Saturday, August 18, 2012

2012 Chess Olympiad

Hola darlings!

The next big international chess event on the horizon is the Chess Olympiad.  Official website.

I really love the by-line "Let's meet where the continents meet..."  Actual OTB action begins on August 28th, 10 days away!

List of registered countries

Of course, I'm biased toward my home country of the USA, and Mr. Don's country, Canada.  But I have individual player favorites, too, and they're from all over the place!

I'm not sure I counted exactly right, but it appears that 131 countries this year are sending women's team to the Olympiad, and 162 men's teams.  In this day and age, so sad and shame on you, countries, for shorting female chess players their chance to play on an international stage!  It isn't necessarily poor countries, either, that are not fielding a team of female chess players.  You can see for yourself from the list of registered countries which ones are not fielding a female team.  I think it speaks for itself.

USA Women:
PhotoBoardNameFIDE IDRatingTitle
1Zatonskih, Anna141015722510IM
2Krush, Irina20127822464IM
3Foisor, Sabina12129152364WGM
4Goletani, Rusudan136011052341IM
5Ambrahamyan, Tatev133019182329WGM

On the USA Men's Team, I will be rooting for GM Ray Robson (2601), who is the Board 5 players.  While the youngest team member by far, he is already a seasoned veteran!  Go Ray!

Canadian Women:
PhotoBoardNameFIDE IDRatingTitle
1Khoudgarian, Natalia26021212158WIM
2Peng, Jackie26098191944WCM
3Orlova, Yelizaveta26018261947WCM
4Botez, Alexandra26033652021WCM
5Lacau-Rodean, Iulia12112851999
Three of these women did not play in the 2012 Canadian Women's National Championship.   One - Jackie Peng - quit after playing some rounds and not scoring very well. Stay tuned for further action.

Really? Call me Sceptical...

I don't believe for a second that the so-called Communists in charge of the Chinese government have not attempted to and possibly already succeeded in tunnelling underground to reach the tomb of China's first Han Dynasty emperor.  When those very same "leaders" start dying off of old age or poisoning en masse we'll see what mysterious Han Dynasty artefacts heretofore not documented in any legitimate collection come up for auction.  But, of course, there is always the undergound route, artefacts changing hands from billionaire "princeling" to billionaire that will never the light of public day.
Count on it, darlings.  Sadly.

The Secret Tomb of China's 1st Emperor: Will We Ever See Inside?

Buried deep under a hill in central China, surrounded by an underground moat of poisonous mercury, lies an entombed emperor who's been undisturbed for more than two millennia.
The tomb holds the secrets of China's first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, who died on Sept. 10, 210 B.C., after conquering six warring states to create the first unified nation of China.
The answers to a number of historical mysteries may lie buried inside that tomb, but whether modern people will ever see inside this mausoleum depends not just on the Chinese government, but on science.
"The big hill, where the emperor is buried — nobody's been in there," said archaeologist Kristin Romey, curatorial consultant for the Terracotta Warrior exhibition at New York City’s Discovery Times Square. "Partly it's out of respect for the elders, but they also realize that nobody in the world right now has the technology to properly go in and excavate it."
The Terracotta Warrior exhibition, featuring artifacts from the Qin dynasty and nine life-size statues from the extended burial complex built for Qin Shi Huang, is on display through Aug. 26.

The warring states
Qin Shi Huang (pronounced "chin shuh hwang") was born in 259 B.C., first son to the king of Qin, one of six independent kingdoms inside modern China. These kingdoms had been warring for more than 200 years, but through a combination of military strength, strategy and natural disasters, Qin Shi Huang conquered them all, proclaiming himself not just a king, but also an emperor — the first of China.
Scholars still debate the details of how this occurred, and what unique tactics allowed the Qin emperor to achieve what no one had managed before.

When he died, Qin Shi Huang was buried in the most opulent tomb complex ever constructed in China, a sprawling, city-size collection of underground caverns containing everything the emperor would need for the afterlife. The ancient Chinese, along with many cultures including ancient Egyptians, believed that items and even people buried with a person could be taken with him to the afterlife.

