Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NM Rachel Ulrich Wins WIM Norm at Chicago Open

Hola everyone!

The Chicago Open was held in Chicago, Illinois May 21 - 25, 2015.  This is a FIDE rated event.

The Open section players list reads like a "Who's Who" in U.S. Chess!  Many participants in the 2015 U.S. Chess Championship were among the field.  All tolled, 113 players were in the Open, including U.S. National Master Rachel Ulrich (WI 2200).  The great news is that Rachel earned a WIM norm for her performance in the Open, finishing with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Meanwhile, sister Susanna Ulrich (WI 1566) played in the U1900 Section and finished with 4.0/9.

Final cross-table with standings.

Many Wisconsinites played in the Chicago Open.  Check it out!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV: June 13 - 14, 2015

Hola darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to announce the resumption of special prizes for female participants in the Milwaukee Summer Challenge IV.  Goddesschess prizes are conditional upon at least two or more females playing in each section.

Here are the details:

http://www.southwestchessclub.com/       ----Southwest Chess Club Website
http://swccchess.blogspot.com/            -----Southwest Chess Club Blog             

One Day Chess Camp in Sheboygan, WI with NMs Rachel Ulrich and Richard Martin !!!

Hola Darlings!

Goddesschess is pleased to provide funding for this fabulous FIRST OF ITS KIND event in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Please note:  Goddesschess is paying the registration fees for ALL female participants, regardless of age/experience level.  

So - let me cut to the chase, darlings!  As you may know, Rachel Ulrich, one of the fabulous chess-playing Ulrichs siblings (Tommy, Anne, Rachel, and Susanna, children of Jim and Janet Ulrich) - recently earned her U.S. National Master title at the age of 14 after yet another great tournament performance at the April, 2015 Hales Corners Chess Challenge.  Through behind-the-scenes communications and what-not that I won't bore you with all of the details, a wonderful and first-of-its-kind event has been arranged for JUNE 11, 2015 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.  Here are the details:

The Sheboygan TUE KNIGHT CHESS CLUB has an awesome opportunity to host a VERY INSPIRING SUMMER CHESS CAMP DAY  event !

Featuring :
 TEEN National Chess Master Rachel Ulrich ! 
 One of the TOP 30 Female Players in AMERICA & Wisconsin's Highest Ranked Female Player !
Current USCF RATING : 2200

12 yr. Susanna Ulrich 
 National Master Richard Martin III 

Goddesschess has provided funding to pay the
Registration Fees for Females of all ages !!  FREE REGISTRATION

 It is an honor to have NM Rachel Ulrich & Susanna as our special guests and I want it to be a packed attendance ! 
Very Limited Space so  PLEASE REPLY EMAIL NOW so I can register you.     DETAILS BELOW...
Ellen Wanek  :o)
(920) 452-8743

  THUR JUNE 11 th , 2015   
Glas coffee house Conference Room 
924 N. 14th. St.   Sheboygan 

10AM - 4PM with Tactical / Strategy Lesson/ Lecture,  Puzzles,  Personal Q & A time , Game Analysis and Simuls w/ the Masters ! 
(Prizes for those who Win or Draw)

Our Chess Club has no funds so I will have to ask for a small Registration Fee to cover NM's lessons, Ulrich family expenses to Sheboygan & Event Prizes.

INDIVIDUAL :   $ 25  ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 
FAMILY    :        $ 50   ( includes the $10  National Master Simul ) 


My dear chess-buddy, Ellen Wanek, lives in Sheboygan and has dedicated years to teaching chess to students of all ages, but especially to students in primary schools.  Ellen is also one of the driving forces behind Chess in the Park during the summer in Sheboygan where chess is also taught to beginners!

I first met Ellen online - I forget exactly how it happened now, duh!  Regardless, we found each other, that's the important thing!  I've had the opportunity to play with Ellen at some of the Hales Corners Chess Challenges (when my health was better and I had the stamina to do so).  Ever since I first "introduced" her to Goddesschess and its financial support for women's prizes at the Hales Corners Chess Challenges, Ellen has played in every Challenge!  We have become good friends.  She is one of the kindest, most loving, gentle and cheerful souls it has ever been my privilege to meet.  We are such opposites in so many ways, we are a perfect match of friends, LOL!

