Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Game of the Goose

From The New York Times, Art and Design Section.

A Quirky Board Game With Versions Spanning 400 Years 

EVE M. KAHN FEB. 25, 2016

Adrian Seville has bought hundreds of board games, but he has hardly any interest in playing them. A retired university administrator living outside London, Dr. Seville has focused on collecting variants of the Game of the Goose, which was invented in the 15th century and remains in production. While its rules may be too simplistic for his tastes — players roll dice and try to beat one another to the 63rd square — he nonetheless described the collecting process as “highly addictive.”

The Grolier Club in Manhattan has borrowed about 70 of Dr. Seville’s finds for an exhibition, “The Royal Game of the Goose: Four Hundred Years of Printed Board Games,” running through May 14. On the boards’ tracks, players maneuver among squares that allow for leaps ahead or lost turns or slogs backward. The squares and the borders on Dr. Seville’s games are printed with images including everything from happy aristocratic lovers to Richard M. Nixon, cannibals, brutalized slaves, shipwrecks, brown envelopes with cash bribes and advertisements for dolls, tires, biscuits, breath mints and gas lighting.

A skating-rink version of the Game of the Goose made in Paris in 1900.CreditAdrian Seville Collection

Given the diversity of themes, Dr. Seville said, “All human life is here.” He has even seen the Game of the Goose adapted to promote sewage pumps. “Some are so dull that they’re actually interesting,” he said. He has paid up to thousands of dollars apiece for the games, which turn up widely at auction houses including, a website he set up with a fellow enthusiast, Luigi Ciompi. 

At the Grolier Club, a few of the games are laid out horizontally under glass; visitors can ask for playing pieces and dice at the front desk and try their hand at racing along the squares. [See exhibit/tour information below between the two asterisk rows].


Wednesday, February 24-Saturday, May 14
Ground Floor Gallery Exhibition: "The Royal Game of the Goose – Four Hundred Years of Printed Board Games," curated by Adrian Seville. Free public tours of the exhibition, led by Grolier Club member Gretchen Adkins, will be offered every Tuesday, 1 PM-2 PM, during the run of the show: March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, WEDNESDAY APRIL 6, April 12, 19, 26, May 3, 10.

Goose or the Game of the Goose, was mentioned in an article I recently posted on January 23, 2016:

Chess, Gambling, and Cards: Tudor Indoor Pasttimes

In the USA a variation of the game is known as Chutes and Ladders (Snakes and Ladders), which itself is derived from an ancient Indian board game called Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu, and was played perhaps as early as the 2nd century BCE.  (See The Times of India, "Who Invented the Game of Snakes and Ladders?," October 8, 2008).

2016 FIDE Women's World Chess Championship Match

How did I miss this?  Maybe because I find it insulting and ridiculous, but female chessplayers are as hungry for decent money to be made as male chessplayers are, so I don't fault the players for buying into the continuation of an utterly sexist structure that condemns female players to the eternal ELO ghetto of women's chess.

FIDE came up with a sponsor in Lviv, Ukraine.  The "match" features GM Mariya Muzychuk versus defending champion GM Hou Yifan.

Here's the official website.  Excellent coverage at the Week in Chess and Chessdom. You can find full games, photos, and analysis at these (and other) websites and Chessdom has live coverage.

March 2 - 18, 2016.

Six games have already been played and Yifan leads 4.0 to 2.0 with four more games to go.  Table below from The Week in Chess:

WCh Women Lviv
Muzychuk, Mariya-Hou, Yifan½-½31C50Giuoco Piano
Hou, Yifan-Muzychuk, Mariya1-032C80Ruy Lopez Open
Muzychuk, Mariya-Hou, Yifan½-½36E01Catalan
Hou, Yifan-Muzychuk, Mariya½-½21C83Ruy Lopez Open
Hou, Yifan-Muzychuk, Mariya½-½33A11Reti Opening
Muzychuk, Mariya-Hou, Yifan0-138C50Giuoco Piano

WCh Women Lviv (UKR), 2-18 iii 2016
Hou, YifangCHN2673½1½½½1....42679
Muzychuk, MariyagUKR2554½0½½½0....22548

10th Annual Grand Pacific Open

Goddesschess has provided funds for the Grand Pacific Open since 2011, and now here we are, with the 10th annual tournament coming up fast!

