Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kings v. Queens Chess Tournament

Further information on the uncoming event at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis - play begins September 10th! The remaining members of the "Kings'" Team have been announced along with the prize structure.

Meet me in St. Louis, darlings!  Isis and I will be there.

From our friends at Chessdom:

The players, including FIDE ratings and the federation each represents, are as follows:

GM Judit Polgar (2699) - Hungary
GM Kateryna Lahno (2536) - Ukraine
IM Anna Zatonskih (2522) - U.S.
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk (2497) - Russia
IM Irina Krush (2486) - U.S.

GM Hikaru Nakamura (2770) - U.S.
GM Timur Gareyev (2613) - Uzbekistan
GM Ben Finegold (2488) - U.S.
IM Jacek Stopa (2474) - Poland
IM Marc Arnold (2445) - U.S.

The average team rating of the Queens is 2548 FIDE and the King’s average rating is 2558 FIDE. This will be a Scheveningen-paired tournament, in which each of the five team members will play each of the opposing team members twice: once in a Fischer Random (Chess 960) game with a time control of G/25 + 10-second increment and once in a rapid game with a time control of G/25 with a 5-second increment.

Tony Rich, executive director of the CCSCSL, said it was only fitting to bring out the world’s best for the grand opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame.

“This tournament, the first of its kind, creates an even playing field for the top men and women in chess to do battle,” Rich said. “The format is fitting for the celebratory environment surrounding the opening of the Hall of Fame, and we’re happy to put on a unique event that will be enjoyable for spectators.”

The Opening Ceremony for the tournament will take place on September 9, and the first round will begin at 3 p.m. CT on Saturday, September 10.

The winning team of the event will win $20,000, divided equally between each member of that team. In addition, individual prizes will be awarded based on final standings and are are as follows:

1st: $5,500
2nd: $5,000
3rd: $4,500
4th: $4,000
5th: $3,500
6th: $3,000
7th: $2,500
8th: $2,000
9th: $1,500
10th: $1,000

Individual prizes total $32,500 and, when coupled with the team prize, the total prize fund for this event is $52,500.

GM Yasser Seirawan and WGM Jennifer Shahade will provide live commentary of the event, which will be open to the public. The event also will be broadcast live via the CCSCSL’s Livestream web channel:

Visit for more information.

Climate Change 4200 Years Ago

No one has yet answered why the weather patterns suddenly shifted - and stayed shifted for some 300 years!  Our scientists know that this happened, and our archaeologists have uncovered the resulting devastation.  Civilizations were destroyed.  People and animals starved to death when the rains were cut by as much as 50% in almost all areas of the globe.  In these days when a few years without rain can cost billions of dollars in crop losses, send the price of food sky high and kill hundreds of thousands (as in Somalia, for instance), what would we do if the rains were cut by 30 to 50% for 300 years?  What would happen to Africa?  China?  India?  The United States? 

From Science at
Ancient city survived as civilizations collapsed
Archaeologists involved in arduous excavation want to know, 'How did that happen?'
updated 7/29/2011 1:01:26 PM ET

As ancient civilizations across the Middle East collapsed, possibly in response to a global drought about 4,200 years ago, archaeologists have discovered that one settlement in Syria not only survived, but expanded.

Their next question is — why did Tell Qarqur, a site in northwest Syria, grow at a time when cities across the Middle East were being abandoned? [Oh please, people who were fleeing drought-destroyed fields, towns and city-states had to live somewhere where there was a reliable water supply!]

"There was widespread abandonment of many of the largest archaeological sites and ancient cities in the region and also large numbers of smaller sites," said Jesse Casana, a professor of anthropology at the University of Arkansas. "At Tell Qarqur and probably at other sites also in the Orontes River Valley, where our site is located, (settlement) continues, and in our case, seems to have probably broadened (during that time)."

Casana and Boston University archaeologist Rudolph Dornemann discovered mud-brick homes beyond the city's fortification walls, suggesting the area was thriving.

"It seems like there is an intensively occupied core and fortified area, and more dispersed settlement surrounding it," said Casana. One of the team members, Amy Karoll, presented the research at the 76th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in April.

Digging up history
Tell Qarqur was occupied for about 10,000 years, between 8,500 B.C. and A.D. 1350. While excavations have taken place off and on for nearly three decades now, only a small portion of the city has been excavated so far. The long history of the site makes digging down to the 4,200-year-old remains difficult. To compensate, the team has used Ground Penetrating Radar to help map structures beneath the surface.

One of the most interesting excavated finds is a small temple or shrine made out of stone that also dates back 4,200 years. "It's a small stone building with a whole series of plastered basins inside the building that were used probably in some kind of libation ritual," said Casana.

The team also found large standing stones, bones from baby sheep, cult stands used for incense and decorative figurines, some of which are now on display in a local museum.

Global climate change
Environmental data gathered from numerous sources, including ocean sediment cores and plant remains, suggests that there was a climate event that rocked the Middle East and much of the planet 4,200 years ago.

"At 4,200 years ago, there was an abrupt climate change, and abrupt drying, and abrupt deflection of the Mediterranean westerly winds that transport humid air into the eastern Mediterranean region," Harvey Weiss of Yale University told LiveScience.

Weiss has been researching the phenomenon, working with other scholars to figure out how broad an event this was and what its effects were.

"That deflection of those winds reduced the annual precipitation across western Asia for about 300 years," he said, with rainfall being reduced somewhere between 30 percent and 50 percent. This meant that cities in the Middle East that depended on rain-fed crops had a difficult time surviving. The intense drought extended nearly globally, Weiss noted.

Along with the Mesopotamian and eastern Mediterranean societies that met their demise, Old Kingdom Egypt, a civilization that built the Great Pyramids, collapsed. "A different weather system reduced the flow of the Nile River at the same period so the Nile was affected," Weiss said.

Casana cautioned that not all scholars are convinced that climate change was the main cause for the collapse of cities in the Middle East. [Really?]

"It's a pretty thorny question," Casana said.

Some researchers "simply don't like the sort of one-to-one causal story that that kind of narrative tells, in which the rain stopped falling and everybody died," he said, adding that the way people were farming and using the land may also have played an important role. [But not enough of a role to shift global rainfall patterns!  Come on!]

Another factor is the shaky political stability that large states sometimes endure. "There are other scholars who simply think that the decline of these civilizations, at that time, is kind of part and parcel of the story of civilization itself," Casana said. [Well of course political instability of already shaky regimes would have resulted when people were starving to death!]

Why did Tell Qarqur survive?
The question now is why Tell Qarqur is different. Why did the site survive and expand while so many others collapsed? Casana said that until more excavation is done, the jury will still be out as to why.
Weiss believes that the Orontes River, on which the city is located, is the key to answering this question. He pointed out that other archaeological sites on the river, including Qatna and Nasriyah, also appear to have prospered during this time of collapse.

"The Orontes River is fed by a huge underground chamber of water, which is called a Karst," Weiss said. "That huge underground source of water continued to flow and to feed the Orontes River during this period when rainfall was diminished."

There are other questions. Before the collapse hit, Tell Qarqur was within the sphere of influence of a powerful kingdom known as Ebla. That kingdom was destroyed sometime prior to 4,200 years ago. This likely changed the way the city was governed and managed, something that future excavations may reveal.

"What happens to the political realities of the community at Qarqur I don't know," said Casana. "I'm sure there must have been some change."

Weiss said that the discovery of cities that grew during climate collapse offers a new frontier for archaeologists and scientists to investigate.

