Saturday, September 3, 2011

2011 Goddesschess Scholarship

It's that time of year again!  This year's recipient of the Goddesschess Scholarship under the auspices of the Susan Polgar Foundation is Maraani Kamphorst, a member of Texas Tech's Knight Raiders.  Maraani was also awarded the Goddesschess Scholarship last academic year.

Maraani, a native of Brazil, has a current ELO of 1835 and is married to fellow chessplayer and Knight Raiders team member GM Andre Diamant. 

Maraani was part of the Texas Tech "C" Team that tied for 1st at the 2010 PanAm Intercollegiate Division IV Championship with Yale (held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in late December, 2010). 
Texas Tech C team (L to R: Mara Diamant, Ananya Roy, Zach Haskin, Brett James).
Read more about Maraani. 

Horse and Chariot Burial in Luoyang, China

Only this photo with this rather uninformative article, but it's a good photo.

Tariq Tahir
September 1, 2011

Remains of horses and chariots found in 3,000-year-old tomb in China

Lying side by side, these horses have drawn a chariot in an ancient tomb for the past 3,000 years, which was recently discovered

The equine bones, found in the Chinese city of Luoyang, have remained undisturbed since the early Western Zhou dynasty.

Archaeologists believe the 12 horses lying on their sides show the animals were slaughtered before burial, not buried alive.

As well as the horses and five chariots, bronzes and ceramics have escaped the clutches of history’s grave robbers.
Archaeologists are convinced that the perfectly preserved tomb belongs to an official or a scholar of standing, given the pottery, metal weaponry and inscriptions.

The tomb, a vertical earthen pit, has excited historians since it was discovered during the construction of a hospital. It gives an unprecedented insight into the funeral customs in the early Western Zhou dynasty.
It was the time of the great Chinese philosophers of ancient times, including Confucius.
The latest find is reminiscent of the famous terracotta army of thousands of preserved soldiers, which was discovered in 1974 in the Lintong district. It had also remained undisturbed for thousands of years.

[Can't help but wonder how much has been looted out of it since its discovery?]

2011 FIDE World Cup

The American contingent of players has been whittled down further after the play-offs at the end of Round 2:

Round 2 Match 17
Ivanov, Alexander (USA)½½½0 1.5
Lysyj, Igor (RUS)½½½1 2.5

Gata Kamsky was through based on his 1.5 score so he had a rest day.  Alexander Onischuk was out after losing Game 2 with the white pieces to David Navara, to go down 0.5/1.5.  Sam Shankland lost Game 2 (also with the white pieces) to Gupta of India, to go down 0.5/1.5.  I will miss his shaggy hair, grizzled beard and sharp dressing :)

So, the only US dude left standing is Kamsky.  Today, he did what he had to do, winning his first game of Round 3 with the white pieces against Ian Nepomniachtchi of Russia.  Thirty-two players are left, including the only female player (the best in the world), Judit Polgar.  She only happened to defeat the highest rated player in the tournament, a day's work for the indomitable Judit!  (Separate post with Judit's R3 game below). 

Judit Rocks Karjakin!

Report and photo from the official website:

The first games of the Round 3 of the World Chess Cup were played on Saturday, September 3 in Khanty-Mansiysk. At this stage the strongest players begin to meet each other. All the remaining participants undoubtedly belong to the world chess elite.

In two games Black faced 1.e4 and selected the super-solid Berlin Defense, which was nicknamed “The Berlin Wall” after the Kramnik-Kasparov match in London, 2000.

The majority of games in this variation indeed ends in a draw, but today the wall was breached: the highest rated player Sergey Karjakin (Russia) fell under pressure of Judit Polgar (Hungary), and Igor Lysyj (Russia) lost to Leinier Dominguez (Cuba). Polgar played an inspired game – carried out the standard e5-e6 break, invaded Black’s queenside with her bishop, and literally traded down the opponent’s soldiers.