But instead of burying his armies, concubines, administrators and servants with him, the Qin emperor came up with an alternative: clay reproductions.

Shocking discovery
In 1974, a group of farmers digging wells near Xi'an, China stumbled upon one of the most shocking archaeological discoveries of all time. The life-size terracotta solider they dug out of the ground turned out to be just one of an army of thousands, each utterly unique, with individual clothing, hair and facial features.

For almost four decades, archaeologists have been excavating the site. So far, they've uncovered about 2,000 clay soldiers, but experts estimate there are more than 8,000 in total.
"They're going to be digging there for centuries," Romey predicted.

Still, scientists have yet to touch the central tomb, which holds a palace containing the body of Qin Shi Huang.
"It's really smart what the Chinese government is doing," Romey told LiveScience. "When we went into [Egyptian King] Tut's tomb, think about all the information we lost just based on the excavation techniques of the 1930s. There's so much additional that we could have learned, but the techniques back then weren’t what we have now."

"Even though we may think we have great archaeological excavation techniques right now," she said, "who knows, a century down the road if we open this tomb, what they're going to say?"

To open the tomb?
The decision whether to explore the tomb anytime soon, or ever, is up to the government of China. That decision will likely be influenced by the pace of technological progress.

"In archaeological conservation, every year you have major new developments," Romey said. "When we began excavating [the soldiers] in the '70s, the minute they were exposed to air and sunlight, the pigment just flaked off. Now they’ve figured out a new technique where they can actually preserve the paint as they excavate."

Perhaps, if science advances enough, that excavation wouldn't cause serious damage to the burial site, and the tomb will finally be opened.

"I wouldn’t be surprised if you had some sort of robotic visual survey going in there at some point," Romey said.

And despite their desire to protect the treasures of antiquity, archaeologists are itching with curiosity to find out what's inside Qin Shi Huang's central tomb.

Rivers of mercury
Ancient writings say the emperor created an entire underground kingdom and palace, complete with a ceiling mimicking the night sky, set with pearls as stars. Pits full of terracotta concubines have never been discovered, though experts predict they exist somewhere in the complex.
And Qin Shi Huang's tomb is also thought to be encircled with rivers of liquid mercury, which the ancient Chinese believed could bestow immortality.

"It's kind of ironic," Romey said. "This is probably how he died, by ingesting mercury. He was taking all these mercury pills because he wanted to live forever and it killed him by the age of 39."

That moat of mercury also presents another reason why archaeologists are loath to explore the tomb just yet — doing so would likely be very dangerous, according to soil samples around the tomb, which indicate extremely high levels of mercury contamination.
In the end, scientists and historians must always weigh their desire to know more with the damage such inquiry would cause.
"Archaeology, ultimately, is a destructive science," Romey said. "You have to destroy stuff in order to learn about it." [Really?  REALLY?  Back in Woolley's day, maybe. Because they were all about treasure hunting.  They didn't give a shit about the culture or the context.  They wanted gold, and jewels, and precious stones and wonderful still-intact artefacts.  But not today.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it!  Of course, you do have the option of continuing to drink the koolaide...  Is it just me, or did anyone else happpen to notice how cloe this person's name is to Romney.  Who, exactly, is funding her job right now, by the way?]


Hola, darlings!

The title of this post is thanks to David Bowie.  No truer words were ever spoken than what he wrote in that song

Well, there is no easy way to say this, so I'll just come right out with it.  The Goddesschess website that has been online since 1999 is now retired.

Time and unforeseen circumstance has, alas, forced us into this sad and painful decision. We have given so much of ourselves and our lives the past 13 plus years to building the Goddesschess website -- it is very difficult to bid all of those efforts adieu.

That is not to say the Goddesschess website we all knew and love is entirely gone -- the Wayback Machine has a version of Goddesschess from April, 2011.  I have not tested it thoroughly but I assume that internal links will still work and active links to outside sources will continue to work as long as those sources are on the internet.  I can but say to you - try it out and see. 