"I think that the early bronze four (the scientific name for this period of collapse) culture of the Orontes is only just now emerging for our attention and that it's going to provide an extremely interesting example of cultural growth in unique environments during this period," he said.
Dudes, start looking for other areas where it is known that such Karsts, and other "guaranteed" sources of fresh water, existed 4,200 years ago. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

2800 Year Old Lion Statue Uncovered at Tell Tayinat (Turkey)

"Unreported News" at Heritage NewsVideo of the statue being moved to the archaeological museum.

Here is a photo of the lion statue from the project website: Tayinat Archaeological Project (University of Toronto).

Could this be an ancient Egyptian protractor?

This is absolutely fascinating.  Who is right, the mathematician, or the archaeologist?  Notice also the implication in the last sentence of the article: this is the only one found and therefore it cannot be a measuring instrument...

From New Scientist
Egyptian tomb mystery may be world's first protractor
16:17 29 July 2011 by Jo Marchant
The bizarre object to the right was found in the tomb of an ancient Egyptian architect. For over 100 years, it has languished while archaeologists debated its function.

Now, a physicist has thrown her hat into the ring, arguing that it is the world's first known protractor. The intriguing suggestion – which has drawn scepticism from archaeologists – is based on the numbers encoded within the carvings on its surface.

The architect Kha helped to build pharaohs' tombs during the 18th dynasty, around 1400 BC. His own tomb was discovered intact in 1906 by archaeologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in Deir-al-Medina, near the Valley of the Kings. Among Kha's belongings were measuring instruments including cubit rods, a levelling device that resembles a modern set square, and what appeared to be an oddly shaped empty wooden case with a hinged lid.

Schiaparelli thought this last object had held another levelling instrument. The museum in Turin, Italy, where the items are now exhibited identifies it as the case of a balancing scale.

But Amelia Sparavigna, a physicist at Turin Polytechnic, suggests that it was a different architectural tool – a protractor. The key, she says, lies in the numbers encoded in the object's ornate decoration, which resembles a compass rose with 16 evenly spaced petals surrounded by a circular zigzag with 36 corners.

Sparavigna says that if the straight bar part of the object were laid on a slope, a plumb line would revealed its inclination on the circular dial (as illustrated in this graphic).

Significant numbers

The fraction of one-sixteenth features in a calculus system the Egyptians used, says Sparavigna, and they also identified 36 star groups called the decans, which later formed the basis of a star clock. She suggests the object was "a protractor instrument with two scales, one based on Egyptian fractions, the other based on decans".

But Kate Spence, an archaeologist at the University of Cambridge who specialises in ancient Egyptian architecture, is not convinced and maintains the object is simply a decorative case. She says that unlike those on known measuring instruments, the markings in question are not particularly accurate: "When the Egyptians want to be precise, they are." She says the Egyptians tended to define angles by measuring the two sides of a rectangle, and that no similar instrument is known.

Copper Age Burial Uncovered in Bulgaria

A rather confusing article, but an intact burial from the Copper Age, rare, may be incredibly important to putting together more pieces of the puzzle of the past.  The Copper Age has different date ranges depending on the area of the world.  In Bulgaria, it was perhaps dated from 7000 to 6500 BCE to about 3500 BCE or later.

From The Sophia Echo
New archaeological discovery illuminates practices from the copper age
Thu, Jul 28 2011 13:25 CET

A well preserved skeleton from the copper age has been discovered in an archaeological reserve in Kozareva mound near Kableshkovo in Pomorie.

The discovery marks an exciting new development for the village that was also a centre for the pottery industry during the fifth century BCE.

According to the head of the excavation, Professor Petya Georgieva, this is the first confirmed tomb from such an early period in southern Bulgaria. The tomb was apparently intact and the bones well preserved. It is still unclear whether the necropolis, in the Neolithic village, which was discovered five years ago, adheres to the first funeral rites characteristic of the Black Sea region.

Scientists claimed in 2009 that the discovery of the oldest ceramic kiln in the Balkans had helped to shed light on the beginnings of civilisation on the Bulgarian coast.

Archaeologists hope that the most recent find will help reveal what happened to the dead in the copper age.

"In the mound we found products of human skulls such as the rondeli, a circle of skulls with drilled holes in them so they can be attached to the neck," says Georgieva.

A separate neolithic tomb, discovered, near Burgas is expected to provide clues regarding the ethnicity of Bulgarians of that era.

Susan Polgar Invitational - Final Results

Another successful Susan Polgar Invitational has once again concluded. At the conclusion of training session for the invitees, there is a 6-round tournament for them, in conjunction with other events for friends and family.  Straight from Susan Polgar's Blog:

2011 Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational - Final Standings (6 Rounds)