Play through the game (Judit had white): 
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Nf6
4. O-O Nxe4
5. d4 Nd6
6. Bxc6 dxc6
7. dxe5 Nf5
8. Qxd8+ Kxd8
9. Nc3 Ke8
10. h3 h5
11. Rd1 Be7
12. Ne4 Bd7
13. b3 h4
14. Bg5 Rd8
15. c4 b6
16. Rd2 Bc8
17. Rxd8+ Kxd8
18. Rd1+ Ke8
19. Bf4 c5
20. e6 Bxe6
21. Bxc7 f6
22. Bb8 a6
23. Ba7 Bd8
24. Nc3 Kf7
25. Na4 b5
26. Nxc5 Bc8
27. cxb5 axb5
28. a4 bxa4
29. bxa4 Re8
30. Rb1 g5
31. Bb6 Be7
32. a5 Bxc5
33. Bxc5 Re6
34. Rb6 Ng7
35. Be3 Nf5
36. Rb8 Re8
37. Ra8 Bb7
38. Ra7 Re7
39. Bc5 Rd7
40. a6 Bc6
41. Rxd7+ Bxd7
42. Nd2 Ke6
43. Nc4 Bc6
44. Nb6 Nd6
45. Bxd6 Kxd6
46. a7 Kc7
47. a8Q Bxa8
48. Nxa8+ Kb7
49. f4 1-0

Computer Labs for Kids Mobile Van Project

Taken at the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XII
October 16, 2010.  Shira scored 2.0/4.
Hola!  This is the latest from Shira Evans Sanford (she's the pretty one in this photo) on the mobile van project run by her charitable foundation, Computer Labs for Kids:

We've taken our mobile lab to northern Cali, and currently looking for a group of kids in the San Jose area. If you can help spread the word, that'd be great! Anyone btw 13-18 can participate in our 1 hour class on Saturday, September 17, 2011. Contact me for details. Our mobile lab will be touring Northern Cal so if kids want to join up in another city, they should send me an email to sign up!

Friday, September 2, 2011

More "To Doooo" About the Grand Opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Museum

The Chess Piano Makes Its Second U.S. Appearance in St. Louis

By Kelsey Whipple
Fri., Sep. 2 2011 at 9:14 AM

According to the ticker on its website, the World Chess Hall of Fame is six days from opening in its new home in the Central West End across the street from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center. This news should be accompanied by the same level of enthusiasm you'd assume it lacks. (You'd be wrong.) In addition to showcasing the game's most prized possessions, the World Chess Hall of fame straddles the divide between art and science with its attention to chess. And on September 13, it will focus firmly on music.

In the days around its opening, the World Chess Hall of Fame will cover solid but expected terrain: hors d'oeuvres, ribbon cutting, an induction ceremony and a tour through the art, rare chess sets and other memorabilia on display in the three-floor, 15,000 square foot building. The official activities will transition to experimental on September 13, however, with a visual art performance of the world's only chess piano.

It is exactly what is sounds like: Created by Dutch visual artist Guido van de Werve, the art piece will be recorded during its use, which revolves around two players creating music as they play a game of chess.

The performance promises to be the best thing to combine both music and chess since Murray Head's "One Night in Bangkok." The Chess Piano is itself the most recent work in a twelve-part series van der Werve created and named in numerical order. The Thursday performance will feature nine string members of the St. Louis Symphony playing their instruments while van der Werve plays the piece "Number Twelve: Chess Piano Concert in Three Movements," against Matthew Bengston, who is both a FIDE master and a concert pianist. Completing the performance is an initial introduction by St. Louis Symphony Music Director David Robertson.

"It's all about collaboration," says Susan Barrett, the Hall of Fame's chief executive officer. "We're partnering with both the art museum and the St. Louis Symphony in order to be able to add more to people's understanding and perception of chess. We're really focused on it much more as a symbol than as a game."

The World Chess Hall of Fame, which will bolster the city's reputation as the chess capital of the United States, forms a fitting context for the Chess Piano's second performance in the United States.