Many of the things that Goddesschess did and made available to readers when we first debuted online on May 6, 1999 are now readily available elsewhere on the internet.  Back in the day, they were not!  So, the internet has finally caught up with what made Goddesschess so wonderful and unique.  The fact that we were pioneers and did it first (and, I think, best!) will not change.

This blog will continue as long as health and time permit.  I hope Don McLean will join me here -- it is, after all, a blog that was created back in 2007 as an adjunct to Goddesschess and it was a team idea, meant to be a team project. Or, perhaps he will create his very own blog, in which case I will make sure to harrass the hell out of him as much as possible.  I've been encouraging him to explore that option. LOL!  If he does, I'll let you know -- or he will, as he is a joint admin here and can post at will.  And I'll be a nice woman (for a change) and not delete anything he chooses to post here.  Delete Wars?  Oh my!

This blog has now assumed the name of GODDESSCHESS and will hence be known!

Goddesschess will continue to promote the exploration of the origins of chess and other ancient board games, and all subjects that may (even remotely) be connected thereto.  We will continue in whatever ways we can the promotion of female chessplayers and chess femme chess events, because females bring a particularly unique perspective to chess (and other board games), even when they do not think they do.  We will continue our promotional funding of events that bring to the fore female chessplayers and award female chess players for their hard work and endeavors.  If we can think up new ways to do this, we will. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Look into History: The Clifford Family Great Books of Record

From Science Daily
Renaissance Women Fought Men, and Won

ScienceDaily (Aug. 14, 2012) — A three-year study into a set of manuscripts compiled and written by one of Britain's earliest feminist figures has revealed new insights into how women challenged male authority in the 17th century.

Lady Ann Clifford, about age 30
From Wikipedia
Dr Jessica Malay has painstakingly transcribed Lady Anne Clifford's 600,000-word Great Books of Record, which documents the trials and triumphs of the female aristocrat's family dynasty over six centuries and her bitter battle to inherit castles and villages across northern England.

Lady Anne, who lived from 1590 to 1676, was, in her childhood, a favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. Her father died when she was 15 but contrary to an agreement that stretched back to the time of Edward II -- that the Clifford's vast estates in Cumbria and Yorkshire should pass to the eldest heir whether male or female ­- the lands were handed over to her uncle.

Following an epic legal struggle in which she defied her father, both her husbands, King James I and Oliver Cromwell, Lady Anne finally took possession of the estates [at age 53], which included the five castles of Skipton, where she was born, Brougham, Brough, Pendragon and Appleby.

Malay, a Reader in English Literature at the University of Huddersfield, is set to publish a new, complete edition of Lady Anne's Great Books of Record, which contains rich narrative evidence of how women circumvented male authority in order to participate more fully in society.

Malay said: "Lady Anne's Great Books of Record challenge the notion that women in the 16th and 17th centuries lacked any power or control over their own lives.

"There is this misplaced idea that the feminist movement is predominantly a 1960s invention but debates and campaigns over women's rights and equality stretch back to the Middle Ages."

The Great Books of Record comprise three volumes, the last of which came up for auction in 2003. The Cumbria Archives bought the third set and now house all three. In 2010, Malay secured a £158,000 grant from the Leverhulme Trust to study the texts.

Malay said: "Virginia Woolf argued that a woman with Shakespeare's gifts during the Renaissance Period would have been denied the opportunity to develop her talents due to the social barriers restricting women.

"But Lady Anne is regarded as a literary figure in her own right and when I started studying the Great Books of Record I realised there is a lot more to her writing than we were led to believe. I was struck by how much they revealed about the role of women, the importance of family networks and the interaction between lords and tenants over 500 years of social and political life in Britain."

In her Great Books of Record, Lady Anne presents the case for women to be accepted as inheritors of wealth, by drawing on both documentary evidence and biographies of her female ancestors to reveal that the Clifford lands of the North were brought to them through marriage.