I was out of touch with Ellen while I was in Las Vegas on vacation, so I cannot truthfully tell you whether all the spaces for the chess camp and/or the simul with NM Rachel Ulrich and NM Richard Martin have been filled.  So, please contact Ellen directly with your inquiries about the Summer Camp.

Any excess Goddesschess funds not used to pay for registration fees will be applied to providing prizes for players and to help defray costs incurred by the chess instructors for their gracious participation in this great event.

Split Between Domesticated Dogs and Wolves Much Earlier Than Previously Thought

As long as there have been preserved written words, the close connection between the Goddess and dogs/canines has been recorded -- extremely ancient "legends" dating back to times thousands of years before written languages were invented to record them.  Similar connections exist between the Goddess and cats/felines and the Goddess and cows/bovines.  Somewhat later but still extremely ancient connections also exist between the Goddess and horses and the Goddess and birds. 

My fascination with the link between the Goddess and canines is not only related to my love for dogs, it is also rooted in the link of the Invisible Hand of the Goddess via dogs to ancient board games.  It therefore comes as no surprise to me that the boundaries of our understanding of the ancient link between womankind in particular, because it was most likely women who first domesticated canines, is being consistently pushed further and further back into "herstory" both by ongoing discoveries and re-examination and re-interpretation of earlier discoveries. 

Here's the latest, from the Science Section of The New York Times:

Family Tree of Dogs and Wolves Is Found to Split Earlier Than Thought

The ancestors of modern wolves and dogs split into different evolutionary lineages 27,000 to 40,000 years ago, much earlier than some other research has suggested, scientists reported Thursday.

The new finding is based on a bone fragment found on the Taimyr Peninsula in Siberia several years ago. When scientists studied the bone and reconstructed its genome — the first time that had been done for an ancient wolf, or any kind of ancient carnivore — they found it was a new species that lived 35,000 years ago.

Based on the differences between the genome of the new species, called the Taimyr wolf, and the genomes of modern wolves and dogs, the researchers built a family tree that shows wolves and dogs splitting much earlier than the 11,000 to 16,000 years ago that a study in 2014 concluded.

Their study also gives some dog-park bragging rights to owners of Siberian huskies and Greenland sled dogs, which have inherited a portion of their genes from the Taimyr wolf.

The history of dogs is still murky, however, because it seems that different kinds of wolves and dogs have interbred at different times in different places over the past tens of thousands of years.

Love Dalen, of the Swedish Museum of Natural History and an author of the report in Current Biology, said that the simplest explanation for the new evidence “is that dogs were domesticated as much as 30,000 years ago.”

But, he said, the researchers’ work does not prove that this is what happened. Pontus Skoglund, a research fellow at Harvard University and the first author of the research paper, said, “We can’t just look at the DNA and say whether a canid was living with modern humans.”

Laurent Frantz, a researcher at Oxford who also studies canine evolution, said that he thought the work was “a great milestone in studying wolf populations,” although he said the timing of the domestication of dogs remained unclear.

The bone fragment was found by Dr. Dalen a few years ago when he was collecting fossils of ancient mammals on the Taimyr Peninsula. He said that for one unidentifiable fragment, he wrote in his field notebook, “Reindeer?”

But genetic tests showed that that fragment belonged to a wolf, and subsequent carbon dating put it around 35,000 years old. At that point, Dr. Dalen said, Dr. Skoglund suggested sequencing the genome.

As to the impact of the new research, Dr. Dalen said, “I think it would be presumptuous to assume that it would settle anything, given how contentious the field is.”
Contentious indeed!  Only think what fields of inquiry this latest research might lead to -- for instance -- cross-cultural contact among previously allegedly "distinct and isolated" populations of human beings on a scale that many (most) experts would find hard to accept, allowing for the cross-breeding of various species of domesticated canines.  Of course, cross-cultural contact among allegedly isolated populations where their doggies are making whoopie with each other also suggests the possibility that humans may also have been taking advantage of the novelty of making whoopie with the visitors.  And then there is the issue of cross-cultural trade over seemingly impossible distances, which evidence suggests did take place.  Hmmm....