"As a hall of fame, we're celebrating the people who contribute to our field," Barrett says. "Many of those people are not grandmasters. Chess is a collective language, something that brings people together and allows us to interpret the way we see things, much like art."

The details here, unsurprisingly, are all still tied to the game, but the Hall of Fame's goal is to serve as a more expansive partner to the strictly focused chess club across the street, through the display of projects like this one, which allows chess to bridge the territories of art and music.

"The success of the chess club alone made St. Louis the chess capital of the world," Barrett says. "Our goal is to solidify that success while making it larger. And we hope to do so with creative projects like this one."

What do you do with a chessplayer, when she's not really a chessplayer...

ooooohhhhh, what do you do with a chess femme out of place?????

C'est moi!  All of a sudden I've got two chess games going at Red Hot Pawn and I've no idea what I'm doing.  So sad!  Paranoid!  So bad! 

I will keep plugging away.  This stop-start thing that is the format for thee games is not good for my brain; I cannot seem to pick up the thread of what I was thinking about when I made my last move.  NOT GOOD...  But I don't have time to devote to playing a game straight through in real time. Neither do my opponents. 

The truly funny part of this is that I'd fired up the old desk top after having it off line for weeks - intent more on getting updates to its antique OS than anything else.  99.9% of the emails I get there these days are adverts that I sometimes remember signing up for - long ago and far away - and some I have absolutely no recollection of signing up to receive.  Hmmmm.....

Amidst the reckage of my email were these game notifications, gasp!  I must change my email - like - tonight.  Geez!  Haven't done that yet, and these games have gone on for 3-4-5 moves or so now.  I think I'm already lost in both of them, BTW...

Oh, woe is me, woe is me.  It's clear I'm still stuck in the 19th century.  I'm no multi-tasker, that's for damn sure!  I can't think about packing for St. Louis and organizing my retirement investment portfolio at the same time, and as for the estate plan - geez!  I'm thinking about yard work, and pulling the old Sears sewing machine out to hem two new pairs of slacks, not to mention attempting a reconstruction (in a larger size) of a favorite figure-flattering dress...  Not to mention I have not vacuumed, darlings, in at least six months (I'm not kidding).

So, whilst I dream about  becoming a rather late-blooming (ahem) challenger for the national chess championship title (okay, the world title), I'd much rather admire the intrepid and timeless ladies and gents featured at Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style blog, among Ms. Elaine Stritch was recently featured:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Chess Femme News!

I learned about the recent activity of a couple of chess femmes tonight in reading Quah Seng Sun's chess column online:

He wrote about the Malaysian Chess Festival, which hosts several different level tournaments.  In the eighth Arthur Tan Malaysia open chess championship, the first six top spots were taken by Chinese players.  The number six spot went to "woman grandmaster, Ju Wenjun, who had come out tops in July at the first Hangzhou women grandmaster chess tournament, ahead of the reigning women’s world champion, Hou Yifan.

"I was very interested to follow her form since that event and I wasn’t disappointed. She was always among the leaders and had ended the Malaysia open placed in sixth position. Her play grew from strength to strength as the tournament approached its finish and she scored two great wins in the eighth and ninth rounds against Filipino grandmaster Oliver Dimakiling and Vietnamese grandmaster Cao Sang.

"In the sixth AmBank chess challenge, Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva of Uzbekistan lived up to her top billing by winning this tournament. Actually, it was a joint tie at the top of the standings with India’s Rohan Vijay Shandilya but a better tie-break ensured that Kurbonboeva received the challenge trophy and the top prize of RM1,000."

At Susan Polgar's chess blog, SP has sister Judit Polgar's Round 2, Game 2 against Movsesian in PGN from the ongoing FIDE World Cup.  You can view/play through the game (urgra sport website).

Alexandra Kosteniuk's chess blog reports that Deysi Cori, who won the 2011 FIDE U-20 Girls World Chess Champion title, was honored by her home country, Peru.  Deysi has now been awarded two medals of honor and over $10,000 USD by her country for her excellent performance at the U-20 Championships.  Well done!  She is a true inspiration for all chessplayers but particularly those from developing countries.  Deysi and her chessplayer brother come from a very modest background and it was a struggle for them to compete in international events, but they never gave up. 

