Friday, February 24, 2017

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk in Final Four at Women's World Chess Championships

Unfortunately, the female players were forced to wear hajib in order to play in Iran.  PUKE.  Some players sat out, saying no thanks to this woman-hating "custom."

But I'm rooting for Alexandra, a long-time friend of Goddesschess, whoop whoop!  She chose to participate, as did many other highly ranked female chessplayers.

FIDE coverage link.

The Semifinal matches of the Women's World Chess Championship started in the Espinas Palace Hotel (Tehran) on February 23.

Four players continue competing for the chess crown: Tan Zhongyi (China) faces Harika Dronavalli (India), and Alexandra Kosteniuk (Russia) meets Anna Muzychuk (Ukraine). These matches consist of two games with the following time control: 90 minutes for 40 moves, then 30 minutes for the rest of the game, plus 30 bonus seconds after each move. If the match is tied 1-1, it is continued on the tie-break with quicker time controls.

The game Tan Zhongyi-Harika Dronavalli was level until move 21, when Harika decided to change the pawn structure, after which Tan Zhongyi got a pleasant King side initiative. It seems Black had enough resources to defend the position but probably Indian player underestimated the danger. White managed to bring all his pieces to organize killing attack on the opponent's King.

Anna Muzychuk tried to surprise Alexandra Kosteniuk by choosing French Defence, the rare guest in her games, but it didn’t work out as former world champion was perfectly ready. Inaccurate 10... Qc7 let White to gain a long-term initiative out of the opening and after 19.Na6 Alexandra Kosteniuk got a position with a pawn up.
After the first time trouble it turned out that White’s win is debatable.
It was not possible to find a non-human line 43.Kg1!! fe 44.Qe5!! with victory and after "normal" 43.Nd4 the character of the game has changed as Black started to create threats against White’s King.

Nevertheless, it looked like Alexandra is not risking to lose this game at any moment but the tables were turned after 56.Ne5? Anna immediately responded with 56...Ng5 and White cannot defend against two threats Re5 with Nf3 and Nh3. A few moves later former World Champion had to resign. In a post-game interview Anna Muzychuk called her victory “a miracle”.

The second game of semifinal will be played at 3 p.m. local time on 24th of February. Alexandra Kosteniuk and Harika Dronavalli will obviously try to equalize the score.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Iranian Chessplayer Barred from National Team for Refusing to Wear Headscarf

Teenage Iranian chess master banned from national team for refusing to wear a headscarf

Washington Post
Marissa Payne
February 21, 2017

To most observers, nothing stood out about Dorsa Derakhshani last month when she competed at the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. The 18-year-old female grand master fared fine on the board, twice using the Four Knights defense, and looked like any other teenager you might see in the British territory that borders southern Spain.
But to the head of the Iranian Chess Federation, Derakhshani practically committed an act of treason.
Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh didn’t have a problem with Derakhshani’s play, but her headwear. Derakhshani wore a simple headband in her long hair, instead of a hijab, Iran’s traditional headscarf, which became a compulsory accessory for women after the 1979 revolution. As a result, Pahlevanzadeh announced on Monday that Derakhshani would be kicked off the national team.
Derakhshani’s younger brother Borna, 15, who also entered the tournament, was also kicked off the team. His offense was agreeing to play an Israeli opponent, a strict no-no in the country that doesn’t recognize Israel as a state.
“Unfortunately, what shouldn’t have happened has happened,” Pahlevanzadeh told the semiofficial Fars News Agency on Monday (via Radio Free Europe). “Our national interests have priority over everything.”“As a first step, these two will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran,” he continued, “And, in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team.”
Neither sibling has commented publicly on the news.
That the two young chess masters received such a harsh punishment is not a surprise. Sports in Iran and other parts of the Middle East have long been affected by the region’s strict cultural norms and precarious political stance.
Last year, American chess master Nazi Paikidze did not compete in the chess world championships in Iran because of the country’s requirement that she don a hijab.“Some consider a hijab part of culture,” Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing her decision. “But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women’s oppression.”The hijab made different headlines earlier in the year, however, when U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American to win a medal wearing the traditional headscarf. Muhammad earned a bronze in the team saber event alongside hijab-less athletes Monica Aksamit, Dagmara Wozniak and Mariel Zagunis.“I have to challenge this idea that in some way we don’t belong because of our race or our religion,” Muhammad, whose parents converted to Islam before Muhammed was born, said last year.
She added: “Like within any religion, Muslims have conservatives, we have liberals, and we have everything in between. To paint all Muslims with one broad stroke can be frustrating.”

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Special Trip for Goddesschess' 18th Anniversary!!!

Hola Darlings!

I wish Don had lived to come with us, he would have LOVED this!  But, alas. He departed this Earthly Coil in October 2012.  Miss him every single day.

