Friday, July 31, 2009


Claudia ended her participation to the SPNI 2009 with a difficult loss in the final round to Julia Jones. We wish Julia well as she has graduated High School and is on her way to the University of Texas Brownsville on a chess scholarship. Her game with Claudia was her last a high school player.

We also wish to recognize the valiant performance from Yang Dai of Virginia as she not only won the tournament, but she did it undefeated.

Currently, Claudia is on her way back home ready to process the entire event in order to continue on her chess career. Surely, this was an interesting experience.


At 10:00 a.m. 11-year old Claudia Munoz will be facing 18-year old Julia Jones (1896) on board 7 of the final round of the SPNI 2009. For Julia Jones this will be her last game as a high school student before she heads off to the University of Texas Brownsville on a chess scholarship.

In the past seven days, Claudia has faced numerous chess players who are tops in the nation in their categories, yet after being seeded #29 in the initial standings, she has survived entering the final round with two wins, two draws and only one loss. The majority of her opponents were rated on an average of 300-points.

Although she will not be winning the Susan Polgar Invitational Trophy, at her age she has seven more years to reach that goal.


1. Dai,Yang - Bhat,Samyukta
2. Koong, Joanne - Jamison,Courtney
3. Botez,V Alexandra - Peters,Epiphany M
4. Bian,Victoria - Gologorsky, Rachel
5. Lam,Fiona V - Diaz, Linda V
6. Chen,Michelle Xue - Lelko,Rebecca A
7. Munoz,Claudia E - Jones, Julia E
8. Farell,Michelle - Bohannon,Angel
9. Sarna,Kristen She - Foley,Sayaka B
10. Abderhalden,Kathe - Virkud,Apurva
11. Douthitt,Autumn N - Wiener,Alexandra
12. Hua,Margaret M - Lasley,Alexa E
13. Mahowald,Morgan - Hannibal,Dana C
14. Nguyen,Emily Quyn - Roy,Ananya
15. Chen,Kelly - Conley,Brianna
16. Warren,Hannah - Tallo, Emily
17. Deland,Rebecca - Patterson,Emily N
18. Newell,Melanie L - Purdy,Hannah
19. Wai,Marissa - Qureshi,Sadia
20. Barkell,Erica Daw - James,Isabel Rebe
21. Fitch,Ann Marie E - Folz,Caroline C
22. Spencer,Nicole An - Wyzywany,Amelia F
23. Perez, Bernadette - Cancio,Aiya
24. Bryan,Margaret - Lopez,Natalia
25. Locker,Sara - Garza,Sarah
26. Ensley-Field,Mira - Puri,Indira
27. Alston, Jannette - Chawla,Alisha
28. Olvera,Georgia - Alston,Jannel
29. Ma, Jenny - Abdus-Shakoor,Diamond

30. Snowdeal,Kristen - Garvin,Katherine

Thursday, July 30, 2009


APURVA VIRKUD consumed several hours of my coaching time with Claudia last night. Although Apurva’s rating was 1688, she was able in the 4th round to draw high

school student – Linda Diaz of New York.

Therefore, after working some lines that might unexpectedly pop-up, since Claudia was playing black and we knew that Apurva would play 1.d4 with white, I sent my daughter to bed.

At 4:30 p.m., both Apurva from Michigan and Claudia from Texas – agreed to a draw after a three hour long fought game.

After the game, Apurva shared with Claudia that they had visited her Spanish language blog in order to analyze her games. Our sister blog,, is a high traffic website with close to 60,000 visitors in the last 10-months since its creation. Due to the amount of visitors in that website, we publish each and every one of her games there.

This current blog was recently designed in June.

Tomorrow will be the last round of the Susan Polgar Invitational 2009; Claudia currently has two wins, two draws and only one loss. Tomorrow she will be facing Julia Jones (1856) who recently graduated from High School and will be attending the University of Texas Brownsville on a chess scholarship.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


When the parings went up last night, once again I was concerned about Claudia's opponent, Hannah Warren of Alaska. The reason for my concern, was that Hannah, although rated over 1000 points, accomplished the unthinkable in the first round, she defeated a 1672 rated player only to draw with an 1821 in the second round. She lost to Ephipany in the 3rd round, but goodness, it was her third over 1600-rated player she faced.

