Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Curse of the Egyptian Magician...

Cue spooky music......wooooooowwoooooooowwoooooooo.....

Pediamenopet's Curse
By Dr. Zahi Hawass
Published by Asharq Al-awsat

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- Pediamenopet was an Ancient Egyptian priest who built a tomb for himself in the region known as al-Asasif, west of Luxor. The tomb is known as Tomb 33 [TT33], and many myths and stories have emerged surrounding this tomb to the point that some archeologists even fear entering it. It is generally believed that Pediamenopet was one of the most important magicians in ancient Egypt, where witchcraft and magic was part of the ancient Egyptian priesthood. In fact, the skills and powers of ancient Egyptian priest's in witchcraft and magic have even been referred to in the holy Quran. Researchers and archeologists have had numerous accidents in this tomb, especially in the vertical shaft that must be traversed in order to reach Pediamenopet's burial chamber. This vertical shaft descends for approximately 7 meters in depth, and there have been a number of accidents here, with people falling down this vertical shaft and harming themselves, resulting in archeologists speculating that this vertical shaft is cursed.

The first recorded story of an accident taking place in this tomb was in 1798, when French scholars attached to the French Campaign in Egypt were recording and studying the antiquities of Upper Egypt. These French scholars worked day and night to document ancient Egyptian artifacts and antiquities, and in fact they were even able to publish an important encyclopedia called the "Description de l'Egypte" about Egypt. The story goes that one French scholar entered Pediamenopet's tomb, carrying only a candle in order to observe the engravings and hieroglyphics on the tomb's walls, however he fell down this vertical shaft to his death. Approximately two centuries later, a German archeologist was cataloguing the tomb in 1874, as part of research into a book he was writing on the importance of the engravings and hieroglyphics on the walls of the tomb, when he also fell down this vertical shaft.

There is no historical record of what happened in this tomb following the death of the French scholar and prior to the death of the German archeologist, however a similar such event – which we hope will be the last of its kind – also took place recently. Egyptian archeologist Professor Ali al-Asfar was recently accompanying some foreign archeologists on a tour of Tomb 33 when he also fell down this vertical shaft, however thanks to divine providence he was not killed in this incident, instead suffering multiple broken bones. Al-Asfar was sent to Germany for medical treatment, and we thank God that he has recovered, although this is not a full-recovery and he still suffers the after-affects of some of these fractures till this day. After Professor al-Asfar returned to Egypt, he resolved to transfer from his job at Luxor to any other position, and he is now the Director of the Giza Pyramid complex. The words "vertical shaft" now panic Dr. al-Asfar, and I don't think that he will ever resolve to descent a vertical shaft again, whether this is 7 centimeters underground or 7 meters!

After this incident, al-Asfar asked those responsible for Tomb 33 why this vertical shaft was not covered, as is the case with other shafts in other ancient Egyptian tombs. The answer was that a metal covering was made to cover this shaft on more than one occasion, but over time, as the shaft has had to be re-opened to allow archeologists and researchers to descend in order to reach Pediamenopet's burial chamber, this metal covering has been misplaced, and – for one reason or another – the shaft has remained uncovered.

As a result of this, there is much speculation surrounding the tomb's owner, the ancient Egyptian priest Pediamenopet, and the curse that he placed on the vertical shaft that leads to his burial chamber…and so Pediamenopet and this vertical shaft have become another ancient Egyptian myth!
Yeah, easy for the Egyptian government to blame a mummy's curse instead of owning up to gross negligence!  It's a good story, I'll give Hawass that; of course, he doesn't talk at all about the dozens of people who have safely traveled up and down the shaft to do archaeological recovery, not to mention a looter or two :)  After all, how else could this object have come up for sale at Christie's, heh?  Unfortunately there is no photo, but a piece of one of the deceased's Shabti fetched the price of  $8,963 USD at auction on 3 July, 1996 King Street, London:

Sale Information
Sale 5625
3 July 1996
London, King Street

Lot Description
Another upper part of a mottled stone shabti for Pediamenopet

Dynasty XXV/XXVI, circa 650 B.C.
With partial remains of four lines of hieroglyphic text from Chapter 6 of the Book of the Dead, 6½in. (16.5cm.) high; another, with two and a half lines of text, surface flaking, mounted, 5¾in. (14.7cm.) high; a stone shabti head, mounted, 2 3/8in. (6cm.) high; a green-glazed stone shabti head, 2¼in. (5.6cm.) high; the lower legs of a shabti with six lines of inscription remaining, 4¾in. (12cm.) high; another, with seven lines, 5in. (12.7cm.) high; and a painted limestone lower legs of a shabti with two lines of text, 2¾in. (7cm.) high (7)

From Tomb 33, Assassîf

Lot Notes
Item seven: "A Letter from W. E. Rouse Boughton, Esq. F.R.S. to the Rev. Stephen Weston, B.D. respecting some Egyptian Antiquities" and read to the Society of Antiquaries on 19 May 1814, in Archaeologia, XVIII, 1815, pl. IV.

Ahem, hey Dr. Hawass, how about tracking down this ancient piece of Egypt and bringing it back where it belongs. Or perhaps you expect the curse of the Egyptian Magician to do its work for you and the partial Shabti will walk back to Cairo.

Chess Femme News!

I don't remember if I picked this up from Dylan Loeb McClain's chess blog at The New York Times so, just in case, here it is:

Kateryna Lahno, 2010 Women's World Blitz Champion
 September 20, 2010, 12:27 pm
Lahno Wins Women’s World Blitz Championship


Interview with Anna Muzychuk during the Chess Olympiad
Her sister has birthday on September 21st
(I posted a photo of Anna Muzychuk below from R5 of the 2010 Chess Olympiad)

RI women’s chess team beats Sri Lanka
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 09/25/2010 12:09 PM | Sports
As you will see if you go to the end of the article and look at the "related links" below it, Woman Grand Master Irene Kharisma Sukandar (2372) is a big star in Indonesia.  She is a fine chessplayer and from interviews I have read, a very kind, level-headed young lady.  She is having a good Olympiad, with 4.0/5 (1 loss).

Comment from on results of R4 Chess Olympiad:

Olympiad R4: the King’s Indian is still alive
24 September 2010, 23.39 CET | Last modified: 9:47
The world’s best female player has been playing an important role thus far for her team in the Open section of the Olympiad. Today Judit Polgar’s win against Bu Xiangzhi was decisive in the Hungary-China match.

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 5 Women

Anna Muzychuk
 Yes!  Krush v. A. Muzychuk, both players fought hard for a win, but in the end, it was a draw.  USA Women took the match:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 6 United States of America (USA) Rtg - 13 Slovenia (SLO) Rtg 2½:1½

4.1 IM Krush Irina 2490 - IM Muzychuk Anna 2535 ½ - ½
4.2 IM Zatonskih Anna 2480 - WGM Krivec Jana 2309 ½ - ½
4.3 WFM Abrahamyan Tatev 2352 - WGM Kaps Darja 2300 1 - 0
4.4 WGM Baginskaite Kamile 2328 - WIM Rozic Vesna 2289 ½ - ½

The Canadian Women took care of business against a lower rated team and moves into 29th place (from start place 58th):

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 58 Canada (CAN) Rtg - 87 Syria (SYR) Rtg 4 : 0

26.1 WIM Yuan Yuanling 2189 - Mir Mahmod Afamya 2014 1 - 0
26.2 WIM Kagramanov Dina 2086 - Al-Gildah Nibal 1932 1 - 0
26.3 Lacau-Rodean Iulia 2024 - Al-Jelda Fatemah 1822 1 - 0
26.4 Kagramanov Dalia 1866 - Al-Mahmoud Rola 0 1 - 0

When play resumes Monday, Canada will have the black pieces against Belarus, currently in 44th place (start place 34th).

Top 10 Women's Standings after R5:

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 3 Ukraine UKR 5 5 0 0 10 85,0 16,0 28,00
2 1 Russia 1 RUS1 5 5 0 0 10 81,0 15,0 27,00
3 6 United States of America USA 5 4 1 0 9 77,5 15,0 29,00
4 9 Hungary HUN 5 4 1 0 9 76,5 14,0 30,00
5 4 Georgia GEO 5 4 0 1 8 77,0 16,0 27,00
6 2 China CHN 5 4 0 1 8 76,0 14,5 30,00
7 10 Poland POL 5 4 0 1 8 75,0 16,0 25,00
8 8 India IND 5 4 0 1 8 75,0 15,0 26,00
9 36 Russia 3 RUS3 5 4 0 1 8 69,0 15,5 19,00
10 17 Serbia SRB 5 4 0 1 8 69,0 15,0 26,00

Georgia bounced back:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 26 Azerbaijan (AZE) Rtg - 4 Georgia (GEO) Rtg 0 : 4

6.1 WGM Mamedjarova Zeinab 2234 - GM Dzagnidze Nana 2534 0 - 1
6.2 WGM Mamedjarova Turkan 2301 - IM Javakhishvili Lela 2451 0 - 1
6.3 WFM Mammadova Gulnar Marfat 2293 - IM Melia Salome 2439 0 - 1
6.4 WIM Umudova Nargiz 2251 - IM Khukhashvili Sopiko 2422 0 - 1

Melia Salome is having a very good Olympiad, the best record of the Georgia Women's Team, with 4.5/5 on Board 3.

