chess Hall of Fame and Museum, and the Kings v. Queens Chess Tournament featuring Judit Polgar, Kateryna Lahno, Hikaru Nakamura and more chess starts at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis - all at the same time!!!

From the (blogs)

Checkmate: St. Louis Named "Chess City of the Year"
By Kelsey Whipple
Fri., Aug. 5 2011 at 1:20 PM

If you read our recent feature story on the St. Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center and the country's number one player, you likely won't be surprised to hear the latest accolade the club has earned for its home city. In the years since its 2008 opening, the Central West End chess hangout has been named "Chess Club of the Year," its executive director, Tony Rich, has been named "Organizer of the Year," and its star player, Hikaru Nakamura, has fallen comfortably into a role as the top player in the country.

Tomorrow, however, St. Louis will be honored by the United States Chess Federation as the Chess City of the Year. We think this might mean checkmate.

To support the club and the city, Mayor Francis Slay has traveled to Orlando, where he will accept the award at the US Open Championship tomorrow. This is not St. Louis' first time to grab the title: The city was also named Chess Club of the Year in 2009, only one year after its opening.

"Being named Chess City of the Year is a great thing for St. Louis," Slay tells Daily RFT. "St. Louis is attracting and producing current and future chess champs, and I hope to soon celebrate a St. Louisian winning the World Chess Championships."

Can This Woman Make A Difference?

From The

Meet the woman who could hold the key to peace in Afghanistan

Published Date: 06 August 2011
By Jerome Starkey
in Kabul
Homa Sultani
BLINDFOLDED and bundled into an stranger's car, Afghanistan's most unlikely peace negotiator was driven across Helmand for more than two hours, under the cover of darkness, for a clandestine meeting with the Taleban's supreme leader.

In a mud-brick farmhouse, in an unknown village, Homa Sultani said she spent 45 minutes talking with Mullah Mohammad Omar, in the dead of night.

Then, in front of the self-styled Emir and a dozen of his top lieutenants, she unwrapped her headscarf and threw it on the floor between them.
"I threw my shawl on the floor and said, 'As a woman, as a mother, I beseech you to end the war and make peace,'" she said.

According to Ms Sultani, Mullah Omar agreed. Now she claims to be the only person invested with authority to strike a peace deal.

That alleged encounter was more than a year ago, and when she called a press conference last month to announce her home-baked peace plan, colleagues denounced her as mad, local journalists ridiculed her story and President Hamid Karzai's office said they had many "doubts".

Yet it is a mark of how little is known about the current "talks about talks", allegedly ongoing in Qatar, Norway and Germany between warring sides, that there were almost as many diplomats taking notes at her press conference as journalists.

"I am not mad. I am not lying," she insisted when I visited her home in Kabul, last week. "If there is any proof, then I am ready to be hanged. But if the president doesn't want peace, then he should be hanged. If Nato doesn't want peace, General John Allen (the commander] should be hanged."

A former women's rights officer who worked at Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), Ms Sultani does not appear of unsound mind.

She hopped between Dari and English during our hour-long meeting, and said a senior official from the United Nations and a British political officer had visited her home to find out more about her proposals.

But there is little to prove the veracity of her extraordinary story. A letter, which she claims is from Mullah Omar, was inexplicably written in Dari, instead of the Taleban's native Pashtu.

It lacked the grandiose and often colourful letter heading often associated with Taleban stationery. Ms Sultani is a woman, and is also from Afghanistan's Hazara minority, who were persecuted by the overwhelmingly Pashtun Taleban.

She had originally claimed that Mullah Omar, the one-eyed Taleban leader, had been staying in her home. "When I said Mullah Omar was living in my home, it doesn't mean he is living here," she said by way of clarification. "It means my access to him is as easy as to my family. It means the house where he is living is like my family house."

Afghan officials and western diplomats are overwhelmingly sceptical.

Nader Naderi, an AIHRC commissioner, said Ms Sultani left the organisation in 2009 because her work wasn't up to standard and then entered politics. "She can't present any precise proof that (the meetings took place]," he said. "I don't know why she is making these claims. It looks strange to me."