As I analized two of her games, which obviously is not enough to make a proper profile of her, I did notice her style was unorthodox.

I needed for Claudia not to take Hannah lightly but to give her the respect she deserved.

An hour and fifteen minutes after the game started, Claudia gained her second win of the tournament, giving her 2.5/4

Regardless of the outcome, I did research some information about Alaska. I found it to be a mysterious place worthy of a good vacation.

The pictures I was able to see of this beautiful state lets me know that Hannah lives an a gorgeous place.

We thank Hannah for the opportunity in share with Claudia an experience with her over the chessboard.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


For a second straight year at the Susan Polgar Invitational, Sayaka Foley defeated Claudia Munoz, the difference this time were the rounds, last time was in the final round as compared today in the 3rd round.

When the round was over, after 3 hours and 42 minutes, Claudia stated she gave up a piece in between the middle and end game phases. I simply encouraged her, as the veteran that she is, to see this as a speed bump with three rounds remaining. I applauded her for fighting so hard and taking her opponent to the brink even though she was a piece down. It’s that fighting spirit that will position her well in the American chess scene.

We recognize that middle school Sayaka Foley of Arizona was a formidable opponent who provided us with an excellent growth opportunity.

As for now, Claudia will be getting ready for her speed chess tournament tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Once I found out last night that Claudia would be facing Rebecca Lelko from Ohio, I quickly sumerged myself in the internet attempting to learn who she was.

I was extremely impressed by her chess biography, which included:

1. Ohio High School Scholastic Chess Champion, two years in a row.
2. 2007 Susan Polgar World Open winner with a $75,000 scholarship to Texas Tech.

Regardless of her age, 18-years old, compared to Claudia's 11 years of age, this was not a concern being that she has always played with adult men since she was six years old. The 200-point plus rating difference over Claudia did not bother me either.

It was simply her experience.

After a positive coaching sesion with my daughter, I felt she was ready emotionally and mentally.

AFTER A 4-HOUR GAME, the longest in Claudia's chess career, both agreed upon a draw after they had one pawn and rook each in the 64th move.

Upon speaking with my daughter, she told me she had lost a pawn early in the game only to get it back in the endgame.

Only 5-boards were still playing after the 4-hour game. We thank Rebecca for such an important experience for our daughter.



At 10:00 a.m. numerous competitors, parents, and local media were present to witness the ribbon cutting ceremony by GM Susan Polgar and Texas Tech Administration members of the new chess park on campus.

Following the ceremony, several players played for the media as video and pictures were taken for the evening news.

Claudia was asked by the winner of the Susan Polgar National Open 2009, played in Arizona, to play several games in order to try out the facilities at the park.

After Claudia played, she was able to receive a piece of the ribbon that was used in the ceremony for keeping in her scrapbook.

At 1:30 p.m. she will be on board 9 to play two-time Ohio State Champion Rebecca Lelko. Rebecca was winner of the 2007 Susan Polgar World Open where she received a $36,000 scholarship to attend Texas Tech University.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Today soccer and chess met in Claudia's life as she asked to be informed about the Gold Cup Final between the United States and Mexico in New York City. After the opening ceremony of the Susan Polgar Invitational 2009, she realized that she would be facing Natalia Lopez of Vermont.

To start out with we had never met a chessplayer from Vermont before and were not aware of the state of chess in that state; however, Natalia had qualified to be in this tournament so the final instructions was not to take things for granted.

After two hours and forty minutes, Claudia won her first round game in the Susan Polgar Invitational 2009.

By the way, where is Claudia in the picture with the SPNI 2009 competitors?

If you know, leaves us a comment. The first one who can identify where she is in the picture will get a phone call from her, contestants, please leave your email so that we may contact you.


Its way past midnight on this Sunday, a few hours from daybreak, but we are faithfully informing our readers what transpired yesterday at the TEXAS TECH QUADS.

With no more than a few hours of rest, after the seven hour journey from our house to Lubbock, Texas, Claudia was ready for the quad tournament. A total of 8-quads were formed from the 36-plus competitors.

As she entered the quad, Claudia was the highest rated in her group.

