Thursday, January 28, 2010


CONCORD, N.H. – It was Harriet Richardson Ames' dream to earn her bachelor's degree in education. She finally reached that milestone, nearly three weeks after achieving another: her 100th birthday.

On Saturday, the day after receiving her diploma at her bedside, the retired schoolteacher died, pleased that she had accomplished her goal, her daughter said. Ames had been in hospice care.

"She had what I call a 'bucket list,' and that was the last thing on it," Marjorie Carpenter said Tuesday.

Ames, who turned 100 on Jan. 2, had earned a two-year teaching certificate in 1931 at Keene Normal School, now Keene State College. She taught in a one-room schoolhouse in South Newbury, and later spent 20 years as a teaching principal at Memorial School in Pittsfield, where she taught first-graders.

Through the years, she had taken classes at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth Teachers College and Keene State to earn credits for her degree. With her eyesight failing, she stopped after retiring in 1971 and was never sure if she had enough credits.

Her wish for a degree became known when a Keene State film professor interviewed her a couple of years ago for a piece on the college's own centennial, which the school celebrated last year.

The school decided to research her coursework and see if it could award Ames her long-sought diploma. The offices of the provost, registrar and other departments worked quickly in the last month to determine, that indeed, it could.

"She wanted to be the best that she could be," said Norma Walker, coordinator of the Keene State College Golden Circle Society, an alumni group for classes that graduated 50 or more years ago.

Walker said when she mentioned to Ames during a recent visit that the college was working on the degree, Ames started to cry and said, "'If I die tomorrow, I'll know I'll die happy, because my degree's in the works.'"

College officials, including Walker, drove the document to Ames' bedside on Friday.

Walker, who first met Ames in 1997 at an alumni gathering, said she enjoyed listening to her talk about her students and how she encouraged them to read.

"She's the kind of person that every parent would want their first-graders to have as a teacher," very loving and caring, Walker said. She will read Ames' diploma at a memorial service this Saturday, "if I can do it without crying."

Paula Finnegan Dickinson of Gilford, who was Ames' student back in 1956 and became an educator herself, regarded her as a mentor and dear friend.

"Mrs. Ames, along with Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot and Puff, became our friend," Dickinson said, recalling the "Dick and Jane" series that was used in class reading groups. "With her enthusiasm, these characters came to life. ... Mrs. Ames showed us how reading opened the doors to other experiences we in Pittsfield might never have known."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Señala Procuradoría del DF a Eduardo García Alanís, alias 'El Paco', como el otro agresor
CIUDAD DE MÉXICO.- La Procuraduría de la capital mexicana reveló hoy el nombre del segundo de los presuntos agresores del delantero paraguayo Salvador Cabañas, gravemente herido de bala en la cabeza el lunes, y divulgó fotografías de ambos.

Se trata de "Eduardo García Alanís alias 'El Paco', que cuenta con un antecedente penal por el delito de portación de arma de fuego", dijo a los medios el subprocurador de Averiguaciones Previas, Luis Genaro Vázquez.

El funcionario añadió que se tiene localizado un domicilio de García Alanís en el municipio de Coacalco (Estado de México, centro).

La procuraduría considera que 'El Paco' es el escolta de José Jorge Balderas, a quien una testigo identificó como un empresario de locales nocturnos, y que uno de los dos es el responsable del disparo contra la gran estrella de la selección paraguaya en los baños de un bar de la capital.

La prueba clave del organismo es un video de las cámaras del local, hecho público el lunes, en el que se aprecia cómo ambos sujetos salen apresuradamente del sanitario en el que se encontraba Cabañas supuestamente después del crimen.

Vázquez presentó y distribuyó fotografías de los dos hombres y pidió a la población que proporcione cualquier información que tenga de ellos.

La agresión a Cabañas pudo haber sido producto de un coqueteo entre una mujer cubana, acompañante de los acusados, y el cuñado del paraguayo, estimó este martes el procurador, Miguel Ángel Mancera.

