Tuesday, December 10, 2013

European Women Team Championship 2013

The 2013 European Team Chess Championships took place in Warsaw, Poland November 8 - 17, 2013.  Women's Team composition at Chess Results.  Check out below for information on the outstanding performance of GM Alexandra Kosteniuk

Here are the women's teams final standings:

Final Ranking after 9 Rounds

Rk.SNo TeamGames + = - TB1 TB2 TB3
Poland III951311160.019.0
Czech Republic951311158.021.0
Poland Futures950410132.518.5
Tie Break1: Matchpoints (2 for wins, 1 for Draws, 0 for Losses)
Tie Break2: Olympiad-Sonneborn-Berger-Tie-Break without lowest result (Khanty-Mansiysk)
Tie Break3: points (game-points)
Here is the composition of the top three women's teams:

Team-Composition with round-results

1. Ukraine (RtgAvg:2498, Captain: Brodskiy, Mykhaylo / TB1: 15 / TB2: 222.5)
1GMLagno Kateryna2542UKR11½110½106.092424254965.880.12101.2
2GMUshenina Anna2492UKR111½11½½6.58233325846.55.630.87108.7
3IMMuzychuk Mariya2491UKR11½111106.58236126126.55.351.151011.5
4GMZhukova Natalia2466UKR01½½0½½3.072324227434.71-1.7110-17.1
5IMGaponenko Inna2402UKR½½½½2.042272227222.63-0.6310-6.3
2. Russia (RtgAvg:2491, Captain: Rublevskiy \sergey / TB1: 14 / TB2: 267.5)
1GMGunina Valentina2509RUS1½11½0½½16.092419254465.520.48104.8
2GMKosteniuk Alexandra2510RUS1111½1117.58232227667.55.851.651016.5
3WGMPogonina Natalija2499RUS101011½4.57233924414.54.90-0.4010-4.0
4WGMGirya Olga2447RUS½11½10½4.57228523874.54.88-0.3810-3.8
5WGMGoryachkina Aleksandra2438RUS0½1½½2.55227922792.53.47-0.9710-9.7
3. Poland (RtgAvg:2410, Captain: Matlak Marek / TB1: 14 / TB2: 203)
1GMSocko Monika2431POL1½1½01½0½5.092466250954.060.94109.4
2WGMZawadzka Jolanta2383POL1100½1½½4.58240624494.53.760.74107.4
3WGMMajdan-Gajewska Joanna2420POL½100113.56232723843.53.73-0.2310-2.3
4IMRajlich Iweta2404POL½1001.54242223351.51.90-0.4010-4.0
5WGMSzczepkowska-Horowska Karina2382POL11½1½½½117.092294251475.461.541523.1

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS 2510), the 12th Women's World Chess Champion, had a best rating for points:

1GMKosteniuk Alexandra2510Russia7.5893.822766
2IMMkrtchian Lilit2447Armenia7.5983.312612
3WIMSikorova Olga2278Czech Republic7.0887.542416

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk also had the best ratings performance:

No. NameRtgTeamRpPts.Games%Bo.
GMKosteniuk Alexandra2510Russia27667.5893.82
IMMkrtchian Lilit2447Armenia26127.5983.31
IMMuzychuk Mariya2491Ukraine26126.5881.32
GMUshenina Anna2492Ukraine25846.5881.32

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk also came in second overall in percentage of wins:

1WIMHairapetian Anna2221Armenia100.0141.00
2GMKosteniuk Alexandra2510Russia93.8827.52766
3WIMHaast Anne2262Netherlands92.9736.52579

2013 London Chess Classic Women's Invitational

Hola, darlings!

The Women's Invitational began on December 7th and runs through December 15, 2013.  You won't find the top-rated female chessplayers in the world here, but I would love to have any one of these players come to Milwaukee to play in one of our Hales Corners Chess Challenges and whip some male chess butt, heh heh heh.  What a lovely group of young ladies, too.