Claudia was paired in the first round with Marisa Wai of Hawaii, to whom she lost in the last few minutes remaining. As I analyzed her written game, Claudia was one pawn up as well as a better position with two rooks on the 7th ranks, she played white. However, time control problems led to mistakes which evaporated her lead.

G/30's are not Claudia's strength, although she was a gold medal winner in the Mexican Scholastic Championship 2008 in this category, it is still a work in progress.

In the second round, Claudia was paired with Donald Deland from New Mexico, he also took our daughter to the time control brink; however, he blundered in the endgame allowing her to be one full piece ahead of him.

Her confidence, which had been rattled in the first round was quickly regained.
In the third and last round, her opponent was Kristen Sarna of Texas. Kristen has faced Claudia two times before in other tournaments, our daughter having won in both encounter, the record was to repeat itself for a third time. However, I must say that upon analyzing the game, I noticed a vast improvement from her last two encounters with Claudia.
Under the same identical pictures as this posting, there is a link that will display the each game.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


A day before leaving to the "Susan Polgar Invitational 2009" in Lubbock, WCM Claudia Munoz as well as yours truly received a shot in the arm as we noticed that our daughter gained some more ground in the under 13 - top -100 U.S.C.F. rating list.

As some know, as Americans living in Mexico, it was quite difficult for us to get our daughter to the states to play continually in rated events, so every tournament on U.S. soil counts (Claudia has only played 9-tournaments in the states).

It is for this reason that in January, Claudia will return to school in the United States in order to focus on her tournament play. Currently, Claudia is U.S. curriculum homeschooled here in Mexico, while crossing the border weekly to Del Rio, Texas in order to fulfill her P.E. requirements at Laughlin Airforce Base.

As of 60-days ago, Claudia was in the 50th spot in the 13 and under top 100 list, although she is barely 11 years old, however after two back to back tournaments, she climbed 12 more slots to place her in the 38th position.

When compared to other 11-year old girls, Claudia is ranked number 8 in the United States.

As a Hispanic, Claudia is the top rated player, in the under 13 category, in the nation by over an enormous margin of 30 slots.

We feel we could have done better had we moved Claudia back to the United States several years ago, especially after she won the gold medal for the United States in the North American Youth Championship 2007, along with her FIDE title as "WOMAN CANDIDATE MASTER" and a becoming the official representative of the USA to the Pan American Youth Championship in Argentina.

These statistics simply validated a job well done in Claudia's life and surely she will focus in the "Susan Polgar Invitational 2009", which by the way, minutes ago she departed along with my wife to Lubbock, Texas.

Staying behind to "bring home the bacon" is yours truly and my oldest daughter, Faith Abigail Munoz, who also played in the Susan Polgar Invitational last year along with her sister.

Friday, July 24, 2009


It was simple, the United States National Soccer Team was not going to be denied Thursday evening as they defeated Team Honduras for one of two spots for Sunday's final in New York City.

The entire Gold Cup organization is set so that the two strongest teams in CONCACAF meet in the final, and as expected both the United States and Mexico will face each other this weekend. This game was much anticipated, but for the Mexicans, whose fate with destiny was not until August 12th at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City - just got a free preview.

Since Mexico is fighting for a World Cup berth, the August 12th match with Team USA on Mexican soil is priority; however with qualifying to the Gold Cup Final, Mexico will have an opportunity to fine tune its machinery.

As for Team USA, nothing has to be proven at the Gold Cup Final because it is the leader of the World Cup classification tournament, in its region, while this weekend event is nothing more than "bragging rights" - for Mexico it is life or death.

The final will be this Sunday at 1:30 p.m. (CST) in New York City.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


written by Abed

Our readers must think that we have sunk to our lowest level. Believe me, we can sink lower, but if a Chihuahua dog can speak and say he wants Taco Bell, then I have the right to speak my peace.

Gidget, the famous late 90's Taco Bell Chihuahua dog icon, passed away yesterday due to a stroke. Although in the scope of world events, Gidget's passing might be insignificant, in reality those of us who saw her commercials and lived through that period will never forget it.

The advertising campaign was heavily attacked by Hispanics who stated that this segment of the population was unfairly stereo-typed by Gidget - as a Hispanics I would tell my my brothers and sisters - GET OVER IT!