Russia Women 1 took a very important match against a strong China Women's, despite GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's loss:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 2 China (CHN) Rtg - 1 Russia 1 (RUS1) Rtg 1½:2½

2.1 GM Hou Yifan 2578 - GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2573 ½ - ½
2.2 WGM Ju Wenjun 2516 - IM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2565 0 - 1
2.3 GM Zhao Xue 2469 - GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2524 1 - 0
2.4 WGM Huang Qian 2436 - WGM Gunina Valentina 2465 0 - 1

Take a look at the Open top 10 standings after R5:

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4 1 20 Georgia GEO 5 5 0 0 10 87,5 17,5 26,00
2 5 Hungary HUN 5 5 0 0 10 78,5 13,5 29,00
3 6 Armenia ARM 5 5 0 0 10 76,0 15,0 27,00
4 2 Ukraine UKR 5 4 1 0 9 70,0 15,5 25,00
5 13 Netherlands NED 5 4 1 0 9 69,5 13,0 28,00
6 4 Russia 2 RUS2 5 4 0 1 8 84,0 15,5 30,00
7 17 Czech Republic CZE 5 4 0 1 8 81,5 15,5 29,00
8 1 Russia 1 RUS1 5 4 0 1 8 81,0 14,0 31,00
9 7 Azerbaijan AZE 5 4 0 1 8 74,5 15,0 27,00
10 9 United States of America USA 5 4 0 1 8 71,0 14,5 26,00

As noted earlier, GM Judit Polgar drew her game against Karjakin. It was Peter Leko's win over Svidler that gave the match to Hungary today, propelling them into 2nd place at the half-way point!

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 5 Hungary (HUN) Rtg - 1 Russia 1 (RUS1) Rtg 2½:1½
3.1 GM Leko Peter 2724 - GM Grischuk Alexander 2760 1 - 0
3.2 GM Almasi Zoltan 2707 - GM Svidler Peter 2731 ½ - ½
3.3 GM Polgar Judit 2682 - GM Karjakin Sergey 2747 ½ - ½
3.4 GM Berkes Ferenc 2678 - GM Malakhov Vladimir 2725 ½ - ½

Judit has the best performance record on the Hungarian Open team, with 4.0 in 5 games and a performance rating of 2844! Go Judit, go Judit, go Judit!

USA Men is barely hanging on to the top 10 - come on dudes! The Russians want to give you a medal, start performing! Well, I shouldn't be so hard on them, perhaps, as today's match win did move them back up from 16th place to 10th. Perhaps some chess viagra is in order...

And - the Georgian Men? Everyone pays attention to the Georgian Women, no one to the Georgian Men, but somehow they ended up in first place, after convincingly defeating a strong Vietnamese team:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 27 Vietnam (VIE) Rtg - 20 Georgia (GEO) Rtg ½ :3½

2.1 GM Le Quang Liem 2694 - GM Jobava Baadur 2710 0 - 1
2.2 GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 2633 - GM Gagunashvili Merab 2598 0 - 1
2.3 GM Nguyen Anh Dung 2500 - GM Mchedlishvili Mikheil 2628 ½ - ½
2.4 GM Dao Thien Hai 2520 - GM Pantsulaia Levan 2599 0 - 1

Back to the ladies:

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, Lithuania, Board 3, AND GM Zhu Chen, Qatar, Board 3, faced off against each other today:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 39 Lithuania (LTU) Rtg - 55 Qatar (QAT) Rtg 3 : 1

27.1 GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2611 - GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2495 1 - 0
27.2 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2513 - GM Zhu Chen 2480 ½ - ½
27.3 GM Malisauskas Vidmantas 2510 - IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2394 1 - 0
27.4 IM Zagorskis Darius 2497 - Al-Tamimi Hamad 2250 ½ - ½

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Scotland, Board 2:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 114 Sri Lanka (SRI) Rtg - 63 Scotland (SCO) Rtg 1 : 3

51.1 Koggala W S V K 2026 - GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2451 0 - 1
51.2 Weerawardane R 2165 - GM Shaw John 2446 ½ - ½
51.3 Anuruddha G C 2144 - IM Burns-Mannion Stephen R 2372 ½ - ½
51.4 Peiris T S S 2002 - FM Morrison Graham 2345 0 - 1

Ketevan is leading her team with 3.5/5 and a performance rating of 2360.

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, Luxembourg, Board 5:

Round 5 on 2010/09/25 at 15:00
Bo. 90 Luxembourg (LUX) Rtg - 110 Surinam (SUR) Rtg 3 : 1
59.1 IM Wiedenkeller Michael 2431 - CM Matoewi Roger 2151 1 - 0
59.2 Linster Philippe 2264 - CM Gajadin Dewperkash 2179 0 - 1
59.3 Jeitz Christian 2235 - Mungroo Franklin 2156 1 - 0
59.4 WIM Steil-Antoni Fiona 2152 - Veer Willem 1957 1 - 0

Fiona is having a good Olympiad thus far, with 3.0/4 and no losses.

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 5 Women Photos

Russian 1 Women's v. China
Indian Women v. Iranian Women

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 5 Women

Right now I'm watching Krush v. Anna Muzychuk live action at Chessbomb.  It's a long game - over 55 moves thus far and material is even... Krush has about 11 1/2 minutes left on her clock, Muzychuk a little over 14.

Zhao Xue and Alexandra Kosteniuk are still playing too - lots of pieces on the board (about move 46) and looks like a tactical melee!  If the clock at Chessbomb is right Kosteniuk is down to 2 minutes or so to Zhao Xue's 14.

Polgar drew her game with Karjakin - did it take more than 5 minutes for them to play this game:

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nf6 4. O-O Nxe4 5. d4 Nd6 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. dxe5 Nf5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. Nc3 Ke8 10. h3 h5 11. Rd1 Be7 12. Ne2 Be6 13. Nf4 Bc8 14. Ne2 Be6 15. Nf4 Bc8 ½-½

I hope she has a nice day of rest :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tang Dynasty Sarcophogus Shows Ties to Silk Road Diversity

Big noses, hey?

How unfortunate and how absolutely abhorrent that the archaeological integrity of this artifact is lost forever due to looting - and it weren't no Americans over there doing it, either, although we are the country to blame for everything, aren't we. This was an inside job, probably from high up. The Chinese could teach the crooks in the Middle East and the Revolutionary Guard in Iran a thing or two, I'm sure, when it comes to official corruption and smuggling precious archaeological artifacts out of one's home country, sold to the highest bidder, screw the citizens, to whom it really belongs, and screw their rightful heritage. And you know, it's all so stupid because in the end, they end up full of worms in the ground, just like everyone else. No amount of money in the world can stop that from being the eventual fate of each and everyone of us. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle in your mouth...

From People's Daily Online, one of the propaganda pipes for the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, but they do publish good articles on archaeology if you ignore the occasional "rah, rah!" slant.

Big noses, curly hair on empress's coffin suggests deep cultural exchange on Silk Road
17:33, September 14, 2010

Chinese archeologists have found new evidence of international cultural exchange on the ancient Silk Road.

Four European-looking warriors and lion-like beasts are engraved on an empress's 1,200-year-old stone coffin that was unearthed in Shaanxi Province, in northwestern China.

The warriors on the four reliefs had deep-set eyes, curly hair and over-sized noses -- physical characteristics Chinese typically associate with Europeans.

The 27-tonne Tang Dynasty (618-907) sarcophagus contained empress Wu Huifei (699-737), Ge Chengyong, a noted expert on Silk Road studies, said Tuesday.

Ge said one of the warriors was very much like Zues [Zeus], the "father of gods and men" in Greek mythology.

The coffin was also engraved with deer, tigers and goats.

"It's noteworthy that goats signify tragedy in Greek mythology. The word 'tragedy' itself means 'song of the man-goat singer'," he said. [Um, is something missing in this translation?]

He said the tragic element coincides with the empress's unhappy life: several of her children died young and she herself lived constantly in fear.