# Name ID Rtng Post Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Rd 6 Tot TBrk[M] TBrk[S] TBrk[O] TBrk[C] Prize1 Apurva Virkud 13464694 1967 1987 W21 W20 W7 W8 W2 W6 6.0 20 23 90 21
2 Mandy Lu 13907446 1761 1778 W34 W13 W3 W9 L1 W10 5.0 22 24 90.5 19
3 Kristen Sarna 13102097 1591 1620 W38 W23 L2 W18 W8 D4 4.5 19.5 21.5 76.5 16.5
4 Maggie Feng 14105448 1728 1714 L23 W40 W29 W12 W9 D3 4.5 18 19.5 72 14.5
5 Maraani Kamphorst 14521372 1815 1819 Z43 U--- W43 W15 W29 W13 4.5 10.5 10.5 41.5 12.5
6 Claudia Munoz 13481236 1872 1856 W27 D19 W11 D10 W7 L1 4.0 21 24 86 16
7 Katherine Davis 14381402 1668 1667 W26 W30 L1 W11 L6 W18 4.0 20 22.5 83 15
8 Clarissa Abella 13528222 1692 1685 W25 W24 W18 L1 L3 W19 4.0 19.5 22.5 84 16
9 Savanah Naccarato 14207292 1600 1607 W40 W44 W14 L2 L4 W24 4.0 19 20.5 71 16
10 Evelyn Chen 13547567 1501 1552 D29 W17 W19 D6 W22 L2 4.0 18.5 21 81.5 15.5
11 Diamond Shakoor 13972728 1293 1393 W36 W16 L6 L7 W28 W20 4.0 17.5 19.5 71 14
12 Vanita Young 13835092 1461 1478 W41 L14 W25 L4 W34 W22 4.0 16 17.5 60.5 13
13 Rebecca Deland 13470414 1349 1390 W45 L2 W23 D14 W21 L5 3.5 19.5 20 69 13.5
14 Annastasia Wyzywany 13984743 1801 1763 W32 W12 L9 D13 D19 D15 3.5 18 20.5 74 14
15 Amelia Wyzywany 13984737 1466 1451 L30 W37 W34 L5 W25 D14 3.5 16 18 59 11.5
16 Sadia Qureshi 14024572 1607 1562 W33 L11 D30 W17 L20 W29 3.5 15.5 17.5 62 12
17 Aiya Cancio 13850035 1255 1265 D31 L10 W33 L16 W40 W21 3.5 15 16.5 58 10
18 Heather Young 13153973 1345 1368 W39 W22 L8 L3 W23 L7 3.0 14 20.5 75.5 13
19 Ashritha Eswaran 14044705 1484 1491 W46 D6 L10 W31 D14 L8 3.0 14 20 69.5 12.5
20 Cheryl Liu 12848066 1580 1547 W37 L1 W32 L21 W16 L11 3.0 13 21 71.5 12
21 Mina Takahashi 14333584 1254 1263 L1 W38 W26 W20 L13 L17 3.0 13 21 69.5 12
22 Cristina Pieve Ferrer 14697376 1674 1620 W28 L18 W27 W24 L10 L12 3.0 13 20 70.5 13
23 Logan Schoonover 14163285 1015 1084 W4 L3 L13 W36 L18 W33 3.0 13 19.5 69.5 10
24 Joy Chen 13499884 1295 1293 W35 L8 W28 L22 W26 L9 3.0 13 19 69 12
25 Tori Whatley 13269020 1006 1018 L8 W33 L12 W42 L15 W35 3.0 11.5 16.5 55.5 9
26 Rea Katarina Chroneos 14431605 921 1031 L7 W35 L21 W27 L24 W34 3.0 11 17 61 9
27 Anjana Murali 14490650 1179 1178 L6 W46 L22 L26 W32 W30 3.0 11 17 55.5 8 28 Bryn Dolan 14090925 928 938 L22 W39 L24 W35 L11 W37 3.0 10 16 55 9
29 Elisabeth Gondolo 13236653 593 826 D10 W31 L4 W30 L5 L16 2.5 17 22 73 11
30 Isabel James 13435414 1124 1155 W15 L7 D16 L29 W31 L27 2.5 15 19 65.5 10
31 Sneha Chikkala 13008090 1271 1208 D17 L29 W36 L19 L30 W40 2.5 11.5 15 56 8
32 Chenyi Zhao 14468305 1082 1052 L14 W41 L20 D40 L27 W36 2.5 11 14.5 48.5 7.5
33 Helen Vaughn 13832662 864 838 L16 L25 L17 W39 W42 L23 2.0 12.5 16 50 5
34 Alexandra Mann 14138695 1021 995 L2 W45 L15 W43 L12 L26 2.0 12 17 59 8
35 Ananya Murali 14692845 unr. 729 L24 L26 W37 L28 W43 L25 2.0 12 15 49.5 6 36 Marleah Mullen 14417932 101 240 L11 W42 L31 L23 W39 L32 2.0 11 15 48.5 7
37 Sarah Cheatham 14220140 622 625 L20 L15 L35 W45 W38 L28 2.0 10.5 14 43.5 5
38 Janna Borg 13284210 645 584 L3 L21 L39 W41 L37 W42 2.0 9.5 14 44.5 4
39 Faith Munoz 13999788 320 367 L18 L28 W38 L33 L36 W45 2.0 9.5 12.5 39 5
40 Esther Whitney 14084916 823 830 L9 L4 W45 D32 L17 L31 1.5 13 17.5 57 5.5
41 Jade Hibdon 13967740 339 316 L12 L32 L42 L38 D45 W43 1.5 7 11 35 2
42 Dyhemia Young unr. 111 L44 L36 W41 L25 L33 L38 1.0 10.5 13.5 33 4
43 Aksithi Eswaran 14583755 503 445 Z5 H--- L5 L34 L35 L41 1.0 5.5 10.5 29 4.5
44 Mary Kerr 14437867 179 231 W42 L9 U--- U--- U--- U--- 1.0 1 5 20 6
45 Jenaye Hibdon 13967755 338 297 L13 L34 L40 L37 D41 L39 0.5 9 12.5 39 1
46 Evelyn Kerr 14201134 574 572 L19 L27 U--- U--- U--- U--- 0.0 3 6 20.5 0

I highlighted the Murali sisters from Wisconsin.  I don't know why Wisconsin had two representatives (that was also a question posted to me here at the blog). 

More information from Susan Polgar's Blog:
Video of a Fox News broadcast covering Dyhemia Young's "Chess Cinderella" story.  Very nice video.  It is inspiring that so many people contributed to enable both Dyhemia Young and Vanita Young (not related to each other), to attend the SP Invitational. 

More information from Susan Polgar's Blog:
Final Results:

Overall Champion: Apurva Virkud
Under 13: Mandy Lu
Under 10: Chenyi Zhao

Scholarships to Texas Tech (approximately $40,000 each for out of state students):

Vanita Young
Cheryl Liu
Dyhemia Young
Sneha Chikkala

Parents / Friends:

1. David Chris Miller
2-4 Angelito Abella
2-4 Martha Underwood
2-4 Abdul Abdus-Shakoor

Puzzle Solving:

Maggie Feng 20/20
Katherine Davis 19/20
Rebecca Deland 19/20


Many Liu (Trophy winner by playoff)
Evelyn Chen


Kristen Sarna / Clarissa Abella (Trophy on tiebreaks)
Apurva Virkud / Katherine Davis
Mandy Lu / Maggie Feng

A "Cinderella" fund has been established at the Susan Polgar Foundation that will be used to assist other invitees like Vanita Young and Dyhemia Young to attend future Susan Polgar Invitationals.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Call for Papers: Board Games Studies 2012

Board Game Studies XVth Colloquium
hosted by the Bavarian Games Archive
Munich, April 17th – 21st, 2012

(Board Games Studies Association website)

Board Game Studies
The International Society for Board Game Studies holds yearly colloquia in which scholars, university professors, museum curators, historians, archaeologists, psychologists, mathematicians, game inventors, collectors and others share their research results on board games. Previous BGS colloquia have been held in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Bavarian Games Archive
The Bavarian Games Archive located at Munich, Germany, is a study center for board games. It is collecting contemporary board and family games. The archive holds more than 15.000 different board games and a library of books and other printed materials dedicated to board games including over 2000 volumes. It organizes workshops, public games events and an annual international fair for game inventors. This organization will host the Board Game Studies Colloquium XV.
The Colloquium will take place in the community center of Haar at the peripheral of Munich. Colloquium language is English.

Call for Papers
The International Colloquium on Board Games Studies invites all scholars to submit articles in the area of board game research. The purpose of the Colloquium is to illustrate individual research, to discuss the role of board games in the academic arena, and to enhance multidisciplinary cooperation in games research.

Games on the Rock
Although the forthcoming colloquium will consider all kind of different research results on board games, it will focus especially on games incised in stone or rock.

Summaries and Abstracts
Participants interested in presenting a paper should submit a topic title and informal summary, written in English, maximum 500 words. Summaries should be submitted by October 15th 2011. You may use name.doc or name.docx or name.pdf as file format.

Please indicate the category of your paper (university professor, museum curator, historian, archaeologists, psychologist, mathematician, computer science, contemporaneous boardgaming, game inventor, collector, etc.)

Furthermore please add your biography and a list of publications, academic credentials or other qualifications.

If your paper is accepted, you will be asked to make a presentation at the colloquium. You will then need to submit a formal abstract, due 28th Februray 2011, written in English, between minimum 300 and maximum 500 words.

Your abstract may be based on your summary. The abstracts will be printed in the colloquium program brochure together with your biography, list of publications or other credentials and your image. All participants will receive the program brochure at registration. Furthermore you will be asked to provide a portrait in reasonable resolution (.jpg-format, min 100 KB, max 1000 KB).

Program Brochure
Besides general information and a time table the program brochure will provide two pages for each paper. One page is devoted to the speaker presenting his biography, a list of publications, academic credentials or other qualifications, his/her photo and e-mail-adress. The other page will contain the abstract.

All presentations will be given in English and are not to exceed 30 minutes. There will be a 10 minutes period for questions or comments following each presentation.

Please prepare a Powerpoint (name.ppt or name.pptx for Windows or Mac) to support your presentation. Summaries, abstracts and enquiries should be emailed to
Tom Werneck info at – please replace “at” by @

Detailed information on program, registration, colloquium dinner, etc. will be available in February 2012.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What was I thinking?