Bolivia's Women's National Chess Championship is just underway.  Here are standings after R1:

Rk.NameFEDRtgPts.TB1 TB2 TB3
1Barrenechea StefanieBOL19501.
Basto SuelyBOL18561.
Coro SoledadBOL19061.
4WCMBorda CarlaBOL20100.
Mendoza SamantaBOL18130.
6WIMEstrada LuciaBOL20300.
Prado AlexandraBOL18200.
Arduz Murillo ValeriaBOL18460.

Squirt Guns Endanger Islamic Republic of Iran

From The Wall Street Journal
August 31, 2011
Fearful of Facebook and Frolicking Youths, Regime Cracks Down on Squirt-Gun Fights.

Authorities in authoritarian Iran have determined the latest threat to the Islamic Republic: squirt guns.

Agents of the regime fanned out across Tehran late last month to question toy store owners about whether the fake guns had been imported from America. Nope: made right in Iran or imported from China.

Why all this fuss? A water fight among playful youth at a water park.

After heeding a call on Facebook, a group of nearly 800 young men and women were among those who showed up at the park. They were surprised to find others there eager to drench anyone in sight.

They chased strangers around a giant water fountain, screaming and laughing as they splashed each other with water from toy guns, bottles and plastic bags.

"We had a blast. It was a rare chance for boys and girls to hang out in a public place and have fun," said Shaghayegh, a participant who did not want her last name to be used.

Among Iranian authorities, the fun and games triggered a different reaction. Police raided the park, engaging in a four-hour cat-and-mouse game with the youth, who turned their squirt guns on the cops and threw plastic bags full of water on the policemen's heads, according to participants and media reports.

Finally, park authorities cut off the water, rounded up dozens of young men and women, and dragged them to jail. Tehran's police chief vowed to crack down and warned that similar water-war events were planned in other cities.

While flash mobs have become a serious concern elsewhere—including London's recent riots—such organized fun, in most parts of the world, would be regarded as yet another youthful rite of passage.

But that doesn't apply in Iran, where a seemingly innocent gathering, especially one that involves men and women interacting, can be cast as a decadent rebellion against the government.

"These events are a disgrace to our revolution. Our security forces and judiciary must stop the spreading of these morally corrupt actions," said conservative lawmaker Hossein Ibrahimi, according to official media.

Although the water wars and the government response have a comically absurd quality, the recent tension shows how fearful the regime is of its young.

Iran is one of the world's youngest countries, with 65 percent of its 75 million people under the age of 30. The Islamic Republic imposes strict social codes that call for segregation of sexes in school and some public spaces and demands a conservative demeanor from citizens.

Authorities are particularly sensitive to events organized through social-networking sites in light of the pro-democracy Arab Spring uprisings where youth mobilized through Facebook and toppled governments.

Fars News Agency, affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guards, blamed Zionists and Americans for corrupting the minds of the youth and coaxing them into water parks.

Pictures of the young women, their tight coats and colorful scarves drenched, squirting water at young men in wet, tight T-shirts surfaced on websites and newspapers, creating an uproar that reached the parliament.

The water wars have become a ripe subject for jokes in Iran.

"What kind of a country do we have? Even a water gun can shake its foundations?" writes a reveler named Ashkan on his Facebook page.

Security forces are hunting organizers and participants of the water episode through their Facebook accounts and have detained some of their friends. The Facebook page for Water Wars in Tehran has over 19,000 members and 22 local chapters for cities across Iran, including conservative small cities like Marageh.

Earlier this month, police arrested the administrators of the Facebook page for Shiraz Water Wars, and 17 young men and women who were playing in a water park in the southern coastal city of Bandar Abbas were detained, according to media reports. Authorities also paraded young people on television, forcing them to confess—a move typically reserved for political detainees.