Ge said the exotic sarcophagus is rare for China, where ancient coffins almost always had Buddhist-themed reliefs and murals depicting harmony, happiness and peace. [I know tigers are a Taoist favorite, not so sure about deer but I believe deer were a symbol for the Goddess in ancient Persia, which had extensive trading contact with the Tang Dynasty.]

The elements of Greek mythology on Empress Wu Huifei's coffin suggest cross-cultural exchange was common in Chang'an, capital of the Tang Dynasty, located in today's Xi'an, he said. "There could have even been clergymen from Western countries serving in the Tang imperial court."

Wu Huifei was Emperor Xuanzong's favorite concubine and was posthumously known as Empress Zhenshun, meaning "the virtuous and serene empress."

Her sarcophagus - 4 meters long, 2 meters wide and 2 meters high - was stolen from her tomb in the southern suburbs of Xi'an in 2006. Police said it was then smuggled out of China and sold to a businessman in the United States for 1 million U.S. dollars.

It returned to China in April and has been housed at the Shaanxi History Museum from June.

Source: Xinhua
More information:

Tang Dynasty sarcophagus brought back home
Fri, Jun 18, 2010
China Daily/Asia News

This is what 27 tons of stone work looks like.
Photo: China Daily.

The 27-ton stone coffin of Tang empress Wu Huifei (AD 699-737) arrived at the Shaanxi History Museum on Thursday, four years after it was smuggled out of the country.

27 tons. Yeah, something 10,000 smugglers walked out of the country with tucked under their clothes.  LOL!  Look at the size of the thing!

A fascinating review of the life (and times) of Consort Wu at Wikipedia - who,it is revealed, was a descendant of the infamous (and quite incredible) Empress Wu Zetian!  Like - WOW!  The Chinese absolute hate and revile Wu Zetian, but she was one ambitious and incredibly smart woman, who survived Imperial Chinese Court life to a ripe old age - she was over 80 when she finally was forced to kill herself.  Oh my! 

More information and photographs in this report:

Tang Dynasty sarcophagus brought back home
2010-06-18 00:55:57 GMT2010-06-18 08:55:57 (Beijing Time)

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 4 Women

The USA did not do so good today, at least, I didn't think so - they split the match with Hungary -- I believe that means each team earns 1 point, but not sure.

IM Irina Krush, R3
 Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 9 Hungary (HUN) Rtg - 6 United States of America (USA) Rtg 2 : 2

3.1 GM Hoang Thanh Trang 2482 - IM Krush Irina 2490 0 - 1
3.2 IM Madl Ildiko 2397 - IM Zatonskih Anna 2480 1 - 0
3.3 IM Vajda Szidonia 2342 - WFM Abrahamyan Tatev 2352 1 - 0
3.4 WGM Rudolf Anna 2366 - WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2293 0 - 1

Perhaps I am expecting too much?  I don't know - but it seems like Anna Zatonskih is off form.  That can happen to a player at any time, of course, but I didn't want it to happen to a player on MY team right now!  Maybe she has a bit of rust because she has not played in any events (that I'm aware of) since the US Women's Championship in July, where she seemed slightly off-form but still put up a 7.5/9 score!  Irina Krush is on top of her game and, at present, also on top of the Women's leader board for Performance Rating with a scintillating 3037 (her ELO is 2490 for comparison) after 4 rounds.  YOU GO, GIRL! 

Tomorrow the American Women face off against Slovenia, and that won't be a stroll through the park.  As in Dresden in 2008, this is a "shortened" format -- no longer 13 games, only 9 now - and tomorrow's round will put everyone over the half-way there mark.  Wow.

How did the Canadian ladies do - Mr. Don wants to know!  Hmmm, not so good.  They were outranked each by about 200 points AND they were playing behind the black pieces.  The 2010 City of Montreal Women's Chess Champion, however -- WIM Yuan Yuanling -- was able to hold her game for a draw.

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 22 Latvia (LAT) Rtg - 58 Canada (CAN) Rtg 3½: ½

16.1 WGM Reizniece Dana 2318 - WIM Yuan Yuanling 2189 ½ - ½
16.2 WGM Berzina Ilze 2283 - WIM Kagramanov Dina 2086 1 - 0
16.3 WIM Skinke Katrina 2217 - Lacau-Rodean Iulia 2024 1 - 0
16.4 WFM Ni Viktorija 2199 - Orlova Yelizaveta 1917 1 - 0

Women's Team Canada is currently in 46th place (start 58th).  USA Women are in 6th, which is where they started at.

Women's Team Georgia had a tough match loss today against Russian Women 1, who were evidently quite pumped and primed for this match-up, but it took a victory from Gallimova -- which seemed to shock the hell out of everyone, they forget she is a very fine chessplayer and that sort of ticked me off and maybe it ticked her off too -- to put Russia Women 1 over the top to take the match by half a point.

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 4 Georgia (GEO) Rtg - 1 Russia 1 (RUS1) Rtg 1½:2½

2.1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2534 - GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2573 ½ - ½
2.2 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2451 - IM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2565 ½ - ½
2.3 IM Melia Salome 2439 - GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2524 ½ - ½
2.4 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2464 - IM Galliamova Alisa 2482 0 - 1

As a result of Gallimova's win, Russian Women 1 catapulted into 4th place but the Georgian Women aren't going to roll over and play dead, darlings.

Here are the top 10 women's teams after R4:

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 3 Ukraine UKR 4 4 0 0 8 54,0 13,0 18,00
2 2 China CHN 4 4 0 0 8 50,5 13,0 17,00
3 12 Bulgaria BUL 4 4 0 0 8 42,0 11,0 16,00
4 1 Russia 1 RUS1 4 4 0 0 8 39,0 12,5 14,00
5 9 Hungary HUN 4 3 1 0 7 50,0 11,5 19,00
6 6 United States of America USA 4 3 1 0 7 49,5 12,5 18,00
7 14 Romania ROU 4 3 1 0 7 45,0 13,0 15,00
8 13 Slovenia SLO 4 3 1 0 7 34,0 10,0 14,00
9 8 India IND 4 3 0 1 6 49,0 12,0 18,00
10 4 Georgia GEO 4 3 0 1 6 46,0 12,0 18,00

How are the chess femmes doing who are playing on the Open teams?

GM Judit Polgar continues to impress and, judging from comments I've read around the internet the past couple of days, more than a few chess dudes have absolutely fallen in love all over again :)  By single-handedly pulling Team Hungary to match victory today, the Lady continues to add to her legend; from what I understand, she did it in fine style, too:

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 5 Hungary (HUN) Rtg - 3 China (CHN) Rtg 2½:1½

2.1 GM Leko Peter 2724 - GM Wang Yue 2732 ½ - ½
2.2 GM Almasi Zoltan 2707 - GM Wang Hao 2724 ½ - ½
2.3 GM Polgar Judit 2682 - GM Bu Xiangzhi 2695 1 - 0
2.4 GM Berkes Ferenc 2678 - GM Li Chao B 2633 ½ - ½

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, Lithuana, Board 3, at 2.0/3 and doing her job:

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, R2
 Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 91 Algeria (ALG) Rtg - 39 Lithuania (LTU) Rtg ½ :3½

41.1 IM Haddouche Mohamed 2425 - GM Sulskis Sarunas 2544 ½ - ½
41.2 Oussedik Mahfoud 2222 - GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2513 0 - 1
41.3 Khelfallah Badreddine 2183 - GM Malisauskas Vidmantas 2510 0 - 1
41.4 Gueroui Nasreddine 2106 - IM Zagorskis Darius 2497 0 - 1

GM Zhu Chen, Qatar, Board 3 - ah p, she didn't have a good day individually but Team Qatar won the match:

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 105 Malta (MLT) Rtg - 55 Qatar (QAT) Rtg 1 : 3

42.1 IM Sorensen Torben 2418 - GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2495 0 - 1
42.2 CM Pace Colin 2161 - GM Zhu Chen 2480 1 - 0
42.3 Gauci Joseph 2099 - IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2394 0 - 1
42.4 Sammut Briffa Peter 2005 - Al-Tamimi Hamad 2250 0 - 1

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Scotland, Board 2 - held her own - she did good:

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 63 Scotland (SCO) Rtg - 41 Kazakhstan (KAZ) Rtg 1 : 3

37.1 GM McNab Colin A 2445 - GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas 2620 ½ - ½
37.2 GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2451 - GM Jumabayev Rinat 2547 ½ - ½
37.3 GM Shaw John 2446 - IM Kuderinov Kirill 2481 0 - 1
37.4 FM Morrison Graham 2345 - GM Ismagambetov Anuar 2492 0 - 1

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, Luxembourg, Board 5 - she's hanging in and getting the job done:

Round 4 on 2010/09/24 at 15:00
Bo. 90 Luxembourg (LUX) Rtg - 78 IBCA (IBCA) Rtg 1½:2½

40.1 IM Wiedenkeller Michael 2431 - IM Meshkov Yuri A 2419 1 - 0
40.2 Jeitz Christian 2235 - IM Krylov Sergey 2359 0 - 1
40.3 FM Mossong Hubert 2184 - FM Mueller Oliver 2311 0 - 1
40.4 WIM Steil-Antoni Fiona 2152 - FM Wassin Sergej 2295 ½ - ½

Sunday is a hard-earned free day for the players.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

8,000 Year Old Seal from Western Turkey


8,000-year-old seal unearthed in western Turkey
Monday, September 20, 2010
İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency

The seal shows that the settlement in İzmir began
some 8,500 year ago.
 Archaeologists have unearthed a seal believed to be 8,000 years old during excavations in the Yeşilova Tumulus, one of the oldest settlements in western Turkey.