Native American Gaming Pieces and "Dice" Shed Light on Promentory Culture in Utah

For the curious, please check out Stewart Culin's "Games of the North American Indians," a wonderful resource that is now available online (Holy Hathor!) It is a treasure trove of information gathered by Culin on various games and sports played by North American Indians including extensive drawings, oral traditions, and testimonies of various old-timers and collectors of gaming artifacts alive at the time Culin was traveling the North American continent collecting his information.

Article at Westerndigs.org

Hundreds of Dice, Game Pieces Found in Utah Cave Shed Light on Prehistoric Gambling

Floral Offerings in Ancient Graves

Hola everyone!  I'm back from sunny and warm Las Vegas.  It was a great trip.

My hotel was smack dab outside Rock in Rio that was held last Friday and Saturday - OMG!  Navigating around the street concert area (for vehicles) was a nightmare!  I tried to avoid the mad crush of people as much as possible.  The hotel (I stayed at Circus Circus this visit) was pleasantly busy beforehand but not like the mob scenes that can occur when there's a chess tournament in town or one or more conventions, but last week Thursday the place was inundated with arrivals for the weekend concert and, perhaps, the music awards that were hosted in LV live last Sunday night.  Of course when I'd planned my trip I had no idea these things were going to be going on during my LV stay.  Oh well, LOL!

I ate too much, drank too much, talked too much.  I did not go shopping except to one thrift store on a trip with Isis who combs through thrift stores like a pro to find vintage items for her online shop.  It was a real education watching Isis do her thing at the thrift store, wow!  I picked up a small decorative plate, one other item that for the life of me now I cannot remember, and my prize score was a black and white porcelain of a beautifully detailed horse.

Now, you may be wondering "how is it she doesn't remember what she bought?  Can't she just go look and write it down?"  Well, no, I can't do that because I don't have the things with me!  We decided rather than cramming the items into my luggage, my purchases, together with several really cool items (including a new egg for my ever-growing egg collection) that Isis surprise gifted to me, would be shipped to my home.  Since Isis has re-entered the world of vintage items and clothing via her e-bay shop (years ago she had a bricks-and-mortar location) she quickly became expert at packing items for safe arrival via US Mail, FedEx and UPS.  I should have the box in a few days, woo woo!

So - back to my much more sedate and slow-paced life of retirement in good ol' Milwaukee :)

The Red Lady of El Miron (cave site in Spain) made the news again this past week.  She lived and died approximately 18,000 years ago and was evidently reburied at some point, perhaps after her original grave site had been disturbed by predators.  Before she was re-interred, her bones were painted in a glittery (crystallized minerals laden) form of red ocher.  The "big" news about her discovery, though, wasn't the fact that she had been painted in red ocher, but that there was evidence a floral offering may have been included in her second grave, based on pollen found in the grave site.

Here is the latest article on the Red Lady of El Miron from Live Science:

Ancient Mourners May Have Left Flowers On Red Lady Grave, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, May 20, 2015

I knew about the somewhat controversial findings surrounding possible evidence of flowers left in or on a grave of a Neanderthal woman buried some 60,000 years ago in Shanidar Cave in the Kurdistan area of Iraq.  See, for instance:

The Skeletons of Shanidar Cave, Owen Edwards, Smithsonian Magazine, March 2010.

For further information on Neanderthal burial practices, see Burial, Ritual, Religion, and Cannibalism at neandertals.org.

