Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Joni Mitchell Singing "Woodstock"

The most beautiful rendition I've ever heard.  I think we need another "Woodstock."  Will the next generation step up to the challenge of bringing about a new revolution like my generation did?  We need one more than ever, darlings.



Lyrics:

Woodstock by Joni Mitchell Printer-friendly version of this lyric

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm *
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an' get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
back to the garden

© Siquomb Publishing Company


This, of course, is a rendition of the song popularized (mega-hit) by Crosby, Stills, Nash andYoung:


Monmouth Site Could Be "Older Than the Pyramids"

From BBC News


Monmouth ruin find could pre-date pyramids

Archaeologists claim to have unearthed the remnants of a large prehistoric building, which they say could be older than Egypt's pyramids.

Experts said they were mystified by the "unique" find on the site of a housing development in Monmouth.  Monmouth Archaeology, which found the wooden foundations, said they dated to at least the Bronze Age, but could be early Neolithic, about 6,500 years old.

It said the pyramids were built about 4,500 years ago.

Steve Clarke of Monmouth Archaeology, who has 55 years' experience, claimed nothing like it had been discovered in Britain before and he was checking if something similar had been unearthed on mainland Europe.

He said the structure, possibly a long house, had been built on the edge of a long-lost lake, which has silted up over time.  The building's foundations were made from entire tree trunks, measuring about a metre wide.

"We think it could be from the Bronze Age (about 4,000 years ago), but some of the experts we've brought in to see it think it could be early Neolithic. If that's the case it could easily pre-date the pyramids," he said.

"We think it's a long house which would have been home to a family, and perhaps used for gatherings and meetings.  We're not really sure what it is, it's a mystery, but it's the foundation for something.

"It's unique. We haven't seen anything like it. Various experts and professors are equally mystified."

Mr Clarke said the wooden foundations were at least 50ft (15m) long.

Radio-carbon tests

He said most of the known long houses were built on posts about a 1ft (30cm) wide, but trees had been used for the base of the Monmouth structure, and they had been placed on a prehistoric "burnt mound".

Mr Clarke said a burnt mound was a mass of stones which were heated in a fire, thrown into a pot or trough to boil water, although some experts think the stones were used to create an early type of sauna.

Archaeologists have ordered radio-carbon tests of the foundations and the results are expected later this month.

The find is on the Parc Glyndwr development in Monmouth, where about 80 houses are to be built.

Monmouth Archaeology were employed by the housing developers to study the site.

New York Times: Games -- Chess

A lovely little fluff piece in the "Home and Garden" section of The New York Times.  Sigh.

Shopping With Libby Sellers

It's All Fun and Games

By RIMA SUQI
Published: June 13, 2012

Democratic Chess by Florian Hauswirth; about $490, florianhauswirth.ch.


AMONG those gathered in Switzerland this week for the annual Design Miami/Basel design fair is Libby Sellers, a gallerist from London presenting “Games,” a group show with a chess theme.

The exhibit, which includes pieces by industrial, furniture and graphic designers, was inspired by a 1944 show at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York that featured chess sets by Man Ray, Isamu Noguchi and other artists. (It can also be seen at Gallery Libby Sellers in London in July and August: it’s her “contribution to the Olympics,” she said.)

Ms. Sellers, 39, who was in New York City this spring for the Frieze Art Fair, took time out to shop for other interesting examples of games (board and otherwise) by design types.

She began at the shop at Phillips de Pury & Company on Park Avenue, which carries Tauba Auerbach’s One Deck of Cards: Shapes, a set of playing cards she had seen in London. “I have always been aware of her work,” Ms. Sellers said. “And I find the idea of using letters and forms of letters and words on the page to create two-dimensional sculpture really interesting.”

A surprise find at the same shop was a set of wood-inlaid table-tennis paddles, called Urban Picnic: Paddle, by Gareth Neal.

“I’m sure a paddle isn’t the first thing a designer thinks of creating,” she said. “Usually they go for a table, chair or shelving unit. The fact he’s applying his veneer treatments to objects that are about handling and play shows that there’s a lighter side to design — it doesn’t have to be all serious.”

Chess set by Lanier Graham; $65 at MoMa Design Store; (800) 851-4509, momastore.org.

At the MoMA Design Store, she turned up a chess set designed in 1966 by Lanier Graham, a nice example of “abstracting traditional chess forms,” she said. “If you took the pieces off the board, you wouldn’t necessarily identify them as chess pieces: it’s not a king or a queen, it’s just an object with a point.”