Cabañas, a quien no se le ha extraído la bala de la cabeza, se mantiene en estado grave pero estable en un hospital del sur de la capital mexicana.


Monday, January 25, 2010


Written by Claudia Muñoz Robles
Well, I have adjusted somewhat to my new surrounding here in Wichita Falls, Texas after having relocated about four weeks ago. I have not participated in any tournaments as of yet because my parents wanted me first to adjust to my relocation, in an emotional and mental sense. I did participate with the RED RIVER CHESS CLUB in a Tuesday skittles event they had a BOOKS A MILLION at the mall. However next week, I will be commuting to the Dallas Chess Club in order to actively play for the remainder of the school year.
Part of my adjustment process, like my dad calls it, is to actively be a part of my community. This past Friday, my sister Faith and I, served meals to the homeless at the Wichita Falls Faith Mission. We got together with our church youth in order to seed time and effort with those in need. You know, I love chess big time but I want to be remembered later in life as a person who blessed others outside of the chessboard.
I encourage parents to motivate their children to be active in a social cause that will help our community. I am so blessed by the life I am living in and out of the chessboard.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Published: January 23, 2010

A legal dispute that had riveted the chess world and hobbled the United States Chess Federation, the game’s governing body, has been settled — mostly.

Papers filed on Friday in Federal District Court in Lubbock, Tex., stipulate that two former federation board members, the federation and some of its other members are dismissing almost all of their claims and counterclaims. The dispute began with accusations over Internet postings and evolved into a series of lawsuits in several states.

Randy Bauer, a federation board member, said the federation settled “to stop the bleeding.” He said the dispute had “hurt the federation,” adding: “We have had to lay off staff. We have had to reduce services.”

Bill Hall, the organization’s executive director, said the federation, which has annual revenues of about $3 million, had spent nearly $750,000 in legal fees on the cases.

Mr. Hall said that under the settlement, the federation would receive $131,000 from its insurer, the Ansur America Insurance Company. That is in addition to a previous payment of $44,000. The two former federation members, Susan Polgar and Paul Truong, who are married, will receive $39,000 from Ansur.

The dispute began in October 2007, when Samuel H. Sloan, a former board member, filed a lawsuit accusing Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong of posting thousands of remarks, many obscene or defamatory, on the Internet under his name in an effort to get elected to the federation’s board.

Ms. Polgar and Mr. Troung were elected in the summer of 2007. Mr. Sloan was defeated.

Mr. Sloan sued Mr. Truong and Ms. Polgar, the federation, its board and other federation members. Though Mr. Sloan’s lawsuit was dismissed, in the interim the federation hired Karl S. Kronenberger, a lawyer in San Francisco, to investigate the accusations.

Mr. Kronenberger concluded that Mr. Truong was responsible for the Web postings. Mr. Truong has repeatedly said that he was not.

During his investigation, confidential e-mail messages between Mr. Kronenberger and a subcommittee of the board were posted on the Internet. Mr. Kronenberger and the federation subsequently sued Ms. Polgar and Gregory Alexander, who managed Ms. Polgar’s chess discussion Web site, saying they had intercepted the messages.

Ms. Polgar has denied that accusation. Last July, Mr. Alexander was arrested and charged with identity theft and breaking into the e-mail account of a federation board member. His case, which is not part of the settlement, is still pending.

In August 2008, Ms. Polgar sued the federation, its board and some of its other members, accusing them of libel, slander and business disparagement, among other things. Ms. Polgar, a former women’s world chess champion, lives in Lubbock, where she leads the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University.

In August, Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong were kicked out of the federation and off the board. Under the settlement, they have agreed that they will never be members again or run for office in the federation.

The settlement does not cover claims made by Ms. Polgar against Mr. Sloan and counterclaims by him against her.

In an interview Thursday, Mr. Truong said that he and Ms. Polgar had spent several hundred thousand dollars on lawsuits, but that they had no regrets. He said the lawsuits were an outgrowth of efforts by the couple to change things in the federation and the resistance they met from “entrenched leadership.”