A more recent gravesite, a 14,000 year old burial in Raqefet Cave, Mount Carmel, Israel, written about in this article (a man and woman buried together in a pit grave):

Oldest Grave Flowers Unearthed in Israel, Tia Ghose, Staff Writer, Life Science, July 1, 2013.  Note:  This article dates the Neanderthal burial with evidence of flowers to some 35,000 years ago, in stark contrast to Owen Edwards' article which dates the burial to some 60,000 years ago.  Perhaps two different burials are indicated.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Oldest Stone Bracelet Yet Found - 40,000 Year Old Denisovan (?)Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times.Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times. Discovery

Oh, those mysterious Denisovans.  Check out this latest:

Story and many photographs of the wonderful bracelet from The Siberian Times online:

Stone bracelet is oldest ever found in the world

By Anna Liesowska
07 May 2015
Dating back 40,000 years to the Denisovan species of early humans, new pictures show beauty and craftsmanship of prehistoric jewellery.
It is intricately made with polished green stone and is thought to have adorned a very important woman or child on only special occasions. Yet this is no modern-day fashion accessory and is instead believed to be the oldest stone bracelet in the world, dating to as long ago as 40,000 years.
Unearthed in the Altai region of Siberia in 2008, after detailed analysis Russian experts now accept its remarkable age as correct. 
New pictures show this ancient piece of jewellery in its full glory with scientists concluding it was made by our prehistoric human ancestors, the Denisovans, and shows them to have been far more advanced than ever realised.
'The bracelet is stunning - in bright sunlight it reflects the sun rays, at night by the fire it casts a deep shade of green,' said Anatoly Derevyanko, Director of the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography in Novosibirsk, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
'It is unlikely it was used as an everyday jewellery piece. I believe this beautiful and very fragile bracelet was worn only for some exceptional moments.'
The bracelet was found inside the famous Denisova Cave, in the Altai Mountains, which is renowned for its palaeontological finds dating back to the Denisovans, who were known as homo altaiensis, an extinct species of humans genetically distinct from Neanderthals and modern humans.
Made of chlorite, the bracelet was found in the same layer as the remains of some of the prehistoric people and is thought to belong to them.
What made the discovery especially striking was that the manufacturing technology is more common to a much later period, such as the Neolithic era. Indeed, it is not clear yet how the Denisovans could have made the bracelet with such skill. [So why are the archaeologists so certain this is a Denisovan creation?  Read on...]
Writing in the Novosibirsk magazine, Science First Hand, Dr Derevyanko said: 'There were found two fragments of the bracelet of a width of 2.7cm and a thickness of 0.9 cm. The estimated diameter of the find was 7cm. Near one of the cracks was a drilled hole with a diameter of about 0.8 cm. Studying them, scientists found out that the speed of rotation of the drill was rather high, fluctuations minimal, and that was there was applied drilling with an implement - technology that is common for more recent times.
'The ancient master was skilled in techniques previously considered not characteristic for the Palaeolithic era, such as drilling with an implement, boring tool type rasp, grinding and polishing with a leather and skins of varying degrees of tanning.'
Chlorite was not found in the vicinity of the cave and is thought to have come from a distance of at least 200km, showing how valued the material was at the time. [If this is not evidence of ancient trade, I don't know what is!]
Dr Derevyanko said the bracelet had suffered damage, including visible scratches and bumps although it looked as if some of the scratches had been sanded down. Experts also believe that the piece of jewellery had other adornments to make it more beautiful.
'Next to the hole on the outer surface of the bracelet can be seen clearly a limited polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material,' said Dr Derevyanko. 'Scientists have suggested that it was a leather strap with some charm, and this charm was rather heavy. The location of the polished section made it possible to identify the 'top' and 'bottom' of the bracelet and to establish that it was worn on the right hand.'
Polished zone of intensive contact with some soft organic material. General reconstruction of the view of the bracelet and compraison with the moders bracelet. Pictures: Anatoly Derevyanko and Mikhail Shunkov, Anastasia Abdulmanova.  Image from article (link in headline).

Viva Las Vegas: The Spring, 2015 Visit

Hola darlings!

Yeah yeah yeah, I know, I know.  I've been an unsteady lover/blogger.  Stop bitching about my long gaps in posting and start reading, please.

Got back late yesterday evening from visiting Georgia a/k/a Isis (with the beautiful Isis swimming pool/yard) and Michelle in sunny and warm (until I got there, that is) Las Vegas.  I spent three full days visiting with my long-time Goddesschess buddy/partner with an occasional nod at uber-busy Michelle (exam time, she's a UNLV senior in finals and going an extra year in 2016 to pick up a second engineering degree).  I arrived the evening of Tuesday May 12 (basically crashed and burned early once I got settled into my hotel room) and left early afternoon on Friday May 16.