Here's the website for all the details, registration info, hotel info, etc.

This year's GPO will be held once again in beautiful Victoria, BC, Canada, over the Easter weekend, March 25 - 28, 2016.  Six-round FIDE and CFC rated Swiss tournament.  Guaranteed prize fund of $5,000.  Goddesschess prizes for the chess femmes are in addition to any other prizes for which female players may qualify.

This year WGM Nino Maisuradze is returning to Victoria, hooray! She won the event in 2011 and came in second the next year (2012) when GM Hikaru Nakamura made an unexpected appearance and took the top spot.

WGM Maisuradze together with GM Alexandr Fier will be participating in a simul on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 6:30 p.m., cost is $10/person, on-site registration at 6:15 p.m. -- come one, come all!  It's not often you get to test your mettle against such high calibre players.

Organizers have told me that registration has already broken their record and this event promises to be he largest ever, hooray!

We are always thrilled to see how many chess femmes come out to play in great local events like the Grand Pacific Open.  This is why we direct our funding toward such events, three events annually in my hometown of Milwaukee that are organized by my adopted chess club (Southwest Chess Club located in Hales Corners, Wisconsin), the annual GPO in BC organized by Victoria Chess, and the annual Montreal Open Chess Championship in Quebec, this year organized by the Association des E'tudiant de l'ETS.

Ladies, let's make this the best turn-out year ever for chess femmes at all our Goddesschess sponsored events!

The Destruction of the Lion of Al-Lat at Palmyra by Islamist Terrorists

From BBC News Magazine

Museum of Lost Objects: The Lion of al-Lat

    March 4, 2016
Two thousand years ago a statue of a lion watched over a temple in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. More recently, after being excavated in the 1970s, it became an emblem of the city and a favourite with tourists. But it was one of the first things IS militants destroyed when they moved in last year.
Michal Gawlikowski and Khaled al-Asaad
Michal Gawlikowski and the late Khaled al-Asaad, Palmyra's director of antiquities
It's said that there are more than 300 words for lion in Arabic. That's a measure of the importance of the lion in the history of the Middle East. For Bedouin tribes, the lion represented the biggest danger in the wild - until the last one in the region died, some time in the 19th Century.
The animal was feared and admired and this must explain why a statue of a lion twice as high as a human being, weighing 15 tonnes, was fashioned by artists in ancient Palmyra.

With spiralling, somewhat loopy eyes, and thick whiskers swept back angrily along its cheek bones, the lion was clearly a fighter, but it was also a lover. In between its legs, it held a horned antelope. The antelope stretched a delicate hoof over the lion's monstrous paws, and perhaps it was safe. The lion was a symbol of protection - it was both marking and protecting the entrance to the temple.

But no-one could protect the lion when IS arrived and wrecked it in May 2015.

"It was a real shock, because you know, in a way, it was our lion," says Polish archaeologist Michal Gawlikowski, whose team unearthed it in 1977.

The "Adventuring" of Katharine Menke Keeling Woolley

Excellent post from the Penn Museum Blog.

Katharine helping Leonard record measurements of drain pipes at Ur.

By: Kyra Kaercher
Ur Project February 2016

Life on a dig is always exciting, and particularly when it is the life of a woman on a dig in the 1920s. Many women travelers went to the East to escape the restrictive roles that European society had assigned to them. Women like Gertrude Bell (1868-1926), who helped to write the Iraqi antiquities law of 1924, Jane Dieulafoy (1851-1916), who excavated at Susa in Iran, or Isabelle Eberhardt (1877-1904) who traveled throughout North Africa, turned to the East and a life of adventure. Katharine Menke Keeling Woolley (1888-1945) was no different. Raised in Germany and educated at Oxford, she became a nurse during WWI where she met and married her first husband, Colonel Bertram Keeling. He worked as a surveyor in Egypt and they moved to Cairo. Not long after their marriage, he committed suicide on the Giza Plateau, in a supposed fit of temporary insanity (Henrietta McCall Lecture 2012). Multiple theories have been put forth as to the reason for this insanity; one being that Katharine had Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, and would not be able to have children (Henrietta McCall Lecture 2012).

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