Friday, August 16, 2019

I Love Me A Good Squirrel Commercial

This is so cute!  It rather reminds me of my backyard when I put out the hazelnuts in the morning and evening for my tribe of squirrels.  I've yet, however, to have a man show up with a squirrel's mask on.  Probably a good thing - I'd likely attack him with my broom...

Monday, August 12, 2019

FIDE Women's Grand Prix Series 2019-2020

The places and dates are set, along with the List of Players.  FIDE announcement on the upcoming events.  Players must play in 3 of the 4 events. 

10th – 23rd 2019
2nd – 15th 2019
1st – 14th 2020
2nd – 15th 2020
Harika, Dronavalli2492 +++-
Goryachkina, Aleksandra2564 +++-
Kosteniuk, Alexandra2517 +++-
Cramling, Pia2479 +++-
Koneru, Humpy2558 ++-+
Gunina, Valentina2497 ++-+
Lagno, Kateryna2549 ++-+
Paehtz, Elisabeth2473 ++-+
Ju, Wenjun2595 +-++
Stefanova, Antoaneta2474 +-++
Kashlinskaya, Alina2492 +-++
Sebag, Marie2451 +-++
Muzychuk, Anna2547 -+++
Muzychuk, Mariya2551 -+++
Dzagnidze, Nana2511 -+++
Zhao, Xue2485 -+++
Average Rating  2512251825132515

2019 FIDE World Cup

The 2019 FIDE World Cup event is set to start and the pairings are up for Round 1.  I won't be following the men's event because, frankly - I find them boring, but there are six Americans playing:  GM Wesley So (seems like a nice young man, GM Sam Shankland (who once declared after a dismal performance at, I believe, a U.S. Chess Championship some years ago that he was quitting, quitting, quitting the game forever), GM Hikaru Nakamura (I get bad vibes from this dude), GM Leinier Dominguez Perez (don't know who this player is), GM Samuel Sevian (been reading about him off and on since he was a promising kid - what am I saying, he's only 18!), and GM Jeffery Xiong (don't know who this player is). 

Action is set to start with Round 1 September 10 - 12, 2019.  Good luck, dudes.

Some information on the 2019 FIDE World Cup at Revolvy website.
Official website.

Medieval Islamic Style Chess Piece Found in Wallingford, England (Story from 2016)

Another bit of news from an older story, reported in April 2016 at ArcheoFeed, that I didn't find I'd reported here at Goddesschess Blog.

Medieval chess piece discovered

In a recent dig at Wallinford Museum a small medieval Arabic chess piece was discovered. Closer examination revealed it was made from the tip of an antler. Once the artefact was cleaned up it was identified as a gaming piece, highly decorated with ring and dot designs.
Chess bishop piece found in Wallingford (by Oxford Times)
It is one of only about 50 medieval chess pieces found in England and, at only 21.7 mm high [Note: 0.8543307 of an inch for Americans], it is unique in being the smallest medieval Arabic chess piece known in the country. It is dated to 12th-13th century. It was identified as a bishop and it can be estimated that the other pieces in the set must have been really small as well – it may also have been part of a travelling set. Archaeologist suspect that further pieces can be found when a second dig will be carried out in July.
 (after Oxford Times)

Silver Coins Found Inside Ivory Chess Piece

I missed this article - all the way back from May, 2017, but better late than never.  I haven't been able to find out anything about what happened to the Bishop these 10 silver coins were supposedly found in - inside a false bottom.  How big was the piece to have contained 10 coins in a false bottom?

You will note - not a word was said about the chess piece itself.  Evidently thus far this is the only chess piece  in this area because I've read nothing on any other chess pieces being discovered.  But even a single ivory piece dating back to the time of Ivan the Terrible, first Czar of Russia from 1547 to 1584 would, I assume, be valuable.  I could not locate any photographs of the piece itself or any further mention of what happened to the chess piece.

Silver Coins Hidden In Chess Figure Date Back To Ivan The Terrible’s Days – Discovery In Moscow

A collection of silver coins dating back to the days of Ivan the Terrible. was recently unearthed during construction work in downtown Moscow, Russia.
SIlver coins date back to Ivan the Terrible's times. Image credit: TASS
Silver coins date back to Ivan the Terrible's times. Image credit: TASS
Ten silver coins found in an ivory chess bishop, were probably hidden from thieves or robbers according to Alexey Yemelyanov,  head of Moscow’s Cultural Heritage Department.
"Chess was a game played for money at that time. Maybe the person who owned the chess set did not want to carry money in a purse out of fear of being robbed, but wanted to be able to pay in case he lost," Yemelyanov said.
"In another version, Prechistenka [district in downtown Moscow] of that time had a lot of inns where chess was played, and this was the way inn owners stored the money,"said Yemelyanov, adding that "ten hand-minted silver coins were stashed in a bishop made of ivory. The total sum is five kopecks."

