Saturday, October 18, 2014

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX

Hola darlings!

I will have full results and all chess femme prize winners, and also the winners of Don McLean's memorial prize ($50 awarded to a player in both the Open and Reserve Sections, based on relative performance rating) tomorrow, it's already late for me and I've yet to eat supper, yikes!

My chess buddy, Ellen Wanek (1070),  who has done so much for chess in the Sheboygan, WI area, played in the Reserve Section and started out with a big bang -- winning her first two games!  She finished at 50%, good for Ellen!  Ellen started in 28th place and moved up to 21st place overall in the Reserve Section.  Ellen wins $40 in Goddesschess prize money for her efforts.

In the Open, Rachel Ulrich (2124), who is pushing hard to reach an ELO of 2200 and earn her United States national master title, finished in 5th place overall in the Open Section, starting out as the 8th ranked player.  You rock, Girl!  She lost her first game, and came back with three straight wins.  For her efforts, Rachel wins $120 in Goddesschess prize money.  I am hoping Rachel wins the Don McLean memorial prize in the Open Section.

Susanna Ulrich (1517), playing in the Open Section, moved up in the rankings, from 43rd to 37th, with 1.5, and wins $60.  Alena Huang (1653), who also played in the Open, finished with 1.5, and wins $60 Goddesschess prize money.  Alena moved from 32nd to 30th place. 

You can check out the final standings at the Southwest Chess Club's blog. 

Congrats to all the chess femmes who participated.  This event's female player participation rate was about 15%, a little more than double the percentage of female players overall in the world.  Good for us!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Tomb of Emperor Qin Huang's Grandmother Discovered

From The International Business Times Online, which contains many more photographs of artefacts from the tomb:

China: Ancient Tomb of First Emperor Qin Shi Huang's Grandmother Discovered in Xi'an

A huge ancient tomb belonging to the grandmother of China's first emperor Qin Shi Huang has been found in Xi'an during excavations to expand the Xi'an University of Finance and Economics campus in Shaanxi province, northwest China.

According to, the tomb complex covers an area measuring 173,325 square metres, stretching 550m in length and 310 meters in width, and is the second largest tomb to have ever been discovered in the country.

The tomb complex.
So far, archaeologists have excavated two carriages and 12 horse skeletons (each carriage would have been pulled by six horses) out of the tomb.

The carriages and horses are a symbol of high rank which is equal to that of an emperor or a member of the royal family.

The archaeologists also discovered elegantly engraved pottery inscribed with the Chinese characters for Qin Shi Huang's grandmother, together with fragments of jade, gold and silver, have confirmed the archaeologists' beliefs that the tomb belongs to Qin Shi Huang's grandmother.

They also believe that the first emperor commissioned the tomb to be built and it was completed in his lifetime, but there is no word yet as to whether they have found her sarcophagus.

The turbulent Qin family

Qin Shi Huang (260-210BC) was the first emperor to unify China and enact major economic and political reforms across the country. China had previously consisted of a multitude of warring states and kingdoms, each under the control of feudal overlords, leading to much instability.
Although history knows his parents, the concubine Lady Zhao and King Zhuangxiang of the Kingdom of Qin, not much else is known about his family.

After the death of Qin Shi Huang's father, he took the throne at the age of 13.

His mother took a lover Lao Ai and had two illegitimate children. Later, Lao Ai tried to stage a coup with the intention of killing Qin Shi Huang and placing one of the two children on the throne as a puppet ruler.

Qin Shi Huang ordered his half-siblings to be killed and his mother was placed under house arrest, while Lao Ai died during the coup.

Perhaps the first emperor might have had a closer relationship with his grandmother than with his mother.

In later life, he never chose an empress, but sired 50 children on numerous concubines, so he might have had issues with forming relationships with women. [Gee, yah think?]

The legacy left by Qin Shi Huang

Qin Shi Huang standardised units of measurement, the length of axles of carts and currency, creating the Ban Liang coin. He also created the first unified Chinese script to make one language and communication system.

Although he destroyed many books about the past so that scholars could not compare his reign to rulers before him, he has left the world a lasting legacy in the form of the Great Wall of China, a defensive wall system, and his mausoleum complex, which is also in Xi'an.

