Wednesday, October 9, 2019

2019 Women's Grand Prix - Skolkovo

Event held September 10 - 23, 2019

Final Cross-Table/Results:

Skolkovo WGP 2019 Skolkovo RUS (RUS), 10-23 ix 2019cat. XI (2512)
1.Koneru, HumpygIND2560*½½½11½½1½1182682
2.Goryachkina, AleksandragRUS2564½*½½½½11½½112639
3.Ju, WenjungCHN2576½½*0½1½111½12638
4.Lagno, KaterynagRUS2545½½1*½0½½½½112573
5.Paehtz, ElisabethmGER24790½½½*1½½1½½½62550
6.Gunina, ValentinagRUS25020½010*111½½½62548
7.Harika, DronavalligIND2503½0½½½0*½01½152476
8.Kosteniuk, AlexandragRUS2495½00½½0½*1½012448
9.Kashlinskaya, AlinamRUS24870½0½0010*½112448
10.Sebag, MariegFRA2450½½0½½½0½½*½042415
11.Stefanova, AntoanetagBUL249100½0½½½10½*½42411
12.Cramling, PiagSWE24870000½½0001½*2302
Is a woman other than Judit Polgar ever going to break 2700?  They're not going to do it playing chess against other 2400 - 2500 ELOs.

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXX - Wrap-Up

As promised to Ellen!

Alice Down the Toilet Looking Glass.
Missed Connections.
Aching Legs.
Leave It to Ellen.

Alice Down the Toilet Looking Glass.
Oh Alice, Alice, Alice.  I don't know how many people these days actually read Alice in Wonderland and the sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, but I vaguely remember having at least parts of it read to me when I was very little.  However, Alice Through the Looking Glass in particular, should be revisited in adulthood - after you've had a few years of experience as a "grown-up" behind you!  (Read "The 64-Square Grid Design of 'Through the Looking Glass'," at the Smithsonian website.

Kudos to my chess buddy Ellen who, during our reunion (it's probably been 5 or 6 years since I've last seen her) at HCCC XXX told me a story that would raise the hairs on the back of any chess femme's neck!  She went to the restroom and stopped at the counter where the mirror is over the sinks to check her hair, when lo and behold, from behind out of the area where the stalls are saunters a man who stops in his tracks, and then says "this is the Men's Room."


To her credit, Ellen left the Men's Room after explaining (briefly, very briefly) that she'd made a mistake.  To be fair, however, before I heard about Ellen's, er, mishap, when I was looking for the Ladies' Room I had to look twice and then again at the signs on the doors to make sure that the door I'd decided to go through was, indeed, for women.  The symbols on the doors of the rest rooms are, shall we say, somewhat ambiguous...  Ellen thought she was going into a "shared" bathroom.  Well - I will keep my opinion of those in a public place filled with strangers (not family and friends), to myself.  A shared bathroom at home is one thing.  A shared bathroom in a public accommodation is entirely another.  Ahem.

If it had been me I probably would have accused the man of being a liar and attempted to use my "Go ahead, make my day" moves on him.  Okay - the less said about that, the better, but there was this one time during a long hot summer and during a long wait at an extremely crowded bus stop I was approached by a grifter and - oh, well, never mind...

For her calmness under, er, fire, Ellen has won the "Alice Made a White Queen" award!

Above, image courtesy of  That's Ellen, er, Alice, in the center, with her new White Queen crown and sceptre!

Missed Connections. 
Part of my contribution toward lunch was to do some online research to find nearby or easy to reach by car restaurants in the area.  I'd concentrated on the area around 27th and College.  But the leader of our small pack and driver (Ellen's husband) had different ideas.  He headed straight toward El Fuego Mexican Restaurant on 9th and Layton.  I haven't been there in years, and was surprised at how much it had changed.  For one thing, much much larger than the restaurant I remembered.  And on the inside, along a wall of glass windows, one overlooks a large waterfall (not kidding - it's humongous) flanked by two large fireplaces on a patio dining area, complete with covered bar area on one side of the large space!  We had an excellent meal and as is my wont these days  - or my woe, depending upon how you look at it - I wasn't able to finish my entire platter of delicious food (two large beef tacos with all the fixings and sour cream, beans and rice) and glass of wine.  I chose the wine.  Okay - you'll understand when you're older.