Yesterday, my daughter Claudia asked me about Gidget and I told her that she was around before she was born. Actually, now that I recall, Gidget hit the scenes in 1997, the same year Claudia was born.

It was the late 90's, the Clinton years, 3% unemployment, no American military interventions, gas at low prices, an enormous government surplus and the Sammy Sosa-Mark McGuire home run feud.

That era is long gone and the passing of Gidget, for a brief minute, took us back to the time when we first saw her.

By the way, during the Gidget era, I ate at Taco Bell three times.

Their are two things we will always remember Gidget for, besides those kite-like ears, "YO QUIERO TACO BELL" and "PLEASE DROP THE CHALUPA"

Bye bye Gidget!

Gidget the Chihuahua, the bug-eyed, big-eared star of 1990s Taco Bell commercials who was a diva on and off the screen, has died. She was 15. Gidget suffered a massive stroke late Tuesday night at her trainer's home in Santa Clarita and had to be euthanized, said Karin McElhatton, owner of Studio Animal Services in Castaic, which owned the dog.

Although she was hard of hearing, Gidget was otherwise in good health up to the day of her death, eating well and playing with her favorite squeaky toys at the home of trainer Sue Chipperton, McElhatton said.

"She was retired. She lived like a queen, very pampered," McElhatton said.

Gidget was found at a kennel and wasn't show quality, McElhatton said; she had an undershot jaw and huge ears.

But Gidget knew she was a star, McElhatton said.

"She was a prima donna, basically. She absolutely knew when she was on camera," McElhatton said.

In a 1997 Taco Bell television commercial, Gidget was seen as a male dog who, through the magic of special effects and a voice actor, proclaims in a richly accented voice: "Yo quiero Taco Bell" -- Spanish for "I want Taco Bell."

Viewers were charmed. What was supposed to be a single ad became a campaign that ran from 1997 to 2000.

The ads made the Taco Bell mascot wildly popular, although they provoked criticism from activists who accused them of promoting Hispanic stereotypes.

While other Chihuahuas had bit parts, McElhatton said it was Gidget who got the closeups and the quips (Carlos Alazraqui was the voice).

Gidget traveled first-class, opened up the New York Stock Exchange and made an appearance at Madison Square Garden, McElhatton said.

In later years, she did other acting work, appearing in a 2002 commercial for the insurance company GEICO and in the 2003 movie "Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde."

She remained the object of affection after her retirement, going on hikes and beach visits with her trainer. She aged gracefully, and liked nothing more than to snooze in the sun.

"She was like a little old lady. She'd kind of gotten smaller," McElhatton said.

Gidget will be cremated, McElhatton said. Her owners had not decided on a final disposition of her remains. Taco Bell Corp. said in a statement Gidget would be missed by many. "Our deepest sympathies go out to her owners and fans," the company said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Boxer Marco Antonio Nazareth died Wednesday at a hospital in his hometown of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, four days after suffering a brain injury in a technical knockout loss to Omar Chavez. He was 23.

Nazareth was standing when the referee stopped the fight, but he had been knocked down in the first and fourth round and collapsed in his corner afterward. He was taken out of the ring on a stretcher and hospitalized after the fight with a brain hemorrhage. Although doctors operated in an attempt to save his life, his condition deteriorated.

Nazareth had a 4-4 career record and had lost to Chavez once before. Chavez, who is 17-0-1, is the son of Mexican boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


written by Abed

Chess is not always fortunate enough to be mentioned in the New York Times but like all news, only the bad tidbits get published. Absent from one of the leading papers in the United States are the positive contributions from regular folks on behalf of chess.

The feud at the USCF Executuve Board, between the old and the new guard, has finally transcended to an entire different level, from the civil to the criminal courts.

Power is an awesome thing because it is invisible but its effects can be felt, and so it is with the power struggle on the board of directors.

The feud has been between the USCF Executive Board's handling of the chess organization and GM Susan Polgar with an entirely different vision.

Who is right and who is wrong is not for us to decide but one thing is to fend off a civil lawsuit and another is to actually do prison time.