The first emperor's tomb complex took 38 years and over 720,000 builders to construct, and its location was deliberately lost, hidden under the man-made Lishan Mountain, with trees and vegetation planted over it.

Builders who sealed one tomb chamber were killed when they reported to their superiors, who would in turn seal the next chamber and then report to superiors who killed them in turn. It is also rumoured that his concubines were buried alive with him.

When the last builders and guards reported back to the capital that the task had been completed, they were killed too, and the location of Qin Shi Huang's tomb lay hidden for over two thousand years.
In 1974, the tomb was discovered by farmers digging wells, who stumbled on the garrison of 6,000 terracotta warriors.

The central tomb chamber housing the first emperor's sarcophagus has not yet been excavated as archaeologists currently lack the technology to adequately preserve the tomb's contents.

They believe that some ancient booby traps like rivers of mercury and rigged crossbows might still await them, thanks to probes inserted into the tomb discovering abnormally high amounts of mercury.

Israeli Spies Infiltrating Archaeology to Turn the Pyramids Jewish

This is absolutely hilarious, except it was not published (as far as I can tell) on April Fool's day.  Only goes to show, you can fool some of the people ALL of the time.  Are all fundy Muslims brainwashed (just like fundy Christians)?  Read it and laugh, and then weep for the state of appalling ignorance and prejudice in the world today, for it is bullshit like this that makes people kill each other.

From The Jerusalem Post Online

'Israeli spies falsifying Egyptian history to show Jews built pyramids'

Women in Ancient Egypt

From the Biblical Archaeological Society (BAR) online -- if you don't subscribe to Shanks' excellent magazine, I urge you to do so!  The article that I've copied the text from contains several more images than included here, so please visit BAR (click on link in title to article) and check them out, they are fascinating and flesh out the context and article. 

This story presents an interesting analogy to the moral of the story about how masculine assumptions have colored so much of our "scientific" thinking from Day One.  All I can say is, remember the moral of the story about the female mustangs and the totally erroneous assumptions that were made about the stallion/leader of the herd being the sole father of all the foals birthed by the females in the herd...

Examining the Lives of Ancient Egyptian Women
The case of an ancient Egyptian woman named Tjat

Melinda Nelson-Hurst09/02/2014
Tjat, “sealer, keeper of
the property of her lord,
Tjat, born of Netjeru.”
Image copyright
Melinda Nelson-Hurst.
In the heart of Egypt, about 150 miles (ca. 240 km) south of modern Cairo near the city of Minya, lies a large and ancient necropolis at a site named Beni Hasan (see map). This location has been popular among tourists and academics because several of its massive, rock-cut tombs have beautifully decorated tomb chapels that have survived for millennia. These tombs provide troves of information for scholars to analyze and debate, but today I’d like to focus on one minor person in one tomb: an ancient Egyptian woman by the name of Tjat (see image right).
Tjat appears in the tomb of Khnumhotep II (tomb 3), a local ruler from around the middle of the Twelfth Dynasty (ca. 1900 B.C.). You may have heard about this tomb before because of its so-called scene of Asiatics (people depicted in the typical way that the ancient Egyptians used to distinguish people to the northeast of Egypt)—figures who have been variously interpreted as everything from local nomads to immigrants from the Near East to Biblical figures. However, much less attention has been paid to the woman named Tjat who appears in prominent positions in four different scenes throughout this tomb and is labeled there as a “sealer” (sometimes translated “treasurer”).
Who was Tjat and why does she appear within this tomb? Because of her prominent place (and that of her children) within these scenes (see image below), as well as other factors, scholars have assumed for over a hundred years that Tjat was the mistress and/or second wife of Khnumhotep II, who in turn is assumed to be the father of Tjat’s children. However, having studied Khnumhotep II’s family in some depth, I began to feel compelled to reassess this interpretation of Tjat. Might we, as scholars, have been too quick to categorize this woman as a sexual partner of Khnumhotep II because she did not easily fit other familiar categories? I would certainly say, “yes.” While we will never be able to answer all of our questions about ancient Egypt with any certainty, it is only through close study of both the details and the wider social and historical contexts that we might come a bit closer to the ancient realities of life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX!!!

Hola darlings!