This is rather a unique  discovery because  money is found only on rare occasions, and now Moscow museum workers will study the ancient chess pieces in their collections to look for more potential treasures stowed inside them, reports Russian News Agency TASS.
The deputy director general of a company providing archeological survey during construction work, Vladimir Berkovich, said the volunteer who had found the treasure trove was not rewarded for his discovery. "This is not customary among Moscow volunteers," he said. He also declined to reveal the treasure’s value, saying coin collectors must be consulted.
The coins date from the mid-16th century and among them, one was minted in Tver (a city about 174 kilometers northwest of Moscow) and the other nine - in Moscow.
"If each chess piece had the same stowage, the total sum of the stashed coins could amount to 160 kopecks," Yemelyanov noted, adding that no other chess pieces had been found yet.

Note:  There are only 9 coins in the photo, one of which appears to be halfway out of the empty bottom of something - the chess piece?  Who knows!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Doing A Little Catch-Up:

Hola everyone!

It's a humid day threatening rain here in Milwaukee, but the stormy weather has given me a chance to do some catch-up at my poor, languishing Goddesschess blog.  As you know (or if not, I'm telling you now), I've been a member of the Chess Collectors International or CCI for many years.  I don't remember exactly when I joined, but I believe it may have been in the early to mid 2000's.  I receive the CCI magazines/news letters and the USA branch of the CCI also produces it own magazine that comes to me three times a year.

Recently I wrote about an exciting development - the CCI is going to be holding its biennial meeting in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) once again next year!  The first (to my knowledge) was in 2011, then in 2015, and now again next year in 2020.  Since I received the information, I've been thinking about possibly attending. I have a while before I need to make a decision.  I always like having those "whiles." 

The only CCI meeting I attended was in 2011, also in St. Louis.  It coincided at the time with the Kings v. Queens Tournament (also called "The Battle of the Sexes" Tournament) of American and international players being hosted at the St. Louis Chess Club, just a few blocks away from the hotel I booked a suite at for my friend of nearly 30 years, Georgia, and myself.  The chess club is right across the street from the World Chess Hall of Fame (and museum that features several new special exhibits, as well as shows and creative activities all year round.)  The Gift Shop at the World Chess Hall of Fame is something special - if you have a chance, visit it!

I went back earlier today to blog entries here from 2011 and refreshed my memories of the CCI meeting in 2011.  I did a summary in 2011 and in it I mentioned a few of the people I met as well as a special purchase or two I made at the CCI Auction that always closes out CCI get-togethers.

I met Duncan and Ann Pohl - Duncan is the current editor of the CCI-USA Magazine, and a most excellent job he does.  Mr. Pohl was one of the presenters in 2011; he started out a bit nervous, but soon got into the groove of his presentation on "vintage" American chess sets that don't cost an arm and a leg as many of the rare sets (or pieces) do that were crafted in the Old World, merely a couple of fingers or maybe a hand.  Yikes!  Both Duncan Pohl and his wife, Ann, were at a round table shared with  attendees (were there 10 or 12 of us - don't remember) including Georgia and I, at the CCI meeting at a lovely cocktail and dinner party.  I struck it off right away with Ann Pohl - such a lovely lady.  It was a lively group - the conversation hummed!

Mr. Pohl has produced a couple of books on American chess sets that would be of great help to a collector and of interest to any fan of the ancient game of the Goddess who wants to learn about American producers of chess sets, the materials used to make them, the rarity (or not) of such sets today, etc.  Both can be found at Amazon:

Chess Sets of the United States: Ready for Some Chess 'Tenite'? Paperback – May 14, 2014

Vintage Chess Sets of the United States Paperback – November 23, 2016

Later that evening after dinner, Ann Pohl introduced me to Rick Knowlton, who had also given a fascinating presentation at one of the CCI sessions.  We had a long chat about ancient chess and its origins, at least 30 minutes.  Among other things, Mr. Knowlton maintains a website on Ancient Chess (which I am particularly interested in).  He also did a "diary" online of his visit to St. Louis for the 2011 CCI meeting.  How wonderful then, to see that Mr. Knowlton and well-known chess historian Jean-Louis Cazaux produced a book (which you can find a Youtube video on), "A World of Chess:  Its Development and Variations through Centuries and Civilizations."  Also offered at Amazon

I also see that the BBC New program "The Forum" produced an episode by Mr. Knowlton and Mr. Cazaux that aired on April 19, 2019 and is available online in Podcast, "Chess: A Chequered History."

You just never know what these chess collectors and chess historians may get up to! 

2019 Perseid Meteor Showers

Hola darlings!

My birthday is a bit later this month and as I'm getting younger each year I won't bore you with the young age I'll be achieving soon :)

Tomorrow and Tuesday - August 12 and 13 - if you have clear skies check for the Perseid Meteor showers where you may see as many as 50 meteorites streaking across the sky each hour!  You should be able to see them all across the United States.  If you live in an urban area, don't expect to see much before 10 p.m. when the sky is dark enough for you to catch the brightest "falling stars."  Out in the countryside away from bright city lights, about an hour after sunset should give you a front-row seat.

You can read more about this year's Perseids in this article at The Washington Post
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