She also loved Frank Gehry’s brand-new, special-order-only chess set, on display at Tiffany & Company on Fifth Avenue.

“What super-surreal architectural forms,” she enthused. “It’s really indulgent, really fantastic.”
But what about that $25,000 price tag?

“Well,” she said, “that’s less than one of his buildings.”

A version of this article appeared in print on June 14, 2012, on page D6 of the New York edition with the headline: It’s All Fun and Games.

The Next Chess Collectible?

Now that's a bright idea: The Montana retiree who is making chess sets using discarded spark-plugs

By Daily Mail Reporter
|


Photo by Eliza Wiley, Independent Record


Kenneth Marx's bright idea to turn recycled spark-plugs into chess sets is finally paying off.

After having the light-bulb moment while working at a gas station four decades ago, the retiree from Helena, Montana, has decided to turn creating the unique sets into a business, and he's commanding $275 for each creation.
Mr Marx collected the spark-plugs, chucked out after tune ups, and began manufacturing a few chess boards for friends, according to the Helena Independent Record.  'I thought that there’s got to be something we can do with these instead of just throwing them away,' he told the newspaper.
But then life got in the way and he ditched the hobby.  Decades later and with a bit more time up his sleeves, Mr Marx has rekindled his passion for the spark-plug chess sets and now runs a business making them from his home.  He has transformed his garage into a production line for creating the pieces and dedicated a special spot in his basement to painting them.
In the past year, he's made 23 sets. I’m just getting started,' he said. 'I’m basically doing a lot of baby steps.'
About once a month, Mr Marx tours his local repair shops, which put the used spark-plugs aside, waiting for his visit.  When home, he sorts the spark-plugs by size and manufacturer and cleans them by soaking them in solution.  After choosing the ones in the best shape, he grinds the bottoms and affixes a nut to make them stable.
He also saws off the tops of the plugs and then puts a cap on each, determining the type of chess piece. For example, the king’s topper is an inverted tire stem, according to the newspaper.  He also uses valve covers and other auto parts.
The process is very labor-intensive, with each set taking about 20 hours of Mr Marx's time, not including drying time between steps.
The retiree also makes custom wooden boxes for each set.  'Even at mass production, I am making 52 a year,' he said.
Each set is custom made. The purchaser can choose colors and even brands of spark-plugs. Some have made rival sides such as American manufacturers versus German, he told the Helena IR.
Mr Marx is in the process of securing a patent for his spark-plug chess boards, which he sells his boards for $275 from his website www.chesscreations.com and also out of his home at 303 N. Hoback St.

A few of the employees at the repair shops that donate their old spark-plugs have snapped up sets, Mr Marx said, adding that they appeal to both chess players and car fanatics.  'It’s a very small step in recycling,' he said.
Given the time taken to create each set, Mr Marx is realistic about the money he'll make from his business but he enjoys the creative side.  'I don’t plan on making a fortune on this,' he told the newspaper.

2012 FIDE Women's Grand Prix - Kazan

Pairings and Results for R4, and Pairings for R5:

Round 4 on 2012/06/13 at 15:00
SNo.NameRtgRes.NameRtgSNo.
12GMAnna Muzychuk 2598½-½GMKeteryna Lahno 25468
9GMAlexandra Kosteniuk 2457½-½GMAntoaneta Stefanova 25187
10IMAlisa Galliamova 24840-1GMNadezhda Kosintseva 25286
11GMHou Yifan 26230-1GMViktorija Cmilyte 25085
1GMElina Danielian 24841-0GMTatiana Kosintseva 25324
2GMHumpy Koneru 25891-0WGMBetul Cemre Yildiz 23333
Round 5 on 2012/06/15 at 15:00
SNo.NameRtgRes.NameRtgSNo.
3WGMBetul Cemre Yildiz 2333GMAnna Muzychuk 259812
4GMTatiana Kosintseva 2532GMHumpy Koneru 25892
5GMViktorija Cmilyte 2508GMElina Danielian 24841
6GMNadezhda Kosintseva 2528GMHou Yifan 262311
7GMAntoaneta Stefanova 2518IMAlisa Galliamova 248410
8GMKeteryna Lahno 2546GMAlexandra Kosteniuk 24579

Standings after R4:

RankSNo.NameRtgFED123456789101112Pts. TB1TB2TB3
11GMElina Danielian 2484ARM*½½11304.50
212GMAnna Muzychuk 2598SLO½*½ 1½2.50.55.750
32GMHumpy Koneru 2589IND½½*½ 12.50.54.50
46GMNadezhda Kosintseva 2528RUS*0½11 2.504.50
55GMViktorija Cmilyte 2508LTU*½0112.5040
67GMAntoaneta Stefanova 2518BUL01*½½214.50
78GMKeteryana Lahno 2546UKR ½½½½*20.54.750
89GMAlexandra Kosteniuk 2457RUS01½*½20.540
911GMHou Yifan 2623CHN½0*101.502.250
1010IMAlisa Galliamova 2484RUS 00*½11.501.50
114GMTatiana Kosintseva 2532RUS0 ½0½*101.750
123WGMBetul Cemre Yildiz 2333TUR0010*101.50

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 FIDE Women's Grand Prix - Kazan

Here's another FIDE Women's Grand Prix snuck up on me -- well, my mind is on other things these days, and chess has taken a back seat.

Here are the standings after R3:

Ranking crosstable after Round 3
RankSNo.NameRtgFED123456789101112Pts. TB1TB2TB3
112GMAnna Muzychuk 2598SLO*½1½20.53.250
21GMElina Danielian 2484ARM½*½120.52.750
35GMViktorija Cmilyte 2508LTU*½011.51.52.250
6GMNadezhda Kosintseva 2528RUS*0½11.51.52.250
7GMAntoaneta Stefanova 2518BUL01*½1.51.52.250
8GMKeteryana Lahno 2546UKR½½½*1.51.52.250
79GMAlexandra Kosteniuk 2457RUS10*½1.5120
82GMHumpy Koneru 2589IND½½*½1.50.52.750
911GMHou Yifan 2623CHN½*011.50.51.750
1010IMAlisa Galliamova 2484RUS0*1½1.501.50
113WGMBetul Cemre Yildiz 2333TUR010*101.50
4GMTatiana Kosintseva 2532RUS½0½*101.50

As you can see, darlings, it is another star-studded event! There's still lots of chess to be played.  It's an 11-round event and as we've seen before, anything can and sometimes does happen!

What I find striking about this tournament is that no player has jumped out with 3.0, or even 2.5!  Wow!  It seems that in recent memory, the mark of the eventual winner (or runner-up) has been jumping out to a commanding early lead.  Well, we'll see what develops. 

In this particular event, I'm rooting for Kosteniuk and Koneru.

Here's the official website.  The Republic of Tatarstan?  What the hell is THAT?  Did a revolution occur that I slept through? (probably won't be the first time or last. Just wake me up when the decimated American middle class decides to say FU to the top 1% slave masters.  I don't want to miss that revolution.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Woman's Bronze Age Burial Uncoverd in Kazakhstan

From Caspio.net
June 11, 2012

She was buried in a fetal position, facing west, ready to be born again...
Specialists of the West Kazakhstan Centre of History and Archeology have found the burial of a young lady dated back to the Bronze Age.
It is situated in the territory of the ancient city of Zhaiyk some 12 kilometres from Uralsk. Archeologists claim that their discovery is unique. The woman was buried in the fetal position and her body was directed to the west. It is believed that a person buried like that will receive the second birth. People buried their relatives and friends in such a manner in the Bronze Age, over 2 thousand years ago. It means that if earlier archeological information dated Uralsk back to the 14th century, today there is proof that this city is much older. The ancient skeleton was situated near the 800-year old brick furnace. The team accidentally found the landmark site during routine excavations. It means that the two discoveries located in close proximity were in fact two millennia apart.

Murat Kalmenov, SENIOR FELLOW, WEST KAZAKHSTAN REGION CENTRE FOR HISTORY AND ARCHEOLOGY:
-The burial was higher than the base of the furnace. Then we have found an inscription, which said that there was a burial mound here in the 14th century. I believe that people living here hadn’t recognised it and built a furnace near it.

There are a lot of such historical complex areas in the territory of this region. This year excavations in Akzhaiyk, Chingirlau and Kaztal regions are planned to be launched.

Serik Ramazanov, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CENTRE FOR HISTORY AND ARCHEOLOGY:
-In 2009 we found a similar ancient city in the Kaztal region. It was bigger than Zhaiyk. The length of this city was 900 metres and the width was estimated at 300 metres. We also excavated one residential area within the city and we are going to continue working.

An open-air museum is going to be set up in the place of the ancient city of Zhaiyk, where archeologists would like to collect all historical and archeological monuments of the region.