Associate Professor Zafer Derin, who has been leading the excavations from Ege University’s Department of Archaeology, said they found a historical artifact that proved that settlement in the western province of Izmir began some 8,500 years ago.

"The seal is dated back to 6,200 B.C. It is evident that the seal belonged to an administrator. [How so???] This bull[a]-shaped seal is one of the oldest seals ever unearthed in Anatolia. We’ve unearthed many important findings during the excavations at this site since 2005. Some 700 pieces have been sent to museums for display. We give 150 pieces every year. This region is very important in terms of both tourism and science," he said.

Bornova Mayor Kamil Okyar Sındır recalled that the area was a third-degree archaeological-protected site. "We have organized an architectural project competition for this area and a jury is now evaluating projects. When the project is chosen, we will establish an exhibition and education center. This structure will be a model for the world. Education workshops and seminars will be given in the center and people will learn about the history of İzmir and Bornova."
Well, darlings, when I saw this seal my first thought was - eight-pointed star = Inanna! Yeah, she was a Sumerian Goddess (who was later incarnated into various other forms throughout the Middle East and ancient Egypt), but she came from somewhere, didn't she, just like the people who eventually settled in the land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers came from somewhere, too.

2010 Chess Olympiad - Women Round 3

Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 6 United States of America (USA) Rtg - 28 Argentina (ARG) Rtg 3½: ½

10.1 IM Krush Irina 2490 - IM Lujan Carolina 2312 1 - 0
10.2 IM Zatonskih Anna 2480 - WGM Amura Claudia 2329 ½ - ½
10.3 WFM Abrahamyan Tatev 2352 - WIM Plazaola Maria De Los Angeles 2203 1 - 0
10.4 WGM Baginskaite Kamile 2328 - WIM Zuriel Marisa 2193 1 - 0

Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 67 Albania (ALB) Rtg - 58 Canada (CAN) Rtg 0 : 4

26.1 Shabanaj Eglantina 2070 - WIM Yuan Yuanling 2189 0 - 1
26.2 Shabanaj Alda 1926 - WIM Kagramanov Dina 2086 0 - 1
26.3 Cimaj Rozana 1972 - Orlova Yelizaveta 1917 0 - 1
26.4 WCM Pasku Roela 1912 - Kagramanov Dalia 1866 0 - 1

Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 4 Georgia (GEO) Rtg - 37 Kazakhstan (KAZ) Rtg 3 : 1
6.1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2534 - WIM Dauletova Gulmira 2235 1 - 0
6.2 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2451 - WFM Davletbayeva Madina 2163 ½ - ½
6.3 IM Melia Salome 2439 - WFM Saduakassova Dinara 2142 1 - 0
6.4 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2464 - WFM Ankudinova Yelena 2124 ½ - ½

Top 10 Teams after R3:

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2 TB3 TB4
1 3 Ukraine UKR 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,5 8,00
2 4 Georgia GEO 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,5 8,00
3 6 United States of America USA 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,5 8,00
4 8 India IND 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,5 8,00
5 18 Cuba CUB 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,0 8,00
6 1 Russia 1 RUS1 3 3 0 0 6 26,0 10,0 7,00
7 9 Hungary HUN 3 3 0 0 6 24,0 9,5 8,00
8 2 China CHN 3 3 0 0 6 22,5 10,5 7,00
9 12 Bulgaria BUL 3 3 0 0 6 22,0 8,5 8,00
10 17 Serbia SRB 3 3 0 0 6 18,0 10,5 6,00

Canada Women's Team has moved into 32nd place (from start place 58th).

The ladies in the Open:

GM Judit Polgar, Hungary, Board 3:
Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 17 Czech Republic (CZE) Rtg - 5 Hungary (HUN) Rtg 1½:2½

12.1 GM Navara David 2722 - GM Leko Peter 2724 1 - 0
12.2 GM Laznicka Viktor 2690 - GM Almasi Zoltan 2707 0 - 1
12.3 GM Hracek Zbynek 2633 - GM Polgar Judit 2682 ½ - ½
12.4 GM Votava Jan 2579 - GM Berkes Ferenc 2678 0 - 1

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, Lithuania, Board 3 - did not play.

GM Zhu Chen, Qatar, Board 3:
Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 55 Qatar (QAT) Rtg - 91 Algeria (ALG) Rtg 2 : 2

39.1 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2495 - IM Haddouche Mohamed 2425 ½ - ½
39.2 GM Zhu Chen 2480 - CM Goutali Tarek 2261 ½ - ½
39.3 IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2394 - Oussedik Mahfoud 2222 1 - 0
39.4 Al-Tamimi Hamad 2250 - Khelfallah Badreddine 2183 0 - 1

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Scotland, Board 2:
Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 37 Philippines (PHI) Rtg - 63 Scotland (SCO) Rtg 2 : 2

24.1 GM So Wesley 2668 - GM McNab Colin A 2445 ½ - ½
24.2 GM Laylo Darwin 2522 - GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2451 0 - 1
24.3 GM Torre Eugenio 2489 - IM Burns-Mannion Stephen R 2372 1 - 0
24.4 IM Bitoon Richard 2447 - FM Morrison Graham 2345 ½ - ½

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, Luxembourg, Board 5:
Round 3 on 2010/09/23 at 15:00
Bo. 45 Austria (AUT) Rtg - 90 Luxembourg (LUX) Rtg 3 : 1

38.1 GM Ragger Markus 2628 - IM Wiedenkeller Michael 2431 ½ - ½
38.2 GM Shengelia David 2587 - Linster Philippe 2264 1 - 0
38.3 IM Neubauer Martin 2428 - FM Mossong Hubert 2184 1 - 0
38.4 IM Kreisl Robert 2376 - WIM Steil-Antoni Fiona 2152 ½ - ½

It's early days yet, but I took a look at the performance ratings thus far - here are the top 10 chess femmes:

No. Name Rtg Team Rp Pts. Games % Bo.
1 WGM Golubenko Valentina 2278 Croatia 3055 3,0 3 100,0 1
2 GM Hou Yifan 2578 China 3038 3,0 3 100,0 1
3 WGM Cori T Deysi 2368 Peru 3000 3,0 3 100,0 1
4 IM Zimina Olga 2334 Italy 2994 3,0 3 100,0 2
5 WGM Krivec Jana 2309 Slovenia 2981 3,0 3 100,0 2
6 WGM Ju Wenjun 2516 China 2980 3,0 3 100,0 2
7 IM Krush Irina 2490 United States of America 2956 3,0 3 100,0 1
8 IM Danielian Elina 2466 Armenia 2956 3,0 3 100,0 1
9 WGM Geldiyeva Mahri 2260 Turkmenistan 2935 3,0 3 100,0 1
10 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2524 Russia 1 2933 3,0 3 100,0 3

Some chess femmes of interest (at least, to me):

WGM Melia Salome, who was our Goddesschess star at the 2009 City of Montreal Open Chess Championship:
13GEOIMMelia Salome2439Georgia28843,03100,03

Canadian Women can bring it:
18CANWIMKagramanov Dina2086Canada25903,03100,02

By the way, I saw at Susan Polgar's chess blog that GM Judit Polgar has a current performance rating of 2799.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 2 Women

Getting right to it, USA and Canadian Women's R2 results:

Bo. 49 Estonia (EST) Rtg - 6 United States of America (USA) Rtg 1 : 3
6.1 WIM Fomina Tatjana 2256 - IM Krush Irina 2490 0 - 1
6.2 WFM Gansvind Valeriya I 2218 - IM Zatonskih Anna 2480 0 - 1
6.3 WIM Piarnpuu Leili 2111 - WGM Baginskaite Kamile 2328 ½ - ½
6.4 WFM Vahtra Tuuli 1991 - WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2293 ½ - ½
(Despite winning the match, the two draws shoved the USA Women down in the standings).

