Saturday, August 1, 2020

Pretty Darn Cool Ancient Viking Board Game Piece Discovered

(Originally written on April 6, 2020 and somehow, it ended up in my "Drafts" and did not get publish - until now.  JN)

I'm very delinquent reporting this discovery, but now that I'm essentially grounded at home base for who knows how long during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that, of course under our MAGA orange-faced Cheerleader in Chief has projected the USA into the top world position for most infected citizens and on track to outpace every other country in deaths attributed to COVID-19, I'm going to be doing some catch-up because there's only so much yard work a girl can do in a day.  Besides, it's going to be raining for the next four days straight.  Blech!

Take a look at this beautiful gaming piece!

Hnefatafl gaming piece discovered from an archaeological dig trench dated
to the 8th or 9th centuries CE at Lindisfarne, United Kingdom.

A Timely Reminder of the Lessons of History: Katherine Neville's August 1, 2020 Newsletter

I hope you are all staying safe during this extremely trying time in our country, in the world, and in our history.  May the Hand of the Goddess Shelter you from all harm.

Dealing with one crisis is bad enough; trying to deal with three is - existential.  We are facing a world health crisis in the form of the insidious COVID-19 pandemic, a world economic crisis that has resulted from the killer pandemic (although the current recession in the United States actually started during the last two quarters of 2019 under the auspices of Donald J. Trump, before the novel coronavirus pandemic was a "thing."  Whatever Trump touches dies*).  The third crisis is, perhaps, even more destructive in the United States particularly, than the first, because it threatens not only the lives of Americans, but the life of our very country: a crisis in the form of battle fronts in a variety of forms against the forces of Trump's Fascism.

Katherine Neville has not been a prolific writer of novels in her lifetime, but a couple of the novels she has written had a tremendous impact on my life - in ways I could not foresee at the time I read them.  Indeed, the seeds for the synthesis of what would eventually become Goddesschess were planted years before in the form of Katherine Neville's novel "The Eight."  It was first published in January 1989 and I purchased my paperback edition in early 1990 for $5.95.

Image from Wikipedia.

Seems an eon ago in more ways than one. I don't remember the exact circumstances in which I decided to buy the book, perhaps it was this tagline on the back cover "A feminist answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark."  The Washington Post Book World.  And the symbol on the front cover - a sort of "figure 8" laying on its side.  For some reason, it struck me - maybe because for many years back in the 1960s when I was a teenager I watched "Ben Casey," a television medical drama that every week's intro started out with a hand holding a piece of chalk writing on a chalkboard and describing the symbols as a male hand drew them:  Man, Woman, Birth, Death, Infinity. That sort of "sideways 8" was the symbol for "infinity."  

And the tag line appealed.  I was and remain a feminist.  I was born and raised a feminist from two bloodlines of families with generation after generation of strong, tough women. They had to be, in order to go through what their lives were and to survive.  Women who didn't take NO for an answer, women who were never afraid to go toe to toe with anybody, women who were strong, tough, fighters when necessary.  Women who were pioneers and helped settle our country; women who sought out education, including the first college-graduates in our respective family lines.  It was the women who led the charge, and the men in our family, including my father and his father before him, who encouraged their daughters to go for it all.  

Now yellowed with age and with permanently dog-earred pages and scribbled inked notes in margins here and there, I have read my beloved copy of this novel a few times and parts of its I have read over and over many times.  And like watching a favorite movie over and over again, each time, I gain some new insight.

Many of Neville's fans are devotees and she maintains a popular website, issuing periodic newsletters.  I think this August 1, 2020 newsletter is especially relevant to our time and what we in the United States in particular are going through right now.  Maybe you won't agree, or maybe you will gain some new fresh insight, who knows?  Katherine Neville's Lammas New Letter, August 1, 2020.

*From the non-fiction best seller "Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever," by Rick Wilson.  Wilson is one of the co-founders of The Lincoln Project, which has the uncanny ability to get under Donald J. Trump's skin and truly killer sensibilities when it comes to making gut punches in the Project's political ads.