Mullah Omar, usually thought to reside in Quetta in Pakistan, is in fact within 150 miles of Kabul, Ms Sultani insisted, where she visited him again as recently as last month. He's ready to announce a peace process as soon as President Karzai guarantees he won't be bombed, killed or whisked off to Guantanamo by the Americans.

Towards the end of our meeting, Ms Sultani walked into the adjacent room where Haji Abdul Basir was dozing.

A fellow MP, she said Mr Basir was present at both her meetings with Mullah Omar.

"Everyone knows everyone in Afghanistan," he said, explaining how he had made contact with the insurgents' high command.

"If the international community doesn't take this opportunity they will be trapped in this country and never escape." It is that lingering fear, perhaps, which has stopped diplomats ruling out the story completely.

2011 World Girls U-20 Chess Championship: Padmini Rout

From The Deccan Chronicle online

World junior chess: Rout holds top seed
August 6, 2011 By S. Sujatha DC chennai
Padmini Rout
India’s Padmini Rout caused a minor upset by holding top seed and WGM Paikidze Nazi of Georgia on day four of the SDAT-Ramco world junior chess championship at Vijay Park here on Friday.

The day also saw the emergence of Italy’s Axel Rombaldoni and Olga Girya (Russia) as sole leaders in the open and girls’ sections respectively with full four points.

In a sicilian king’s Indian attack game, Padmini launched her pawns towards the opponent’s king. When the Georgian managed to keep the king side closed, Padmini opened up her queen side and won a pawn to reach a minor pieces endgame. However, she missed an opportunity to trade her bad bishop, consequently was forced to share a point.

A Reminder That One Person Can Make A Difference!

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel online

Thorny issue isn't gardener's work in park
Laurel Walker
July 22, 2011

Mary Krauski is a guerrilla gardener, but her initial feelings of guilt for tampering with public property are behind her.

At first she would show up at her favorite park in the Town of Lisbon during odd hours - Sunday mornings, for instance - when she figured the town workers wouldn't see her. Then she'd get busy.

"I didn't want anyone to yell at me," she said.

Her crime?

As any gardener knows, when you see weeds after a recent rainfall, and the pulling is easy, you pull.

She returned often, pulling mounds of thistles and other weeds each time. Pretty soon, she was planting perennials and prairie plants, all the while looking over her shoulder for fear she'd get in trouble.

She started just for fun. Now, it's a commitment. Mary Krauski has adopted a spot in the Lisbon Community Park that's "hers."

And no one's yelling.

In fact, Lisbon parks director John Greiten is shouting for joy, wishing there were others like her.

"Mary's a godsend, I tell you," he said. "I can't say enough. The way staffing and budget cuts are, to have someone get that involved, it just helps tremendously."

On a sweltering morning this week, I met Mary at the 125-acre park at Lake Five and Oakwood Roads in Lisbon. We drove past manicured playgrounds, picnic shelters, acres of wild areas covered with prairie plants, and then we walked along a trail until we reached some raised, landscaped flower beds,

"This is my area," she said, pride in her voice.

For the third year, she's the self-designated caretaker who hauls her own tools, plants - many of them donated by others, sometimes a little mulch and, in hot spells like the one this week, buckets of water from a distant water supply in the park.

"This is the culprit," she said, a thin thistle in her gloved hand. After three years, she's still pulling them, but they're not nearly as difficult as that first batch.

In June 2009, Krauski was taking a birthday walk with a friend on a trail that passes the raised round flower bed, about 15 feet across. With the soil damp from rain, they both started pulling weeds. She worked on cleaning it up that first year but figured it would never look good because two other raised beds next to it were filled with thistles. So she started on those, too, pulling what she figures is thousands of thistles last year and this.

Not until her second year of guerrilla gardening did she meet Greiten, who's learned to trust her instincts.

She's met many other park users along the way - a bonus.