Isis and I talked up a hurricane, I drank a lot wine, ate a lot of food, Isis and I shopped together, peed in our pants laughing many times, we did a little barbecue/cooking one evening ( I made dry hamburgers, they did not turn out as good as they have in the past [out of practice since Mr. Don died], and also made Newton style potato salad, which was marginally better), and I picked up a sun tan along the way, got a few twice-overs (at my age, 63, darlings -- INCREDIBLE!), also got drenched by music from a festival (Rock in Rio) that was parked practically right outside my hotel's main entrance.

I stayed at Circus Circus this year:

My first time staying at Circus Circus.  It was an EXCELLENT BARGAIN: a lovely and large, recently refurbished room (a single with a king size bed, non-smoking floor so no cigarette stink), IMMACULATELY clean, excellent staff, with a lovely view of the Las Vegas valley, and QUIET! (well, until Rock in Rio showed up on Friday, LOL!), at a great price, and did I mention I had a MARVELOUS staff looking after me -- well, they were wonderful.  Whether it was Housekeeping, the Information Desk, Checking In/Checking Out, the shop and restaurant people -- all first class people, polite, helpful, utterly engaging.  Even the guests were polite and engaging, and I cannot say that for every hotel I've stayed at over the years in Las Vegas.  I was SO pleased with the experience I will definitely book there again. Thank you, Circus Circus.  And in case of you're wondering, no, this is NOT a paid ad.  I call a spade a spade, and an ace and ace.  Circus Circus is an ace.

Views from my en suite window - this one is looking - I have no idea what direction actually, LOL -- but you can see some of the mountains that encircle the LV valley:

That dark pink glass structure is part of the Adventure Dome added to Circus Circus since my last visit to Las Vegas in spring 2013.  The one sure thing about this city is that nothing EVER stays the same there.

I had a view of the pool and the Adventuredome - above is an early-morning shot from my hotel room window of the pool area.

My room was in the West Tower so very convenient for arrivals and departures and maneuvering around the premises (most of the hotels/casino complexes have gotten good at putting up signs to point you in the direction to get you where you want to go, and Circus Circus was very good at that).  My room was off-Strip so it was quiet!  As a non-smoking floor, I think I dodged a lot of the more serious party-party types too, and Circus Circus is (as far as I am aware) the only remaining hotel on the Strip that caters to families with children. I saw lots of families with children of all ages, and it was wonderful to see them.  And no, there were NO screaming out of control children running up and down the hallways in the residential towers or in the hotel common areas.  (I don't mind kids except when they're screaming in my ear or kicking my seat on a plane, LOL!, and they seem to like me. I struck up a love affair at the LV airport with an 18 month old toddler who was learning to walk while waiting to come back home on Saturday.  He was such a flirt!)  Babies, toddlers and children love to make eye contact and they see the truth in a person, I believe.  If you have a good heart, they know it, nearly instantly.  They can see it in your eyes.

There is a lot to see and do on the Circus Circus hotel premises for the young and the young at heart.  During our last visit together to Las Vegas in 2011, Mr. Don and I had a lot of fun in the Circus Circus mezzanine area where free circus acts are featured and more than 200 try-your-luck games in addition to the uber cool fortune-teller machine!  I beat the pants off Mr. Don in "whack a chicken" (maybe I'm a reincarnated Viking as I seem to be very good at smashing things with a heavy wooden mallet), but he was a much better sharp shooter with the water guns than I was. Drat!  We tried tossing bean bags at milk bottles, flipping coins on to plates for prizes, tried those "crank and grab a prize" machines and played "through the hoop"  bean-bag toss games in myriad variations, and spent several delightful hours there our last trip to LV together.  Oh Mr. Don, how I miss you.  He was like the Pied Piper. He attracted people (of all ages, races, creeds and nationalities) to him no matter where we were or what we were doing.  He was just that way. To paraphrase a line from a famous movie:  He had me at "hello. And he had strangers before he even uttered a word.  I could not see his aura, per se, but it must have been one terrific aura to be able to do that! He was, at the risk of sounding ridiculous, a truly magic man.