"Police will deal forcefully with park violators who are threatening the security and peace of our society," Tehran police chief Hussein Sajedina said.

Farzan, a 22-year-old university student who was one of the organizers of the Tehran water war, says police tracked him down through Facebook and raided his house in the middle of the night. He was arrested, held for three days and beaten up, he says. He has a court case pending.

Shaghayegh, who escaped the park, received a call from national security police earlier this month and went to Vozarra detention center in Tehran where she says she was held and interrogated all day. She was released after a written pledge not to participate in any more water wars.

Young Iranians say although the event started out as innocent fun, it has now turned political. They are vowing to challenge them with more events.

A nationwide water war is scheduled for Friday, after the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Some toy stores have suspended selling toy guns, which go for between $25 and $35, until the scandal subsides despite an increase in demand.

"Every day I have dozens of young people coming in to the shop asking for water guns," said one shopkeeper at a toy store in downtown Tehran. "Our youth won't give up this easily."

2011 FIDE World Cup

Judit Polgar with the black pieces today defeated Movsesian to advance to the third round.

The USA players results:

Kamsky v. Kasimdzhanov, Kamsky wins with white, advances to third round
Shankland v. Gupta, Shankland loses with white, is knocked out of the event
Onischuk lost with the black pieces, is knocked out of the event
Ivanov v. Lysyj, draw with the black pieces, going to play-off games

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Lyudmila Rudenko Memorial

A report with photos on the Tournament and final standings at Chessdom. 