Chess has evolved so much in the last few decades from the game, where one shook hands and moved the pieces, to a game saturated with politics that set an enormously aweful example to our children. The NFL and MLB, with its enormous financial coffers do not even go through a small percentage of what our minuscle chess federation undergoes.

As for now, WE made the New York Times - not the kind of public relations and marketing we were expecting from the United States Chess Federation.

Don't we still have a Prision Chess at USCF?

Someone on the USCF Executive Board might need it.

U.S. Chess Federation Lawsuit Becomes Criminal Issue

Published: July 17, 2009

A dispute among board members of the United States Chess Federation that has prompted several lawsuits has now become a criminal matter.

A member of the federation was arraigned Friday in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., and charged with identity theft and breaking into the e-mail account of a federation board member.

According to the indictment, the accused, Gregory Alexander of Everett, Wash., accessed the e-mail account of the board secretary, Randall Hough, at least 34 times.

The federation has alleged in a lawsuit that Mr. Alexander read messages between Mr. Hough and an outside counsel hired by the federation, the governing body of chess. The counsel, Karl S. Kronenberger, had been hired to investigate accusations that two federation members posted thousands of obscene and defamatory messages on Internet bulletin boards under the name of a board member in order to get themselves elected to the board.

A woman who answered the phone at Mr. Alexander’s residence declined to comment early Friday evening.

The two members, Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, who are married, were elected in July 2007. Ms. Polgar, who was the women’s world champion from 1996 to 1999, is the oldest of three highly successful Hungarian-born chess-playing sisters. The youngest, Judit, is the only woman ever to be ranked in the top 10 players in the world.

Many of the messages were posted in the name of Samuel H. Sloan of the Bronx, who lost in his bid for re-election to the board in 2007.

Mr. Sloan filed a lawsuit over the postings in 2007, naming Ms. Polgar, Mr. Truong, the federation and others as defendants. That case was dismissed in August 2008. But before it was, the federation hired Mr. Kronenberger to look into Mr. Sloan’s claims. Mr. Kronenberger concluded that Mr. Truong was responsible for the Web postings.

The federation subsequently filed a lawsuit to have Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong removed from the board. Ms. Polgar filed her own suit against the federation last August, claiming libel, slander and “business disparagement.”

In the course of Mr. Kronenberger’s investigation, Ms. Polgar quoted on her chess Web site some of the e-mail messages he exchanged with other board members.

In an interview last year, Ms. Polgar said, “the messages were public knowledge; they were on the Internet.”

In June 2008, the federation, contending that the e-mail messages had been stolen, filed yet another lawsuit seeking to force Internet service providers to turn over the protocol addresses that had been used to gain access to the board’s e-mail accounts.

Based on the responses it received to the subpoenas, the federation amended its suit in October, naming as defendants Ms. Polgar and Mr. Alexander, who has managed Ms. Polgar’s chess discussion Web site.

Monday, July 20, 2009


In 6 days, Claudia will be arriving at Texas Tech University in order to participate in the Susan Polgar National Invitational 2009 in Lubbock. According to, sixty participants are confirmed.

Alabama C Kelly Chen

Alaska C Hannah Warren

Arizona C Sayaka Foley

N. California C Samyukta Bhat

S. California C Joanne Koong

Colorado C Alexandra Lasley

Connecticut C Alexandra Wiener

Washington D.C. C Jannel Alston

Delaware C Ann Marie Fitch

Florida C Rachel Gita Gologorsky

Georgia C Ananya Roy

Hawaii C Marissa Wai

Idaho C Erica Barkell

Illinois C Victoria Bian

Indiana C Emily Tallo

Iowa Katherine Garvin

Kansas C Hannah Purdy

Kentucky C Caroline Folz

Louisiana C Amelia Wyzywany

Maine C Margaret Bryan

Maryland C Fiona V. Lam

Massachusetts C Michelle Chen

Michigan C Apurva Virkud

Minnesota C Morgan Mahowald

Mississippi C Melanie Newell

Missouri C Margaret Hua

Nevada C Sandra Hernandez

New Hampshire C Jenny Ma

New Mexico C Rebecca Anne DeLand

New York C Linda Diaz

North Carolina C Indira Puri

Ohio C Rebecca Lelko

Oklahoma C Michelle Farell

Oregon C Dana Hannibal

South Carolina C Kristen Snowdeal

Tennessee C Autumn Douthitt

Texas C Courtney Jamison (Defending Champion)