China Institute Awesome Program on Terra Cotta Warriors

Terracotta Warriors Defenders of China's First Emperor
The Exhibition
Discovery Times Square and China Institute present an evening of special lectures featuring prominent scholars from China discussing one of the world's greatest archaeological discoveries, China's Terracotta Warriors.
The evening's presentations will include:
Tian Jing (田静:秦兵马俑的艺术特色)
Deputy Director, Museum of Emperor Qin Shi's Mausoleum
Artistic Features of the Qin Terracotta Warriors
Zhao Jing (赵静:秦汉帝国交通建设遗产现状)
Deputy Director, Xi'an Centre of Conservation and Restoration
A Study of the Transportation Infrastructures from the Qin and Han Dynasties as Remains of Cultural Heritage
Zhang Zhongli (张仲立:铜车马与秦始皇帝陵陪葬)
Deputy Director, Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology
The Bronze Chariots from Emperor Qin Shi's Tomb Complex
Please join us on this very special evening.
Monday, June 18 at 7:30PM
at Discovery Times Square
226 West 44th Street




This event is FREE to the public. To purchase tickets to the exhibition prior to event, please click here.
Presentations will be conducted in Mandarin with English translations displayed.
The New York premiere of this exhibition features a collection of over 200 artifacts dating back to 221 BCE, and an up-close look at the authentic, life-sized Terracotta Warriors.
China Institute

125 East 65th Street
New York, New York 10065

212-744-8181

The Latest on the Qin Terracotta Army

From china.org.cn

Experts: terra cotta army was looted and burned
Shanghai Daily, June 10, 2012

Chinese archaeologists say they have proved that the famous Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) terra cotta army in Xi'an was robbed of its weapons and figures broken and burned.
Xiang Yu, a military leader who overthrew the dynasty, is the prime suspect for the arson and looting, officials from the Museum of the Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shi Huang said yesterday.
"We have found large quantities of red clay and charcoal along with holes for robbing in the major pit of terra cotta warriors," said Shen Maosheng, leader of the archeological team on the No.1 pit.
"These are evidence of arson and looting."
Archaeologists were publicizing the results of the third excavation since 2009 on the pits where thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors and horses have been uncovered from three pits.
The figures were discovered in 1974 by farmers in Lintong District, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, near the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huang (259-210 BC), the First Emperor who united warring China.
More than 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses have been unearthed from the pits covering a total of 14,000 square meters.
The majority of the site is still buried, the museum said.
Caused by burning
Experts reassembling figures discovered some parts were their original blue color, while others were a red color, caused by burning.
This means the figures were firstly broken into pieces and then some parts set on fire, said Shen.
Most original weapons the figures held, such as spears, swords and crossbows, had disappeared, said Cao Wei, deputy curator of the museum.
"Rebel leader Xiang was the person with the power, time and motive to destroy the terra cotta warriors," Shen said.
Xiang hated the First Emperor, so had a motive to destroy the spiritual protectors of his tomb, said Shen.
He also needed weapons in order to fight the army of Qin Dynasty, as they had banned all weapons throughout the country.
The large holes into the pits gave another clue, said Shen.
They could only have been dug by a large group of people - such as Xiang's army, he said.
Footage on the China Central Television yesterday showed archaeologists painstakingly removing soil from figures being unearthed.
Most of the terra cotta figures were broken into pieces that archaeologists have to reassemble.
Experts had long speculated the pits had been destroyed by human intervention, but had never found evidence before.
Dubbed "one of the eight wonders in the world," and the "most splendid archaeological find" of the 20th century, the terra cotta figures are life-sized and vary in height, uniform and hairstyle in accordance with rank.

Southwest Chess Club Action!!!

Every Thursday night (just about), there's action to be found at Southwest Chess Club.  This Thursday.  I don't know who comes up with the great names for their club tourneys or how long it takes, but they are always just spot on.  Sweltering Muggy - that's what it's been like around here and is forecast for next weekend as well! 

This Thursday, June 14, 2012 (and the next two Thursdays after that) the Southwest Chess Club presents for you the Sweltering Muggy Summer Swiss (see below for details). This is is a two section (Open and Under 1600), three round event. Time Control is Game in 100 minutes, with a 5 second delay. All three rounds will be played at the Hales Corners Village Hall, 5635 South New Berlin Road, Hales Corners, Wisconsin, in the downstairs Community Room. Club opens at 6 PM, Tournament Games at 7 PM.  