Friday, April 3, 2020

WIM Arianne Caioli Dead at 33 (1986 - 2020)

Sad news.  I remember many years ago reading about two chessplayers who got into a fistfight over her at a FIDE event.

Not accredited.  Photo found at Public Radio of Armenia website.
Caioli and her husband GM Levon Aronian.

Caioli was married to GM Levon Aronian in 2017.  She died in hospital on March 30, 2020 two weeks after being involved in a serious car crash.


New York Times, "Arianne Caoili, Chess Master, is Dead at 33," by Dylan Loeb McClain, April 2, 2020., "Chess Champ Levon Aronian's Wife Died Two Weeks After Crash," by Asbarez Staff, March 31, 2020.

St. Louis Chess Club (video at Youtube), "2019 Croatia Grand Chess Tour: WIM Arianne Caioli Interview," by GM Maurice Ashley, July 6, 2019. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Southwest Chess Club Events Going Online!!!!

Hola darlings!  I hope you are all staying safe from the nasty novel coronavirus pandemic that is currently making it's way slowly (and in some places, not so slowly) into our Heartland.  Most of  you are too young to remember Kojak (performed so brilliantly by the actor Telly Savalas).  His rep line (for the more mature among us, his catchphrase) was "Who loves ya, baby?"  SOUTHWEST CHESS CLUB, that's who! 

The Heartland loves our CHESS, yes, Yes, YES!  And so, my dear adopted chess club is taking the action online, whoo whoo!  Spiff up your games, darlings, and join in the fun.  Chess people are the best people, and you won't ever find a nicer group anywhere but online with the Southwest Chess Club!


The Southwest Chess Club will be hosting online events, starting this Thursday.
This Thursday at 7:00 pm we will hold a 2-round, Game/30 minutes (with 5-second increment) event.

(1)  if you are already a member, then join the online SWCC club by clicking

(2)  if you aren't a member yet, they offer free/basic membership (and other premium memberships).  To sign up for a basic (free) membership, go to:
              and, then join the SWCC Club on

(3)  Here is how you join the tournament on Thursday evening:
      You must have completed the above steps before the start time (7:00 pm).
      Then, there are three different ways to get into the tournament:
           * Click this direct link to the tournament:
           * Go to:  Connect > Clubs > Southwest Chess Club                                         
            * Go to:  Play > Live >  Tournaments                                                                             (then choosing "Upcoming" or "In Progress")
                   (you choose "upcoming" if it's before 7:00 pm, or "in progress" if you arrive late)

(4)   Once you get to the tournament you must click on the "Join" button (link).
Now you are in the "playing hall".  Again, you should do this before the designated start time.  At the start time (or shortly thereafter) the site will create pairings and players will be thrust into their games.

Please email if you have suggestions for future events.  We will have "Action" events (Game/20, for example) and "Blitz" (Game 3 with 4-second increment, e.g.).  Your input is welcome.  Also, if anyone would like to help out (becoming an "Admin" so you can help run these events) let Allen Becker know.
If you run into any snags on Thursday night, feel free to email Allen, or text/call:  414-807-0269

Friday, March 20, 2020

WHOA! Is St. Corona Taking Revenge Upon the Italians...

Holy Hathor!  My partner in Goddesschess since about forever - Georgia a/k/a Isis a/k/a my honorary Sis, sent me this article on - you guess it - SAINT CORONA.  She's got her own portrait in the pantheon of Catholic saints (Corona, not Isis):

Source: Article from Diocese of Lansing, Michigan, March 18, 2020
Some very interesting references below.  For instance, Corona's name in Latin means "crown," and of course we know that the corona virus was named for it's "crownlike" shape.  One of the footnotes below indicates that the Greeks call her Stefania or Stephana, for "crown," as well.  Is there more to this story than meets the eye?

Issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Michigan on March 18, 2020 at their website (who KNEW!):


It’s incredible but it’s seemingly true – there is a Saint Corona and she is one of the patrons of pandemics. Saint Corona, pray for us!