Texas C Julia Jones

Texas C Sadia Qureshi

Vermont C Natalia Lopez

Virginia C Yang Dai

Washington C Alexandra Botez

Wisconsin C Mira Ensley-Field

Wyoming C Sara Locker

Special Invitation C Isabel James (DC)

Special Invitation C Claudia Munoz (TX)

Special Invitation C Brianna Conley (OH)

Special Invitation C Angel Bohannon (TX)

Special Invitation C Nicole Spencer (NC)

Special Invitation C Georgia Olvera (TX)

Special Invitation C Sarah Garza (TX)

Special Invitation C Emily N. Patterson (ID)

Special Invitation C Katie Abderhalden (ID)

AZ SPNOGirls C Diamond Abdus-Shakoor (OH)

AZ SPNOGirls C Kristen Sarna (TX)

AZ SPNOGirls C Aiya Cancio (AZ)

LV SPWOGirls C Emily Nguyen (TX)

LV SPWOGirls C Alisa Chawla (CA)

All Star Team C Epiphany Peters (MI)

Saturday, July 18, 2009


The United States National Soccer Team defeated Panama at 10:38 p.m. (EST) in the "COPA DE ORO". With this victory, the national team qualified to the semi-finals where it will play Honduras, who today defeated Team Canada.

The United States and Panama had to play in overtime after Team USA tied the game in the second half. In overtime, the United States scored on a penalty kick.

Tomorrow four teams will attempt qualify to the semi-finalist, Guadalupe and Costa Rice face each other and then Mexico and Haiti will have their encounter. It is expected that Mexico should qualify, however, their national team has been experiencing a massive slump in the past two years.

At the end of the game, several Panamanian player surrounded the Mexican referee and attempted to assault him. The referee had to be escorted by security, however, some players were disrespectful to them as well.


By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter. July 17, 2009 at 2:30 Pm PDT

Thousands of Mexican troops some camouflage-clad with red berets flew into the Mexican city of Michoacán to quell a surge in drug gang murders that has killed 16 local police. These troops are being rushed in from Juarez which many believe will leave the city un-protected. (Laguna Journals/Reuters/Henry Romero & Michael Webster)

Since taking office in 2006, Calderon has sent more than 50,000 troops and Federal Police to areas plagued by drug violence. The cartels rival the Mexican army in size and have both Mexico and the U.S. in crisis mode as they deal with what they fear is a coming insurgency along the U.S. Mexican border and the biggest threat to the U.S. Security.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon is sending over 5,500 more troops and federal police from war torn Juarez to war torn Michoacán where according to authorities 16 police officers have been slain through well-coordinated attacks and the same authorities hold the La Familia Mexican drug cartel responsible for those slayings.

The troops will be used to confront the Mexican drug cartel La Familia in Michoacán where the Mexican president is from and has become the latest focus point of the Mexican Governments war on drugs.

The Mexican government had just recently rushed 1000 solders to Michoacán where local police told the Laguna Journal that 1000 was not enough and the additional 5,500 will not be enough according to these same unidentified law enforcement officers "we are very much out numbered and out gunned." said an active Mexican solder.

This latest move included combat U.S. helicopters, night vision head gear and weapons and other new sophisticated combat equipment. This latest emergency action is believed a move to demonstrate a fierce show of resolve on the part of the Calderon administration.

A high ranking military officer told the Laguna Journal that he believes that the Mexican government is dangerously under manned and the Mexican forces who are attempting to eradicate the Mexican drug cartels are woefully incompetent for the task at hand and will need special training from U.S. Special Forces.

This officer also indicated that moving troops from Juarez to Michoacán is not a good strategy and will at best only serve as a temporary stop gap measure and will only result in even more violence in the already most dangerous city in Mexico Juarez.

According to this same officer who wishes to remain anonymous said, "We are suffering from not having enough boots on the ground and by taking troops from one area to another will not work, just as it did not work for the U.S. in the Middle East. What the Mexican army must learn to do is have enough trained solders to not only take a town or real-estate but then be able to keep it by leaving enough troops in place to accomplish that end."