"People used to tell me, 'You're never going to be able to get that (bed of thistles) out.' " Now, they give her encouragement and compliments.

The beds - heavily mulched and looking spiffy when I saw them - have some lovely plants: blazing star, coneflower, wild geranium, coreopsis, Japanese anemone, and now in bloom, day lilies. In order to introduce a little color and happiness early in the growing season, she also planted 80 tulip and daffodil bulbs last fall, though the deer nipped at the tulips.

She looks around and sees small beds elsewhere in the park where others could make a difference - and no, she's not looking for help in "her" area.

"I think that when people see something like a park that has gone to ruin, they wonder, 'Why doesn't someone fix it?'" she said. "I used to think that, but now I see there's room for me to fix it ."

Greiten said the idea could catch on. One woman who home schools her children adopted a small waterfall area in the park and tends to that, using it for lessons.

It's the kind of thing people could do in any park that doesn't have the benefit of large supporting casts of "friends" - like "Friends of Retzer Nature Center." There is, I suppose, always the danger that some overly helpful soul will do more damage than good, but when in doubt, ask.

"It kind of gives people a sense of ownership," Greiten said.

Krauski, who isn't even a Lisbon resident, lives minutes away from the park, which includes part of the county's Bugline Recreation Trail.

"I love this park," said Krauski, an artist who uses the park for inspiration in her creative work as much as she uses the trails for exercise.

Mary Krauski and her husband, Bob, own Krauski Art Glass in Hartland, a studio that produces stained and etched glass art. Mary, who does much of the design work, said they recently finished a commission for the University of Wisconsin's Department of Forestry and Wildlife Ecology that was nature-focused.

Though she spends many hours a week gardening in the park, she still spends full time and then some on their art glass business.

"My real work is so picky and precise, and I'm always trying to please my clients," she said. "But this (gardening) is freeing." She can be spontaneous. She'll plant something that she came across on sale or that someone gave her.

She likes to think of her little section of the park as her personal art work. But in the business, she can usually visualize the end result and work toward it.

"I never get there with a garden," she said. "There's always more to do."

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 World Girls U-20 Chess Championship

Top 11 after R4:
Rk.NameFEDRtgIPts.TB1 TB2 TB3 Rpwwew-weKrtg+/-
1RUSWGMGirya OlgaRUS23714.0216822062292293943.120.88108.8
2GEOWGMPaikidze NaziGEO24163.522382303234825313.53.050.45156.8
3INDWGMPadmini RoutIND23483.522202292241625103.52.840.66159.9
4PERWGMCori T DeysiPER23763.521902234229324943.53.060.44104.4
5ROUWIMBulmaga IrinaROU22933.521832239237624763.52.760.741511.1
6KAZWIMNakhbayeva GuliskhanKAZ22223.521072146222023983.52.800.701510.5
7RUSWFMSemenova ElenaRUS21753.0212022242376225532.540.46156.9
8INDNandhidhaa PvIND21013.0211722902376220332.330.671510.1
9AZEWIMKazimova Narmin Nizami QiziAZE22923.0209821822371224133.06-0.0615-0.9
10UZBTokhirjanova HulkarUZB21193.0204821352371219332.590.41156.2
11INDChandika DivyasreeIND21233.0189919121922206633.22-0.2215-3.3

2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix: Rostov

Standings after R4.  Tomorrow is a rest day.  Seven more rounds to go.  Can anyone catch Hou Yifan?

111GMHou Yifan2575CHN*111147.0003335
210GMLahno Kateryna2536UKR*01½14.2502617
35IMMuzychuk Anna2538SLO01*½½24.0002524
49GMKosintseva Tatiana2557RUS½*½½½23.7502529
52GMKoneru Humpy2614IND0*1½½23.5002518
612WGMRuan Lufei2479CHN0*1½½23.2502522
76GMKosintseva Nadezhda2560RUS0½*½123.00½2510
7GMDanielian Elina2521ARM½0½*123.00½2506
94GMKosteniuk Alexandra2497RUS0½½*½3.0002461
101GMStefanova Antoaneta2524BUL½½½*02.7502434
113IMGalliamova Alisa2492RUS00½1*2.5002475
128IMKovalevskaya Ekaterina2427RUS½½00*12.0002332