Saint Corona is thought to have lived in 2nd century Syria under Roman occupation. She was only 15-years-old when she professed her Christian Faith during the persecution of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius.

According to legend, Saint Corona was arrested and tied by her feet to the tops of two palm trees which were bent to the ground. When the palms were let loose she was torn apart.

It is reported that Saint Corona is especially venerated in Austria and Bavaria as the patron saint against epidemics. Her mortal remains are now housed in the city of Anzu in northern Italy, the epicenter of the recent outbreak of Coronavirus in Europe. Her feast day is May 14.

Source: Gloria.TV More at:

Okay, so after thinking about this for about 2 seconds, I headed to Google to find out more about this mysterious goddess, er, saint, I'd never heard of.  Interesting, very interesting, mostly for what the article DIDN'T say, as opposed to what it DID say:

First of all, darlings, there were TWO saints - you guessed it - the female AND a male.  And not just any male, mind you, this male happened to be a friend of Corona's husband.  Or maybe they were actually married.  Or - who knows? 

From the Wikipedia article on Saints Victor and Corona (why does HE get top billing?  SEXIST!)

Saints Victor and Corona are two Christian martyrs. Most sources state that they were killed in Roman Syria during the reign of Marcus Aurelius (170s AD). However, various hagiographical texts disagree about the site of their martyrdom, with some stating that it was Damascus, while Coptic sources state that it was Antioch. Some Western sources state that Alexandria or Sicily was their place of martyrdom. They also disagree about the date of their martyrdom. They may have been martyred during the reign of AntoninusDiocletian, while the Roman Martyrology states that it was in the third century when they met their death.[1] Saint Corona was popular in folk treasure magic, being called upon by a treasure hunter to bring treasure, and then sent away through a similarly elaborate ritual.[2]

Their legend states that Victor was a 
Roman soldier of Italian ancestry, serving in the city of Damascus in Roman Syria during the reign of Emperor Antoninus Pius. He was tortured - including having his eyes gouged out.

While he was suffering from these tortures, the sixteen-year-old spouse of one of his brothers-in-arms, named Corona,[3] comforted and encouraged him. For this, she was arrested and interrogated. According to the passio of Corona, which is considered largely fictional, Corona was bound to two bent palm trees and torn apart as the trunks were released.
Victor was beheaded in Damascus in 160 AD.
Other sources state that they were husband and wife.[4]

Victor and Corona's memorial day is 24 November (11 November in the Orthodox church calendar). Their feast day is 14 May. Outside the town of Feltre on the slopes of Mount Miesna is the church of SS. Vittore e Corona, erected by the Crusaders from Feltre after the First Crusade.
Corona is especially venerated in Austria and eastern Bavaria. She is invoked in connection with superstitions involving money, such as gambling or treasure hunting.[5]
Otto III, around AD 1000, brought Corona's relics to Aachen.


  1. ^ Santi Vittore e Corona
  2. ^ Dillinger, Johannes (2011). Magical Treasure Hunting in Europe and North America. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 89–90. ISBN 0230000045.
  3. ^ Also known as Stefania, Stephana, a Greek translation of her Latin name, meaning "crown"
  4. ^ Saint Patrick's Church: Saints of May 14
  5. ^ St. Victor and CoronaCatholic Online, 2020. Retrieved 17 March 2020.

What instantly jumped out was that NOWHERE in the Wikipedia information presented on either saint is there anything having to do with pandemics or miraculous healings of the sick and turning away of disease.  Instead, Corona is connected to TREASURE HUNTING and "superstitions involving money, such as gambling."  SAY WHAT?  So, the Roman Catholic Church condones people praying to a Saint for help in treasure hunting and gambling.  Hmmm....

Darlings - I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!  And not a word about poor eyeless Saint Victor.  What does he do - hit Corona up for money when he's broke?

Another article stated that Corona's remains were located in in a basilica in the city of Anzu, Italy, since the 9th century (agrees with the Diocese of Lansing article above).  Note that Anzu is located in northern Italy, the same area where COVID-19 first spread like a wildfire in the country.  Anzu's location is noted by the star logo within the white circle in the map, below.  You can see it's location vis a vis Verona, Padua, and Venice.  