“This is what happens when you deal with lifelong chess politicians who have a lot to lose,” Mr. Truong said. He added that he was proud that he and Ms. Polgar had been expelled from the federation. “I guess we were barking up the wrong tree.”

Friday, January 22, 2010


George Clooney and Wyclef Jean have been burning the midnight oil, working furiously to raise funds and secure participants for the "Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief" telethon, presented by MTV Networks on Friday at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

The undertaking is expected to be one of the biggest charitable efforts ever. All proceeds from the telecast will be split among five relief organizations actively operating in Haiti: Oxfam America, Partners in Health, the Red Cross, UNICEF and Wyclef's Yele Haiti foundation.

"Hope for Haiti" is the latest in a line of all-star charity events, following in the footsteps of the September 11 fundraiser "America: A Tribute to Heroes" and "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast," which benefited the survivors of Hurricane Katrina.

"America: A Tribute to Heroes" was especially effective, helping raise more than $150 million. The event — broadcast on all the major networks and cable outlets — was also organized by Clooney and featured an array of performances from Alicia Keys, U2 and Celine Dion, among others. CDs and DVDs of the event also helped secure money for the United Way's September 11 Telethon Fund.

"The Concert for New York City" was another notable benefit held after 9/11. Jay-Z, David Bowie, the Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi and Destiny's Child were just a few of the performers during the five-hour telecast. The Madison Square Garden-hosted benefit helped raise more than $30 million for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, according to organizers.

Hurricane Katrina also drew a large response from Americans. "Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast" garnered headlines after Kanye West's outburst against then-President George W. Bush, but the benefit is best remembered for the money it helped raise for the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. All in all, the telethon helped secure $30 million for relief, according to CBS News.

All three of the events owe a debt to Live Aid, the legendary concert that helped raise money for aid in Africa. Although Live Aid wasn't in response to a specific tragedy, the concert helped set the template for celebrity response. The event was televised in America and Europe as some of the great musicians of all time chipped in to help, including the Rolling Stones, Queen, the Police, the Four Tops, the Beach Boys and Led Zeppelin, among countless others.

In 2004, celebrities and American donors helped raised money for another international rescue effort when the South Asian Tsunami hit. Once again, George Clooney was at the forefront as he organized the "Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope" telethon. Madonna and Christina Aguilera were among the notable participants, while Brad Pitt and Halle Berry were a few of the actors who manned the telephones for donations. The American Red Cross International Response Fund reeled in an estimated $18.3 million as a result, according to various reports.

Head here to learn more about what you can do to help with earthquake-relief efforts in Haiti, and for more information, see Think MTV. Join George Clooney and Wyclef Jean for MTV's "Hope for Haiti" telethon, airing commercial-free Friday, January 22, at 8 p.m. ET.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


As a follow-up story, which was posted on this blog October 6, 2009, two days after the United States participated in the North American Youth Championship in Mazatlan, Mexico.,

The Mexican Chess Federation (FENAMAC) sent the medals that were not awarded to the American players at the awards ceremony, back in October, this month. Actually, neither of the three countries were awarded medals at the end of the event, however the delegates of the United States and Canada made their protests to Mr. Jorge Vega, President of FIDE AMERICA, who in turn requested that both home offices make their request to the FENAMAC. In the last 24 hours, as the past Head of Delegation of the American team, I received confirmation by the parents that their medals had arrived. Actually only the father of Deepak Aaron could not confirm receiving his son's medal. Later during the day, Mr. Chuck Lovingood, FIDE Director at the United States Chess Federation stated Deepak had received a bronze medal instead of a gold one by accident. The FENAMAC was informed of the error and the situation will surely be corrected promptly. We thank Ms. Beatriz Marinello and Mr.Chuck Lovingood of the United States Chess Federation for working on behalf of the children, as well as the parents, to reach closure in this situation. Also, we thank Mr. Raul Hernandez, President of the FENAMAC, for fulfilling his word to both myself and the Head of Delegation of Canada concerning the correction of this situation.