Round 4 (August 5, 2011)
Hou, Yifan - Muzychuk, Anna1-0 47C89Ruy Lopez Marshall
Lahno, Kateryna - Kosintseva, Nadezhda1-0 94E06Catalan
Kosintseva, Tatiana - Danielian, Elina½-½ 58B12Caro Kann Advanced
Koneru, Humpy - Galliamova, Alisa½-½ 26D11Slav Defence
Ruan, Lufei - Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina½-½ 55B30Sicilian Rossolimo
Stefanova, Antoaneta - Kosteniuk, Alexandra½-½ 66E15Queens Indian

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Vanita Young Wins $40,000 Chess Scholarship to Texas Tech!

More news from the 2011 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational!

From (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Ronnie Polaneczky: Chess prowess earns Vanita Young 40G scholarship
July 30, 2011|By Ronnie Polaneczky, Daily News Columnist

Vanita Young earned a $40,000 scholarship to Texas Tech… (Vanita Young)

A TEXAS-SIZED CHEER to chess whiz Vanita Young, who just nabbed herself a $40,000 scholarship to Texas Tech University, following her brilliant performance at this week's Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational in Lubbock, Texas.

GO, Vanita!

Readers of my column will recall that I wrote in June how Vanita, a rising senior at the Walter D. Palmer Charter School, near 6th and Poplar streets, beat out 600 other girls from Pennsylvania to represent the state at the annual invitational, named for Polgar, the world's first female chess grand master.

Up for grabs was $120,000 in scholarships to the three top winners of the five-day competition.

Dyhemia Young Wins Texas Tech Scholarship for Chess Performance!

The story of the Chess Cinderella continues!  Thanks to Susan Polgar, SPICE and Texas Tech for giving girls like Dyhemia the opportunity to win a college education. 

From The Los Angeles Times

Young chess phenom wins scholarship to Texas Tech at tournament
Dyhemia Young's journey to the Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational chess tournament was long and difficult, and though she didn't win the competition, she did receive a scholarship to Texas Tech.

By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
August 4, 2011
Reporting from East Palo Alto, Calif. -- Dyhemia Young left for Lubbock, Texas, with a black eye — compliments of a girl at her East Palo Alto group home — and returned the proud recipient of a chess scholarship worth $40,000.

Along the way, the 15-year-old from the wrong side of San Francisco, who could not have made it to a prestigious chess tournament without the kindness of strangers, became a nationally rated player.
"My journey here, it was tough, because I had a lot of situations going on at home," she said tearfully after her first win, Game 3 of the six-game Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational.

The tournament takes place each year at Texas Tech University, drawing the top-rated girl from each state. Polgar, the first woman to earn the title of grandmaster, also issues two "wild card" invitations to gifted players who haven't traveled the pricey road of official competition.

Dyhemia, who has spent the last three years in and out of foster care, received one of the wild card bids. But when Adisa Banjoko, her chess mentor, called in June with the good news, Dyhemia had disappeared.

It took nearly a month and the help of a San Francisco police detective to locate Dyhemia; after a short stint in juvenile hall, she had ended up in the teen home.

Then there was the matter of money — nearly $3,000 was needed to send the high-school junior and a chaperone to the six-day event. After reading her story in The Times, generous donors sent thousands of dollars Dyhemia's way.

Problem solved? Not so fast.

The night before her flight to Texas, Dyhemia was sitting in the group home studying for her driver's license test with the help of a staff member. When the woman left the room, Dyhemia continued to drill herself. "Why don't you just shut up?" one of the other girls said before charging Dyhemia and punching her in the face.

"It all stemmed from jealousy," Sheila George, who heads the group home and accompanied Dyhemia to Texas, said in a phone interview from Lubbock. "Dyhemia came down here with all this in her soul and mind and heart. She had to get rid of all that junk."