She argued that since many men in the 16th and 17th centuries had inherited their titles of honour from their mothers or grandmothers, it was only right that titles of honour could be passed down to female heirs.

She also contended that women were well suited to the title of Baron since a key duty of office was to provide counsel in Parliament, where women were not allowed. While men were better at fighting wars, women excelled in giving measured advice, she wrote.

Malay said: "Lady Anne appropriates historical texts, arranging and intervening in these in such a way as to prove her inevitable and just rights as heir.

"Her foregrounding of the key contributions of the female to the success of the Clifford dynasty work to support both her own claims to the lands of her inheritance and her decision to resist cultural imperatives that demanded female subservience to male authority.

"Elizabeth I was a strong role model for Lady Anne in her youth. While she was monarch, women had a level of access to the royal court that men could only dream of, which spawned a new sense of confidence among aristocratic women."

Malay's research into the Great Books of Record, which contain material from the early 12th century to the early 18th century, reveals the importance of family alliances in forming influential political networks.
It shows that women were integral to the construction of these networks, both regionally and n

Malay said: "The Great Books explain the legal avenues open to women. Married women could call on male friends to act on their behalf. As part of marriage settlements many women had trusts set up to allow them access to their own money which they could in turn use in a variety of business enterprises or to help develop a wide network of social contacts.

"Men would often rely on their wives to access wider familial networks, leading to wives gaining higher prestige in the family."

Lady Anne was married twice and widowed twice. After her second husband died she moved back to the North and, as hereditary High Sherriff of Westmorland, set about restoring dilapidated castles, almshouses and churches.

Malay said: "Widows enjoyed the same legal rights as men. While the husband was alive then the wife would require his permission to do anything. Widows were free to act on their own without any male guardianship."

The Great Books also provide a valuable insight into Medieval and Renaissance society, with one document describing a six-year-old girl from the Clifford family being carried to the chapel at Skipton on her wedding day.

Lady Anne also recounted her father's voyages to the Caribbean and she kept a diary of her own life, which includes summaries of each year from her birth until her death at the age of 86 in 1676. Malay said: "The books are full of all sorts of life over 600 years, which is what is so exciting about them."

Malay's Anne Clifford Project, the Great Books of Record was the catalyst for an exhibition of the Great Books of Record, which are, for the first time, being exhibited in public alongside The Great Picture at the Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal.

The Great Picture is a huge (so huge a window of the gallery had to be removed to accommodate its arrival) triptych that marks Lady Anne's succession to her inheritance.

The left panel depicts Lady Anne at 15, when she was disinherited. The right panel shows Lady Anne in middle age when she finally regained the Clifford estates. The central panel depicts Lady Anne's parents with her older brothers shortly after Lady Anne had been conceived.

2012 FIDE World Junior Championships (Girls)

Play wrapped up yesterday.  Here are the final standings from The Week in Chess (13 rounds):