The U.S. chess champion needs a shave.

When he is playing well, Hikaru Nakamura doesn't like to shake up his routine. Maybe it's superstition. So when Hikaru opened strong at the prestigious Corus Chess tournament here, he put away the razor.

Wednesday is a rest day at the 13-round event -- a good time to lose the beard, Hikaru decided.

"I just try to keep a certain routine, and this (shaving) is one of the things I've avoided doing,'' he said after his game Tuesday. "Tomorrow, I probably will (shave) and reset everything for the second point of the tournament.''

Round four was bittersweet for the 22-year-old New Yorker. Hikaru played the black pieces against the world champion, Vishy Anand of India. Hikaru has never played a reigning world champ in a formal game, and he was hungry to win. It wouldn't be easy.

White moves first in chess, giving Anand an advantage.
Anand opened by pushing a pawn two squares up the queen file. Hikaru answered by moving his pawn two squares up the king's bishop file -- the Dutch Defense. Hikaru said the opening is rarely played by strong grandmasters, and he hoped that Anand wouldn't be able to cope.

After 33 moves the game ended in a draw. Hikaru looked a bit dejected afterward. Drawing against the world champ is no disgrace. But a victory with black would have been a powerful statement.

"One of the big differences, at least recently, is when I play against anyone, regardless of the color, I feel I'm going to have chances to win,'' he told me.
Afterward, the players went backstage to analyze the game that just ended. Quite a spectacle. It was the first time I'd ever seen players of this caliber conduct a post-mortem. Anand is sort of paunchy and stoop-shouldered, but when his fingers dance over the board he reminds you of Baryshnikov. He rattled off variations he had considered during the game and discarded, exploring whether he missed a chance to win.

Or at least that's what it appeared he was doing.The pace was impossible to follow. At times I wondered if even Hikaru was keeping up.

If you want an idea of the caliber of the event, consider that Anand is only tied for fifth place. He has yet to win a game, drawing all four he has played. In a plaintive "Tweet,'' Anand wrote that he was "still searching for that elusive first win. Self doubts. Have I forgotten how to play chess?''
Not so much.

Hikaru has faced self doubt as well. No one seems certain of his potential. Assessing Hikaru's play, British grandmaster Nigel Short told me: "He blows hot and cold, doesn't he?''

In years past, Hikaru said, his commitment to the game has wavered.
He spoke about the period when he enrolled in Dickinson College, leaving, he said, after a semester. The stark reality is that an aspiring world champion may have no time for a degree. Bobby Fischer dropped out of high school. The world's top-rated player, Magnus Carlsen of Norway, is a full-time chess professional at 19.

Hikaru: "For a few years now I've been focused solely on chess. It was in ... 2007 that I started getting much more serious, and that's when the whole trend of my improvement started.''

Before that point, he said, "I needed a break from chess. I needed a break. That (college) was a way of escaping for the time being. It was definitely an experience that at the time I needed to have. Looking back, if I'd known then what I know now, I probably would not have done that.''

Continuing: "Chess is a great game. It's a lot of fun, but sometimes you wonder what else is out there. For me, that's kind of what I needed.''

I asked if his goal now was becoming world champion. "Absolutely,'' he said.
At this early stage, Hikaru is in a three-way tie for second place. Carlsen is also tied for second, and he and Hikaru face off Thursday, after the rest break.

That's sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The two are the game's most exciting personalities. Hikaru may be the more dynamic player, honing his tactical skill through countless informal games of speech chess. But Magnus is improving at an astounding rate, culminating in his appearance atop the January ratings list.

Anand may hold the title of world champion, but no one is playing better chess right now than Magnus, the ratings show.

One reason may be his coach: ex-world champion Garry Kasparov.
The family retained Kasparov nearly a year ago for a salary of more than $200,000, Magnus's father Henrik said. Magnus's sponsors are helping foot the bill.
When they don't meet in person, teacher and pupil often confer via Skype. Kasparov suggests strings of moves to play in the openings and tournament strategy.
It's Kasparov's openings that worry Hikaru.