The patio area and waterfall at El Fuego Restaurant, Milwaukee, WI.

On the way to the front desk to pay the bill, Ellen and I were walking in front of her husband.  I'm sure Ellen said we're going to the ladies' room and in we went.  Meanwhile, he paid the tab.  Ellen and I finished and didn't see her husband when we came out of the restroom so we headed to the door and out into the parking lot, chatting and laughing all the way.  We stood out there for awhile, waiting for Ellen's husband to finish inside the restaurant.  I'm not sure how much time passed as we were busy chattering away and laughing, but eventually we noticed that our driver hadn't yet appeared out of the restaurant.  Should we go look for him?  Ellen suggested calling him on her cell phone, and I had to laugh.  Geez Louise!  Let's go look for him inside - come on, I said.  And in we went, laughing all the way.  Sure enough, there he was, standing by the front desk area looking rather, er, forlorn.  Yes, forlorn is a good word to use in this situation.

Simultaneous outbursts of WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, WE/I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU.  Oh yes, a good laugh was had by all.  Al thought we'd been in the Ladies Room all that time.  Well, I'm not sure what Ellen was thinking, I thought perhaps Al had taken a wrong turn somewhere and gone out a back door and was looking for the car...  Of all the dumb things one could manage to do, we managed to do just about the dumbest, and had a good laugh about it.

Aching Legs.
Oh my poor 68 year old aching legs.  There was no Skittles Room to which to retire and relax, and very few places to sit for parents and friends attending the tournament.  Every available chair was taken.  And trust me darlings, if I'd have gone down on to the carpet and sat like some of the younger and more vital (and flexible) players) were doing as they finished up their games, one by one, it would have taken at least two strong men (possibly three) to pull me up and then walk me back and forth up and down a hallway several times to make sure everything was still in good working order, well, at least enough for me to make it to a taxi.  LOL!

Leave It to Ellen.
After the second round, I was ready to call it quits.  I hadn't even intended to stay that long, initially.  My plan was to show up sometime during Round 1, go out to lunch with Ellen and Al, and then leave to go back home during Round 2.  But Ellen had other plans...

For one thing, she wanted me to meet the parents of one of the chess femmes.  She introduced me to them after Round 2, by which time my legs felt like each of them weighed as least as much as 10 tons of concrete.  It seems Ellen wanted to introduce me to everybody, but I figured by then's most people had pretty much figured out that I was one of those Goddesschess chicks - those who didn't vaguely recognize me from tournaments past.  And Ellen wanted to get a group photo of all of the players - and me.  I sort of skulked along behind her because (1) I am not generally very keen on having my photo taken, as a woman of "a certain age" (which of course I blew my cover earlier in this article so you know how old I am anyway, but hey - don't you DARE bring it up to my face!) and (2) I was hoping to make a break for it, but these days try and find a public telephone call to make a call.  Non-existent!  And since I am still firmly rooted in 1951, the year I was born (there I go again, blowing my disguise as a younger woman, ha!) I don't own a cell phone and refuse to get one of those nuisance thingies.  But of course I borrowed one of those nuisance thingies to call a cab for myself.  No - not Uber, and not Lyft.  A genuine Yellow Cab.    Yes, I am definitely rooted to my old fashioned ways.  Anyway, I was sorta/kinda hoping I could just fade out of the picture and suddenly not be there on the premises when Ellen was ready to have our group photo taken.

But she obviously read my mind.  Well, she is the mother of grown children and moms are really good at reading people's minds.  Drat.  She more or less kept me in tow and just after she disappeared into the playing room to hunt down some of the missing chess femmes, I thought I could make a break for it.  I was still on hold on Al's borrowed cell phone while I waited for the next available Yellow Cab local operator to take my pick up address and destination and I turned to head back down the hallway where we'd left Al when Ellen came flying out in her pixie fairy way from the playing room to yank my reluctant body in there behind her.  Sigh.  No escape, unless maybe I fainted???...

Alas, too late. The pics were snapped, two of them, one from further away and one from closer.  The one that was published here was the one taken closer.  If I didn't have dark hair, one might mistake me for a Pillsbury Dough Girl.  But it was a respectable photo.  I sure wish I was 21 and 110 pounds in a halter top disco dress again.  Sigh.