Basilica Santuario dei Ss. Vittore e Corona, Anzu, Italy
Source:  Trip Advisor

An article at Aleteia alluded to Corona's connection to pandemics: "Several readers have asked us about St. Corona being a patron saint to invoke against epidemics. This can be verified in various German-language sources, as this particular aspect of devotion to her is most common in Austria and Bavaria."

Here's another interesting article on Corona, in which a Catholic priest says that Corona was the sister-in-law of Victor.  

After I read the Diocese of Lansing article and found this reference to Corona's connection to epidemics, I couldn't help but wonder if, in the mysterious ways of the universe, in all its irony, there was somehow a connection between the events now unfolding in Italy and the events that unfolded over a thousand years ago at the hands of the Roman Empire in a distant foreign land.  It is no secret that outside of China Italy has been the hardest hit country by COVID-19.  

That being said, I'm going to keep my eye on May 14th this year, the "Feast Day" for Corona and Victor.  Who knows, maybe something miraculous will happen.  We sure could use it.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Chess Collectors International Biennial Congress in St. Louis Postponed to September 2020

Here is the communique in full, received this evening:

Dear CCI Members, and other Chess Friends,

It has been a difficult decision, but with Coronavirus-related closures and travel restrictions worsening by the day, I'm afraid we must bow to the inevitable, and postpone CCI's 19th Biennial Congress (currently scheduled for May 27-31) until September 2-6, 2020.

This new date is provisional, of course.  If the pandemic is not over by that time, obviously we might have to postpone it further, or even cancel it altogether.  We should know more as events continue to unfold over the spring and summer.  But this new date has several advantages.  It is Labor Day weekend here in the States (Labor Day itself is actually on the 7th), a holiday that should help boost our USA attendance, to say the least.  The heat of summer will have broken, but for parents of small children, school will not yet have started.  We have just received word from the Chase Park Plaza that the room rate will remain the same, making our luxury hotel a real bargain over the holiday weekend.

Later in September does not work for us, as we have other collecting conferences to attend (assuming things have returned to a state of normalcy by that time).  Luann and I can’t very well organize a meeting that we ourselves would be unable to attend.

Some have suggested holding the meeting in November or even next year, but again, we start running into conflicts with other societies, and we are having a hard time imagining that the pandemic will still be raging in September.  If it is, we will all have much bigger problems than attending a CCI meeting.

One further significant advantage of Labor Day weekend is that the WCHOF museum exhibition, “Dare to Know:  Chess in the Age of Reason” will still be running.  It is not possible to delay the meeting until next year and still expect to see this exhibition.  Remember, we will have an Enlightenment theme for this meeting.  So many of our planned activities and lectures revolve around this theme that if the meeting must be postponed until next year, we might as well not have it at all.  This particular exhibition has always been central to our planning of this particular meeting.  They are joined at the hip.

At this point, the WCHOF is moving forward with work on "Dare to Know" with help from Luann and me, who are loaning a large part of our personal collection to be put on display.  However, the planned opening date of April 8th is currently in limbo, since the WCHOF has just closed its galleries to the public until further notice.  I don’t believe they are planning to open a show in a closed gallery, with no one there to view it, but we will just have to wait and see how this all plays out.  For now, just keep in mind that the meeting Luann and I have been planning has always, and will always, revolve around “Dare to Know” (which will cover the years from roughly 1700 through 1830).  Without this exhibition, we really don’t have a meeting to offer you.