Map of Aude Pays Cathar Region, France, Google Maps.
It will be Georgia a/k/a Isis, and myself, two of the founding members of Goddesschess - making a special, very special, journey.  We had hoped to lure Georgia's daughter Michelle (Goddess #3) to come along with us, and she may yet decide to do so, but she has been concentrating on establishing a new career in Entertainment Engineering since graduating last June with a double Major in Engineering (Civil and "Entertainment" Engineering, which encompasses everything from soup to nuts in the engineering world of putting live performances together).  The little girl I first met in 1999 when she was 9 years old is now all grown up, and an uber-smart, sophisticated and - of course - gorgeously beautiful young woman.  Michelle has accompanied us on our various adventures throughout the years, and embarked upon many of her own in the ensuing years.

Hey Girls!  Jan, Isis, Michelle at
Maison Newton II, August 2008.

This summer, Isis and I will be going to the Languedoc region of France for ten days, to visit an ancient homeland of the Great Mother Goddess, as well as pay tribute to the Cathars.

We will reminisce about the early days of the Goddesschess website, when it first came online on May 6, 1999, and how it all came about. And we will talk about what the future holds.  We aren't getting any younger on the chronological calendar but of course, in our hearts, we are eternally young and gorgeous, darlings -- you know, the original Bambi (me) and Candi (Isis), those Goddesses of Las Vegas, the two, the only, the absolutely irresistable, irreplaceable and irrepressible Las Vegas Showgirls!!!  WHOOP, WHOOP, WHOOP!  I certainly hope to be around for another 30 years or so, blogging to the bitter end, but you never know what the Great Mother Goddess has in store for you.  So, as my mother used to say, "MAKE HAY WHILE IT RAINS.  HA!"

Yeah, make sense of that and you'll be well on your way to understanding moi, darlings :)))

Stay tuned!  Just as the spring and summer brings the juices of life flowing back into Mother Earth to blossom forth, be fruitful and multiply, may the "sap" once again flow freely in these somewhat arthritic bones of my own, LOL!  Sciatica be damned!  I'll fly across the friggin' Atlantic Ocean strapped up standing all the way if I have to, down in the luggage compartment - the heated area with the pets (sometimes it hurts too much to sit for very long, OUCH!)

Monday, January 16, 2017

Happy 2017!

Hola darlings!

I am still among the living, just busy with domestic engineering projects.  Feathering my retirement nest, getting a lot of redecorating and some renovations out of the way now rather than waiting any longer.  I'm not getting any younger, you know.

HAPPY 2017!

Oh I know, the Clueless Orange Man who is NOT MY PRESIDENT is itching to start World War III while licking Vlady Baby Putin's butt crack and giving the middle finger to our European allies and NATO.  The man is a menace.  We'll see how long he lasts.  Already he is the least popular president among Americans in American history.  And he hasn't even been officially inaugurated yet.  HE IS A BIG FAT DOWNER, NO LIE.  Las Vegas has been running betting lines for months on (1) when he will be impeached and (2) when he will be assassinated.

I'm ignoring him as much as possible.

Goddesschess WILL be supporting the 2017 Grand Pacific Open again this year, held around Easter-time every year in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia.  We have increases the prizes for the chess femmes this year and also provide a small stipend to the organizers help fund the appearance of a WGM.

We will also be continuing our support of the yearly events sponsored by our adopted chess club, Southwest Chess Club.  The first this year is the Hales Corners Challenge XXV (we've been supporting the Challenges since Challenge VIII) on April 22, 2017.

A full flyer hasn't been posted yet, but here are the details for Challenge XXV:

USCF Grand Prix Points: 10. Chess Magnet School Junior Grand Prix. Wisconsin Tour Event. 4SS, G/60;d6.
2 Sections: Open & Reserve (under 1600). Olympia Resort Hotel, 1350 Royale Mile Rd., Oconomowoc, WI 53066; 1-800-558-9573 (mention Southwest Chess Club for $99 room rate).
EF: $40-Open, $30-Reserve, both $5 more after April 20. Comp EF for USCF 2200+.
$$GTD: Open: 1st-$325, 2nd-$175, A-$100, B & Below-$75; Reserve: 1st-$100, 2nd-$75, D- $50, E & Below-$40.
Goddesschess prizes for Females in addition to above prizes: Open: $50 per win/$25 per draw; Reserve: $20 per win/$10 per draw; Perfect Score Prize for Females: $80 in Open/$40 in Reserve.
Reg.: 8:30-9:30.
Rds.: 10-1-3:30-6.
Entries/Questions to: Robin Grochowski, 3835 E. Morris Avenue, Cudahy, WI 53110;; 414-861-2745.

Stay tuned!  We're not going anywhere, unless Herr Trump's brown shirts decide I am a major threat to the security of the United States and I disappear.  I doubt that will happen, but if it don't show up after a few months, you'll know what happened.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Oh Oh...

Happy Holidays to all!  For those of you who want to see this year's Christmas tree and skip all the blah blah blah, drop down to the end of the post.