Oh my.  The other day I went shopping on an impulse - never a good idea.  Fortunately, I didn't have much time.  I made two purchases - a blouse I love and a shrug sweater in a neutral open-weave silk blend knit.  Love it!

Except - I didn't have time to try it on before I bought it.  Bad mistake.  If I'd tried it on, I would never have bought it.  I tried it on when I got home.

Oh my.  Well, it's going back, much as I hate to do it, because I love how it feels, I love the cut and I love the design.  I just HATE how it looks on me. 

This shrug is somewhat similar shape-wise to the one I bought the other day:

However, I look nothing like that in the shrug.  Not even close, sigh.  EPIC FAIL!  The shrug is going back tomorrow.  Live and learn...

Come to think of it, this style of top, somewhat modified, was much loved back in the day by Minoan ladies (and no doubt the men, too):

Frescoe of Minoan ladies from Knossos.

Photoshopping Run Amok!

These photographs are hilariously horrifying!  Talk about distorted images of women, YECH!

If you want to sell product, is it really necessary to feature Julia Roberts with a plastic babydoll face?  She's 44 years old now, she has some facial lines, for Goddess' sake!  And is it really necessary to depict Christy Turlington with what looks like, for all intents and purposes, actual plastic skin stretched out toward the edge of the frame?  OHMYGODDESS!  LOL!  I wouldn't touch either of these products with a ten-foot ankh!  Way too freaky for me - like Stepford Wives!

L'Oréal's Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington ad campaigns banned
Advertising watchdog upholds complaints by Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson that images overly airbrushed
Mark Sweney
The Guardian, Wednesday 27 July 2011

Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington L'Oreal Ads Banned In U.K. (PHOTOS, POLL)
The Huffington Post
Hilary Moss
First Posted: 7/27/11 08:07 AM ET Updated: 7/27/11 04:13 PM ET

Woman Disguised as Man Stopped from Marrying Another Woman

July 27, 2011
Old flame saves bride at Indonesia same-sex wedding
By Neil Chatterjee | Reuters – 19 hrs ago

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian family stopped a wedding after discovering the groom was a woman, only for an ex-boyfriend to save their blushes by stepping in to marry the bride.

Family and guests gathered to read the Koran at the Islamic ceremony in western Java, but the groom did not bring relatives and suspicions were raised when "Rio" failed to show documents, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported on Wednesday.

"The suspicion became bigger as her heavy voice suddenly changed into a female one," the newspaper quoted local police chief Krisnandi as saying, adding the groom had a male physique and had known bride Nuraini for seven months.

"The family finally got Kiman, the ex-boyfriend, as the new groom for Nuraini in order to save face in front of their guests," Krisnandi said.

Homosexuality is not illegal in the world's most populous Muslim country, though same-sex marriages are not allowed. Same-sex marriages became legal in New York earlier this month, prompting hundreds of gay and lesbian couples to wed.

(Writing by Neil Chatterjee; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)
There are so many bizarre things with this story, I hardly know where to begin! 

First of all, how could the woman who had disguised herself as a man GET AWAY WITH IT FOR AT LEAST SEVEN MONTHS? 

Second, how did these two meet?  It's not like Muslim chicks go out clubbing to meet guys. Aren't these introductions to prospective mates arranged either through family or through a matchmaker?  How on earth did this woman posing as a man fool everyone involved?

Third, was the intended bride duped by the impersonation?

Holy Goddess!  I know customs are different in the Muslim world so that the intended bride would not have been allowed to be alone with the intended groom, but honestly, did the fake man never have to pee while in the company of men?  How was that handled? 

Fourth, since the male impersonator knew "he" didn't have proper "papers" (whatever that means), how on earth could she have agreed to a marriage - and then actually show up at the ceremony?  No family present - talk about a GIANT RED FLAG.  Ohmygoddess!

Fifth, poor bride!  Forced to take a rejected suitor as a husband in order for her family to "save face!"  If this "former flame" was so great, why wasn't she married off to him to begin with, heh? 

Something is terribly wrong here, and obviously we don't have the full story, and probably never will.

Now, what is going to happen to the woman who impersonated a man?  Will she be killed for "honor?"  And will whoever does the killing be able to get away with it?  (Probably)

I'm hunting for further information...

From the Jakarta Globe
Groom Was a She, But an Old Flame Reignites Wedding
Zaki Pawas | July 27, 2011

Serang, Banten. A wedding party turned into humiliation for the bride’s family after it was discovered that the groom was actually a woman, but thankfully an ex-boyfriend was willing to step in.

The Sunday wedding at Binung village, Carenang subdistrict, began normally with family, guests, village officials and witnesses present for the reading of the Koran.

But the groom, Rio, raised suspicions because he was not accompanied by any relatives and he failed to show complete documents needed for the ceremony, Serang Police Chief Adjunct Sr. Comr. Krisnandi said on Tuesday.

“When asked about her parents, she said she had none. The suspicion became higher as her heavy voice suddenly changed to a female voice,” Krisnandi said.

The cleric asked the bride’s family to bring Rio to a room for a “physical examination” and it was revealed that Rio was a woman whose real name was Erni, he said.

The angry family asked to postpone the ceremony and reported Erni to police.

But the wedding was saved by a former boyfriend of Nuraini, the bride, who volunteered to be a replacement.

“The family finally got Kiman, the ex-boyfriend, as the new groom for Nuraini in order to save face in front of their guests,” the officer said.

Nuraini was introduced to Erni by a friend “and was unsuspicious because Erni has the physical shape of a man and her voice is also like a man’s,” he said, adding that the two had known each other for seven months before Sunday.

Erni is being detained at the police office in Serang. Police have yet to name her a suspect.

Note: There's more to this Jakarta Globe article - about other cases of "accidental marriage." Incredible! 

Monday, July 25, 2011

'Cinderella' Arrives at the Chess Ball!

Check out the video of Dyhemia Young being welcomed to Texas at the Lubbock Airport by Susan Polgar and others.  The young lady, from Los Angeles, is a wildcard pick of Susan Polgar to attend the 2011 Susan Polgar Girls Invitational in Lubbock, Texas at Texas Tech University.

Great News!  Will Smith and Jada Pickett Smith contacted Susan to pledge a contribution to the Susan Polgar Foundation to assist with the financial aspects of Dyhemia's attendance (with a chaperone) to the Girls Invitational.

Photo by Paul Truong:

Good luck to Dyhemia and, indeed, to all the young ladies in attendance.  I'm sure they'll have a great time meeting and socializing with each other, attending the training sessions and competing in the final 6 round tournament!

Fairy tales do come true, it can happen to you...