Rank Name Score Fed. M/F Rating TPR W-We BH BH-HiLo 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1 WFM Goryachkina, Aleksandra 7.5 RUS F 2153 2441 +3.24 48.5 39.5 1 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½ 1 ½
2 WGM Doluhanova, Evgeniya 6.5 UKR F 2227 2329 +1.26 49.0 38.0 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 1 ½
3 WGM Molchanova, Tatjana 6.5 RUS F 2346 2339 -0.01 48.5 37.0 1 1 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1
4 WGM Stjazhkina, Olga 6.5 RUS F 2247 2315 +0.87 46.5 35.5 1 0 1 ½ 1 ½ 1 1 ½
5 WGM Eidelson, Rakhil 6.5 BLR F 2242 2297 +0.84 44.5 35.0 0 1 1 1 0 1 1 1 ½
6 WGM Shaydullina, Sandugach 6.0 RUS F 2158 2296 +1.71 48.5 38.0 1 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 0
7 IM Galojan, Lilit 6.0 ARM F 2389 2327 -0.59 42.0 34.0 0 1 1 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1
8 WIM Baraeva, Marina 6.0 RUS F 2197 2173 -0.10 39.5 31.5 1 0 0 1 ½ 1 1 1 ½
9 Trapeznikova, Darya 5.5 RUS F 1979 2292 +3.60 53.0 41.5 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 ½
10 IM Romanko, Marina 5.5 RUS F 2402 2265 -1.38 53.0 41.0 1 1 1 0 1 ½ ½ 0 ½
11 WFM Bivol, Alina 5.5 RUS F 2171 2167 +0.08 46.0 34.5 1 ½ 1 1 0 0 0 1 1
12 WFM Baraeva, Irina 5.5 RUS F 2204 2158 -0.31 42.0 33.0 0 1 1 0 1 1 1 0 ½
13 WFM Kostrikina, Anna 5.0 RUS F 2079 2262 +2.13 48.5 38.0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1
14 WIM Tomilova, Elena 5.0 RUS F 2317 2185 -1.39 45.5 35.5 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 1 0
15 WFM Korchagina, Viktoria 5.0 RUS F 2109 2074 -0.25 43.0 34.0 1 0 0 ½ 1 1 0 1 ½
16 WIM Butuc, Maria 5.0 RUS F 2172 2073 -0.92 41.0 33.0 1 0 1 0 1 ½ 1 0 ½
17 Markelova, Lubov 5.0 RUS F 2074 1973 -1.04 34.5 25.5 0 0 0 1 1 ½ 1 1 ½
18 WIM Severiukhina, Zoja 4.5 RUS F 2270 2193 -0.88 47.5 37.0 1 0 1 1 ½ ½ 0 0 ½
19 Azimova, Karina 4.5 RUS F 2087 2021 -0.69 42.0 33.0 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 0 1 1 0
20 WFM Styazhkina, Anna 4.5 RUS F 2039 2122 +0.97 42.0 32.5 1 ½ 1 0 0 0 1 0 1
21 WCM Kiseleva, Arina 4.5 RUS F 1846 2002 +1.39 41.5 32.5 0 0 1 1 ½ 0 0 + 1
22 Katyshkina, Anastasia 4.5 RUS F 1936 2121 +2.06 41.5 32.0 1 ½ 0 ½ 0 ½ ½ 1 ½
23 Balaian, Alina 4.5 RUS F 2163 2061 -1.05 41.0 32.0 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 ½
24 WGM Zakurdjaeva, Irina 4.5 RUS F 2268 2081 -2.00 40.5 31.5 0 1 0 1 1 1 0 0 ½
25 WFM Kindinova, Ekaterina 4.5 RUS F 2159 2073 -0.80 39.0 29.5 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 ½
26 Grebennikova, Tatyana 4.5 RUS F 2009 2015 +0.07 36.5 27.5 1 ½ 0 0 ½ ½ ½ ½ 1
27 WFM Travkina, Anastasia 4.0 RUS F 2176 2090 -0.94 45.5 35.5 1 ½ 1 0 ½ 0 1 0 0
28 Kostitsina, Liubov 4.0 RUS F 2017 2056 +0.50 43.5 34.0 0 1 1 ½ 0 1 0 0 ½
29 WFM Shulakova, Svetlana 4.0 RUS F 2177 1932 -2.70 40.0 31.0 1 ½ 0 1 0 0 ½ 0 1
30 Tskhadadze, Anna 4.0 RUS F 1761 2023 +2.67 39.0 30.5 0 ½ 1 ½ 0 1 ½ 0 ½
31 Chernyak, Viktoria 4.0 RUS F 1768 1898 +0.99 37.5 30.0 0 0 1 0 1 ½ ½ 0 1
32 Vronskaya, Anna 4.0 RUS F 1864 1885 +0.17 33.0 25.5 0 0 ½ 1 0 1 0 ½ 1
33 Savrova, Lidia 4.0 RUS F 1591 1700 +0.67 31.0 23.0 0 + 0 0 0 0 1 + 1
34 WFM Botalova, Yulia 3.5 RUS F 1969 1777 -1.93 35.0 27.0 0 ½ ½ 1 0 0 1 ½ 0
35 Manina, Ksenia 3.5 RUS F 2003 1806 -2.25 34.5 25.5 0 1 0 1 0 ½ ½ ½ 0
36 Gudkina, Zhanna 3.5 RUS F 1759 1842 +0.56 34.0 27.5 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 ½ 0
37 Maidanova, Irina 3.0 RUS F 1861 1809 -0.70 34.0 26.5 0 0 0 + 1 ½ 0 ½ 0
38 Butneva, Larisa 3.0 RUS F 1868 1638 -2.38 33.0 24.5 0 0 0 0 + 1 1 0 0
39 Petrochenko, Maria 3.0 RUS F 1491 1615 +0.89 32.5 24.5 0 1 0 0 ½ ½ 0 + 0
40 Yusupova, Lilia 3.0 RUS F 1672 1550 -0.98 32.5 23.5 0 0 + 0 0 0 0 1 1
41 Sundukova, Ksenia 2.5 RUS F 1755 1714 -0.43 32.5 24.0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 + - -
42 Nazarova, Anastasia 2.0 RUS F 0 1551 1551 32.0 24.5 1 0 0 0 0 + 0 0 0
43 Elizarova, Taisia 2.0 RUS F 1662 1540 -0.95 27.0 21.0 - ½ 0 0 1 ½ 0 - 0
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