When the rattled girl and her worried chaperone stepped off the plane in Texas, they were greeted by Polgar and a cheering group of chess players — Dyhemia's competitors and newfound friends.

As the tournament got underway, Dyhemia resigned her very first game — an attack of new-to-national-competition nerves. But Abdul Shakoor, a chess coach who had traveled to Lubbock to help his own daughter compete, took Dyhemia aside and showed her nuances of the game that, he said, "you can't really prepare for unless you actually play" at the national level.

"With me being a single father and being raised in foster care myself, [Dyhemia's] story inspired me," Shakoor said in a video posted on YouTube by Lisa Suhay, who runs an urban chess program in Virginia and has helped Dyhemia along the way.

"I felt like it was meant for my daughter, Diamond, to meet Dyhemia," Shakoor said. "It's bigger than chess."

Dyhemia battled well in her second game, and won the third — her only victory. As the tournament wound down, she was philosophical.

"Without my supporters, I wouldn't have been able to do it," she told Polgar. "I'm happy to say that I … had fun playing all my games. At least my opponents can say I was a challenge to them."

Not only did Dyhemia not win the championship, she didn't even get the congeniality prize. But at the awards ceremony Friday, she ended up with something better — a scholarship to Texas Tech.

When Polgar announced her name, the roomful of girls began to cheer. Dyhemia got up from her seat to accept the certificate, looking stunned. She cried. She smiled. She could think of only one thing to say:

"Oh, my goodness."

2011 World Girls U-20 Chess Championship

Top 10 after R3:
Rk.NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1 TB2 TB3 wwew-weKrtg+/-
1WGMPaikidze NaziGEO24163.021832258032.460.54158.1
2WGMCori T DeysiPER23763.021382175032.450.55105.5
3WGMPadmini RoutIND23483.021222168032.430.57158.6
4WGMGirya OlgaRUS23713.021072119032.510.49104.9
5WIMBulmaga IrinaROU22933.020872101032.370.63159.4
6WIMKazimova Narmin Nizami QiziAZE22923.019621992032.670.33154.9
7WIMNakhbayeva GuliskhanKAZ22222.52050207102.52.300.20153.0
8Michelle Catherina PIND20522.023852398021.140.861512.9
9Forestier CaroleFRA21012.023462398021.260.741511.1
10Krumova AniBUL19612.022882294020.431.571523.5

2011-2012 Womens Grand Prix - Rostov

Standings after R3.  Can any of these women beat Hou Yifan? 

Rostov Women GP 2011 Rostov-on-Don (RUS), 1-15 viii 2011cat. XII (2527)
1.Hou, YifangCHN2575*...1...1.1.3
2.Muzychuk, AnnamSLO2538.*.½..1....½22631
3.Kosintseva, NadezhdagRUS2560..*½...½...122626
4.Kosintseva, TatianagRUS2557.½½*....½...2531
5.Koneru, HumpygIND26140...*1...½..2526
6.Ruan, LufeiwgCHN2479....0*.1.½..2553
7.Lahno, KaterynagUKR2536.0....*.½.1.2509
8.Danielian, ElinagARM2521..½..0.*...12488
9.Kosteniuk, AlexandragRUS24970..½..½.*...12431
10.Stefanova, AntoanetagBUL2524....½½...*0.12403
11.Galliamova, AlisamRUS24920.....0..1*.12420
12.Kovalevskaya, EkaterinamRUS2427.½0....0...*½2266

Round 3 (August 4, 2011)
Muzychuk, Anna - Lahno, Kateryna1-0 28C45Scotch Game
Kosintseva, Nadezhda - Kosintseva, Tatiana½-½ 13C69Ruy Lopez Exchange
Koneru, Humpy - Ruan, Lufei1-0 49A09Reti Opening
Danielian, Elina - Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina1-0 39D02Queen's Pawn Game
Kosteniuk, Alexandra - Hou, Yifan0-1 35D38QGD Ragozin
Galliamova, Alisa - Stefanova, Antoaneta1-0 29D43Anti-Meran Gambit

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Evidence of Some of the Earliest Dog Domestication Ever Found

Hmmmm, this seems vaguely familiar, I wonder if I may have reported this from another source some months ago???  From BBC News

August 2011 Last updated at 08:46 ET
Ancient dog skull unearthed in Siberia
By Hamish Pritchard
Science Reporter
A very well-preserved 33,000 year old canine skull from a cave in the Siberian Altai mountains shows some of the earliest evidence of dog domestication ever found.