Time is flying by!  Please mark your calendars:  October 18, 2014!!!!  Hales Corners Chess Challenge XX, hosted by the Southwest Chess Club, will be taking place at the Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

The Challenges are held two times a year, and now up to tournament twenty.  Goddesschess has been funding special prizes for the chessplayers in these events since Challenge XVIII, woo woo!  So pleased to announce that Goddesschess is once again sponsoring prizes for female players in both the Open and Reserve sections, plus a chessly gift bag for the top female finisher in each section.

I'm also working on a special prize in memoriam of one of Goddesschess' founding members, webmaster and invaluable contributor, Don McLean, who passed away on October 12, 2012.  More details once I have things firmed up with the organizers.
  • The Challenges are USCF Grand Prix qualified (10 GP points) and also earn USCF Junior Grand Prix
  • Four rounds of play in one day
  • Life Master Sheldon Gelbart is on hand once again to analyze your games with you -- I find it absolutely fascinating and so educational to kibbutz this process as the LM plays through the games with anyone who brings their score sheet to him
  • Game in 60 minutes with 6 second delay
  • USCF rated
Flyer at Southwest Chess Club's website. 

$40 – Open; $30 – Reserve (both sections $5 more after October 15, 2014)Comp Entry Fee for USCF 2200+: Entry fee subtracted from any prizes won

SITE REGISTRATION: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

ROUNDS: 10 am -- 1 pm -- 3:30 pm -- 6 pm
Pairings by WinTD---No Computer Entries---No Smoking

PRIZES: OPEN 1st—$325 2nd—$175 A—$100 B and Below—$75
RESERVE 1st-$100 2nd-$75 D-$50 E and Below-$40
Goddesschess Prizes for Females in Addition to Above Prizes Open: $40 per win/$20 per draw; Reserve: $20 per win/$10 per draw plus free entry for top female finisher in each section to Hales Corners Challenge XXI

Tournament Director: Robin Grochowski
Assistant Tournament Director: Allen Becker

SITE: Olympia Resort Hotel---1350 Royale Mile Road---Oconomowoc, WI 53066—1-800-558-9573 (mention Southwest Chess Club for $99 room rate)

ENTRIES TO: Allen Becker—2130 N. 85 Street, Wauwatosa, WI 53226

QUESTIONS TO: Robin Grochowski – 414-861-2745 (cell)

USCF I.D. Required -- Bring your own clocks – Sets and Boards Provided
Half point bye available in Round 1, 2 or 3 if requested prior to round 1; not available in Round 4

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day Memories

Hola darlings!

First of all, HAPPY LABOR DAY to all of us who work so hard doing what we do, whether we work inside the home or outside the home - or do both! It's all good, and it's all worth more than we make in pay, for damn sure!

Labor is under attack today in the United States and it's so sad. We're trying to fight back, but we're outgunned and out-moneyed and out-propagandaed.

2011: Wisconsin public union workers (teachers, policemen, firemen, prison guards, office workers, engineers,
etc. etc. etc. gather to protest outside of Madison's Capitol Building against the Scott Walker and the
Republican Legislature's destruction of public labor union rights. Scores of arrests followed when the
Governor ordered the Capitol building cleared and state marshalls took the law into their own hands,
brutalizing and then arresting teachers, office workers, doctors and nurses for "resisting arrest" when
they were only exercising their state and federal Constitutional rights to peaceably assemble and protest.
The Republicans, who had taken control of the state thanks to the Koch brothers' money poured into the state's
elections, gutted public unions and then passed the most extreme-ever gerrymandered election
districts Wisconsin has ever seen. The Lafolletes are rolling in their graves. Our honored history
of clean government has disappeared into a foul pit of gross corruption, and Governor Scott Walker
is the most corrupt of all, while posing as a "true Christian family man." Gag and puke.

Don't be fooled by people who are telling you there are "makers" and there are takers," doing the old "speaks with forked tongue" trick! The TRUE MAKERS are the people who create wealth, like me -- working away for the past 45 plus years in an office, now making about $25 an hour compared to my boss's $650 an hour. I work just as hard as he does and, in truth, without the work I do he wouldn't be able to do all that he does. But there is really no such thing as "trickle down," nope. Now I'm not crying the blues here because at my pay rate I gross about $51,000 a year, and I'm okay with that. Is it what a person with a master's degree should be making, though, if we Americans value education like we say we do? Hell no!