"Kasparov revolutionized the game with his opening preparation,'' Hikaru said. "And so obviously, that gives Magnus a huge edge.''

So Hikaru wants to neutralize that advantage. When they sit down to play, Hikaru said he will try to avoid specific openings that Kasparov has perfected.

"If you can avoid walking into that, at the end of the day you're going to be playing a game of chess -- against Magnus, not against Garry,'' Hikaru said.

-- Peter Nicholas in Wijk Aan Zee, The Netherlands

Photo: U.S. Champ Hikaru Nakamua, right, analyzes his game Tuesday with World Champ Vishy Anand. Credit: Peter Nicholas

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


By ALFRED de MONTESQUIOU and MIKE MELIA, Associated Press Writers Alfred De Montesquiou And Mike Melia, Associated Press Writers 8 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Scores of U.S. troops landed on the lawn of Haiti's shattered presidential palace Tuesday to the cheers of quake victims and the U.N. said it would throw more police and soldiers into the sluggish global effort to aid the devastated country.

The U.N. forces are aimed at controlling outbursts of looting and violence that have slowed distribution of supplies, leaving many Haitians still without help a week after the magnitude-7.0 quake killed an estimated 200,000 people.

The Security Council approved adding 2,000 troops to the 7,000 military peacekeepers already in the country as well as 1,500 more police to the 2,100-strong international force.

Haitians jammed the fence of the palace grounds to gawk and cheer as U.S. troops emerged from six Navy helicopters.

"We are happy that they are coming, because we have so many problems," said Fede Felissaint, a hairdresser.

Given the circumstances, he did not even mind the troops taking up positions at the presidential palace. "If they want, they can stay longer than in 1915," he said, a reference to the start of a 19-year U.S. military presence in Haiti — something U.S. officials have repeatedly insisted they have no intention of repeating.

A full week after the quake, the capital's port remains blocked and the city's lone airport remains a chokepoint that the U.S. military is trying to expand. Tens of thousands of people sleep in the streets or under plastic sheets in makeshift camps. Relief workers say they fear visiting some parts of the city.

Just four blocks from U.S. troop landing at the palace, hundreds of looters were rampaging through downtown.

"That is how it is. There is nothing we can do," said Haitian police officer Arina Bence, who was trying to keep civilians out of the looting zone for their own safety.

People in one hillside Port-au-Prince district blocked off access to their street with cars and asked local young men to patrol for looters.

"We never count on the government here," said Tatony Vieux, 29. "Never."

European Commission analysts estimate 250,000 were injured and 1.5 million were made homeless and many are exasperated by the delays in getting aid.

"I simply don't understand what is taking the foreigners so long," said Raymond Saintfort, a pharmacist who brought two suitcases of aspirin and antiseptics to the ruins of a nursing home where dozens of residents suffered.

Aid workers have distributed more than 250,000 daily food rations, with about half coming from the U.S. military, since the earthquake hit, according to the World Food Program, though that is still far short of needs.

The U.N. agency said 16 million ready-to-eat meals were on the way, many of them supposed to arrive within a week, and it hopes to have 100 million served over the next 30 days.

The U.S. military says it can now get 100 flights a day through the airport, up from 60 last week, but still could use more. The Pentagon announced that it is improving two other airfields for aid flights within the next two days, one in the Haitian town of Jacmel and another in the Dominican Republic.

The relief aid into earthquake stricken Haiti, the U.S. military says it will begin using two additional airports in the next two days.

Troops parachuted pallets of supplies to a secured area outside the city on Monday rather than further clog the airport. American Airlines said it has warehouses full of donated food in Miami but has been unable to fly it to Port-au-Prince.

Meanwhile, rescuers continued finding survivors.