2011 Biel Chess Festival

Results from the Blitz Championshp:

Final Standings (13 Rounds) (151 players - I tried to pick out the ladies):
1. Bu, Xiangzhi  GM  2675  CHN  11.5  102.0
2. Ni, Hua GM 2662 CHN 10.0 100.5
3. Brkic, Ante GM 2598 CRO 9.5 105.5
11.Sukandar, Irine Kharisma WGM 2366  INA  9.0  95.5
29. Schut, Lisa  WIM  2304  NED  8.0  91.5
40. Paehtz, Elisabeth  IM  2463  GER  7.5  95.0
47. Sihite, Chelsie Monic WFM  2071  INA  7.5   83.5
48. Dewi, Ardhiani Anasta  WFM  2025   INA 7.5 79.5
51. Kadek, Iin Dwijayanti  WCM  1939  INA  7.5  75.5
58. Medina, Warda Aulia  WFM  2058  INA  7.0  88.0
59. Hakimifard, Ghazal WIM 2197 IRI 7.0 86.5
61. Seps, Monika  WIM  2195  SUI  7.0  85.5
69. Pinchetti, Andrea   2004  SUI  7.0  75.0
97. Lindiawati, Evi WCM  2068  INA  6.0  73.0
98. Wiesmann, Dominique 2057 SUI 6.0  72.5

I was wrong about Alexandra Kosteniuk playing in the Blitz Championship.  She played in the Chess 960 Championship!  She finished in 3rd place overall and is also the Swiss 960 Chess Champion. 
RankName Title ELOPoints Buchh
1.Grachev, Boris GM 2680RUS6.0 33.5
2.Gharamian,Tigran GM 2670FRA6.0 32.0
3.Kosteniuk, AlexandGM2530SUI5.531.0

Dronavalli Harika Earns GM Title


After GM title, Harika sets eyes on World Championship
PTI | Jul 25, 2011, 09.26PM IST

HYDERABAD: After becoming only the second woman chess player from India to achieve the Grandmaster title, Dronavalli Harika has now set her eyes on winning the World Championship.

Harika, who drew with Anna Zatonskih of the United States in the Women's Grandmasters tournament in China to earn a chess Grandmaster title on Saturday, told reporters after returning from China that she wants to achieve a lot more in her career now.

"This is one of my happiest memories in my chess career. It is also like telling me that I have to concentrate more now and have to try and achieve a lot more. So I am looking forward to practice well and do much better than this," Harika said.

"Whatever I will do, I will look forward to win a World Championship. I will work harder from now on to achieve my goal one day. I can try to improve my yellow rating," she added.

Insisting that her journey to winning the GM title was not easy, Harika said she would like to look ahead rather than brooding over the past.

"It is hard. There are hurdles and there will be some hurdles in anything you do in life. But I am happy and why to think about all the hurdles I had," the 20-year-old said.

Asked if she would advice youngsters to opt chess as a career option as the game does not enjoy much limelight like cricket, Harika said that young boys and girls should choose a career that excites them.

"I agree that compared to cricket, badminton, there is less publicity in chess but I think it is one of the famous indoor sports. When I started playing chess, I knew how it is. I see the difference now. Many people say that it is an intelligent sport.

"Right now, it is very good. I don't say you can make career in chess, but whatever you do in life, you just have to enjoy it," Harika said, adding that chess is a part of her life and she cannot think of her life without the game.

Fellow-Andhraite Koneru Humpy is the only other Indian woman who has achieved the GM title and Harika feels that it is just a coincidence that her compatriot is also from the same state.

"May be, it is a coincidence that we are from Andhra Pradesh. But there are many players from other states like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi. There are many top players from other states as well," she said.

Stating that she considered both the GM title and Arjuna award equally important, Harika said, "From chess point of view, GM title is always special. But I know, how important Arjuna award is. There is more recognition after I got Arjuna award. I can see that. So, both are special for me."

Chess Princess: Potluri Supritha

From The
Bringing home a bagful of gold
July 25, 2011

Meet a ten-year-old who is mastering major chess moves.

She is just ten and she has already represented Andhra Pradesh in three national events in chess.

Meet Potluri Supritha, a Std. IV student of Mustabada Sports and Educational Society and a chess prodigy from the coastal region of AP. Young Supritha won the under-11 State tournament at Hyderabad and later finished on top at the under-15 State tournament held at Tadepalligudem.


At Ponnur, she bagged the first place by winning the under-17 State championship. “It is a rare achievement. A ten-year-old girl winning senior age group tournaments in AP signifies her innate talent. She has the wherewithal to win medals in the Asian and World tournaments,” says V.R. Bobba, her coach.

Chess is not in the family background of Supritha. Her father takes care of agriculture and her mother works in a private firm at Nuzvid.


“What started off as a hobby went on to become an obsession for young Supritha.

Her mother gave up her job to concentrate on Supritha's fledgling career.

Everyday she spends around five hours honing her skills in the game of square board,” says Mr. Bobba. Her coach feels that while her middle and end games are encouraging, she needs to master the technique of finishing the game within the allotted time.

“She often gets into trouble due to the time factor. By playing more tournaments, she can overcome these hiccups.”

Mr. Bobba is confident that Supritha will be ready by 2013 to win medals in the Asian and world tournaments.

“All she needs to do is to spend more time training ,” he says.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

2011 Biel Chess Festival

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk took the third place prize in the Swiss Rapid Chess Tournament!  Congratulations to Alexandra!

Final Standings (Combined) Swiss/Rapid Chess Tournament (140 players)

Rank Name Title ELO W D L Points Buchh
1. Bogner,Sebastian GM 2528 GER 6 3 0 7.5 46.5
2. Cheparinov,Ivan GM 2669 BUL 7 1 1 7.5 46.0
3. Rodhstein,Maxim GM 2637 ISR 7 1 1 7.5 44.0
4. Stevic,Hrvoje GM 2619 CRO 6 2 1 7.0 50.0
5. Grachev,Boris GM 2680 RUS 5 4 0 7.0 49.0
6. Baklan,Volodymyr GM 2620 UKR 6 2 1 7.0 48.5
7. Edouard,Romain GM 2587 FRA 5 3 1 6.5 51.0
8. Nyzhnyk,Illya GM 2589 UKR 6 1 2 6.5 50.0
9. Maze,Sebastien GM 2578 FRA 5 3 1 6.5 48.0
10. Vuilleumier,Alexa IM 2374 SUI 5 3 1 6.5 47.5
11. Kovchan,Alexander GM 2554 UKR 6 1 2 6.5 47.0
12. Megaranto,Susanto GM 2544 INA 6 1 2 6.5 46.0
13. Al-Sayed,Mohamed GM 2498 QAT 5 3 1 6.5 45.5
14. Tseitlin,Mark GM 2407 ISR 6 1 2 6.5 44.0
15. Milov,Vadim GM 2651 SUI 6 1 2 6.5 41.0
16. Zanan,Evgeny FM 2301 RUS 6 1 2 6.5 41.0
17. Gharamian,Tigran GM 2670 FRA 5 2 2 6.0 48.5
17. Novita,Anjas FM 2314 INA 5 2 2 6.0 48.5
19. Bauer,Christian GM 2637 FRA 6 0 3 6.0 45.5
20. Delorme,Axel IM 2448 FRA 6 0 3 6.0 45.0
21. Gutman,Lev GM 2451 GER 6 0 3 6.0 44.5
22. Wirig,Anthony IM 2510 FRA 5 2 2 6.0 43.0
23. Barus,Cerdas GM 2420 INA 6 0 3 6.0 42.5
25. Khmelniker,Ilya GM 2510 ISR 5 2 2 6.0 40.5
26. Sihite,Chelsie Mo WFM 2071 INA 6 0 3 6.0 36.5
27. Karrer,Damian 2213 SUI 6 0 3 6.0 33.5

The Biel International Chess Festival is being held July 16 - 29, 2011 and consists of a number of events, including an exclusive Invitational, a Masters Tournament, a large Open, Rapid, Blitz, 960 Chess, etc.  GM Kosteniuk will also be competing in the Blitz Tournament, which is being held today.

2011 Scottish Chess Championship

A well-written, witty article about the 2011 Scottish Championship, that raises crucial questions surrounding how chess tournaments are organized, (under) funded, and played these days.  By the way, IM Ketevan (Keti) Arakhamia-Grant (SCO 2464) won the championship title (Scotland's 118th Championship!!!) with a hard-fought final round win against a locally known player (but unknown to everyone else) Tony Dempsey, who had entered the final round with 6.5/8! 