Round 2 on 2010/09/22 at 15:00
Bo. 58 Canada (CAN) Rtg - 37 Kazakhstan (KAZ) Rtg 1½:2½

23.1 WIM Yuan Yuanling 2189 - WIM Dauletova Gulmira 2235 0 - 1
23.2 WIM Kagramanov Dina 2086 - WIM Nakhbayeva Guliskhan 2243 1 - 0
23.3 Lacau-Rodean Iulia 2024 - WFM Saduakassova Dinara 2142 ½ - ½
23.4 Kagramanov Dalia 1866 - WFM Ankudinova Yelena 2124 0 - 1

Women's Top Team Rankings After R2 - rather shocking!

Rk. SNo Team Team Games + = - TB1 TB2
1 15 Slovakia SVK 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
2 16 Germany GER 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
3 17 Serbia SRB 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
4 2 China CHN 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
5 3 Ukraine UKR 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
6 4 Georgia GEO 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
7 8 India IND 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
8 10 Poland POL 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
9 14 Romania ROU 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
10 6 United States of America USA 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
11 19 Netherlands NED 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
12 1 Russia 1 RUS1 2 2 0 0 4 8,0
13 5 Russia 2 RUS2 2 2 0 0 4 8,0

14 9 Hungary HUN 2 2 0 0 4 7,0
15 18 Cuba CUB 2 2 0 0 4 7,0

With the new scoring system it is now quite obvious to the players - if it was not before - that even one draw by a top team is being punished. As the pairings have been going, tomorrow USA, Russia 1 and Russia 2 will face tough opponents - tougher opponents than if they had taken their matches by 4 wins. Interesting, very interesting.

Meantime, Canada Women have move up to 40th place from a start of 58th. There are many days yet to play, but of course Canada Women's goal is to improve over their initial start as much as possible and get as close to the top 10 as they can. And if one or more of their players can score an upset or two, so much the better! The possibility to score an individual performance medal is also a motivating factor. Individual medal winners are often not from the top-finishing teams.

How did the chess femmes do who are playing on teams in the Open?

GM Judit Polgar, Hungary, Board 3, thanks to Judit's timely win, Hungary eeked out a win against Argentina. Come on dudes, look at the ELO differentials between the Hungarian players and the Argentines. All of the Hungarians should have won their games. It took Judit to show 'em how to do it. Way to go, Girl!

Round 2 on 2010/09/22 at 15:00
Bo. 26 Argentina (ARG) Rtg - 5 Hungary (HUN) Rtg 1½:2½

11.1 GM Flores Diego 2615 - GM Leko Peter 2724 ½ - ½
11.2 GM Felgaer Ruben 2597 - GM Almasi Zoltan 2707 ½ - ½
11.3 GM Peralta Fernando 2572 - GM Polgar Judit 2682 0 - 1
11.4 GM Lafuente Pablo 2565 - GM Berkes Ferenc 2678 ½ - ½

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, Lithuania, Board 3:

Bo. 22 Slovakia (SVK) Rtg - 39 Lithuania (LTU) Rtg 3 : 1
19.1 GM Movsesian Sergei 2723 - GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2611 1 - 0
19.2 GM Ftacnik Lubomir 2568 - GM Sulskis Sarunas 2544 ½ - ½
19.3 GM Markos Jan 2566 - GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2513 1 - 0
19.4 IM Jurcik Marian 2466 - IM Zagorskis Darius 2497 ½ - ½

GM Zhu Chen, Qatar, playing Board 2 today:

Round 2 on 2010/09/22 at 15:00
Bo. 50 Turkey (TUR) Rtg - 55 Qatar (QAT) Rtg 3 : 1

32.1 IM Esen Baris 2538 - GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2495 ½ - ½
32.2 GM Haznedaroglu Kivanc 2483 - GM Zhu Chen 2480 ½ - ½
32.3 GM Can Emre 2500 - IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2394 1 - 0
32.4 IM Erdogdu Mert 2428 - Al-Tamimi Hamad 2250 1 - 0

GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Scotland, playing Board 2 today:

Round 2 on 2010/09/22 at 15:00
Bo. 2 Ukraine (UKR) Rtg - 63 Scotland (SCO) Rtg 4 : 0

1.1 GM Ivanchuk Vassily 2754 - GM McNab Colin A 2445 1 - 0
1.2 GM Eljanov Pavel 2761 - GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2451 1 - 0
1.3 GM Efimenko Zahar 2683 - GM Shaw John 2446 1 - 0
1.4 GM Moiseenko Alexander 2658 - IM Burns-Mannion Stephen R 2372 1 - 0

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, Luxembourg, playing Board 4 today:

Bo. 90 Luxembourg (LUX) Rtg - 144 Mali (MLI) Rtg 4 : 0
71.1 IM Wiedenkeller Michael 2431 - Traore Bakary 0 1 - 0
71.2 Linster Philippe 2264 - Toure Amadou 0 1 - 0
71.3 Jeitz Christian 2235 - Coulibaly Abdoulaye 0 1 - 0
71.4 WIM Steil-Antoni Fiona 2152 - Alhousseyni Hasseye 0 1 - 0

Vietnam Women Aiming for a Xiang Qi Medal at Upcoming Asian Games

From Vietnam News
Chess players hunt for medals
September 22, 2010

National senior Chinese chess master
Ngo Lan Huong takes part in the National
Championships. Huong will represent Viet Nam
at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China,
on November 11-27.
— VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
 HA NOI — Viet Nam is expecting to win a silver medal in the women's Chinese chess (xiangqi) at the 16th Asian Games (ASIAD) in Guangzhou, China, in November, said coach Hoang Dinh Hong.
Hong also hopes the men will take home at least a bronze medal.

Eleven chess masters have been undergoing intensive training in HCM City for the tournament, which includes Chinese chess for the first time – since early May. They have been competing with teams from Dong Thap and Khanh Hoa provinces.

Their final test will be at the National Sports Meet in Da Nang city next month.

National senior master Ngo Lan Huong, who is the Asian Indoor Games defending champion, is favourite to take the Asian Games' women's berth.

Masters Nguyen Thanh Bao, Lai Ly Huynh, Trenh A Sang and Nguyen Hoang Lam will be vying for the two slots in the men's team.

"This year ASIAD only features women's and men's individual events. Unfortunately, that puts Viet Nam at a disadvantage because we have the strongest team in the world," Hong said.

At this year's ASIAD, Viet Nam's main rival will be China.

"Our difficulty is not the quality of our players but their lack of competition experience. Chinese players regularly attend at least 10 events a year, while our players attend just a handful," the team coach said.

Lan Huong's chief rivals will be Wang Lin Na, the China national champion, and Yang Dan.

Hong said that despite their youth, the two Chinese masters are more talented than former world champion Yu Yungquin, also from China, whom Lan Huong has met several times.

Kao Yiping, from Chinese Taipei, is also a major threat. She took the silver medal at the Asian championship.

On the men's side, chief rivals will be China's national champion Hsu Yinchuan and Hsiang Chuan, who has the highest elo rating; Wu Kueilin of Chinese Taipei, who came fifth at the world championship; and Singapore's Wo Zonghan, the world No 6. — VNS

Chess Femme News!

Some news reports from around the world on their Olympiad Teams' (with emphasis on the women's teams) results in R1:

First up, a R1 report by Jen Shahade at the U.S. Chess Federation website
US Olympic Teams Perfect in Round 1
September 21, 2010
Our US Olympic teams swept the Faroe Islands (Open) and Dominican Republic (women's) in round 1 of the Olympiad! US Women's Champion Irina Krush executed a quick attack [you can play through her game at the link].

Azerbaijani chess teams start successfully at Olympic Games
Wed 22 September 2010 05:51 GMT | 0:51 Local Time
The first round of the Chess Olympig Games has been played in Khanti-Mansiysk (Russia). Men and women teams of Azerbaijan started participation with victories. Both teams won with the equal score 3.5:0.5. During the meeting of the women’s teams of Azerbaijan and Tajikistan Zeynab Mammadyarova (2234) beat Marvori Nasriddinzoda (1943), Turkan Mammadyarova (2301) played a draw with Nadejda Antonova (1838), Gulnar Mammadova (2293) beat Lydia Antonova (0), and Nargiz Umudova (2251) defeated Asila Mukhtojzoda.

Chess Olympiad: Indian women thrash Albania 4-0; men dump Wales
Posted: Wed Sep 22 2010, 12:55 hrs
Led by Dronavalli Harika, Indian women started off with a clean 4-0 first-round victory over Albania in the 39th Chess Olympiad here.  The girls were quite impressive and made it all look easy without any hiccups. On the top board, Harika won with white against Eglantina Shabanaj in a chance-less game. Tania Sachdev had to sweat it out against Alda Shabanaj on the second board. Playing black, Tania was up against the Queen pawn opening and her choice of the Queen's Indian came good. The middle game saw Shabanaj caught in a tactical web and the Albanian got her queen trapped. On the last two boards for India, Eesha Karavade and S Meenakshi got the better of Rozana Cimaj and Roela Pasku, respectively.