But, according to stats from the Congressional Budget Office, I'm considered above the median income in this country, I'm in one of the upper percentiles, darlings, woo woo. How fricking sad is that? Seven years of college education -- and I just scratch the surface of the median income...

Of course, those wages are BEFORE DEDUCTIONS. If only I didn't have to pay 40% of that gross income every year to federal and state taxes and things like Medicare and FICA. Meanwhile, my boss is crying the blues to me because his youngest will soon be going off to college and he "can't afford it." Yeah, right. Tell me about it, dude, who makes TWENTY-SIX TIMES MORE GROSS SALARY THAN I DO. He, his wife and two children can't make a go of it on $650,000.00 a year. And they pay less in taxes than I do. For instance, his Social Security tax deduction is capped at $117,000. The rest of his salary is not taxed for Social Security. I pay Social Security taxes on 100% of my $51,000. How is this fair? And yet he and the rich and even richer are screaming about "high taxes."

The TRUE MAKERS ARE THE LABORERS, not the owners of the property. Property rots and rusts away or, if it is land, goes fallow, without the MAKERS. Take a few minutes and just think about this, please.

My grandfather took a billy club to the head during a strike at J. I. Case in Racine, Wisconsin, standing up for workers' rights in 1934! The then governor of the state of Wisconsin called out the National Guard to attack the strikers. This was in the days before labor had ANY rights at all -- rights that we won after hard-fought battles and are now, less than 100 years later, rapidly losing. Yeah, I hear it every single day, they won't ever do THAT, who would work for them, nobody...

Stupid, stupid people! Think it can't happen to you...

Grandpa Newton lost his job as a skilled tool-and-die maker. The family lost their home to foreclosure because Grandpa was blacklisted and couldn't find work -- not that much work was to be found in those years, anyway. J.I. Case hired scabs who worked for pennies on the dollar compared to the workers they'd fired en masse. Grandpa and his family of eight had to leave Racine and the prosperous middle-class lifestyle they'd known and move to Sturtevant, to what they considered a dumpy little house with a couple acres of land, where they grew fruits and vegetables and eeked out a living doing "truck farming" (as it was known back then) and growing much of their own produce to feed their family. They scraped by.

That was before Wisconsin became one of the first states at the time to pass a law imposing a moratorium on foreclosures during the Great Depression, to prevent people who, through no fault of their own, were losing their homes because they couldn't find work! I don't know this for a fact, but the story I remember hearing as a child and as I understand it now, as an adult, is that the bank owner at the bank that held Grandpa and Grandma Newton's mortgage on the Racine home gave them the option of taking the property out in Sturtevant (back then, nowheresville compared to living in Racine) in exchange for the equity in the Racine home, and Grandpa accepted the deal. That bank owner, he didn't have to do it, but he was a decent man. Back then, a lot of business was done on personal knowledge of the character of one's customers, and on a handshake. My beloved Grandpa was a man of principle. And so was that banker.

All I know is that I loved that house, with its magestic allee of trees alongside the gravel driveway, and the ever-fascinating acreage out back that offered endless hours of exploring and play-time and fantasy. And the family, at that dumpy little house, survived the Great Depression, and Grandma actually sheltered people less fortunate than they were in the basement (the cellar, as they called it back then, which was not then finished in concrete block). She had what was called back then "a soft heart." I inherited mine from her, in more ways than one. It's from Grandma's side of the family, I discovered through my geneological research, that I inherited this genetic lung disease (Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension) that will, ultimately, cause my heart to fail and kill me. Well, we all have to die some time.