This is not just any ordinary museum exhibition.  In addition to sets, boards, books and other artifacts from our own collection, other contributors to "Dare to Know" are scheduled to include the following:

Collection of Dr. George and Vivian Dean
Collection of Dr. Thomas Thomsen
Collection of Jon Crumiller
Collection of Phil Brykman
Collection of António Horta-Osório
Collection of the Library Company of Philadelphia

If all goes according to plan, there will be antique chess sets of truly global importance in this exhibition, particularly those from the Dean collection, many of which have never been exhibited before, anywhere.  The Library Company of Philadelphia is sending us the last known remnants of Wolfgang von Kempelen's Turk, the legendary chess automaton which debuted at the court of Empress Maria Theresa in 1770, and was destroyed in a museum fire in 1854.  The world-shaking Encyclopédie of Diderot and d'Alembert will be there (a set of the true first editions, 35 vols. published 1751-1780), along with a genuine Encyclopédie chess set to go with it.  And much, much more.

Assuming this Coronavirus pandemic does not result in the end of the world as we know it, we are bound and determined to present this historic exhibition to you at our earliest opportunity, which right now looks like it should be in early September.

Therefore, we hope you can keep your travel plans flexible and join us in St. Louis over Labor Day weekend.  For obvious reasons, our registration deadline (currently March 31) is hereby extended to the end of July.  If you have already registered for the May meeting and paid your fees, and you absolutely cannot attend the Labor Day postponement, just let us know, and we will have our Treasurer Bill Fordney issue you a full refund.  (If the meeting becomes impossible to hold at all due to global events, everyone who registered and paid fees will receive a full refund.)

As we are using a BCC format to comply with European privacy rules, may I please ask the following:
WEBMASTERS:  Please post this to CCI and all other related websites (GSM, Goddesschess, CH&LS, etc.).
NEWSLETTERS:  Jim and Duncan, please publish this in the next issues of The Chess Collector and CCI-USA.
MICHAEL WILTSHIRE:  Please forward this on to the European membership.  (You have my previous list of who these have already gone to.)

Please stay tuned for further updates as they occur.  And thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult time.  Stay safe and stay healthy!

Best Wishes,

Tom Gallegos &
Luann Woneis,


Monday, March 16, 2020

We Have a Coronavirus of Cheating in Chess. Geez Louise!

From The New York Times.

Think Cheating in Baseball is Bad?  Try Chess

Smartphones, buzzers, even yogurt - chess has nearly seen it all in both live and online tournaments.  And just as in baseball, technology only makes it harder to root out.

By David Waldstein
March 15, 2019

Until the sports world ground to a halt last week over the coronavirus outbreak, perhaps the biggest issue looming over professional sports in the United States was the Houston Astros’ cheating scandal. The revelations of their scheme led Major League Baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, to deliver a stern warning to all 30 club owners that there was a “culture of cheating” in the game.

But baseball’s malfeasance — sign-stealing or otherwise — has nothing on chess. At prestigious live tournaments and among thousands of others playing daily online, cheating is a scourge.

Whether it’s a secret buzzer planted in a shoe, a smartphone smuggled into the bathroom, a particular flavor of yogurt delivered at a key moment — or just online players using computerized chess programs — chess has perhaps more cheating than any other game in the world.

"Of course it is a problem,” said Leinier Domínguez, the Cuban-born player currently ranked No. 1 in the United States. “Because with all the advances in technology, it’s always a possibility. People have more chances and opportunities to do this sort of thing."

In both chess and baseball, both real and rumored instances of cheating have been around for decades, but an explosion in technology and data over the past 10 to 15 years has made the problem much harder to curb for both.

The Astros’ scheme, which helped propel them to the 2017 World Series title, involved illegally deciphering the signs of opposing catchers via a live video feed and then banging on a trash can to signal the next pitch to the batter. M.L.B. is now grappling with how to prevent similar electronic-based schemes in the future.

In chess, players at live tournaments are now required to leave their phones behind and pass through metal detectors before entering the playing area. Some have even been asked to remove clothing and been searched. And some tournaments now put players behind one-way mirrors to limit visual communication.

But, like the Astros, many chess players still try.

Just last year, a grandmaster named Igors Rausis was caught examining a smartphone in a bathroom stall at a tournament in France. In 2015, Gaioz Nigalidze of Georgia was barred for three years by FIDE, chess’s global governing body, and had his grandmaster status revoked for the same offense.