The End.
So there you have it, folks, the entire sordid story of my proving to a new generation of chessplayers (and proving to some older ones who may have forgotten) that yes, I am actually a real person, still alive, and yes, Goddesschess is actually a real thing.  We are a tiny but mighty group.  The End (for now).

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXX, October 5, 2019

The scores are now up at the USCF website.

In the Open, the chess femmes did very well, I'm so pleased and happy for them!  [Inserted at 7:10 p.m.]:  By the way, here's a photo of 7 of the 8 chess femmes who participated in HCCC XXX, plus yours truly - yes, that's me trying to look important with a borrowed cell phone while I was on hold waiting for the next available booker from Yellow Cab to get my ride home, LOL:

In clear 1st place, Susanna Ulrich (2177) with a perfect score of 4.0.  Ms. Ulrich thus won $200 for her 4 wins from Goddesschess and an extra $100 for the Goddesschess perfect score prize, Goddesschess paid admission to the next HCCC event should she register to play, in addition to whatever prize money she qualified for otherwise. 

Showing in 8th place, Madeline Weber (1781) with a score of 3.0.  Ms. Weber thus won $150 for her 3 wins from Goddesschess, in addition to whatever prize money she qualified for otherwise.

In 18th place, Gauri Menon (1920) with a score of 1.5.  Ms. Menon won Goddesschess prizes of $75 ($50 for 1 win and $25 for 1 draw).

In 29th place, Nandini Prakash (1643).  Ms. Prakash did not win any points but she played 3 rounds, and has my admiration for her grit and determination.  I know what it's like.

Erik Santarius (2453) finished in 2nd place overall and therefore it appears he won the Goddesschess $100 Don McClean Award as the top male finisher in the Open section.

In the Reserve, we had a little bit lower chess femme turnout than usual, but many familiar names and faces nonetheless:

In 8th place overall, Simran Bhatia (1481) with a score of 3.0.  Ms. Bhatia thus won $60 for her 3 wins ($40 for 2 wins and $20 for 2 draws) from Goddesschess and as the top finishing female in the Reserve Section Goddesschess paid admission to the next HCCC event should she register to play, in addition to whatever prize money she qualified for otherwise.

In 14th place, Radhika Gupta (1409) with a score of 2.0.  Ms. Gupta won Goddesschess prizes of $40 ($20 for 1 win and $20 for 2 draws), in addition to whatever prize money she qualified for otherwise.

In 15th place, Sandra R. Hoffman (1393) with a score of 2.0.  Ms. Hoffman won Goddesschess prizes of $40 ($20 for 2 wins), in addition to whatever prize money she qualified for otherwise.

In 28th place, my chess buddy Ellen Wanek (1171) with a score of 1.0.  Ellen won $20 for 1 win.

Franzein Halipa, from the Philippines and now residing in Wisconsin, came into the game unrated and leaves with a provisional rating of 1840, with a perfect score of 4.0 and finishing overall in first place.  I had the pleasure of meeting this player's mother and had a lovely long chat with her during the first game before the lunch break.  For his performance Mr. Halipa won $50 for the Reserve Don McLean Award, in addition to whatever prize money he qualified for otherwise.

[Edited to correct prizes awarded in the Reserve Section and add two chess femmes in the Open Section]. Congratulations to all of the players.  Total Goddesschess prizes awarded (including prepaid entry for HCCC XXXI for the top finishing chess femmes in the Open and Reserve, should they choose to play), totalled $925.

I had a wonderful time chatting with some of you and meeting some of your parents.  Chess folks are the best folks!

More later...

What Would Cleopatra Do???

I love this article from author Jennifer Wright, who wrote We Came First: Relationship Advice from Women Who Have Been There, from The Washington Post article published in the October 2, 2019 issue.  

Cleopatra was the queen of making the first move: Relationship lessons from women throughout history.

By the way, Frida Kahlo's advice worked very well for Mr. Don and I, but we didn't live in separate but connected homes next store to each other, we lived in different countries, har!  We had an incredible relationship as a result, our quality time together 2 or 3 times a year was the best, and the rest of the time we didn't get on each other's nerves and I didn't have to continually feed the man, who was a food beast with two hollow legs growing underground all the way through the globe to China.  
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