But the specimen raises doubts about early man's loyalty to his new best friend as times got tough.

The findings come from a Russian-led international team of archaeologists.

The skull, from shortly before the peak of the last ice age, is unlike those of modern dogs or wolves.

The study is published in the open access journal Plos One.

Although the snout is similar in size to early, fully domesticated Greenland dogs from 1,000 years ago, its large teeth resemble those of 31,000 year-old wild European wolves.

This indicates a dog in the very early stages of domestication, says evolutionary biologist Dr Susan Crockford, one of the authors on the study.  "The wolves were not deliberately domesticated, the process of making a wolf into a dog was a natural process," explained Dr Crockford of Pacific Identifications, Canada.

But for this to happen required settled early human populations: "At this time, people were hunting animals in large numbers and leaving large piles of bones behind, and that was attracting the wolves," she said.

The most curious, least fearful wolves tended to have more juvenile characteristics with shorter, wider snouts and smaller, more crowded teeth, features that, over generations, came to define the domesticated dog. {Hmmmm, not sure about this...]

These early dogs would have been useful to people in cleaning up scraps and fending off other predators such as bears, but after the ice age, over the last 10,000 years, they became key members of the team, believes Oxford University archaeologist Professor Thomas Higham, a co-author on the study.

"When you've got hunting dogs, all of a sudden it's a game changer. Hunters with dogs are much better than sole hunters," he told BBC News.

Intriguingly though, this much older early Siberian dog seems to have hit an evolutionary dead end. While people continued to occupy the Altai through the depths of the last ice age, they seem to have done so without their dogs, perhaps as food became more scarce.

"What the ice age did was to cause people to move around more," said Dr Crockford, halting the process of domestication and setting wolves and people back into competition for perhaps 20,000 years.

Fortunately, the closest modern dog, the Siberian Samoyed bred to herd and guard reindeer, seems to have taken up where its ancient predecessor left off.

2011 World Girls U-20 Chess Championship

Top 10 standings after R2:

Rk.NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Krtg+/-
1Forestier CaroleFRA21012.02398001514.9
2Lasya GIND18982.02282001526.3
3WGMPaikidze NaziGEO24162.0210700153.8
4WGMCori T DeysiPER23762.0210100103.1
5WGMGirya OlgaRUS23712.0209400103.0
6WGMPadmini RoutIND23482.0207500154.7
7WIMBulmaga IrinaROU22932.0207200155.7
8WIMKazimova Narmin Nizami QiziAZE22922.0199200153.8
9WIMOzturk KubraTUR22582.0193900153.5
10WFMSemenova ElenaRUS21752.0191100155.1

2011 Women's Grand Prix: Rostov

Round 2 standings:

Rostov Women GP 2011 Rostov-on-Don (RUS), 1-15 viii 2011cat. XII (2527)
1.Hou, YifangCHN2575*........1.12
2.Ruan, LufeiwgCHN2479.*....½.1...2715
3.Kosintseva, NadezhdagRUS2560..*.....½.1.2667
4.Lahno, KaterynagUKR2536...*½......12687
5.Kosteniuk, AlexandragRUS2497...½*½......12546
6.Kosintseva, TatianagRUS2557....½*.½....12517
7.Stefanova, AntoanetagBUL2524.½....*..½..12546
8.Muzychuk, AnnamSLO2538.....½.*..½.12492
9.Danielian, ElinagARM2521.0½.....*...½2326
10.Koneru, HumpygIND26140.....½..*..½2356
11.Kovalevskaya, EkaterinamRUS2427..0....½..*.½2356
12.Galliamova, AlisamRUS24920..0.......*0