International rescue teams working together pulled two Haitian women from a collapsed university building, using machinery commonly nicknamed "jaws of life" to cut away debris and allow rescuers to pull them out on stretchers. A sister of one of the survivors shouted praises to God when the women emerged.

In the city's Bourdon area, a large team of French, Dominican and Panamanian rescuers using high-tech detection equipment said they heard heartbeats underneath the rubble of a bank building and worked into the night to try and rescue a survivor. The husband of a missing woman watched from a crowd of onlookers,

"I'm going to be here until I find my wife, I'll keep it up until I find her, dead or alive," said Witchar Longfosse.

In New York, the U.N.'s most powerful body voted unanimously to bolster the international peacekeeping corps already in Haiti.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said the extra soldiers are essential to protect humanitarian convoys and as a reserve force if security deteriorates further. He said earlier that unruly crowds often gather where food and water is being distributed and said Haitian police had returned to the streets in only "limited numbers."

Some 2,000 newly arrived U.S. Marines also were parked on ships offshore and the Pentagon said more troops are on the way to help distribute aid.

Italy, Spain and Venezuela say they, too, are sending naval ships to help.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday the U.S. troops plan to leave policing to the United Nations force, though he said they can defend themselves and innocent Haitians or foreigners if lawlessness boils over.

Medical relief workers say they are treating gunshot wounds in addition to broken bones and other quake-related injuries. Nighttime is especially perilous and locals have formed night brigades and machete-armed mobs to fight bandits across the capital.

"It gets too dangerous," said Remi Rollin, an armed private security guard hired by a shopkeeper to ward off looters. "After sunset, police shoot on sight."

In the sprawling Cite Soleil slum, gangsters are reassuming control after escaping from the city's notorious main penitentiary and police urge citizens to take justice into their own hands.

"If you don't kill the criminals, they will all come back," a Haitian police officer shouted over a loudspeaker.

Elsewhere, overwhelmed surgeons appealed for anesthetics, scalpels, and saws for cutting off crushed limbs. Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, visiting one hospital, reported its staff had to use vodka to sterilize equipment. "It's astonishing what the Haitians have been able to accomplish," he said.

Thousands are streaming out of Port-au-Prince, crowding aboard buses headed toward countryside villages. Charlemagne Ulrick planned to stay behind after putting his three children on a truck for an all-day journey to Haiti's northwestern peninsula.

"They have to go and save themselves," said Ulrick, a dentist. "I don't know when they're coming back."

U.S. and Haitian officials also warned any efforts of Haitians to reach the United States by boat would be thwarted. Haiti's ambassador in Washington, Raymond Joseph, recorded a message in Creole to his countrymen, urging them not to leave.

"If you think you will reach the U.S. and all the doors will be wide open to you, that's not at all the case," Joseph said, according to a transcript on, a State Department Web site. "And they will intercept you right on the water and send you back home where you came from."

Monday, January 18, 2010


Every year, on the day we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we hear a lot about his dream of a colorblind society, one in which his children "would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Sadly, this sound bite from the 1963 March on Washington is usually the only thing we hear. Rarely do we hear anything about the steps that Dr. King believed the nation had to take to achieve a colorblind society. Fortunately, his speeches and sermons, together with his actions and activities, provide a clear picture of what he believed the nation had to do to realize his dream.

Foremost, Dr. King believed that we could not ignore race if we hoped to achieve a colorblind society. Race was the central factor in creating racial inequality, so race had to be the central factor in solving it. Dr. King did not equivocate on this point. He was certain that race had to figure prominently in any action, legislative or otherwise, designed to remedy past racial discrimination and address present racial inequality. To create a colorblind society, we had to be color conscious.

Dr. King also believed that members of the clergy had to play a leading role in creating a colorblind society. In April 1963, he was stung by criticism of his attempts to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama, the most segregated city in America, leveled by the city's prominent white clergymen, who called his efforts both "unwise" and "untimely." In response, he penned "A Letter from Birmingham Jail," a timeless statement on Christian duty and clerical obligation in which he implored clergy, both black and white, to lead the charge against injustice, arguing that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," and that "whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Dr. King viewed the clergy as advocates for the disenfranchised and as agitators for the dispossessed. He believed in the social gospel, and in activist preachers.