From her popular chess blog, I learned that GM Susan Polgar is now in Mansky Kamsky (a/k/a Khanty-Mansiysk)!  Actually, I thought she was already there, as she is the official ambassador for promoting Tromso's bid for the 2014 Chess Olympiad.  SP is also co-chair of the FIDE Committee on Women's Chess (along with GM Alexandra Kosteniuk, who is playing on Russian Women's Team 1).  I don't know if the Women's Chess Committee will be making a report or presentation to the FIDE Congress, but as a committee member SP would want to be present in any event.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Young Canadian Teams for 2010 Chess Olympiad

WIM Yuan Yuanling (western style: WIM Yuanling Yuan) leads the Canadian's Women's Team to the 2010 Chess Olympiad.  Goddesschess was pleased to host her presence at the 90th City of Montreal Open Chess Championships held last week (September 10-12, 2010) in Montreal.  Here is an article on the Women's and Open Teams Canada sent to the 2010 Chess Olympiad:

Sep 21, 2010 - 8:28 AM
North Yorkers head Canada's national chess teams

Erase the image of two crafty old men sitting across a chess board and slowly strategizing their moves. The reality of Canada's competitive game is drastically different.

Two North Yorkers, Yuanling Yuan and Mark Bluvshtein, both of whom shot to the top of Canada's rankings at age 14, will lead the country's youngest ever women's and national chess teams respectively over the next two weeks at the 39th annual Chess Olympiad, the first round of which began play Tuesday, September 21.

Yuanling Yuan, a 16-year-old high school student at Victoria Park C.I. and Canada's top rated female player at year end in both 2008 and 2009, will play "first board", or leader, for Canada's five-person women's team.

"She's the youngest first board on the women's team that Canada has ever sent," said Bob Armstrong, governor for the Chess Federation of Canada, which is one of approximately 150 federations sending their nation's top players to the Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, a small city in western Siberia. The Olympiad is a biannual affair attracting the world's top talent and organized by the international chess federation FIDE. Canada's two teams are both ranked in the fifties.

Despite Yuan's age, this will actually be her second Olympiad, as she also played in the last one in 2008 in Dresden, Germany.

Leading Canada's national team this year is Mark Bluvshtein, 22, a recent York University graduate and Newtonbrook Secondary School alumnus. This will be the fifth Olympiad for Bluvshtein, who became Canada's youngest ever grandmaster at the age of 16.

International masters Thomas Roussel-Roozman, 22, Leonid Gershoy, 22, and Artiom Samsonkin, 21, round out the starting squad for the national team, while Nikolay Noritsyn, 19, is the team's reserve, a position that generally sees quite a bit of playing time, said Armstrong.

The women's team is even younger. Both starter Yelizaveta Orlova and reserve Dalia Kagramanov are only 16, while Kagramanov's older sister, Dina, another York University grad, is the "elder" on Canada's teams at the age of 24. The other starter Iulia Lacau-Rodean is 22. ...

Rest of article.

With all due respect to the chess dudes, this is Goddesschess and we concentrate on the femmes!  How did the Canadian women do?

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 58 Canada (CAN) Rtg - 113 Uganda (UGA) Rtg 3½: ½

56.1 WIM Yuan Yuanling 2189 - Amoko Ivy Claire 0 1 - 0
56.2 WIM Kagramanov Dina 2086 - Mutesi Phiona 0 1 - 0
56.3 Lacau-Rodean Iulia 2024 - Kigeni Grace 0 ½ - ½
56.4 Orlova Yelizaveta 1917 - Butindo Joanitah Justine 0 1 - 0

Canada Women moved up from start rank 58th to 50th as a result of their R1 performance. 

Note:  Phiona Mutesi (see Goddesschess post) was not able to prevail against WIM Dina Kagramanov.

2010 Chess Olympiad - Round 1 Women

Hola!  Whew, what a day - long and stormy, and a scary walk home from the bus stop with lightning all around. Getting right to it:

As expected, the Round 1 match-ups between the top and bottom teams were, to put it politely, a joke.  Oh yeah, a few token surprises here and there, but not for the American Women!  They were matched against the Domican Republic Women's Team in R1 and took care of business:

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 6 United States of America (USA) Rtg - 65 Dominican Republic (DOM) Rtg 4 : 0

6.1 IM Krush Irina 2490 - Adames Rojas Ariella 1899 1 - 0
6.2 WFM Abrahamyan Tatev 2352 - WFM Perez Eneida 2099 1 - 0
6.3 WGM Baginskaite Kamile 2328 - Jose Polanco Kenia 1997 1 - 0
6.4 WGM Foisor Sabina-Francesca 2293 - Hazim Elizabeth 1858 1 - 0

Damned if I can figure out how this scoring works, but suffice to say that USA Women has not lost any position, it is still sitting in 6th place, where it was, coming into this Olympiad.  The other teams above it (Russia 1, China, Ukraine, Georgia, and Russia2) also took their matches, and so as far as I can tell, nothing has changed regarding the standings of the top Women's Teams.  It's early days.  A team must take matches against weaker opponents wherever it can, to maintain the pace as long as possible.  As the days grind on and fatigue begins to set in, those match points will add up.  The actual win/draw/loss total will become important when it comes to tie-breaks (I think). 

How did the chess femmes who are playing on the Open Teams do (i.e., with the chess dudes)?

GM Judit Polgar, Board 3 Hungary (today she played Board 2):

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 5 Hungary (HUN) Rtg - 79 Jordan (JOR) Rtg 3½: ½
5.1 GM Almasi Zoltan 2707 - IM Khader Sami 2449 1 - 0
5.2 GM Polgar Judit 2682 - FM Samhouri Ahmad Fawzi 2372 1 - 0
5.3 GM Berkes Ferenc 2678 - FM Mansour Sameer 2283 1 - 0
5.4 GM Balogh Csaba 2608 - CM Samhouri Bilal 2269 ½ - ½

GM Viktorija Cmilyte, Board 3 Lithuania (today she played Board 2):

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 39 Lithuania (LTU) Rtg - 114 Netherlands Antilles (AHO) Rtg 4 : 0
39.1 GM Rozentalis Eduardas 2611 - Dekker Marvin 2097 1 - 0
39.2 GM Cmilyte Viktorija 2513 - Maduro Sherman 2009 1 - 0
39.3 GM Malisauskas Vidmantas 2510 - Izijk Jimmy 2062 1 - 0
39.4 IM Zagorskis Darius 2497 - Da Silva John 2027 1 - 0

GM Zhu Chen, Board 3 Qatar (today she played Board 2):

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 55 Qatar (QAT) Rtg - 134 Seychelles (SEY) Rtg 4 : 0

55.1 GM Al-Sayed Mohammed 2495 - CM Meier Kurt 1991 1 - 0
55.2 GM Zhu Chen 2480 - Pillay Ragul 0 1 - 0
55.3 IM Nezad Husein Aziz 2394 - Vinayagamurthy Kasthuri 0 1 - 0
55.4 Al-Tamimi Hamad 2250 - Louise Eli 0 1 - 0

GM Ketevan Arakhamia Grant, Board 2 Scotland:

Round 1 on 2010/09/21 at 15:00
Bo. 63 Scotland (SCO) Rtg - 141 Burundi (BDI) Rtg 4 : 0

63.1 GM McNab Colin A 2445 - Ndikumana Yves 0 1 - 0
63.2 GM Arakhamia-Grant Ketevan 2451 - Ntagasigumwami Deo 0 1 - 0
63.3 GM Shaw John 2446 - Nininahazwe Tony 0 1 - 0
63.4 FM Morrison Graham 2345 - Rwamavubi Jean Bosco 0 1 - 0

WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, Board 5 Luxembourg - did not play today.

By the way, the playing venues look crappy to me (venues, yes, because not all of the teams are housed in one venue).  Cramped and crowded.  No room for anyone to stop by and overlook a game. Yeah, I get the thing about this being a TEAM event, but honestly, sitting four or five people at one long table, and then putting four or five people opposite them, with barely a foot in between each player.  Yechy!  This is supposed to be a world premiere event. Why cannot the players have world premiere playing conditions?  What I saw in the photos online today from the venue - sucks.  No room to move.  No room to BREATHE!

Round 1 coverage elsewhere:

Susan Polgar's Chess Daily News and Information - she has top team pairings up for Round 2 (Open and Women's), as well as several news features on various Teams playing at the Olympiad gathered from news sources around the globe and chess problems taken directly from the Olympiad.  I tell you, the Woman Never Sleeps. 