FIDE’s anti-cheating commission has recently stepped up its efforts to combat the problem. The group met last month and resolved to give financial support to national federations that need it to help them root out cheating, and will share detection techniques with online chess platforms. They are currently investigating 20 cases.

"The cheaters have been winning for a long time,” Arkady Dvorkovich, the president of FIDE, said in a telephone interview from Moscow. “But in the last few months we showed our determination to fight it and I think people realize it is serious.’"

In 2013, Borislav Ivanov, a young player from Bulgaria, was essentially forced into retirement after he refused to take off his shoes to be searched for an electronic device that might be used to transmit signals to him. A device was never found — Ivanov reportedly refused to remove his shoes because, he claimed, his socks were too smelly — but he retired shortly after the tournament.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Nemesis Strikes Trump - and We All Suffer

Hola darlings!  I hope you are all safe and secure and paying more attention to the directives of the CDC and your own doctors than anyone else.  We are living in "interesting times," as the ancient apocryphal Chinese curse stated.  

As you know, I am a lifelong student of history, particularly ancient history, and have long been enamored with and enraptured by the Great Goddess herself.  She has taken on many different forms throughout her eternal life, one of them being a particularly frightening aspect to those who are abusers of one of the Great Mother's principles of Justice (Justice, as a concept, is itself embodied as a mighty Goddess wearing a blindfold, holding scales in one hand and wielding a sword in the other to strike down the unrighteous and unjust).

From Wikipedia's entry under "Nemesis:"

In ancient Greek religion, Nemesis, also called Rhamnousia or Rhamnusua ("the goddess of Rhamnous"), is the goddess who enacts retribution against those who succumb to hubris (arrogance before the gods.)

Lo and behold, that "woman" I have long been predicting would be the one to take Trump down since his stolen election in 2016 is now making her presence known in a particularly agonizing and costly way.  (I generally try to keep politics out of Goddesschess, but I wield my sword of opinions on  numerous topics primarily political on several different websites and comment boards that have no relation to Goddesschess.  

Over the next several months as we tick down to an election in November - we will, each and every one of us, be a forced audience to just how cruel retribution toward the excessive hubris and mental instability of one man who dared to think he was above everyone, including the Great Goddess herself, can be.  Sadly, it will envelope and destroy the lives of many who do not deserve to die.  Every death from COVID-19 that occurs in the United States, I lay at the feet of Donald J. Trump himself.

This is an opinion piece published in The New York Times, by Bret Stephens, March 13, 2020:

Trump Meets Nemesis, Punisher of Hubris
A virus exposes the folly of what a President's base believes.

The word “nemesis” is too often misused. We tend to think of it as meaning a powerful, nefarious, but ultimately conquerable enemy: Vader; Voldemort; the Wicked Witch of the West. But the original Nemesis was not a villain. She was a goddess — an implacable agent of justice who gives the arrogant, insolent and wicked what they deserve.

As a matter of public health, nobody should ever suggest that the novel coronavirus represents any form of justice, divine or otherwise. It’s a virus that must be stopped.

As a matter of politics, however, it’s hard to think of a mechanism so uniquely well-suited for exposing the hubris, ignorance, prejudice, mendacity and catastrophic self-regard of the president who is supposed to lead us through this crisis.

few points to mention.

Alternative facts. In recent days, conservative pundits appear to have been scandalized by the suggestion that the coronavirus is Donald Trump’s Chernobyl. They miss the point, which is not that the virus is a nuclear furnace. It’s that the same absence of trust that pervaded the relationship between the Soviet regime and its people also pervades the relationship between much of America and its president.

A leader who cannot be believed will not be followed, even, or especially, in periods of emergency. If Trump’s supporters now wonder why Americans won’t rally around the president as they did around George W. Bush after 9/11, there’s the answer.