My room with bath on the 13th floor (GODDESS number, woo woo!) was cleaner, better maintained and much quieter than the room I stayed in at the former Quad in 2013 when Thelma and I visited LV together.  The Quad (the former Imperial Palace) is now known as The Linq and seems to be in perpetual renovation mode.  It has a great location about center-Strip, but I don't know if I would want to stay there now; they are obviously marketing to the LET US GET CRAZY LIKE ANCIENT ROMANS AND PARTY UNTIL WE DROP DEAD FROM ALCOHOL POISONING crowd.  Not exactly my style these days; well, not ever my style, darlings, not even when I was in my roaring 20s and 30s :)

Isis is doing well, and so am I.  And while I have not been the best of bloggers lately, Goddesschess has funded prizes for chess femmes for some wonderful chess events in 2015 thus far, with more coming up (more about that later), so we are hard at work, peeps, even if I'm not blogging about it constantly.

Absolutely no pics of either Isis or me -- it never even occurred to me to pull out my camera to try and get some photos of us.  Guess I'm getting senile (or smart, har :))  The back yard and pool area are well-kept and lovely, as always, and the plantings Isis and Michelle have put in over the years since they purchased the house in 2008 have filled in beautifully.

One of the cool things Isis and I did during my stay was visit a local charitable thrift store.  Isis revealed to me her incredible expertise in "picking" -- I was just amazed at how quickly she was able to go up and down aisle after aisle of merchandise and zero-in on the good stuff.  I was going to take a photo of our haul (I bought a few items, too) in our cart prior to check-out but forgot all about it, so I took this silly photo of plastic bags filled with our stash instead (after we loaded it into Isis' vehicle):

Here is an original painting she picked up for a great price.  The more I looked at it, the more I fell in love with it:

When we got back to Isis' place, we checked the artist's name on Google and found a couple of paintings of hers being offered on an online auction site for, let's just say substantially more money.  Nice score, Isis.

It was a privilege going through this experience with her.  She is a PRO.  Her mom and her grandmother before her were antique collectors and quietly built up expertise in their field.  They taught Isis all the tricks of the trade.  This woman knows her stuff, peeps.  I was in awe as she rattled off makers/manufacturers and approximate ages of piece after piece that she singled out as we went through the large store.  She ran her own vintage furnishings and antiques shop in LV for many years before the advent of the internet.  These days, she works part-time only, when the mood strikes her, since retiring in 2009 and runs her shop online.

Now I'm back home and recovering from my vacation.  Travelling wears me out, peeps.  And my sciatica was acting up big time during my stay at LV and back here at home. What a pain (literally!)  I managed the mile round-trip hike to the Pick 'n Save supermarket to pick up much needed food and wine supplies earlier today, and despite the constant pain my left leg feels somewhat better now.  When I am laying perfectly still prone in bed, the pain gradually subsides and it is Heaven!  This bout has lasted about 2 weeks now, but I have had intermittent longer bouts over the last dozen or so years, one lasted about 6 weeks in the mid 2000's when I was under a great deal of job stress, working for a super asshole.  These days, no 8:30 to 5 job-related stress, but I'm no longer below 60, either.  Damn damn damn!  Well, I'm going to fight the Good Fight, peeps, to keep my health (such as it is, with evidently genetically inherited bad heart and lungs) as long as I can.  The spirit sure is willing, in any event :)

I arrived home last evening to MUCH Lake Michigan-caused fog (Mitchell International Airport is right on Lake Michigan) but by the time the shuttle got me home (abut 7 miles west) the air was much clearer, although extremely muggy.  With clashing fronts blowing in from the west coast and the Gulf coast, we were forecast to get thunderstorms, and we had a mild bought of t-storms earlier this afternoon with strong winds out of the south and heavy rains.  The storms did not last long, though.  Now it is sunny and mild outside (6:48 p.m. Milwaukee time) and the temperature is slowly cooling down.  Will we get more storms later?  I don't know, I haven't listened or looked at the latest forecasts.  It is still extremely muggy, but right now the skies have cleared and the sun is shining.  The air is very still, though.  Not a good sign.  A crow is visiting me, I just tossed out a new handful of peanuts for it to enjoy and it is bathing some of those peanuts, one by one, in the concrete bird bath that sits at the edge of my large concrete patio (no nicely tree-shaded wood deck at this house, alas).  