We plan to start promptly at 7:00 p.m.. Registration is 6:20-6:50 p.m. If you want to play but anticipate being a few minutes late, please e-mail me (Tom Fogec) or call me at 414-405-4207 (cell) prior to 5 p.m. on June 14, so I can include you in the pairings. 

Sweltering Muggy Summer Swiss: June 14, 21 and 28
3-Round Swiss in Two Sections (Open and U1600). Game/100
minutes. USCF Rated. EF: $5.00. (One ½ Point Bye Available
for any round (except round three) if requested at least 2-days prior
to round). TD is Tom Fogec; ATD is Robin Grochowski.

Oh, Those Driving (Saudi) Women!

The woman who defied Saudi's driving ban and put it on YouTube

By John D. Sutter, CNN
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Sun June 10, 2012
Oslo, Norway (CNN) -- Growing up in Saudi Arabia, Manal al-Sharif was taught in school that listening to music -- just like driving, showing her face in public or making a decision without consulting her male guardian -- was forbidden and sinful.
She believed so strongly in music's satanic powers that she burned many of her father's and brother's cassette tapes so they couldn't play them anymore. [Men can be sinful by listening to forbidden music but women cannot.  Oh, the irony, the irony...]
Then one day in 2001, al-Sharif was about to dub over one of her brother's American tapes with a lecture on Islam when curiosity got the best of her. She let herself listen to a few bars. And the first song to touch her ears helped reroute the course of her life.
It was the Backstreet Boys' "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely."
"They had been telling us that music was Satan's flute -- was a path to adultery," she said in a recent presentation at the Oslo Freedom Forum, a human rights conference in Norway. "This song sounded so pure, so beautiful, so angelic. It can be anything but evil to me. And that day I realized how lonely I was in the world I isolated myself in."

Al-Sharif, now 33, gained international attention last summer after she uploaded a YouTube video of herself driving in a country where women are banned from doing so. Now she is the face of Saudi Arabia's Women2Drive movement, which plans to hold demonstrations on June 17 calling for women in that Middle Eastern country to be able to do something that's downright banal everywhere else in the world: drive themselves around town in an automobile.

While driving is technically not illegal for women in Saudi Arabia, a religious edict, or fatwa, issued in the early '90s, banned the practice. A statement from the Ministry of Interior backed up the decree.
Al-Sharif's action followed a November 6, 1990, demonstration in which women in Riyadh, the capital, drove without permission. Since her protest, small groups of women periodically have staged what The New York Times termed "random acts of women driving" to stand up for their rights.

Al-Sharif follows in that tradition, but she has caused much more of an uproar.

But, for her, it all started simply.

The divorced mother of one says she likes to make yearly challenges to herself around her birthday, April 25. One year, she went sky diving. In 2011, she wanted to drive. So in May last year, an acquaintance filmed al-Sharif while she drove through the streets of Khobar wearing a black headscarf and sunglasses but not hiding her face. "We want to change the country," she said in the video, according to a translation posted on YouTube. "A woman, during an emergency, what's she going to do? God forbid her husband's with her and he has a heart attack. ..."

"Not all of us live luxurious lives -- are spoiled like queens and have drivers," she said, in reference to the fact that many women have to pay for drivers to get around town.

Al-Sharif's act of defiance did not go unnoticed. The next day, police detained her. She was held for nine days without being charged, she said, and then released after considerable international pressure, much of it coming from the Twitter hashtag #Women2Drive and corresponding pages on Facebook. The next month, on June 17, dozens of women in Saudi Arabia got behind the wheel and drove to protest the ban, according to news reports.

One year later, the Women2Drive campaign is planning to have a second go of it.

The group again is encouraging Saudi women to go out and drive on June 17. Amnesty International has collected thousands of portraits of people who support the movement and plans to send them to the Saudi royal family, said Cristina Finch, the U.S. chapter's policy and advocacy director for women's human rights. And al-Sharif said demonstrations are expected to take place at Saudi embassies around the world.

Al-Sharif is so concerned about her family's safety that she doesn't plan to drive on June 17. "That would endanger my family, not only me."
But the campaign isn't really about driving, she said. Driving, in one sense, is a stand-in for other issues. Women in Saudi Arabia won't be allowed to vote or hold public office until 2015. They can't get married, leave the country, go to school or open bank accounts without permission from a male guardian, who usually is the father or husband. Much of public life is segregated by gender.

Al-Sharif also hopes driving is a starting point -- that it will empower silent women.