America First. Trump didn’t fail to insert his favorite catchphrase into his speech on Wednesday. As usual, it managed to combine jingoism with bad policy. Instead of boasting, he could have learned from South Korea how to test better. Instead of trying to talk down the threat, he could have learned from Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu to speak about it far more honestly. Instead of offering rosy guesses of what the ultimate case fatality rate might be, he could have learned from Germany’s Angela Merkel to teach Americans some sobering math. [Note from me:  For those of you who may not have heard, Chancellor Merkel told the German people in an address to the nation to prepare for an infection rate of between 60% to 70% of the entire population.]

Putting America First — a slogan — first, means putting Americans — real ones — last.  [Note from me:  Some may not want to believe this and argue vehemently otherwise, but it was disgusting privilege that people like Representative Gaetz and Representative Meadows, as well as Senator Lindsey Graham were all able to get COVID-19 tested even though they exhibited NO symptoms of the disease, while countless average Americans, obviously sick, have been refused testing because they do not meet restricted protocols coupled with the shameful shortage of tests that DID NOT HAVE TO HAPPEN!  The severe shortage of test kits can be traced directly to decisions made by Trump, and nobody else.]

Build the wall. “The virus remains low-risk domestically because of the containment actions taken by this administration since the first of the year.” So said a White House spokesman late last month, following the president’s monomaniacal belief that there’s hardly a problem in America that can’t be fixed by building a wall, shutting a port, booting a migrant, imposing a tariff, or blaming a foreigner — right down to a “foreign virus.”

Except that containment turned out to have dwindling returns once the virus moved beyond China, squandering time and resources while creating a false sense of geographic immunity. Had the White House abandoned its ideological obsession a month ago and instead urged or mandated social distancing from the start, we’d be in a better place now.  [Note from me:  Nothing like bragging about closing the barn door after all the animals already ran out!]

Drain the swamp. The administration’s other core belief is that America is in the evil grip of the “administrative state.” But while it’s one thing to pare federal bloat and curb bureaucratic overreach, what we have now is a White House that can’t distinguish between muscle and fat, essential government and excess.

Hence the disconnect between the president’s airy promise that the coronavirus test is available to all who need it, and the sobering reality that kits are in critically low supply. Hence also the astonishing congressional testimony this week by the White House’s acting budget director that he’s sticking to his proposal to slash the budget of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of broader cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services.  [Note from me:  It appears the Trump regime's reasoning is something like this:  Let the old folks and the sickies DIE already.  We'll save on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.  Voila - our budget problems are fixed.  Hey - how about another tax cut for the top one percent!]

Very stable genius. Millions of Trump’s supporters aren’t blind to the president’s clownishness and ignorance. But they’ve been relatively indifferent to both, because they find the first entertaining and the second irrelevant to his overall performance. Who cares what a president knows about epidemiology, so long as the markets are up?

They care now. The coronavirus has exposed the falsehood of so many notions Trump’s base holds about the presidency: that experts are unnecessary; that hunches are a substitute for knowledge; that competence in administration is overrated; that every criticism is a hoax; and that everything that happens in Washington is B.S. Above all, it has devastated the conceit that having an epic narcissist in the White House is a riskless proposition at a time of extreme risk.

Will Trump’s declaration of a national emergency change this? 

Maybe, and the president has a belated opportunity to demonstrate seriousness he has lacked so far. But nobody should forget that such seriousness would only be a function of political expediency. Should coronavirus recede in warmer weather, you can depend on Trump to declare his premature victory — not warn that winter is coming.

It should not have had to take a deadly virus to expose this presidency for what it is. But it’s fitting that it has. A man who thinks he can twist every truth to suit his needs has at last discovered that he cannot twist the truths of nature and of one of nature’s gods. Her name remains Nemesis.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXXI - April 4, 2020 - CANCELLED

EDIT 3/12/2020:

I have been advised by the organizers of the HCCC XXXI that the event has been cancelled in consideration of the novel coronavirus outbreak in our country.  This step is taken out of an abundance of caution and consideration for the players and all the parents and guests who attend these events.


Hola darlings!  It's fast approaching spring 2020, and every spring the Southwest Chess Club sponsors a 4-round event (one day) where you can earn U.S. Chess Grand Prix points and hone your chess skills against some of Wisconsin's best chess players.