Now the church bells are ringing it's 7 p.m.

So funny!  As the Go Rite-Way Airport shuttle van backed into my driveway last evening to deliver me safely home at last, an extremely nosy neighbor three houses to the south of mine was standing in the driveway of (what I hope was) his house and stayed there the entire time it took for the van to do a Y-turn and back into my driveway, drop me off, unload my suitcase, receive his tip, and drive away again.  I mean like, REALLY DUDE?  Obviously this is a man who has nothing better to do with his time.  Holy Hathor!  Seriously, I don't know if I'll be able to tolerate this kind of bullshit spying on my comings-and-goings now that I am retired.

Now I'm tired and have had several glasses of cheap pink boxed wine and just want ot watch t.v. for awhile, so I'm not proof-reading this.  I hope it makes sense.  But you know what - I don't care if it doesn't, LOL darlings!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXI - Final Results for the Chess Femmes

First of all, congratulations to Rachel Ulrich who competed in the Open and finished with two wins and two draws for a score of 3.0/4.  Rachel's performance qualifies her for the U.S. national master title at the age of 14, whoop whoop! 

Rachel has joined a select group of other young chess femmes who have also recently earned national master titles:  Carissa Yip, 11 years old, who earned her NM title this February, and Jennifer Yu, now age 13, who participated in the recently concluded 2015 U.S. Women's Chess Championship in St. Louis, Missouri.  Jennifer earned her NM title in 2014.  Another rising young CF, Apurva Virkud, also earned her NM title in 2014 (age 15 or 16, not sure).

Ninety players participated in the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXI; twelve chess femmes made up their number, for an overall female participation rate of 13.3%.  Three CFs played in the Open, and nine CFs played in the Reserve section (rated under 1600).  Here are the final results:

Open (52 players):

  8.    Ulrich, Rachel J (7) .........  WI 2177 W23   W4    D1    D7      3.0
  16.    Ulrich, Susanna G (41) .......  WI 1586 W41   D24   L13   W33     2.5
  43.    Huang, Alena (35) ............  WI 1657 W51   L19   L22   L25     1.0

Rachel earned $120.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Susanna earned $100.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Alena earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.

Reserve (38 players):

  2.    Huang, Sabrina (4) ...........  WI 1436 W6    W17   W7    W12     4.0
 5.    Hoffman, Sandra R (7) ........  WI 1359 L17   W25   W20   W21     3.0
 17.    Wanek, Ellen Ann (16) ........  WI 1171 W5    L2    W33   L8      2.0
 22.    Ball, Salli (25) .............  WI  945 W33   W36   L3    L6      2.0
 30.    Przedwiecki, Alyssa (29) .....  WI  799 L20   L33   L14   W34     1.0
  33.    Gaddipati, Haasa (35) ........  WI  631 L22   W30   L17   L18     1.0
 35.    Romich, Brianna (38) .........  WI nnnn W29   L28   L15   L23     1.0
 37.    Van Oss, Jeanne Marshelle (32)  WI  712 -H-   L6    L13   -N-     0.5
38.    Rice, Dorothea M (21) ........  WI 1052 L23   L31   L29   -U-     0.0

I'll leave it to Robin Grochowski of the Southwest Chess Club to figure out the exact amount of Goddesschess prize money won by each of these chess femmes, but from what I can figure out for myself:

Sabrina earned $80.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Sandra earned $60.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Ellen earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Sallie earned $40.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Alyssa earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Haasa earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money.
Brianna earned $20.00 in Goddesschess prize money and also gets a USCF rating.