"When women break that taboo and they're not afraid to drive that car by herself -- that's it," she said. "Now she has the guts to speak up for herself and take action."

In essence, the Women2Drive campaign is asking women of Saudi Arabia to go through some of the same transformations al-Sharif did.

In addition to her Backstreet Boys moment, al-Sharif has been subject to several dramatic turning points in her life. In a moderate family, she was the Islamic extremist, she said, supporting jihadists of the 1980s, including Osama bin Laden. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, she took a hard look at her beliefs.

"When 9/11 happened, the extremists said it's God's punishment to America for what they're doing to Muslims," she said in her Oslo presentation. "I was confused which side to take. I watched the news that night and I saw this picture -- it was a video of a man throwing himself from one of these (World Trade Center) towers. He was escaping the fire. I remember that night I couldn't sleep. That picture of that man throwing himself was in my head and it was ringing a bell. Something is wrong. There is no religion on Earth (that) can accept such mercilessness, such cruelness. My heroes were nothing but bloody terrorists, and that was the turning point in my life."

Another change occurred after her divorce, which she said happened without her consent. "I didn't even know," she said. "He just went and divorced me. That's it."

After that, she said, she stopped deferring to the men in her life, including her father, who is her current guardian. Instead of "begging" them to allow her to take a job or drive a car, she said she politely tells them that this is the way things will be.

"I reached a point in my life where I'd had enough of men controlling me," she said. "I stopped asking for permission. ... If you change (a Saudi woman's) mind-set -- (if) she's not weak, she doesn't need permission -- the people around her will change."

Her biggest problems now concern her son, who is 6.

"The kids in the school, they harass him and bully him because they know I'm his mom," she said. She tried to explain the situation to him but couldn't find the exact words. "I promise you when you're older you'll be really proud of your mom," she recalls saying.

She keeps files of news clippings and awards in hopes that, when he's older, he will see them and decide she is not the sinful, dangerous woman her critics portray.
"All I did was ask for rights. I didn't attack anyone. I didn't harass anyone. I didn't oppose the system or the country or the authority. All I said is, 'Why can't I drive?' "

Her work life further complicates this situation.

To speak at the human rights conference last month in Norway, al-Sharif said she had to quit her job as a computer scientist at Saudi Aramco, the oil company. Her employer, she said, told her she could not continue to work if she was going to speak up. The company did not respond to a CNN request for an interview.

The only way she could find work at this point, she said, is to leave Saudi Arabia.

But if she does so, she said, she would lose custody of her son. She doesn't know what she's going to do.

"It's so hard," she said, before backtracking and putting on a stronger face. "It's OK. I'm used to these things. There's always a price to pay."

She doesn't expect change to come quickly in Saudi Arabia. But she hopes that her own story -- one of change and a call for rights -- could be the inspiration for other Saudi women.

"It took me a long, long time to break the chains that's inside me."

She added: "We're just keeping our heads up. We're not giving up."

At the end of the Oslo Freedom Forum, al-Sharif received an award for "creative dissent" -- another accolade she can put in a scrapbook for her son. In her acceptance speech, she humbly said she didn't know what the word "dissent" meant until she heard she had won the prize.

After learning the word's meaning, she said she doesn't think of herself as a dissident. "I find myself someone who is driven by her own struggle," she said.  Then she ended her speech with a metaphor: "The rain begins with a single drop."

2012 Milwaukee Summer Challenge

My adopted chess club, Southwest Chess Club, is introducing an entirely new tournament to the Milwaukee chess scene and something that we usually don't see -- a two day, five-round Swiss!  I hope we'll see a great turn-out for this event.  If this one is successful, maybe we'll see more (and bigger prizes) in the future.
Saturday & Sunday, July 14-15, 2012
5-Round Swiss; G/120 with 5 second delay
4 Sections: Master/Expert (closed), U2000, U1500, and U1000
Best Game prizes in top three sections!


ENTRY FEE: $40 – All Sections (except U1000), U1000 Entry Fee: $25
(all sections $5 more after July 11, 2012)
SITE REGISTRATION: 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
ROUNDS: Sat.: 10 am -- 2:30 pm -- 7 pm
Sun: 10 am -- 2:30 pm
Pairings by WinTD---No Computer Entries---No Smoking

The event will be held at the Wyndham Milwaukee Airport Hotel (near Milwaukee airport: 4747 S. Howell Avenue, Milwaukee - 414-481-8000). Mention Southwest Chess Club for $79 room rate.
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