From the
A tight contest with funding worries: the Scottish chess championship
July 24, 2011 by Dave Hewitt
GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant receives
her 2011 Scottish Championship Trophy.
Chess Scotland.
Last Sunday, just as one experienced and popular competitor emerged victorious after several days of intense effort on the rainswept coast of Kent, so something similar was happening in the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh.

OK, so Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant – Keti, as she is known – plies her trade indoors, is of a somewhat slimmer build than Darren Clarke and her area of expertise is always likely to be way behind Clarke’s in terms of mainstream coverage and public awareness. But both victories were well received, and each event – the Open golf and the Scottish chess championship – appears to have left onlookers and officials satisfied with the fare on offer.

The 118th Scottish chess championship proved to be an interesting and tense nine-day contest. It was more competitive than generally anticipated, given that there had been a fair chance of the Ochamchira-born, Edinburgh-based player strolling away with the title rather than – as actually happened – having to scramble for it in the final round.

Arakhamia-Grant was the only grandmaster (GM) in the 37-player field, and the only serious challenge was expected to come courtesy of international master (IM) Craig Pritchett – Scottish champion in 1977 and 2005. IM is the next title down from GM – think BA as against MA, although either chess title is markedly harder to achieve than those academic honours. Outside bets for the title were two fast-improving young players – Clement Sreeves and Andrew Green – but beyond that it was hard to see how anyone else had much of a chance.

It was, therefore, a surprise when the leader at the start of the final round, with 6½ points out of 8, was Tony Dempsey – a little-known player from the Wandering Dragons club in Edinburgh. So little-known, in fact, as to cause 2007 champion Andrew Muir to comment on the Chess Scotland noticeboard that he had “never heard of him before this”.

The final round, with games potentially lasting six hours, saw Dempsey play Arakhamia-Grant, who was half a point behind (in chess a win counts as one point, a draw half). Also on 6/8, and facing each other, were Sreeves and Arakhamia-Grant’s husband Jonathan Grant, the 2006 champion. Given the nature of the tiebreak system, the only way for Arakhamia-Grant to take the title and the £1,200 first prize was for her to beat Dempsey and for the other game to be drawn – which is exactly what happened.

The top-board encounter ended first – after a lovely combination by the winner, but also a missed, near-impossible-to-spot chance to draw for Dempsey. There was then a curious domestic subplot, given that Jonathan Grant now only needed to prevent Sreeves from winning for the Grant household finances to benefit – although a win would have seen him take the title ahead of his wife. Chess is indeed a complicated game.

That Arakhamia-Grant had to battle for the title rather than cruise to it came about mainly through her having lost to Sreeves in round 3, then only drawing with Pritchett in a round 6 thriller. Pritchett later pointed out – in a magnanimous, such-is-life way – that he missed a clear chance to win that game because of trying to save time on the clock by repeating the position and thus allowing his opponent to claim a draw. He ended the tournament joint-second – on such brief but profound moments do victories come and go.

It could be argued, however, that the title ultimately hinged on two curious non-games. In round 6, Sreeves and Green opted to shake hands on a draw after just nine moves, while the much-anticipated Grant–Grant pairing in round 7 similarly lasted only 11 inconsequential moves before the café beckoned.

Both these games prompted collective groans from the watching online chess community, especially the clash of the unbetrothed. There has, in recent years, been a history of promising young Scottish players declining to play serious chess against each other. Whether this is linked to the lack of title-gaining success for Scots over the past decade or so is debatable – but there was frustration at seeing the practice recur in Edinburgh.

“Motwani, McNab, Condie, Mannion, Rowson, as juniors had the bottle to avoid premature draws – hardly coincidence they were the future titled players and Scot champs,” said 1996 and 1997 champion Douglas Bryson as he reeled off the names of various earlier Scottish chess stars – three eventual GMs and two IMs – who weren’t in the habit of quickly halving-out. “Of course easy to say sitting here on the sidelines,” Bryson added.

Whatever the ethics of quick draws (imagine if, say, Rangers and Celtic were able to shake hands and walk off the pitch five minutes into an Old Firm game), it seemed likely that one of the Sreeves–Green and Grant–Grant opt-outs would, come the final reckoning, look like a silly miscalculation, while the other would be seen as a masterstroke of energy-preservation – and so it proved.

So, a well-contested tournament with a clear and worthy winner: who could ask for more? Well, quite a few people on the Scottish chess scene – both players and organisers – remain uneasy about both the format and the future of the annual championship.

The various problems inter-relate: the structure of the tournament – how many rounds total, how many rounds per day? (At present it is nine rounds at one per day.) Should it be a small-format all-play-all for the top-ranked players, or a larger Swiss-style open event, as now, in which the overall field is broader but weaker?

And where should it be held? Not just the old seaside versus city debate – with cities in the ascendant at present – but also the even older west/east split. Glasgow/Edinburgh rivalry exists in many spheres, and the extent to which it crops up in chess can be seen in just how few west-of-Scotland players entered this year’s championship. The same, in reverse, tends to be true when the event is held on the rainy side of the country, and it seems a near-unbridgeable divide.

This isn’t a footballesque problem whereby Glasgow chess players dislike Edinburgh players and vice versa. They get on perfectly well (well, so they say); it’s just that both groupings seem reluctant to allocate the time, money and logistical commitment required to play in a nine-day tournament away from their home patch. And that’s without getting into debates about players based in Dundee, Inverness and so on.

The overarching problem, however – as in so many areas of life – is a lack of funding. Chess is not a sport in the official sportscotland sense (although some would like to see it go that way), and it being one of the least televisual of games severely limits the scope for advertising/sponsorship revenue.

“This event will run at a loss of about £500, though the paper loss which will include grading fees will be a couple of hundred more,” said tournament director Alex McFarlane, after the championship ended. “We were basically seven entries short of breaking even which can’t be too bad. The venue [the LifeCare centre] proved to be very popular – the players liked the staff and the staff liked the players. I would certainly use the venue again with a suitable event. The cost of the venue is less than the free venue last year [in the University of the West of Scotland at Hamilton] and much better. We had to pay for cleaning and security last time.”

With a new crop of strong young players coming through – it would be rash to bet against either Sreeves or Green (aged 19 and 21 respectively) winning the Scottish title in due course – and with the popularity of the game at the middle and lower levels remaining healthy despite the stay-at-home distractions of the internet and the general economic downturn, it is important for chess in Scotland to push on and progress.

Something approaching a full-strength Scottish championship would help – the country has five GMs and a similar number of IMs, but of these only Arakhamia-Grant and Pritchett played this time round. It has been some years since the Scottish chess champion was also unequivocally the strongest Scottish chess player. (At present, most observers would award the latter title to Jonathan Rowson – who has recently acquired a column in the Guardian, albeit one in which his byline profile makes no mention of his chess prowess.)

A genuinely strong championship, however, needs a large prize fund along with a suitable venue and substantial publicity in order to draw in the funders. This is not an easy combination to achieve, but there is plenty of confidence around. “I am extremely optimistic,” said McFarlane. “Unfortunately I am not in a position to say publicly why.”

One imminent boost for the game is that Lord Kirkwood – the appeal court judge and keen supporter of chess Ian Kirkwood – looks set to take on a formal role as honorary president of Chess Scotland. He will be proposed and seconded at next month’s AGM, with his election expected to go through. The extent to which this and other as yet unannounced developments will raise awareness of chess in Scotland and contribute to an increase in funding remains to be seen – but a lot of thought and work is being put in at the organisational level.