Grandma Newton was famous locally for her canned and preserved foods, jams and "goodies" (a form of candied fruit -- I wasn't allowed to eat any because it had brandy in it). Some of my earliest memories are of watching Grandma and Aunts Lolly and Mary Olive (her oldest and second-youngest daughters) working in the teeny kitchen of the only Grandma and Grandpa Newton house I ever knew, and loved. The three of them were moving in what seemed like high speed around a tall butcher block "island" stirring, tasting, seasoning, ladling steaming hot concoctions into mason jars, the room filled with moisture from jars boiling in water and fruits and vegetables cooking on a six-burner stove. I don't remember if it was gas or a wood burner, I assume it was a gas stove, as I was born in 1951 and we're probably talking about 1955 and after. And then there was pickling, done on different days.
The Great Depression didn't end until the start of World World II, when the United States geared up to feed the war effort that was going on in Europe and, ultimately, sucked the USA in, too, including my Dad, who went off to join the Army when he was about 20.

The Frank Newton and Ida Belanger family, left to right, back row: Aunt Faythe; Aunt Mary Olive, my Dad
(John Francis Newton) in his WWII uniform, Aunt Laurel (Aunt Lolly), Aunt Valerie.
Front Row: Grandma Ida Belanger Newton, Uncle Gregory, Grandpa Frank Newton, son of David Newton a/k/a Villeneuve.
Dad was wounded and awarded a Purple Heart, and suffered severe frost bite to his feet. Those feet of his, they caused him much pain and suffering afterward until the time he died. But back then, a man didn't complain about such things. He was changed in ways no one should ever have to be changed. But he survived. Millions did not.

My family was fortunate, compared to millions of other families. We survived the Great Depression, and we more or less prospered. We survived WWII, and we more or less prospered.

Oh my. The older I get (I turned 63 on August 19th, sigh), the more these memories become so precious to me. I've no children of my own (THANK GODDESS!), but I am an aunt, and a grand-aunt, and a great-grand aunt. Geez! What will happen to those children of my nieces and nephews?

All those descendants will think it is absolutely normal to work for $5 a hour and not have employer paid-for health insurance, no paid vacation, no paid sick days, no paid maternity leave, no retirement benefits, no profit-sharing, hell no! They will be, ahem cough cough cough, INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS. Yeah. A fancy name for 21st century slavery. And, because none of the kids now graduating from high school knows any history or knows, really, how to read or write (they think "HOW R U" is writing), they will believe all of this is perfectly normal, and even worse, the way it should be... They will believe that if they're not at the apex of the pyramid, it's because they're stupid, or lazy, or both. Because that is what they are being taught -- they are being brainwashed into believing -- right now, as I write this. There is a reason "1984" is no longer mandatory reading in high school...

Do you REALLY wonder why Congress has done nothing about the epidemic of illegal aliens flooding into our country? Darlings, they're CHEAP LABOR. That's the ultimate bottom line. Now they're importing them as children, even easier to brain-wash.

Real speak: If Romney had won the presidential election in 2012 instead of Obama, we wouldn't be hearing a THING about the so-called crisis of 40,000 or 50,000 CHILDREN crossing the border between Mexico and the United States during the past few years.

Think about it.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Oldest Metal Object To Date In Middle East Found in Woman's Tomb

The Oldest Metal Object Found to Date in the Middle East

According to Dr. Danny Rosenberg of the University of Haifa’s Zinman Institute of Archeology, the copper awl is a unique and very rare artifact, whose discovery, along with other items during the excavations at Tel Tsaf in the Jordan Valley, indicates that the site was an ancient international commercial center

Released:21-Aug-2014 4:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom:University of Haifa
Newswise — A copper awl, the oldest metal object found to date in the Middle East, was discovered during the excavations at Tel Tsaf, according to a recent study published by researchers from the Zinman Institute of Archaeology and the Department of archaeology at the University of Haifa , in conjunction with researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the German Archaeological Institute of Berlin. According to the study, which appeared in the prestigious journal PLOS One, the awl dates back to the late 6th millennium or the early 5th millennium BCE, moving back by several hundred years the date it was previously thought that the peoples of the region began to use metals.

Only 4 centimeters long, and originally set in a wooden handle.

Hello...Has No Chinese Archaeologist Ever Heard of the Tocharians???

From Xinhua 2014-08-17 15:06:04

YINCHUAN, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The remains of a human skull found in a 1,400-year-old tomb in China possibly belonged to a man of European origin, an initial investigation by scientists revealed on Sunday.

The skull was found in the M1401 tomb in Guyuan City in northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region.