World Juniors U20 g Athens GRE Wed 1st Aug 2012 - Thu 16th Aug 2012
Leading Final Round 13 Standings:
1Guo QiWGMCHN23589.527845
2Ziaziulkina NastassiaWGMBLR23429.527790
3Bodnaruk AnastasiaIMRUS24149.527475
4Medina Warda AuliaWFMINA22189.526562
5Arabidze MeriWIMGEO23799.027533
6Cori T DeysiWGMPER24138.527647
7Bulmaga IrinaWIMROU23808.527570
8Sihite Chelsie MonicaWIMINA21628.526794
9Wang JueCHN23558.526777
10Abdulla KhayalaWIMAZE22178.525626
11Kulkarni BhaktiWIMIND21598.026927
12Goryachkina AleksandraWGMRUS23618.026598
13Rodriguez Rueda Paula AndreaWIMCOL21968.026171
14Osmak IulijaWFMUKR21718.025637
15Vojinovic JovanaWGMMNE23377.527215
16Kulon KlaudiaWFMPOL22597.527046
17Varga KlaraWIMHUN21817.526607
18Ibrahimova SabinaAZE20917.526053
19De Seroux CamilleWFMSUI21017.525468
20Kashlinskaya AlinaWGMRUS23917.026988
21Mona KhaledWGMEGY21217.026357
22Manelidou MariaGRE20567.025601
23Semenova ElenaWIMRUS21347.025584
24Schut LisaWIMNED23057.025544
25Abdumalik ZhansayaWIMKAZ21937.025148
26Orozco Lina YomayraWCMCOL21507.025059
27Narva TriinWCMEST20287.025022
28Unapkoshvili NaniGEO20117.024657
29Ivana Maria FurtadoWFMIND21027.024362
30Pavlidou EkateriniWIMGRE22377.024349
31Cemhan KardelenWCMTUR19386.526114
32Petrova IrinaWFMUKR21736.525993
33Klek Hanna-MarieGER22486.525480
34Batkovskyte DominykaLTU20966.525275
35Anusca Madalina-MariaROU20796.524854
36Galunova TsvetaBUL20916.524675
37Pon NkrithikaWIMIND21196.524285
38Kalaydina Regina VeronickaCAN19286.524024
39Ivekovic AnaCRO19596.025946
40Liao SimoneWFMUSA19336.025647
41Iordanidou ZoiGRE21666.025624
42Nevioselaya MariaBLR20576.025078
43Dominguez GisellaARG18316.024396
44Lefevre MargauxFRA20436.024328
45Edes ZsofiaSVK20816.023809
46Kolaric SpelaWFMSLO20716.023724
47Nonkovic BogdanaSRB19505.525561
48Serefidou DespinaGRE18655.525534
49Sargsyan ShushannaARM20475.525219
50Owens Megan RWLS18165.524697
51Imeeva AisaRUS20955.524331
52Chiarion ElisaITA19785.524293
53Frey AlisaWFMGER20355.524024
54Forsa EliseNOR18365.523967
55Medeiros Thauane FerreiraBRA18555.523294
56Bucar NatasaSLO20225.523109
57York-Andersen AnnaENG18285.522846
58Messam-Sparks LateefahENG19475.024406
59Vatkali DimitraGRE19364.524663
60Lolici Iselin-AmandaROU19674.524038
61Koutsogiannopoulou TheodoraGRE18974.523396
62Sena Moura DanielleBRA18764.522963
63Terzidaki AlexandraGRE19584.522849
64Tuzi BrunaALB15464.023262
65Psofimi MiliaGRE14371.023027
66Kurbonboyeva Sarvinoz21430.00.0
66 players

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Who Has What at Stake in Keeping Neanderthal an "Ape Man?"

Is this a case of follow the money?  Or follow the academic reputation(s) at stake?  Will the 19th century line of reasoning about where we came from and how we got here take over the top once again?  Or will the 21st century view propelled by new technologies and new views ultimately prevail?

Neanderthal breeding idea doubted

2012 FIDE World Junior Championship (Girls)

Standings after R12:

1WGMGuo Qi2358CHN92562823072500
2WGMZiaziulkina Nastassia2342BLR2553122982456
3IMBodnaruk Anastasia2414RUS2538422902448
4WIMBulmaga Irina2380ROU2535222862444
5WGMCori T Deysi2413PER2529222822440
6WFMMedina Warda Aulia2218INA2418221772335
7WIMArabidze Meri2379GEO82535222852410
8WIMAbdulla Khayala2217AZE82326821002225
9WGMVojinovic Jovana2337MNE2505322572352
10WFMKulon Klaudia2259POL2470422272322
11WIMSihite Chelsie Monica2162INA2445721992294
12Wang Jue2355CHN2436422012296
13WIMVarga Klara2181HUN2422821812276
14Ibrahimova Sabina2091AZE2363921252220
15WGMKashlinskaya Alina2391RUS72481722422299
16WIMKulkarni Bhakti2159IND72462222102267
17WGMGoryachkina Aleksandra2361RUS72447722032252
18WGMMona Khaled2121EGY72399621532210
19WIMRodriguez Rueda Paula Andrea2196COL72397821602217
20WIMSchut Lisa2305NED72338521102167
21WFMOsmak Iulija2171UKR72324620982155
22WIMAbdumalik Zhansaya2193KAZ72295220742131
23WIMSemenova Elena2134RUS2355621142143
24Manelidou Maria2056GRE2345121062135
25Klek Hanna-Marie2248GER2337921092138
26WFMDe Seroux Camille2101SUI2322020862115
27WCMOrozco Lina Yomayra2150COL2300320722101
28WCMNarva Triin2028EST2288820432056
29Unapkoshvili Nani2011GEO2255520142037
30WFMIvana Maria Furtado2102IND2235120042011
31WFMPetrova Irina2173UKR62391421542154
32Iordanidou Zoi2166GRE62338721102110
33Anusca Madalina-Maria2079ROU62268120412041
34WIMPavlidou Ekaterini2237GRE62218320042004
35WCMCemhan Kardelen1938TUR2405821762147
36Ivekovic Ana1959CRO2386521422113
37WFMLiao Simone1933USA2359021352106
38Nonkovic Bogdana1950SRB2347020852056
39Serefidou Despina1865GRE2343821042048
40Batkovskyte Dominyka2096LTU2341020922051
41Sargsyan Shushanna2047ARM2328120932064
42Nevioselaya Maria2057BLR2314520812052
43Galunova Tsveta2091BUL2272520492020
44Dominguez Gisella1831ARG2232520301965
45WIMPon Nkrithika2119IND2226320081979
46WFMFrey Alisa2035GER2209619781941
47Kalaydina Regina Veronicka1928CAN2198919601923
48WFMKolaric Spela2071SLO2189319641924
49Edes Zsofia2081SVK2185019611921
50Bucar Natasa2022SLO2099019151843
51Lefevre Margaux2043FRA52236120161959
52Vatkali Dimitra1936GRE2282720551968
53Owens Megan R1816WLS2273020581971
54Imeeva Aisa2095RUS2245520131904
55Chiarion Elisa1978ITA2239620181931
56Forsa Elise1836NOR2203120031870
57Lolici Iselin-Amanda1967ROU2199519641866
58Koutsogiannopoulou Theodora1897GRE2141819531814
59Medeiros Thauane Ferreira1855BRA2133619411807
60York-Andersen Anna1828ENG2130019361803
61Terzidaki Alexandra1958GRE2099419211776
62Sena Moura Danielle1876BRA2086819011764
63Messam-Sparks Lateefah1947ENG42296920881913
64Tuzi Bruna1546ALB42143418891774
65Psofimi Milia1437GRE12108018101116

2012 Canadian Zonals - More Videos!

The top three ladies receive their prizes - and check out the gorgeous trophy awarded to WIM Khoudgarian:

The top finishing men, including GM Sambuev (and Sambuev Jr.) receive their prizes:

2012 Goddesschess Canadian Women's Chess Championship

Interview with Canadian Women's Champion WIM Natalia Khoudgarian:

Interview with Qiyu Zhu and Linda Shi:

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2012 Canadian Zonals

Some photographs from Mr. Don, at yesterday's closing ceremonies/party:

The Champions:  GM Bator Sambuev (left) and WIM Natalia Khoudgarian (Women's) (right).
Not sure how the prizes were divied up in the Zonal where all the guys played -- there were four players each of
whom finished with 6.0.  Also, I do not know who is who, except for Bator Sambuev, whom I recognize from
his playing in the City of Montreal Championships. 
3IMNORITSYN Nikolay2472CAN27b117w111b11w015b014w18b12b010w16.0
4IMGERZHOY Leonid2448CAN6w126b18w½2b012w½16b½17w115b11b½6.0
5FMWANG Richard2338CAN21b022w114b17w½18b115w½10w½16b12w½6.0
6CMGUSEV Nikita2117CAN4b025w117b½30w126b½8w024b114w112b16.0

Here's a future champion:

Sambuev, Jr.

How can I tell he's a future champion?  Because he is already trying to take the trophy from Dad:

More pics later!
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