Jose Rosa of Juarez said, "why is president Caldron taking troops from Juarez a main city on the border with the U.S. a big city that is very dangerous and totally out of control? Is it because Michoacán is his home town?"

High level Mexican military and government sources revealed that U.S. Special Forces and DEA agents are operating in Mexico. They have been allowed into Mexico to train Mexican troops and to seek clandestine terrorist groups believe operating in Mexico. The government of Felipe Calderon authorized some American Special Forces and US anti-narcotics agents to operate in some states without oversight by Mexican authorities.

President Barack Obama according to many observers is apparently attempting to fulfill a campaign pledge to strengthen the U.S. Mexican border. He released his new National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy of 2009. It purports that the U.S. Government including the military will respond to immediate threats associated with the substantial increase in violence in Mexico allegedly resulting from the pressure placed on the Mexican Drug Cartels (MDC’s) by Mexico President Felipe J. Calderon.

The report points out that drug trafficking across the Southwest border remains acute and the biggest threat to our homeland security and one of the top drug control priorities for the United States. Mexican drug trafficking organizations have come to dominate the illegal drug supply chain, taking ownership of drug shipments after they depart South America and overseeing their transportation to market and distribution throughout the United States.

The MDC’s are also reported to be providing food, medicines and cash to their gangs and paramilitary families back home in small villages and towns throughout Mexico. The MDC’s are paying people to attend marches and has handed out backpacks full of schoolbooks, pens and paper to poor families who joined the demonstrations, acting as a sort of Robin Hood, police said.

Two of Mexico's deadliest drug cartels have reached a combined force of over 100,000 foot soldiers, wreaking havoc across the country and threatening U.S. border states, the U.S. Defense Department told The Washington Times.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Man, times do change..

This is code for "gee, I'm getting old."

I remember when I was child, that being "home alone" was so cool! I couldn't wait to have the house for myself and act like I would go to bed early just so that I could invite my friends home. I remember that when I was in high school and my mother would fly out to Chicago and it was PARTY TIME!

Eventhough my mother was extremely intelligent on trying to prevent me from using the car when she'd leave town, somehow I was one step ahead of her. Oh no, I'm not even going to give my secrets away because my daughters will read about how I got the better end on the vehicule usage.

Two and a half decades later, I find myself "home alone" again for a week. My wife is in Wichita Falls, Texas while my two lovely daughters are in church camp.

I'm alone working the business and making sure the bills get paid.

I have a car outside in the driveway staring at me. I have a few hundred dollars in my pocket, not to brag because its my truck payment and not for me to use, but hey, I've got a few bucks in my jeans. I have a playstation, top of the line and a laptop to use all to myself. I've got three televisions at my disposal so that I can watch three sports channels at the same time.


I don't drink alcohol but I could have as many soft drinks as I want, with all the junk food I want. I can have two pints of ice cream in front of my wife's picture without her telling me not to do it.

Hey, I could sleep as late as I want as well.

One could say that I'm in "guy's heaven", right?


I've become a prune or something because this is what I have done instead:

a. I limit spending money when my family is not here. Not because I'm a penny-pincher.

b. I drink water instead of soft drinks, I've come a long way from childhood.

c. I haven't used my playstation, where is the fun now that I'm older?

d. I go to sleep before midnight!

e. I haven't had any junk food, not even my traditional "fajitas" on Saturday night.

f. Let me state for the record that "fajitas" are not junk food. I will continue.

g. I have only used one television to watch my sports channel.

My God, I have become a prune.

So what do I actually do when my family is gone?

I spend time on the internet reading about current events, watching documentaries on youtube, but that only carries me so far. I spend the rest of my time thinking. I think about life, about my past and especially about the future of my entire family.
The majority of my brain power is focused on the gorgeous and beautful wife that God has given me. I say "GOD" because with my looks its only a miracle that I have been honored to share my life with Claudia. She is my life-witness, the one who is recording with her eyes and ears that I have existed on this planet. She is stunning isn't she?

How could I not fall in love with her?


If someone sees her in the mall in Wichita Falls, could you tell her that I love her?