Goddesschess has sponsored separate prizes for female chess players awarded in addition to any prizes they may win, seemingly forever - well, at least since HCCC VIII!  A long time :)  This year we are once again sponsoring Goddesschess prizes for the chess femmes.

You can find information on HCCC XXXI at its blog in addition to the club's website, including online registration.

Goddesschess's prize structure:

Open:  $50 per win/$25 per draw 

Reserve:  $20 per win/$10 per draw 

Perfect Score Prizes for Females:  $80 in Open/$40 in Reserve

Paid entry for top female finisher in each section in the next HCCC (October 2020) should they choose to play.

April 4, 2020

Wisconsin Tour event!
US Chess Grand Prix Points: 10
4SS, G/60;d6. 2 Sections: Open & Reserve (under 1600).
EF: $50 Open, $40 Reserve, both $10 more after April 2.
Comp EF for USCF 2200+.

Online registration at Hales Corners Challenge XXXI

Registration: 8:30-9:30
Rounds: 10-1-3:30-6

$$GTDOpen: 1st-$325, 2nd-$175, A-$100, B & below-$75;
Reserve: 1st $100, 2nd $75, D-$60, E & below $50.

Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport
6401 S 13th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53221

Questions to Chris Wainscott (414-839-5232, after 5:30 pm)
or e-mail:

Entries To: Robin J. Grochowski
3835 E. Morris Avenue
Cudahy, WI 53110

Accelerated pairings may be used.

2020 Grand Pacific Chess Open

EDITED 3/14/2020:  Sadly, I've just been notified that the Grand Pacific Chess Open has been cancelled for this year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.  We want everyone to stay as safe as possible.  Goddesschess will be providing a prize fund for the female chessplayers for the next Grand Pacific Chess Open, whenever it is held.  Be careful, be safe.


Hola darlings!

It's that time of the year once again.  Easter is fast approaching and every Easter Victoria, BC hosts the Grand Pacific Chess Open sponsored by my friends at Victoria Chess Club!

This year's event (the 14th) will be held April 10 - 13, 2020 at the beautiful Grand Pacific Hotel. Goddesschess sponsors a separate prize fund for female players that is awarded in addition to any other prizes a female player may qualify for, since 2010. Wow - ten years of sponsorship, how time flies.

You can find out all the information you need including registration info (online and through the snail mail), events running in conjunction with the Grand Pacific Chess Open, registration fees, deadlines, prizes, sponsors, where to stay, etc. There are several different sections.

This year the Grand Pacific Chess Open is pleased to announce that WIM Agnieszka Matras-Clement will be participating in the Open Section. Agnieszka recently won the Banff Open. She is the highest ranked Female Chess Player in Canada by a margin of 200 points. Her current rating is 2398. Agnieszka Matras-Clement is a former European and World champion (both in the U20 category).  #islandchess#goddesschess  #gpo

Friday, February 21, 2020

All Women Cairns Cup at St. Louis Chess Club

Hola!  Sorry for not reporting this as soon as it happened.  The tournament has wrapped up and was won by GM Koneru Humpy of India, who takes home $45,000 for her efforts.  Well done! 

2020 Cairns Cup

List by federation
Cross table

1GM Koneru, Humpy6.0INDF25802627+0.5510½½11½1½
2GM Ju, Wenjun5.5CHNF25832582+0.02½½½11½½01
3GM Muzychuk, Mariya5.0UKRF25522548-0.08½1½½0½1½½
4GM Kosteniuk, Alexandra5.0RUSF25042554+0.59½10110½10
5GM Lagno, Kateryna4.5RUSF25522505-0.58½1½½0½½½½
6GM Harika, Dronavalli4.5INDF25182509-0.09½½1½0½½½½
7GM Dzagnidze, Nana4.0GEOF25152466-0.591½1½0½½00
8GM Krush, Irina4.0USAF24222477+0.69½½0½0½½½1
9FM Yip, Carissa4.0USAF24122478+0.82000011½1½
10GM Gunina, Valentina2.5RUSF24612349-1.3300101000½

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