"The man had a protruding nasal bone and a sunk nasion, which are typical features of Europeans," said Zhang Quanchao, professor with the Research Center for Chinese Frontier Archaeology of Jilin University.

Zhang believes the skull belonged to a 40-year-old man of European origin.  Further excavation is needed for a firm conclusion, he said.

"If we can find his teeth and more bones, we will have a more precise judgement about his age," he said.

The tomb was first discovered in the 1980s. Illegal excavation was reported this year, and archaeologists began to unearth the tomb in June for protection.  More than 40 clay figures, copper coins and a number of murals were found in the tomb, according to Zhu Cunshi, head of the archaeological team.

Zhu said the tomb was built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907).  Ningxia is along the ancient Silk Road that connected China with Europe through commerce.

Editor: Xiang Bo

Wall painting of "Tocharian Princes" from Cave of the Sixteen Sword-Bearers (no. 8), Qizil, Tarim Basin, Xinjiang, China. Carbon 14 date: 432–538 AD. Original in Museum für Indische Kunst, Berlin.
You can't really see the faces in this image, but you can see the color of three of the four men's hair -- two redheads and one blonde. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Teams USA Final Results at Tromso Chess Olympiad

Is Rex S. pulling his hair out of his head?  Geez, it was bad, people, BAD!

The Open (a/k/a Men's) Team finished in 14th place overall.  Really?  The Netherlands, France, Cuba and Israel finished ahead of us (US).  Holding my nose as I look at the final results.  HOLY HATHOR.  Will the USCF now try to pass this off as some kind of great victory?  I sure the hell hope not.

Final Ranking after 11 Rounds - Open

Rk.SNoTeamTeamGames+ = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
United States of AmericaUSA1163215348.028.0143.00

HUNGARY'S OPEN TEAM with GM Judit Polgar playing Board 5 (WHAT?), takes the silver medal.  Go figure! A fine way for the fabulous Judit to go out on, heh? 

Let's look at the USA men's individual performances -- were they worth the money laid out?

14. United States of America (USA / RtgAvg:2701, Captain: Donaldson John W / TB1: 15 / TB2: 348)
1GMNakamura Hikaru2787USA½1½½1½½105.5927325.56.02-0.5210-5.2
2GMKamsky Gata2706USA1½00½½½0½3.5924903.55.97-2.4710-24.7
3GMOnischuk Alexander2659USA1111½10½½6.5926916.55.930.57105.7
4GMAkobian Varuzhan2653USA1½001103.5724943.54.84-1.3410-13.4
5GMShankland Samuel L2624USA1111111½1½9.010283196.822.181021.8

Clearly Sam (I'm quitting, quitting, quitting, do you hear me?  QUITTING...) Shankland was the star of the team.  What does that tell you, heh?

And then, there are the women.  They showed some verve, finishing overall in 8th place, one spot below their starting rank:

Final Ranking after 11 Rounds - Women

Rk.SNoTeamTeamGames+ = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
United States of AmericaUSA1172216339.529.5139.00

 The Russian women's team was on fire - totally (and rightfully so) pissed off about the political BULLSHIT that went on to try and keep the team out of the Olympiad.  Ha!  Up yours, FIDE, a collective message from Russia's female chess players, with Love, darlings.  Too bad, though, about Lahno jumping federations.  That was poorly done, poorly done, Kateryna.

Individual Russian women performances:

1. Russia (RUS / RtgAvg:2520, Captain: RUBLEVSKY Sergei / TB1: 20 / TB2: 420.5)
1GMLagno Kateryna2540RUS11½½11½0½06.010252466.03-0.0310-0.3
2GMGunina Valentina2524RUS1½11½½11½18.010265186.441.561015.6
3GMKosteniuk Alexandra2531RUS111½1½1½17.5926397.56.321.181011.8
4WGMGirya Olga2484RUS11½011½05.08238555.82-0.8210-8.2
5WGMPogonina Natalija2479RUS11½½11½5.5724965.55.250.25102.5

One of my favorite players, Alexandra Kosteniuk (12th Women's World Chess Champion), played well on Board 3.  I would love to see her hit 2600 ELO.  It won't be easy, but this is one tough competitor.  Don't be fooled by her lovely exterior and gentle manner; she's got the heart of a warrior, no question.  Valentina Gunina was also outstanding, gaining 15.6 ELO ratings points!