I spend my time thinking on my first-born, Faith Abigail. She looks just like her mother but acts just like her father. For obvious reasons her face could not fit in this picture. She is an extemely intelligent teenager with an enormous future ahead of her. This summer she is staff in "Katie's Kid Kamp" and I'm so blessed in watching her grow into the beautiful women that one day she will become.

I also spend lots of time thinking about daughter Claudia, A.K.A "PIP". Very few chess fathers have the privilege of having a child play chess, much less actually excel in the game, Claudia is one of those daughters. She has brought me lots of joy in and out of the chessboard. As long as she is dedicated to the game, she will one day be in the top spots in the world.
Yeah, "home alone" is not what it used to be when I was a kid - its better. I have a family that consumes my thoughts, my life and my heartbeat.
I wonder what stories my daughters will tell about when they were "home alone."
Now that I think about it, may be I don't want to know.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


WEBWIRE – Tuesday, July 14, 2009
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Tuesday, July 14, 2009


BEAR LAKE, Mich. – Patrick Spalding doesn't wear his varsity jacket much.

It's not that he doesn't have reason to – the Bear Lake junior plays four different sports.

Manistee News Advocate
Spalding golfing for Brethren
However, it would likely raise a few eyebrows and force Spalding into answering a number of reasonable questions about the different letters on his colorful coat.

The red and white "BL" is for Bear Lake.

The dark blue and yellow "O'' is for Onekama.

The light blue and white "B'' is for Brethren.

How many schools has Spalding attended, anyway?

Actually, the same one since kindergarten.

It seems confusing, but is actually quite simple.

He runs cross country for Bear Lake in the fall and plays basketball for the Lakers in the winter. In the spring, Spalding does double duty, playing golf for Brethren while competing in track and field for Onekama, both of which co-op with Bear Lake.

"It's different competition in each one," Spalding said. "Golf is more of a mental game. Basketball and track are more just athletics – who's the better athlete. It's just fun to get all aspects of the sports."

Spalding might not don his varsity jacket much, but he can't hide from his role as a poster child for cooperative sports.

"I can't think of too many situations out there where a kid is literally wearing the school colors for three different schools and has the great opportunity to play high school sports," said John Johnson, communications director for the Michigan High School Athletic Association. "Cooperative programs have opened the door of opportunity for schools and for kids. It's about giving kids as many meaningful opportunities as possible."

Spalding has taken full advantage of his opportunities and adjusted to stay busy all year.

"After golf switched to the spring, I had nothing to do in the fall, so that's when I started running cross," he said. "It gets me in shape for basketball."

Once the snow thaws, Spalding splits time with the Onekama track and field team and the Brethren golf team.

"It's kind of unusual to be able to do that," said Brethren golf coach Tom Anderson. "But he's a very dedicated young man. He works very hard at it.

Manistee News Advocate
Spalding then plays basketball for Bear Lake
"If he played one of them during this season, would he be better? I'm sure, and it wouldn't make a difference which sport – he'd be a little better at one. But he's committed to helping all three schools out one way or another."

Spalding admits that spreading himself out over two sports at once has its consequences.

"My scores (in golf) have kind of shown this year that I've struggled a little bit trying to do the two of them, practicing both," he said.

"But I find time. Golf is more of an individual sport, so you can practice it on your own."

Clearly, Spalding has done more than squeeze in bucket of balls on the range or a few minutes on the putting green. He's been the Bobcats' top player in most matches this season and qualified as an individual for a Division 4 regional, while also competing for Onekama in the high jump and hurdle and relay events.

Oh, and he also carries a 4.0 GPA.

"There's a few late nights here and there," he said with a laugh when reflecting on the balance between academics and athletics.

Spalding said he plans on playing all four sports again his senior year, an opportunity that not everyone is afforded.

He lives in the Benzie Central school district, where his older sister went to high school. But he's been at Bear Lake since kindergarten because his mother, Kathy, is a teacher there.

"I like it at Bear Lake," Spalding said. "I like the smaller school."

Bear Lake may be one of the smaller schools in the state, but its co-op sports have provided Spalding with a full slate of athletic possibilities.

And, someday, Spalding may get a chance to pull his varsity jacket out of the closet, knock off decades of dust and explain to his grandkids exactly what all those different letters and colors mean.