Current cross-table:

Rank Name Flags Score Fed. M/F Rating TPR W-We 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1 IM Ciuksyte, Dagne 3.5 ENG F 2345 2605 +1.11 1 ½ 1 1
2 WIM Fuchs, Judith 2.0 GER F 2337 2325 -0.03 1 ½ ½
3 WIM Foisor, Mihaela-Veronica 2.0 ROU F 2216 2414 +0.79 1 1 0
4 WGM Nadig, Kruttika 2.0 IND F 2127 2301 +0.88 0 ½ ½ 1
5 IM Bulmaga, Irina 1.5 ROU F 2396 2117 -1.47 0 ½ 1 0
6 WFM Hegarty, Sarah N 0.0 ENG F 2127 1534 -1.28 0 0 0 0

Generated by Swiss Master for Windows on 10-12-2013 at 16:12

Equus More Than Twice As Old As Previously Thought

This is fascinating!  The techniques for analyzing DNA are growing by leaps and bounds even as I type this.  The amount of information that is being revealed by the latest analyses is staggering. 

From Western Digs

700,000-Year-Old Horse Found in Yukon Permafrost Yields Oldest DNA Ever Decoded

Blake de PastinoNov 19,2013
The frozen remains of a horse more than half a million years old have reluctantly given up their genetic secrets, providing scientists with the oldest DNA ever sequenced.

The horse was discovered in 2003 in the ancient permafrost of Canada’s west-central Yukon Territory, not far from the Alaskan border.

And although the animal was dated to between 560,000 and 780,000 years old, an international team of researchers was able to use a new combination of techniques to decipher its genetic code.

Among the team’s findings is that the genus Equus — which includes all horses, donkeys, and zebras — dates back more than 4 million years, twice as long ago as scientists had previously believed.

“When we started the project, everyone — including us, to be honest — thought it was impossible,” said Dr. Ludovic Orlando of the University of Copenhagen, who coordinated the research, in a statement to Western Digs.

“And it was to some extent, with the methods available by then. So it’s clearly methodological advances that made this possible.”

Orlando and his colleagues published their findings this summer in the journal Nature; he discussed them today in a lecture at The Royal Society, London.

Previous to this, the oldest genome ever sequenced was of a 120,000-year-old polar bear — no small feat considering that the half-life of a DNA molecule is estimated to be about 521 years. By this reckoning, even under the best conditions, DNA could remain intact for no more than 6.8 million years.

But Orlando’s team was able to make the most of what they had for a number of reasons, he said.

The fact that the remains were frozen helped slow the rate of decay. But they also “targeted specific DNA preservation niches,” he said, like the protein called collagen found in the animal’s bones, which is more DNA-rich than other tissues.

“But also we pioneered the usage of what is called true Single Molecular Sequencing that basically reads through molecules as they stand, without further manipulation,” Orlando added. By tracking a full, single DNA molecule, the team was able to avoid having to “amplify” fragments, which can often introduce errors.

To get a better sense of what this new, ancient genome held, Orlando’s team compared it against that of a 43,000-year-old horse, plus modern domestic horse breeds, and finally the Przewalski’s horse, an equid that makes its home on the Asian steppes and holds the title as the last surviving population of wild horses.

These full-genome comparisons allowed the scientists to construct “a molecular clock” that can reveal benchmarks in the horse’s evolutionary history, Orlando said.

And first among its revelations is that the shared ancestor of all horses, donkeys, and zebras lived more than 4 million years ago.

“So basically we know that members of the genus Equus are at least twice as old as previously believed,” he said.

The comparisons also shed light on genetic variations, and therefore population size, over time, Orlando noted, revealing “bursts of expansion” during cooler periods as grasslands grew, and contractions in size during times of warming.

The next, most obvious subject for these DNA-decoding techniques are early human ancestors, he said.

Methods like those used on the ancient horse could be applied to determine, for example, how human species like Homo heidelbergensis may have been related genetically to Homo neandertalensis and modern humans, he said.

“Basically genomes of that age will enable us to test the validity of the many paleontological species in our family tree,” he said, “and to determine how they relate to each other, and whether they exchanged genes or not.”

“It’s not the future,” he said of whether this technology is in reach. “It’s basically already there.”