Of course, there could have been a much swifter solution to the financial worries had the recent EuroMillions winners from Largs – which has a lively chess club – been chess fans and willing to lob in a spare couple of hundred thousand for the good of the game…

Our Newest Female GM: Harika Dronavalli!

Dronavalli scored her third and final GM norm thanks to her excellent performance in the 2011 Women Grandmaster Chess Tournament, where she finished in second place overall with 5.5/9.  The GM title enrolls her in a small group of female players who have either been awarded the GM title or earned it the traditional way.  Dronavalli has also pushed her ELO above 2600 by her most recent tournament performance, thereby joining a very small, elite group of female chessplayers:  Judit Polgar at 2699 (HUN) and Koneru Humpy at 2614 (IND).  Congratulations to Harika!  These are wonderful achievements!

I don't pretend to understand all of the intricacies of how one scores a GM norm in tournament play - you can read about the former and current rules in this article at Wikipedia. 
Article from The Hindu Online

HYDERABAD, July 23, 2011
Harika realises one of her dreams
By V. V. Subrahmanyam

Photo from Chessbase 2008 interview
Dronavalli Harika reached another significant milestone in her chess career by becoming only the second woman chess player from India to win the Grandmaster title in men's category when she drew with Anna Zatonskih of the United States in the Women's Grandmasters tournament in China on Saturday.

The Indian girl drew her final round game to finish second overall with 5.5 points, but more importantly crossed the crucial Elo 2600-mark to earn the coveted GM title in the men's section. Koneru Humpy is the only other Indian to have achieved this.

The 20-year-old Harika says one of her two dreams has finally been realised. “I always used to tell my friends and fellow players that I have two objectives — to be a Grandmaster in the men's category and to be the World champion. I feel relieved that one hurdle is crossed,” Harika told The Hindu from China.

Sentimental feat

“This is a very sentimental achievement for me. For, only last month I lost my grandfather (Krishna Rao) and I was in Guntur only for a day to attend the 11th day ceremony before leaving for the circuit. At the small gathering, I thought to myself that the best tribute to pay him was to achieve something special. Now, I think I have done my best and done what he had wanted for long,” the champion player from Andhra Pradesh said.

“It is a huge honour to be a men's GM considering that there are only about 25 of them [females who have earned or been awarded the GM title] in the world. And definitely, this is a huge motivation ahead of a demanding schedule next year,” says the reigning Asian women's champion.

“It is true that I have been waiting for this since 2007. I have been missing the GM norms very narrowly in many events. So, in that context, today I am really pleased after getting the final GM norm,” the former World junior champion said.

“I dedicate this achievement to my parents (Ramesh and Suvarna) and to my coach N.V.S. Ramaraju. They have been a source of great inspiration right through my career,” said Harika, sponsored by Airports Authority of India and Lakshya.

Reflecting on the big events ahead, Harika said she had received an invitation to play in the prestigious Corus championship besides other majors in the next few months.

“With the World championship and the Olympiad ahead, I am just hoping everything will fall in place,” said the winner of three World youth titles.

Silent performer

“She is a silent performer of Indian chess. Has abundant talent and is one of the strongest contenders to be a World champion,” says IM Lanka Ravi, who is a close follower of Harika and Humpy's careers.

“Now the big dream needs to be chased — to be a World champion. I am aware that it is not going to be easy but I can tell you that it is the ultimate target for me as I prepare for the Worlds next year with all seriousness,” signed off Harika.

2011 Trophies Plus U.S. Girls Junior Open Championship

Hmmm, haven't heard of this event before - is it new this year?  It's being held in conjunction with the U.S. Open, which always has a big draw.  Unfortunately, there are only 12 pre-registered participants thus far.  Not exactly what I'd call a thumping success...

I believe this is the official website (at USCF). 

The 2011 Trophies Plus US Girls
Junior Open Championship

30 July - 2 August 2011
Orlando, Florida

Bookmark this site! Check back here often for updates, new information and corrections!
Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport · 9300 Airport Blvd· Orlando, FL 32827· 407.825.1234 · 800.233.1234
Chess Rate $99 Single/Quad
Book by 14 July 2011 to receive the Chess Rate.
6SS, 40/2, SD/1.
Open to all females born after 7/30/1990.
[No age cap???]
First Place: $500 scholarship and plaque.
Second Place: $350 scholarship and plaque.
Third Place: $150 scholarship and plaque.
Plaques to Top A, B, C, D, E, and Unrated players.
Tournament Registration Desk in the Grand Foyer.
On-site Registration ends Saturday 31 July 2011 at 6:00 PM.
Report corrections, byes, membership payments etc. at the Registration Desk.
Phone: (931) 933-8251
This phone line is only active during the tournament...

  • Saturday - Round One at 7:00 PM.
  • Sunday - Round Two at 12 NOON.
  • Sunday - Round Three at 7:00 PM.
  • Monday - Round Four at 12 NOON.
  • Monday - Round Five at 7:00 PM.
  • Tuesday - Round Six at 11:00 AM.

Zero point byes are always available in any round if requested at least two hours before the start of the desired round!
Limit of one bye in the last two rounds!

Entry Fee:
Online, $50 by 7/24, $60 after.
By mail, $50 postmarked by 7/24 Do not mail after 7/24 - it will not be received!
By phone, $55 by 7/24, $65 after.
At site, $60
Entry fee will be refunded if playing in the US Open!

NOTE: August Rating Supplement will be used. CCA ratings used. Unofficial ratings used if otherwise unrated
Foreign player ratings: 100 points added to FIDE, FQE; 200+ added to most foreign national ratings; no points added to CFC
Highest of multiple ratings generally used.

ENTRIES: Mail to USCF, Attn: 2011 Girls Junior Open, P.O. Box 3967, Crossville, TN 38557.
Online entry available:
Enter online
Enter by phone: 1-800-903-8723.
Reminders: FIDE rated, no cell phones. Bring a clock - none supplied. Sets/boards supplied for tournament, but not for skittles.

8th Susan Polgar Girls Invitational

This unique event starts today (July 24 - 29, 2011, on the campus of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas).  It combines an intensive chess training regimine over several days, culiminating in a championship tournament.  As of July 19th, here is a list of the participants from Susan Polgar's chess blog.  The names are listed in alphabetical order, not by state/wild card entry:

Abella Clarissa
Borg Janna
Cancio Aiya
Chen Evelyn
Chen Joy
Chikkala Sneha
Chroneos Rea Katrina
Davis Katherine
DeLand Rebecca
Dolan Bryn
Eswaran Ashritha
Eswaran Aksithi
Feng Maggie
Gondolo Elisabeth
James Isabel
Liu Cheryl
Lu Mandy
Mann Alexandra
Mullen Marleah
Munoz Claudia
Munoz Faith
Murali Anjana (Wisconsin - YAAAAHHHH!)
Murali Ananya (Wisconsin - YAAAAHHHH!)
Naccarato Savanah
Pieve Christina
Qureshi Sadia
Sarna Kristen
Schoonover Logan
Shakoor Diamond
Takahashi Mina
Vaughn Helen
Virkud Apurva
Whatley Tori
Whitney Esther
Wyzywany Annastasia
Wyzywany Amelia
Young Dyhemia (Wildcard entry selected by GM Susan Polgar)Young Heather
Young Vanita
Zhao Chenyi
I am so pleased to see two Wisconsin (my home state) participants - and I have had the pleasure of briefly meeting the young ladies in question during the Hales Corners Chess Challenge held in October, 2010 -- the only chess tournament I've ever played in!  I will be rooting for them to do well!!!