Round 2 (August 3, 2011)
Hou, Yifan - Galliamova, Alisa1-0 36B43Sicilian Paulsen
Ruan, Lufei - Danielian, Elina1-0 63C11French Defence
Lahno, Kateryna - Kosteniuk, Alexandra½-½ 47E18Queens Indian
Kosintseva, Tatiana - Muzychuk, Anna½-½ 42B35Sicilian Defence
Stefanova, Antoaneta - Koneru, Humpy½-½111D38QGD Ragozin
Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina - Kosintseva, Nadezhda0-1 40A15English counter King's Fianchetto

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rout wants to make amends this time

From The Times of India
Hari Hara Nandanan, TNN | Aug 2, 2011, 06.46AM IST

CHENNAI: She is bubbly but sports a contagious smile. Unlike a normal chess player, mostly the serious, brooding type, Padmini Rout has the easy-going approach. The Orissa girl will carry the hopes for India in the girl's category when she plays her first round game on Tuesday.

Expectations are high because her predecessor Koneru Humpy had already completed (men's ) Grandmaster title at 17 when she won the world junior girls title. Rout can seek inspirations from Dronavalli Harika and Soumya Swaminathan, both of whom had won the titles in the last three years. Still inspiration could quickly turn into pressure as she would be playing at home. Still her bronze win last year in Poland may boost her confidence. "I tied for the 13-28 th places at Yerevan in 2007, 28 th position in Gaziantep, Turkey in 2008 and eighth position at Puerto Madryn, Argentina in 2009," said the No.5 seed.

Three Cat Rock Carving

From National Geographic Daily News

"Spectacular" Three-Cat Monolith Unearthed in Mexico
Giant carving may have been part of a monumental wall crawling with felines.
Ker Than
for National Geographic News
Published August 1, 2011

With a little help from archaeologists, three giant cats have slunk into view after spending thousands of years underground in central Mexico.

Carved in a vaguely Olmec style into a stone monolith, the seated jaguars—or possibly mountain lions—may have been part of a decorative hillside wall that was crawling with big-cat carvings, experts suggest.

The circa 700 B.C. carving, dubbed the "Triad of Felines" by archaeologists, was found about 60 miles (a hundred kilometers) south of Mexico City at Chalcatzingo, an archaeological site known to have had ties to the Olmec civilization.

Measuring about 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall and 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) wide, the carving was originally set within a hillside and was designed to be clearly visible from a village below, experts say.

The discovery is only the latest of about 40 large stone carvings found at Chalcatzingo since 1935—many of them depicting cats, said David Grove, an anthropologist at the University of Florida who conducted research at Chalcatzingo for 30 years beginning in the 1970s.

As an example of Olmec-style art, Grove added, "Triad of Felines" is "spectacular."

Ancient Billboard?
It took experts months to piece together and restore the 11 fragments that make up the cat-trio carving. At the same time, the scientists are assembling a theory in which the "Triad" is itself just one piece of a larger puzzle.

"Triad of Felines" may have been part of a collection of carvings that dotted the Chalcatzingo landscape, perhaps as spiritual "billboards" along a pilgrimage route, archaeologists suggest.

"One of our hypotheses is that, in the time from 800 to 500 B.C., there was a frieze along the entire Cerro Chalcatzingo," or "Chalcatzingo hill," project member Mario Cordova Tello, an archaeologist with Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), said in a statement.

Traces of the Olmec
The Olmec occupied south-central Mexico from about 1500 to 400 B.C. and are thought by many to have had a large influence on other Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Maya—and the people of Chalcatzingo. (Get the full story of the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)

While not technically Olmec themselves, the inhabitants of Chalcatzingo likely traded with Olmec cities, said Grove, who wasn't involved in the latest discovery.

Olmec influences are visible in the stone artwork at the site—for example, in the use of Olmec symbols. But unlike the Olmec, who tended to carve three-dimensional statues, Chalcatzingo carvers tended to create raised images on flat surfaces, as in "Triad of Felines."