USA Women's Team individual performances:

8. United States of America (USA / RtgAvg:2405, Captain: SHULMAN Jury / TB1: 16 / TB2: 339.5)
1GMKrush Irina2474USA11010½00½15.010229057.15-2.1510-21.5
2IMZatonskih Anna2466USA101½1½½1117.51024587.57.240.26102.6
3WGMAbrahamyan Tatev2366USA1½11½½10117.51023847.57.030.47209.4
4WGMNemcova Katerina2315USA10½10114.5722594.54.65-0.1520-3.0
5WGMFoisor Sabina-Francesca2252USA11111005.07226654.520.48209.6

None of the women had break-out performances, but Tatev Abrahamyan and Sabina-Francesca Foisor performed above their ELO ratings.  A respectful nod, too, to Anna Zatonskih, who helped prevent Team USA Woman from sinking further in the standings by her steady play on Board 2.  She as the only American player who also finished in the Top 10 for her individual performance on Board 2.

Here's a question:  Do the big pay-offs bankrolled by Rex S. for becoming USA chess champions make the winners fat and lazy?  Gata Kamsky on the "Open" (a/k/a Men's) Team and Irina Krush on the Women's Team - sucked. 'Nuf said.

Outstanding individual performances by women -- kudos to:


Board 1
GMDzagnidze, Nana2550Georgia271998.088.92353
GMHou, Yifan2661China267197.077.82447
GMCramling, Pia2500Sweden26591110.090.92233

Board 2
GMGunina, Valentina2524Russia2651108.080.02411
GMKhotenashvili, Bela2494Georgia2589108.080.02325
WGMJu, Wenjun2559China2564118.072.72389

Board 3
Rk. NameRtgTeamRpGamesPts.%RtgAvg
GMKosteniuk, Alexandra2531Russia263997.583.32352
IMMatnadze, Ana2385Spain2445107.575.02252
WFMFrisk, Ellinor2257Sweden2432119.586.42110

Board 4
Rk. NameRtgTeamRpGamesPts.%RtgAvg
GMZhukova, Natalia2468Ukraine2512107.575.02294
WGMBartel, Marta2359Poland243996.572.22273
IMBulmaga, Irina2354Romania2433108.080.02176

Board 5
Rk. NameRtgTeamRpGamesPts.%RtgAvg
WGMPadmini, Rout2318India258487.593.82124
WGMGuo, Qi2453China252086.581.32243
WIMDauletova, Gulmira2252Kazakhstan248687.087.52024


The best players sorted according Rp,Pts,games,%,board (Final Ranking after 11 Rounds) - Women

No. NameRtgTeamRpPts.Games%Bo.
GMDzagnidze Nana2550Georgia27198.0988.91
GMHou Yifan2661China26717.0977.81
GMCramling Pia2500Sweden265910.01190.91
GMGunina Valentina2524Russia26518.01080.02
GMKosteniuk Alexandra2531Russia26397.5983.33
IMMunguntuul Batkhuyag2410Mongolia26389.01090.01
GMStefanova Antoaneta2505Bulgaria25998.51085.01
GMKhotenashvili Bela2494Georgia25898.01080.02
WGMPadmini Rout2318India25847.5893.85
IMZiaziulkina Nastassia2407Belarus25809.01181.81

I take my hat off to GM Pia Cramling, who continues to show her true grit.  Do you know -- she was the second female player EVER, after GM Susan Polgar, to earn her GM title the traditional way (no concessions for being a female player, in other words).  She is one of the people I would most like to meet before I croak, let me tell you!  I would love to just take a nice long walk with her through a lovely wilderness preserve, and ask her questions, and see where the conversation goes.