Kudos to for giving full coverage to the Women's R1 results.  Thank you!

The Week in Chess:

39th Chess Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk 2010 (1)
Grischuk concedes draw on top board for Russia on Day 1
Mark Crowther | Tue Sep 21 17:01:00 2010

39th Chess Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk 2010 (Russia's FiveTeams)
Russia's Five Teams
Mark Crowther | Tue Sep 21 08:21:00 2010
[That is, Five Men's Teams.  That is outrageous in and of itself.  Even more outrage is that there are Three Women's Teams, for a total of eight.  Russia gets to throw the best players it has - multiple times - against single teams of Open and Female players sent by the other nations.  And FIDE says the Olympiad ain't rigged. Yeah, right.]

Sunday, September 19, 2010

2010 Chess Olympiad - Pre-Game This and That

A few notes:

I saw a report at Susan Polgar's blog and Chessdom on this story, and went to the source:

From Sunday Vision
(Run by The New Vision, which is a Christian ministry group)
By Phillip Corry

SPORTS Network ESPN will do a recording of the national team at the 39th Chess Olympiad due in Russia September 20 to October 4.

The American cable television network has taken keen interest in the team following the impressive display of the side’s youngest player Phiona Mutesi. The 14-year-old is on the ladies team set to make a debut at the World’s premier Chess show. [I saw a report elsewhere that Mutesi is 16 years old.]

Other players are Ivy Amoko, Mutesi, Joan Butindo, Grace Kigenyi and Rita Nsubuga Nansove.

Published on: Saturday, 18th September, 2010

So, someone to keep an eye on.

In addition to GM Koneru Humpy (India) not playing in the Olympiad, GM Pia Cramling is not listed on either of Sweden's teams.

I scrolled through the list of players in the Open (overwhelmingly male players) and found a handful of females:

GM Judit Polgar of Hungary, playing Board 3
GM Viktorija Cmilyte of Lithuania, playing Board 3
GM Zhu Chen of Qatar, playing Board 3
GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant of Scotland, playing Board 2
WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni of Luxembourg, playing Board 5

Popular acclaim has Russian Women #1 team as the one to beat:

Bo. Name Rtg FED
1 GM Kosintseva Tatiana 2573 RUS
2 IM Kosintseva Nadezhda 2565 RUS
3 GM Kosteniuk Alexandra 2524 RUS
4 IM Galliamova Alisa 2482 RUS
5 WGM Gunina Valentina 2465 RUS

Personally, I think Georgia is going to be the team to beat.  It comes in as number four on ELO average rating:

Bo. Name Rtg FED
1 GM Dzagnidze Nana 2534 GEO
2 IM Javakhishvili Lela 2451 GEO
3 IM Khukhashvili Sopiko 2422 GEO
4 IM Melia Salome 2439 GEO
5 IM Khotenashvili Bela 2464 GEO

Nana Dzagnidze had the amazing performance at the Jermuk Women's Grand Prix.  The Georgians won the Women's Gold at Dresden in 2008 (how quickly we forget). Ukraine won Silver and the fighting-chess-is-our-middle-name American women took home Bronze.  The highly favored Russian women finished in 4th place, out of the team medals.  Sure, the Russians will be out for blood.  Let's see what happens.

Romans, Romans Everywhere!

From Earth Times Blog
New finds suggest Romans won big North Germany battle - Feature
Posted : Wed, 15 Sep 2010 02:05:32 GMT
By : Jean-Baptiste Piggin

Screen capture of BBC Video - that helmet with
mask is a scary looking thing!
From BBC News Mobile

13 September 2010 Last updated at 11:53 ET
Rare Roman suit of armour found at Caerleon dig

From the
Archaeology: Roman villa excavated in Sofia borough
Fri, Sep 17 2010 12:06 CET
by The Sofia Echo staff

Hawk 'Sculpture' Found in Syria - Is it really 12,000 Years Old?

12,000 year old hawk sculpture from Syria?  A millennium is 1,000 years, and this sculpture is said to be 10 millennia old before present (add two millennia to bring current), but are they truly saying it is 12,000 years old?  If so, I want to see the proof.

Reported at and other sources

Oldest sculpture of hawk discovered in Syria
Wednesday, September 15, 2010 7:06:21 AM by ANI

Image from Archaeology Daily News, 15 September 2010.
Is this just a bad photo or does this "hawk" have no
head?  Looks like an eagle to me, not a hawk but, hey,
what do I know?
Damascus, Sept 15 (ANI): French archaeologists in Syria have discovered the world’s oldest sculpture of a hawk, which dates back to the 10th millennium B.C.

According to al-Baath Newspaper, the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in the Ministry of Culture said the hawk sculpture was unearthed during the archaeological work in the area of Belaas, Hama, central Syria.

The Directorate affirmed the discovery proves that Syria is the first to use the hawk as the official symbol for the Syrian Arab Republic, the Global Arab Network reported. [Say what? There was no Syrian Arab Republic back then. This kind of blatant propaganda makes the entire article suspect.]

The discovery made during the Syrian-French joint expedition, proves that the Syrian Hawk is 5 millenniums older than all other sculptures. [On what evidence? Older than sculpture from Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran, Catyl Hoyuk, Gobekli Tepe, Urfa?]

It in turn proves the historic role of the region where the sculpture was first created and then spread out to the whole world along with other aspects of the Syrian culture [ahem - even if this is so, it wasn't "Syrian Arab Republic" culture back then - the Arabs wouldn't be in the area for thousands of years] in contribution to human culture. (ANI)
Show me the facts, please.  In the meantime, contemplate this incredible sculptured head of a "vulture" - from Gobekli Tepe.

According to a report at xinhuanet
The [hawk] sculpture, 5.4 cm long and 5.3 cm wide [that's 2.13 inches long and 2.09 inches wide], was unearthed during the excavation work in Belaas, Hama, 200 kilometers to the north of the Syrian capital Damascus.

Just curious - how far is Hama from the Gobekli Tepe/Urfa area in Turkey (traditional Armenian highlands)?  I couldn't find a direct answer on the internet and measuring by map scales - hmmm - well, according to this map, it is maybe 375 miles as the crow flies???

You can get a feel for the area of Urfa and Gobekli Tepe, etc. in this archaeological map:
Map source.  There is an overlap area between the oran "Urfa Region" and the green demarcated
"Neolithic in the Levante" which I think includes the Hama area in modern-day Syria.

Nefertiti's Not-So-Extreme Make-over

SHE walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;


This has been in the news before so it's not "news" per se, but I thought it was entertaining how the "television historian"..."flew out to Egypt immediately after..." LOL! 
From The Independent
Nefertiti, recipient of the world's first successful facelift
Scan reveals that the Egyptian queen got a more fetching nose and some ancient Botox treatment
By Andrew Johnson
Sunday, 19 September 2010

Her name is synonymous with beauty; and unlike history's other renowned women, such as Helen of Troy, we don't have to take the classical historians' word for it. Nefertiti's reputation rests on hard evidence – an exquisite bust of the ancient Egyptian queen that survived for more than 3,000 years.

Now researchers have discovered that the bust, one of the world's most famous objects, which is housed in the Neues Museum in Berlin, was given the ancient equivalent of a Photoshop airbrushing.

The television historian Bettany Hughes told The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival yesterday that last week she was part of a team that carried out a CT scan on the bust – one of ancient Egypt's best-known objects after the death mask of Tutenkhamen, who some believe to be her son.

Inside the statue they discovered a second limestone likeness of the queen, who died around 1330BC aged between 29 and 38.

"That statue is still very beautiful," she said, "but not as beautiful. It showed her nose was bent, and that she had wrinkles around her eyes. It's a real portrait of a real woman. We're now going to a tomb in the Valley of the Kings where we think Nefertiti's sister is to see if the dynasty has the same features."

Ms Hughes, who flew out to Egypt immediately after yesterday's event, said the Nefertiti scan was likely to reveal much more about the dynasty, of whom Tutenkhamen is the most famous member.

Nefertiti – her name means "the beautiful one has come" – is renowned among Egyptian scholars as the Great Royal Wife of the Pharaoh Akhenaten. Together the couple, who ruled more than 3,000 years ago, revolutionised the ancient Egyptian world by turning their backs on the traditional gods and worshipping only the sun. She is believed to have had equal status to the pharaoh, and may have even reigned after his death.

Her tomb has never been discovered, but the new revelations of how she really looked raise the possibility that she could now be identified among several unknown mummies.