A Chess Cinderella Story

From Susan Polgar's chess blog

It takes many moves to find missing young chess whiz

When news came that Dyhemia Young had been invited to a prestigious chess tournament, the 16-year-old San Franciscan had vanished. Her mentor, founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation, was worried.

By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
July 23, 2011

Reporting from East Palo Alto, Calif.

 When Dyhemia Young was invited to compete in a prestigious all-girls chess tournament, at first it looked like the biggest hurdle would be raising the money to get her there.

 The Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational takes place each year at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, and the price tag for flights and accommodations was around $1,600 — a hefty sum for a 16-year-old from San Francisco's hard-knock Bayview District.

The top-rated girl from each state is invited to the annual event. Polgar, the first woman to earn the title of grandmaster, also issues two "wild card" invitations to gifted players who haven't cracked into official competition. It's a world some liken to preparing for the Olympics, with its need for money, lessons and dedicated parents.

But when Adisa Banjoko, founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation and Dyhemia's mentor, tried to call her in mid-June to tell her the good news, he realized the money would probably be a lot easier to find than the chess player.

Dyhemia, the very definition of wild card, had disappeared.

None of the phone numbers Banjoko had for her worked anymore, and he hadn't seen her since school let out. No one at John O'Connell High School, where he is a security guard and Dyhemia was a student, had seen the striking junior with the almond eyes, bright smile and sharp mind.

"I reached out to other kids who had gone to O'Connell on Facebook," he recounted. "I figured between Facebook and people who worked there, if that's not going to pull it off, that's bad."

Banjoko describes his protege as "a really good girl with a tumultuous home life. She's a very delicate plant in very harsh weather conditions. It's not whether or not she's a good flower. It's 'are we going to get the conditions right to help her bloom?' So far we haven't."

Dyhemia has played chess on and off since fifth grade, when her social studies teacher taught her how to navigate the 64 squares. She played for a year with Banjoko and the Hip-Hop Chess Federation in ninth grade, and he was struck by her skill. Last year, though, she began to back off.

The federation melds music, martial arts and the game of kings to teach young people the skills to help them through their difficult lives — traits like patience, planning, thinking ahead. Banjoko runs the West Coast operations; Lisa Suhay, a children's book author from Norfolk, Va., leads the East Coast effort.

With Dyhemia scarce and time running out, Suhay hit the computer. A Google search of the girl's name went nowhere, but a check of Google images June 24 gave Suhay and Banjoko their first lead: a missing person's poster from 2008.

"Missing Juvenile," its headline blared, above black-and-white photos of a wistful 13-year-old. "LSW: Blue jeans, possibly with a red jacket. Hair is in a pony tail." And finally, a phone number for the San Francisco Police Department.

Suhay emailed the poster to Banjoko. "Missing persons on her from '08," she wrote. "This our girl?"

The answer was yes.

Suhay dialed the number and was transferred to Det. Joseph Carroll, with the missing person's unit. "I'm going to make the strangest request you are going to get all week," she told him. A half hour later, he called back. "I've got a line on her," Carroll said. But it would take nearly a month for them to connect.

Dyhemia has been in and out of the foster care system for the last three years. Recently, it turned out, she had done a brief stint in juvenile hall — officials will not disclose why — before being sent to the East Palo Alto Teen Home on June 30. That's where Carroll tracked her down last week.

Three other girls, two with babies, live in the split-level, Band-Aid-colored house under the care of executive director Sheila George, who answered the phone last weekend when Dyhemia's social worker called with news of the invitation.

"Ms. George said, 'You that good at chess?'" Dyhemia recounted. "I said, 'I'll go and do my best and have fun.' "

She hasn't played regularly for a year and is nervous about Lubbock.

"I had to focus on my studies," she said. "I messed up in school in ninth-grade year. I had a lot going on in my home situation. But every time Adisa cracked open a board at the library, I wanted to play.

"Chess," she said, "kept me going. It kept me motivated and kept me trying."

Banjoko and Suhay are getting close to raising the funds for Dyhemia's trip, which has doubled in cost because state law requires that she travel with a chaperone. But they're not quite there.

The cost of the plane tickets is being covered by FedEx Corp.; Jupiter Jiu Jitsu, a martial arts tournament company; and Los Angeles rapper Rakaa Iriscience.

Dyhemia and George are scheduled to get on the plane Sunday.

The opportunity to play chess with the best girls in the country came as a shock, Dyhemia said. But the biggest surprise was how much effort went into finding her and getting her to Lubbock.

"This is crazy," she said. "That lets me know I'm loved."  

Cinderella and the Chess Queen
By Lisa Suhay

Cinderella is alive, black and living in San Francisco’s foster care system right now.

Her name is Dyhemia, age 16, a talented chess player currently dug so deep in the system it took a top police detective to track her and pass on the news that she was selected to compete in the prestigious
Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational in Texas which begins July 24th.

I know this because this girl is a Hip-Hop Chess Federation player, selected on the recommendation of her mentor, HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko and myself. We run free chess play, lessons and Life Strategies mentoring for at-risk children as unfunded volunteers.

Susan Polgar told me she has a single remaining Wild Card invitation to give to a deserving, unknown player. I remembered all the tales Adisa has told me over the years about Dyhemia.

It seemed like such a simple good deed to help facilitate. I called Adisa he gave agreed this was a great choice. Polgar and her board issued the invitation. All that was left to do was give her the good news and find someone to buy a plane ticket and donate the $500 for room and board for the 6-day intensive chess training and competition where girls learn to improve their game and then play for scholarships to Texas Tech University, plus prizes.

If anyone deserves a shot it is this girl who has known too many people interested in hurting, or renting her body, but few willing to invest in her mind. She has been a runaway and victim, never a winner.

Sadly, after a week Adisa called to tell me the girl could not be found. Everyone she knew was stumped and the Foster system was proving impenetrable. All was lost.

The weight of responsibility was crushing as I sat down to call Polgar and decline the invitation. Instead of dialing I sat at the computer and shook Google until, searching image files, a three-year-old missing child flyer from the San Francisco Police Department fell into my virtual lap. Adisa confirmed it was the right girl. She was known for running from foster homes, a walking lost and found. Not an uncommon occurrence in any system.

I called the number on the flyer and was transferred to Head Detective Joseph Carroll of the Missing Persons Unit. “I am going to make the strangest request you are going to get all week,” I said. He laughed.

After hearing all about this Cinderella story the hard-bitten city detective, who has seen more than his share of unhappy endings, came to a decision that changed the game, “I am going to find this girl. Let’s see if we can make something happen.”

Within 30-minutes he called and said, “I have a line on her.” Two days later I was talking to the head of Social Services who, after expressing much skepticism at the notion of a street-smart teen attending
the nation’s most prestigious chess event for girls, agreed to allow her to attend. Multiple systems are in place to keep her safe, sound and mentored by women throughout the trip.

Cinderella can go to the ball, but…she needs a fairy Godparent to pay her way.

I believe God is a chess player and He didn’t run this whole gambit without a solid closing strategy. Problem is The Lord plays Blitz chess and the clock is ticking.

Someone reading this story right now is the one who is supposed to make the next move that makes this girl a winner. Maybe it’s a “simul,” the kind of game where one Grand Master simultaneously plays dozens of players at once. In that case we’re all in this game. We’re all invested in the outcome so let’s each invest a dollar in Dyhemia.

Lisa Suhay is a children’s author and volunteer with the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. 

*A special Cinderella Fund has been set-up at The Susan Polgar Foundation: 6923 Indiana Ave., Suite 154, Lubbock, Tx. 79413. This is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. 
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