WIM, IM, WGM and GM FIDE-Norms (unofficial)

No.FideIDNameTeamFEDAfter Rd.Pts.GamesNew Title
112512230WFMAsgarizadeh, MinooIranIRI116.59WIM
214202182WFMBaymuradova, SevaraUzbekistanUZB1169WIM
31708481WFMFrisk, EllinorSwedenSWE119.511WIM
45204585Fronda, Jan JodilynPhilippinesPHI106.59WIM
514201437WFMGevorgyan, IrinaUzbekistanUZB1169WIM
61017292WIMHaast, AnneNetherlandsNED116.510WGM
78603006WGMJu, WenjunChinaCHN11811IM
812512214WGMKhademalsharieh, SarasadatIranIRI1179IM
914607093WFMKolaric, SpelaSloveniaSLO1079WIM
1012401013Luong, Phuong HanhVietnamVIE11710WIM
11933988WFMMilovic, AleksandraMontenegroMNE11811WIM
124500512WCMNarva, MaiEstoniaEST116.511WIM
131800183WFMRichmond, JaneWalesWLS10610WIM
1413700090WGMSaduakassova, DinaraKazakhstanKAZ118.511IM
151308521WIMSeps, MonikaSwitzerlandSUI1169WGM
1613505300FMStetsko, LanitaBelarusBLR1079IM
17931411WFMStojanovic, Marija RMontenegroMNE11810WIM
187101937WGMSukandar, Irine KharismaIndonesiaINA10610IM
194264312WFMTsolakidou, StavroulaGreeceGRE1159WIM
2014609215WFMUnuk, LauraSloveniaSLO117.510WIM
211122320WGMZawadzka, JolantaPolandPOL1169IM

Boo!  None of the female players earned a GM norm.

Kudos to GM Sam Shankland of the "Open" (Men's) Team USA for winning a Gold Medal on Board 5.  Will he become a certain someone's next Golden Boy? Maybe.  Those results speak for themselves.  Will Naka find himself tossed to the gutter?  Well, hasn't he always wanted to go back to New York...

Board-prizes (Final Ranking after 11 Rounds) - Open

Important: Minimum 8 games

Board 5
Rk. NameRtgTeamRpGamesPts.%RtgAvg
GMShankland, Samuel L2624United States of America2831109.090.02457
GMMoiseenko, Alexander2707Ukraine271497.077.82487
GMNepomniachtchi, Ian2714Russia265096.572.22469

That's it from Milwaukee, folks.  I'm going back to cooking up some Polish-style drumsticks (don't ask) and unpacking yet more boxes from the never-ending move of Maison Newton.  Smooches.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Judit Polgar Retiring from Professional Chess

Um, I thought she did this years ago, except for the occasional urge to make some appearance fees at special events or serve the call of her homeland (as in an Olympiad).  It's been clear for some time that Judit P.'s heart was no longer solely dedicated to the game. One reaches the point in one's life where too many other things are calling out to one...  And, as we know, Chess is a very jealous lover. 

Here's a link to the report at The Week in Chess

Will there ever be another female player of Judit Polgar's calibre?  Not in what's left of my lifetime, unless there is an undiscovered "prodigy" out there who will stun the world during the next 5-10-15-20 years or so.  I can always hope that will happen; otherwise, female chessplayers will continue in their chess ghetto, earning half (or much less) than mediocre male chessplayers. 

Personally, I won't ever forget actually seeing JP play in person at the FIDE World Chess Championship held at Caesar's Palace Resort Complex in Las Vegas, Nevada, in August, 1999.  I saw her in only one game -- a quarter-finals game, on Friday, August 13th.  She should have won, that's an auspicious number for chess goddesses.  However, she was knocked out of play by GM Alexander Khalifman, a long-shot who went on to win the title.  I was close enough to nearly reach out and touch both of them, I'd only have to have gone a little bit over the red rope separating the row of seats I was in to where the players' table were, but of course that would have been a horrible breach of ettiquette!  I should have done it...

JP's legacy, and that of the three Polgar sisters, will always be part of chess lore.  For that, I am grateful.  They stand as beacons of enlightenment to other aspiring female chessplayers, if they work hard enough (as hard as the best male players, who get utterly obsessed with the game).  Remember - 10,000 dedicated focused, hours of practice and study...that is what research has shown is necessary for most anyone to become an expert at any endeavor.

LIttle Girl Lost and Her Pet Dog...

An absolutely amazing story out of Siberia.  A three year old girl lost in the wilderness for 11 days survived!  Read how.

Little girl survives 11 days in Siberian forest

All hope is lost when her dog returns home without her; then the dog leads rescuers to the missing 3-year-old, who was called the miracle girl

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