Much of the ancient queen's modern-day fame rests on the discovery of the bust by a German archaeological team in 1912 in the workshop of the ancient master Thutmose. The image is one of the most copied in the world. Ms Hughes revealed the research while speaking about her biography of the Greek philosopher Socrates – whom she described as a hippy who would have opposed the recent war in Iraq.

She also made an impassioned plea for classical history to be taught in schools. "All of life is in classical antiquity and articulated in the most beautiful, evocative and sensual way," she said. "We are denuding society if we don't allow young people to revel in that beautiful world."

See March 29, 2009:  Nefertiti got extreme makeover: Researchers

But - maybe not - depending upon hour you interpret the underlying limestone support structure:

April 1, 2009:  Nefertiti's 3,300-year-old royal makeover (has 'before' and 'after' photos)

Hey, even with a bump in my nose may I look so good after 3000 years.

Incognito Millionaire Chessplayer Wins $100 at Blitz Championship

The man playing black pieces won the Championship.
I couldn't make this kind of stuff up!

Incognito Brooklyn chess prodigy wins the Pioneer Square Blitz Chess 2010 Championship
This post originally appeared on The New Pioneer Square, a blog that shares pictures, news, and events from Seattle's first neighborhood.

Guest post by a Pioneer Square resident
Posted by thenewp2 at September 17, 2010 11:31 a.m.

The Pioneer Square Blitz Chess 2010 Championship was held a few weeks ago to put some zip into the neighborhood. In blitz chess, each player has five minutes to make all the moves. A second more spells sudden death. Pieces fly across the board faster than ping pong balls.

The exciting event drew many local experts and budding Bobby Fischers but annoyed the marginalized under layers of blankets on park benches. Who were these uppity intruders to their domain?

Two indeterminate age men, unkempt hair spilling off knit caps and untied boots sticking from filthy jeans, shuffled over. "I play chess," mumbled one, eyeing the rows of neatly laid out chessboards and digital clocks. "Fifteen bucks entry fee," he was told. "Ain't got money," he growled. "I can beat your whole lot," slurred his buddy. "Played 20 years at sea." "Fifteen bucks," the organizer repeated. They turned to leave. "Wait," came a voice, his face hidden in a black hood, a bill held between two fingers. "Go sign up and no bullshit."

Behind them stood a ruffled hair, unshaven drifter in windbreaker and backpack. The polite volunteer hesitated. "Fifteen dollars entry fee, please." The newcomer nodded and counted out singles and quarters.

Working pro bono from a leading chess club, the tournament director glanced suspiciously at the entry form. "Your U.S.C.F. rating is 2,300?" he scoffed, a ranking of National Master in America. The stranger calmly smiled, yes. At that level, he was put on top of the leader board to begin the contest.

"You can put down any number you want," someone smirked.

Rest of the story.

2010 Chess Olympiad

The same old crap from FIDE - total incompetence.

Not the least of which - at the FIDE website which I visited about 10 seconds ago, this is the official website given for the Olympiad:  I cannot find a team list on this website or anywhere where games will be reported.

Fortunately, The Week in Chess provides a correct link,, to a website that says it contains a list of teams and will, one hopes, eventually present game results and standings. Let's just say I'm skeptical :) -- right now the "Teams" link does not work!

More serious incompetence that seriously impacts players and federations -- I've been reading also about the incredible mess the continually changing flight schedules have created for teams who have scheduled flights to arrive from all around the world.  Since there is no airport in Mansky Kamsky, which appears to be known only as the home of frozen mammoth remains if one understands the official logo correctly, one has to take certain provided charter flights - and those are the exact flights that have changed several times, resulting in well, as I said, chaos!  Not to mention extreme frustration on the part of federations who are trying to get their players to Siberia that have incurred financial penalties because other flight plans that were initially made weeks (if not months) ago must now be changed once again.  We all know that most if not all airlines now impose a change fee of $150 to $200 per ticket for every single change made.  Let's see, how many times have the charter flight schedules changed?  Three times? Four times?  Six times?  The last change was on September 16 - FOUR DAYS before players are supposed to be present for the muckety muck opening ceremonies, which I'm sure will feature some kind of battle dance between people costumed as mammoths.  Gee thanks, FIDE.

DISGUSTING.  FIDE at its absolute best.  The attitude of its entrenched incompetent bureaucrats is F - U to the players and the national federations.  This is from an email, parts of which were published at The Week in Chess:

Team Participation Threatened by Travel Arrangements for Olympaid
September 17, 2010
By Mark Crowther

I [Nick Faulks] don't think they can do much about the departure time, because it has been clear for some time that the charter organiser made a mistake with the time zone. I drew this to the attention of Ugra weeks ago, but was evidently ignored.

I have been fighting on this issue for months, and have received absolutely no support from other federations ( nor, I should say, from the Karpov camp ). It is well known that the FIDE Board member charged with overseeing the event has suggested that, rather than complaining, our team should simply not go. He may now get his wish.

Lovely attitude toward the players who are your life's blood, FIDE.

Instead of FIDE's coverage, I will rely on proven English language sites like Susan Polgar, Chessdom, The Week in Chess, Chess Vibes, Chessbase, Chess Drum, etc. to provide my reports on the Olympiad.

I have great hopes for the American Women's Team, but I am worried about Irina Krush being in form.  She (along with many other Olympiad bound women) just finished the Blitz Championship and that must have been exhausting.  It would be exhausting just getting from Moscow to Manski Kampsky.  This is information provided from the ex-official website that wasn't really the official website at all.  For clarity's sake I omitted the undecipherable schedule of the charter flights - yes, the one that changed six times (seven times?) in six weeks, the last change on September 16:

Regular flights to Khanty-Mansiysk
People planning to get to Khanty-Mansiysk by regular domestic flights from Moscow should book and buy tickets by themselves. All the necessary information and schedule of the flights is available on the home page of Air Company “UTair”: . On this web-site you can also book tickets to the convenient flight.

The nearest airports to Khanty-Mansiysk are Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Surgut, Nizhnevartovsk, Kogalym.

Transfer between airports in Moscow
To book transfer from one airport in Moscow to another you can contact Moscow Transfer Service .On this web-site you can fill out an application, make payment, and specialists of this company will meet you in any airport in Moscow and transfer you to another airport in a convenient way.

Attention! There will be information desks of the Organizing Committee in Moscow airports at the arrival lounge of international flights, where you can get all the necessary information.

Besides, you can reach airports of Moscow area from the Sheremetyevo in the following way:

By car: 29 kilometers from Moscow center on the highway (M 10).

By bus: Airport Sheremetyevo is connected with the capital by highway (M 10), where nonstop buses, minibuses, scheduled buses ( № 851 from metro station “Rechnoy Voksal”, № 817 from metro station “Planernaya”) are going as well as taxi. You can get tickets in the taken transport. Work time of city transport from 5.25 am to 00.30 am.

You can get to the airport Domodedovo that is located 85 kilometers from the airport Sheremetyevo:

By taxi: 1 hour 30 minutes* [Oh yeah, real economical]

By bus: from the town airport station non-stop buses go every 30 minutes, duration of the way 1 hour 10 minutes.

By metro: Metro station “Belorusskaya” – “Paveletskaya” (16 minutes), then by aero-express (40-45 minutes).

You can get to the airport Vnukovo that is located 70 kilometers from the Sheremetyevo airport:

By taxi: 1 hour*

By bus: from the town airport station non-stop buses run every 30 minutes, duration of the way 1 hour 20 minutes.

By metro: Metro station “Belorusskaya” – “Kievskij Vokzal” (17 minutes), then by aero-express (35 minutes).

Transport connections between “Sheremetyevo – 2” and “Sheremetyevo – 1”
The bus “Sheremetyevo” goes between the Terminal 2 and the terminal 1/C. The bus station that is in the area of the railway station of the Terminal 2 is situated near the side of the road from the sideways of the hotel “Novotel”. The bus station in the area of terminal 1/C is situated near the railway station between the pavilion “Arrival” of Terminal 1 and terminal C.

Public Transport: From the terminal 1/C to the terminal 2: Bus №851, travel time 10-15 minutes.

From the Terminal-2 to the Terminal-1/C: Bus №817, travel time 10-15 minutes.

Time table: 06:00 a.m. – 23.00 p.m.

* Attention! Traveling time by car is approximate, without considering traffic jams. [Are they anything like the traffic jams around Bejing? If so, please add three weeks to your travel itinerary.]


In order to avoid possible critical situations you need to have at least 3-4 hours (without considering possible traffic jams) between arrival and departure from different airports.

Each passenger may have 20 kilos of his luggage free. The extra luggage is paid 1% of the cost of the ticket.

Got all that? 

By the way, the airport tax is $60 USD.  I don't know if that is per airport or a group airport fee. 

Will all of the teams make it on time?  Stay tuned...
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