Flaming Eyebrows Hint at Supernatural Cats
Many other carvings of big cats—domestic cats arrived in North America only a few centuries ago—have been found at Chalcatzingo.

"Triad of Cats," though, is unique in depicting sitting animals, Grove said. The cats in the new carving also appear to have supernatural traits, such as flaming eyebrows and stylized mouths reminiscent of traditional Olmec masks.

Because they posed a significant threat to humans at the time, large felines such as jaguars were revered by many Mesoamerican cultures, Grove said. Their frequent occurrence in Olmec art suggests cats were important in Olmec religion and mythology, but their exact significance is still unknown.

"Something having to do with mythology is being expressed in these carvings ... but I am still trying to figure out exactly what it is," Grove said. "Not a lot is known about Olmec religion."

2011 U-20 Girls World Chess Championship

Here are the top 10 players (69 total):

1WGMPaikidze Nazi13603620GEO2416
2WGMSavina Anastasia4196872RUS2398
3WGMCori T Deysi3801934PER2376
4WGMGirya Olga4195752RUS2371
5WGMPadmini Rout5029295IND2348
6WIMTsatsalashvili Keti13603434GEO2318
7CMKulkarni Bhakti5019516IND2317
8WIMMammadova Gulnar Marfat Qizi13403508AZE2294
9WIMBulmaga Irina13903063ROU2293
10WIMKazimova Narmin Nizami Qizi13402951AZE2292

Well, I'm cheering for Narmin Kazimova, but my guess is that the top three will be Nazi Paikidze, Deysi Cori, and Padmini Rout.  We'll see how close I come.

Here are the top 10 players after R1:

Rank after Round 1

Rk.NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Krtg+/-
1WGMPaikidze NaziGEO24161.0000151.6
WGMSavina AnastasiaRUS23981.0000101.2
WGMCori T DeysiPER23761.0000101.4
WGMGirya OlgaRUS23711.0000101.3
WGMPadmini RoutIND23481.0000152.1
WIMBulmaga IrinaROU22931.0000152.4
WIMKazimova Narmin Nizami QiziAZE22921.0000152.3
WIMEric JovanaSRB22821.0000152.0
WIMOzturk KubraTUR22581.0000152.0
WFMSemenova ElenaRUS21751.0000152.4

2011-2012 Women's Grand Prix: Rostov

Hou Yifan (black) defeated Koneru Humpy (white) in the first round - perhaps an ominous prelude to their Women's Championship match scheduled for later this year (but I still don't believe a bid, if one has been made, has been accepted by FIDE).

Rostov Women GP 2011 Rostov-on-Don (RUS), 1-15 viii 2011cat. XII (2527)
1.Hou, YifangCHN2575*.........1.1
2.Lahno, KaterynagUKR2536.*.........11
3.Kosintseva, NadezhdagRUS2560..*....½....½2521
4.Kosintseva, TatianagRUS2557...*.½......½2497
5.Muzychuk, AnnamSLO2538....*....½..½2427
6.Kosteniuk, AlexandragRUS2497...½.*......½2557
7.Stefanova, AntoanetagBUL2524......*.½...½2479
8.Danielian, ElinagARM2521..½....*....½2560
9.Ruan, LufeiwgCHN2479......½.*...½2524
10.Kovalevskaya, EkaterinamRUS2427....½....*..½2538
11.Koneru, HumpygIND26140.........*.0
12.Galliamova, AlisamRUS2492.0.........*0

Since the Doha Women's Grand Prix in February (which she won with 8.0/11 against a relatively weaker field),  Koneru has not played a single rated game, while Hou has 27 games under her belt and counting (there always seems to be a delay in FIDE getting the most recent tournaments rated and posted).  Hou has lost ratings points, currently sitting at 2575 but that's because she's been playing (and often losing) against much higher rated male players.  What has Koneru been doing?  Whatever it is, it hasn't seemed to get her over her yips when it comes to Hou!
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