Mysterious Dog Burials in Pots at Abydos

At Discovery News

Ancient Dogs Found Buried in Pots in Egypt

Archaeologists have found some of the most curious canine burials ever unearthed in Egypt — two well preserved dogs buried in pots some 3,000 years ago.

Nicknamed Houdini and Chewie, the dog pots were discovered at Shunet ez Zebib, a large mud-brick structure located at Abydos — one of Egypt’s oldest standing royal monuments. The site was built around 2750 B.C and was dedicated to Khasekhemwy, a second dynasty king.

It is also known for the the thousands of ibis burials in jars that had been recovered in the dunes nearby, and for the interments of other animals, mostly raptors and canines.

“The site provided a very secure structure, with conveniently soft, sandy fill that was easy for quick burials within a sacred space,” Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, wrote in a recently published Festschrift in honor of Dieter Kessler, a renowned scholar in the field of animal cults and Egyptian religion.

A leading expert on animal mummies, Ikram analyzed the results of a 2009 excavation led by David O’Connor and Matthew Adams, respectively director and field director of the North Abydos Project at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Digging in the Shunet ez-Zebib’s southeast corner, the archaeologists unearthed several jars containing animal burials.

“Of the many jars that were recovered, only 13 have thus far been properly investigated. Of these, four were empty, three contained ibises, and five were filled with dogs,” Ikram said.
While three pots contained skeletonized remains of dogs, the last two housed Houdini and Chewie, two animals with their fur largely intact.

“Although it is common to find birds in pots, it is rare to find other animals buried in this way,” Ikram told Discovery News.

In particular, no canine burials in pots have been recorded in the many dog cemeteries scattered throughout Egypt.

“These jars were probably made and used for some sort of storage, and then re-used as coffins for the dogs. They are quite charming as the dogs are curled up in the pots,” Ikra said.

Houdini was found in a large two-handled pot, and was buried without any wrappings.

Archaeologists have found some of the most curious canine burials ever unearthed in Egypt --
two well preserved dogs buried in pots some 3000 years ago.
Photo with kind permission of the NYU-IFA mission to Abydos

“We could not figure out how such a large animal was fit into the pot, so we named him after the magician, Houdini,” Ikram said.

The animal’s fur was brown to auburn-coppery, with portions darker and stiffer, as if they had been anointed by some substance such as oil or even resin.

“It seems as if he were put into the pot, hind limbs first, then adjusted and the rest of the body pushed in so that he was curled around,” Ikram said.

Although it is likely that Houdini is a dog, certain identification of the species is impossible as the animal could not be removed from the jar without compromising its integrity.

“The color of his almost auburn fur is unusual in a dog, as is the length of the hairs, which tend to be shorter in Egyptian dogs than the 3.5 inches found in the case of Houdini,” Ikram said.

“The only other viable identification would be a fox, but the fur’s color is not in keeping with the foxes found in Egypt today,” she added.

Not as well preserved as Houdini, Chewie was found in a large jar filled with the broken pieces of another large pot, which was used as a packing material to keep the dog in situ.

“Once the broken bits of pottery were removed, the dog contained within the pot was completely visible,” Ikram said.

The lack of evidence of any textile in the jar suggests Chewie was buried without bandages.

“The bones from his right foreleg were pushing through the skin and yellow fur,” Ikram added.

According to the researcher, both animals were mature, probably around five years of age.

“They were probably votive offerings unless they held the position of sacred animals — perhaps the pot burials are indicative of their being Sacred rather than just Votive,”Ikram said.

How the two animals were pushed into pots from which they cannot be extracted now remains a mystery.

“Without further examination and chemical testing it is not possible to understand the process by which these two animals were preserved,” Ikram said.

Among the possible embalming scenarios, the most likely treatment would include evisceration, dessication and defatting with natron salt.

Oiled and resined, the animals were then pushed into the jars.

“Sealed and buried in layers of protective sand, and cocooned in their jars, the animals’ bodies were well preserved so that they could serve as vehicles for their spirits, or kas, for eternity,” Ikram said.
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