It has been bitterly cold here -- we are under one of those nasty Polar Vortexes and we have had about 16" of snow over a span of 9 days.  Today blossomed less cold but extremely windy.  So windy that gigantic drifts are forming everywhere on the streets, in my driveway, on my sidewalk, and on everyone else's too, and there isn't a thing we can do about it until the winds die down.  That may be on Thursday. Windchills today were hovering around 10 below zero F to zero F, and it felt positively balmy outside compared to the past three days when windchills were 20 to 30 below zero F.  We are running about 29 degrees F below normal temperatures for this time of year.  I dread to think what January and February (always the worst two months of winter) will bring - weatherwise and otherwise.

Not to be outdone by Mother Nature, Father Time and History is throwing up all kinds of vomit (literally) all over the world the past several months, and 2017 promises to continue the unabated horrors.  St. Januarius's miracle blood refused to liquify on December 16th this year.  No bueno.  When this has happened in the past, BAD THINGS have happened.  Now this could not possibly be connected to the U.S. gone mad election of that man who is NOT my dictator, could it...

Or could it?

7:19 a.m. E 

One of the most famous recurring miracles — even if one not quite sanctioned by the Catholic Church — is the liquefaction of the dried blood of San Gennaro, or St. Januarius, a bishop of Naples martyred around 305 A.D. and the city's patron saint. Starting in 1389, the vial of San Gennaro's blood typically turns liquid three times a year: on the Saturday before the first Sunday of May; on his saint's feast day, Sept. 19; and on Dec. 16, the day Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 1631. The blood liquefied on Sept. 19 this year, but not on Dec. 16. "In local lore, the failure of the blood to liquefy signals war, famine, disease, or other disaster," Catholic News Agency reports.

The relic failed to liquefy in September 1939, when World War II broke out; during a cholera outbreak in Naples in 1973; and in 1980, the year of a deadly earthquake, Italy's La Stampa newspaper says. But Msgr. Vincenzo De Gregorio, the abbott of the Chapel of the Treasure of San Gennaro, took a philosophical view. "We must not think of disasters and calamities," he counseled, according to the ANSA news agency. "We are men of faith and we must pray." Peter Weber

Well, I've been praying my butt off for months to the Great Mother Goddess for a miracle to get rid of Herr Hitler Donald Trump a/k/a the Antichrist before he manages to start WWIII and the Zombie Apocalypse by doing something - anything - to strike him down and, preferably, Mike Pence too, all in one fell swoop.  I keep hoping for reports of miracle lightning bolts appearing out of the sky to strike them down.  But nope - nothing yet.  So -- it looks like we are going to suffer through some dire visitation from Fate during 2017, unless the Great Mother intervenes.

Here is this year's Christmas tree.  Not my best effort, heart just is not in it this year.  Talk to y'all after the holidays - maybe.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Are You Investigating Moving to Canada? Forget It - They Don't Want Us Unless We're Billionaires...

My commentary on the election results in my home country.  I hope we survive four years of this.  In the meantime, pee your pants laughing as I just did and remember I did not vote for this when the missiles start flying, darlings:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXIV: Goddesschess Prizes Awarded

Hola darlings!

Another successful edition of the HCCC is in the books.

Here is the rundown on $835 in Goddesschess prize money paid out to our winners this event.

The prize structure is open-ended; for instance, if ten chess femmes entered and played in the Open, and they each won all of their games, the total prize payout from Goddesschess would be $2,000 ($50 x 4 rounds x 10 femmes).  In the Open, a win by a female player is worth $50 and a draw is worth $25; in the Reserve, a win by a female player is worth $20 and a draw is worth $10.  The top female player in each Section also receives paid entry into the next HCCC if she chooses to enter.  Beginning a Challenge or two ago, we also instituted a perfect score prize for the chess femmes, one for each Section: $80 in the Open, $40 in the Reserve.  All Goddesschess prizes are in addition to what a player qualifies for under the tournament's prize structure.

Each October beginning with the HCCC in October 2013, in memory of Don McLean, Goddesschess' late webmaster, researcher, writer and reporter, we also fund a Don McLean memorial prize of $100 for the top male scorer in the Open and $50 for the top male scorer in the Reserve.

Open Section:
Anupama Rajendra won $150 (also won free entry to HCC XXV, $40)
Ritika Pandey won $100
Susanna Ulrich won $50
Megan Chen won $25

Reserve Section:
Simran Bhatia won $60 (also won free entry to HCC XXV, $30)
Madeline Weber won $50
Miriam Luevano won $40
Ellen Wanek won $40
Aradh Kaur won $40
Radhika Gupta won $40
Kai Mills won $20
Nika Kwon had zero points and thus did not win anything

There was no perfect score by any of the chess femmes this Tournament.

Don McLean Award:

Open Section:
Erik Sanntarius won $100

Reserve Section:
Sidharth Rane won $25
David Mertz won $25

Congratulations to all of the Goddesschess prize winners, and hope to have you all return for the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XXV in April 2017!
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