Planning is already in progress for HCCC XXII in October, 2015.  This year's U.S. Women's Chess Championship saw the implementation of the Fischer Award for a perfect score for the women (such an award has been tangling out there like a carrot in the U.S. Chess Championship for several years); Goddesschess is working out details for our own version of the perfect score award for chess femmes in the Hales Corners Chess Challenges. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

China Pursuing Water Security? Good luck with that, dudes!

AFP feed to Yahoo News, April 18, 2015:

China's struggle for water security

By Giles Hewitt

Way back in 1999, before he became China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao warned that water scarcity posed one of the greatest threats to the "survival of the nation".
Sixteen years later, that threat looms ever larger, casting a forbidding shadow over China's energy and food security and demanding urgent solutions with significant regional, and even global, consequences.
The mounting pressure on China's scarce, unequally distributed and often highly polluted water supply was highlighted in a report released at the World Water Forum this week in Daegu, South Korea.
Published by the Hong Kong-based NGO, China Water Risk (CWR), it underlined the complexity of the challenge facing China as it seeks to juggle inextricably linked and often competing concerns over water, energy supply and climate change.
"There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to China's water-energy-climate nexus," the report said.
"More importantly, China's energy choices do not only impact global climate change, but affect water availability for Asia," it said, warning of the danger of future "water wars" given China's upstream control over Asia's mightiest rivers.
The Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is essentially the world's largest water tank and the origin of some of Asia's most extensive river systems including the Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong. The most significant link in the nexus the report describes is the fact that 93 percent of China's power generation is water-reliant.
"Chinese officials are starting to say water security comes first," the report's author Debra Tan told AFP in Daegu. "Because without it, there is no energy security and, of course, no food security."Agriculture accounts for between 65 and 70 percent of China's water use and vast amounts are wasted by inefficient irrigation.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXI

Hola everyone!

There is plenty of time yet to register for HCCC XXI which is this Saturday, April 18th.  Four rounds in one days at the beautiful Olympia Resort in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  There are two sections -- Open and Reserve.  As of this morning, I was notified that there are 75 pre-registered, which is great -- 12 are chess femmes :)

You can find more information here.  There will be walk-up registration tomorrow morning prior to the start of the tournament.

Goddesschess provides prizes for female players in both the Open and Reserve sections, in addition to a gift back to the top female finisher in each section.  All Goddesschess prizes are in ADDITION to prizes offered by the HCCC.

I'll be up to my eyeballs in nut shells tomorrow (spring yard clean-up), but my thoughts will be with you all, and I'll be checking the results from time to time at Southwest Chess Club's blog.

Good luck, everyone!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Chess Cheat Caught Using Grody Toilet-Paper Wrapped I-Phone In Men's Bathroom

Oh gag me!

Even worse, the news was disgusting enough to make it onto the front page of Yahoo!  Like chess doesn't already have a quirked-eyebrow reputation amongst the general population?  And now this kind of incident gets world-wide publicity.  Gee, thanks for nothing, Schmuck Nigalidze.  I hope Bobb Fischer haunts your dreams with his own personal pitchfork for as long as you live.

Chess champion caught cheating by hiding an iPhone in the bathroom

A 25-year-old chess champion named Gaioz Nigalidze was recently caught cheating via his iPhone while playing at the 17th annual Dubai Open Chess Tournament.
According to tournament investigators, Nigalidze made suspiciously frequent trips to a bathroom stall where, come to find out, he had hidden his iPhone behind a toilet, appropriately wrapped and concealed in wads of toilet paper.
Nigaldze’s opponent, a grandmaster named Tigran Petrosian, initially became suspicious when he noticed Nigaldze consistently running to the toilet after making a move. Petrosian lodged a complaint which then prompted an “on the scene” investigation, according to a report in The Telegraph.
When the toilet paper covered iPhone was discovered, Nigalidze denied it was his, a plea which comically fell on deaf ears once investigators began poking around and discovered open social networking apps which clearly belonged to Nigalidze. Not helping matters was an open chess app that just so happened to be analyzing Nigalidze and Petrosian’s ongoing match.
Naturally, Nigalidze was banned from the tournament. What’s more, the validity of his entire career is now being called into question. A purported rising star within the chess community, Nigalidze was the reigning Georgian Chess champion for two years running.
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