Early in his public career, Dr. King thought that simply striking prejudicial laws from the books would lead to a colorblind society, and he was not alone. Many of the nation's most progressive thinkers shared this view. But the absence of substantive change following the passage of legislative measures designed to ameliorate the harsh effects of white supremacy made it abundantly clear that changing unjust laws, although necessary, was not nearly enough to create a just society. The problem, of course, was that racial inequality was not simply a product of personal prejudice, of attitudes and behaviors, that could be legislated away, but a function of the interaction of longstanding institutions and structures.

This realization prompted Dr. King late in his life to focus his energy and efforts on manifestations of racial inequality outside of the South, in urban areas like Chicago, where he discovered a form of racism as virulent and vicious as any that he had encountered in the heart of Dixie. It also led him to agitate for a fundamental reordering of society, beginning with the nation's economic structure. Above all else, he wanted a radical redistribution of wealth. "There's no reason for the richest country in the world to have people living in poverty," he said. For Dr. King, democratic socialism, rather than capitalism, was necessary for a colorblind society.

America has made tremendous strides since Dr. King shared his dream with us. Attitudes have changed and so have laws. Yet the colorblind society that he gave his life fighting for remains elusive. To make it a reality, we need to take much more seriously what he said we needed to do to achieve it.

SOURCE: The Huffington Post

Friday, January 15, 2010


We congratulate our Spanish language sister blog,, for reaching the 100,000 visitor mark in just 16 months. This blog was started when Claudia lived in Mexico and although she no longer lives there we continued with the blog. Without realizing it,, has become the most visited spanish chess blog in Mexico. It has 36 followers with about 15 links with other Latin American blogs.

The picture in this post was posted in,

We want to thank the readers of both blogs for making us a presence on both sides of the U.S.-Mexican border.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Faith Munoz and Mommy Munoz
It happened way to quick. Faith, Claudia's older sister, began experiencing pains below the stomach area last night, which was a major reason she did not go with her sister to the mall to play chess. By 5:00 a.m. the pains began to intensify and she was quickly taken to the Emergency Room at United Regional Health Care in Wichita Falls, Texas. By 10:00 a.m. it was confirmed that her appendix had to be removed. In the afternoon she was operated.
If you had ever asked her yesterday after school what she was planning to do tonight, I assure she would have never said, "Oh, I am planning to have my appendix removed."
That is how quickly special situations can show up in our lives.
As of right now she has already waken-up but she is on painkillers for obvious reasons.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Written by Claudia
This evening Mr. Omar Montemayor, who is the chess contact person for the Wichita Falls I.S.D. invited me to play in the RED RIVER CHESS CLUB at Book-A-Million at Sikes Center Mall. I truly appreciate the heart felt welcome everyone gave me.
Following introductions, Mr. Montemayor and I played a long game, which I won by one pawn. I really appreciate the welcome everyone has given me.


Peru is not the only country that is currently barred from FIDE's rating list, Mexico is suffering from the same ailment due to finances. It all began on December 31, 2009 when FM Manuel Lopez Michelone of Mexico posted his first article on the subject in the popular Mexican chess portal (AJEDREZ EN MEXICO). In a matter of days, several Mexican chess blogs joined together requesting the Mexican Chess Federation (FENAMAC) explain to its members the reason for FIDE blacklisting Mexico. After nine days of silence, Mr. Raul Hernandez, President of the FENAMAC finally issued a communique explaining the lack of funds from the government for the impasse:,

Needless to say, the heat is on the leadership of the current administration for not informing its members in due time of this situation and for the lack of foresight in not preparing for its financial downturn.

The FENAMAC assures its membership that by early spring Mexico should be current on its FIDE payments.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


As our readers know, I relocated to the Wichita Falls, Texas area after having lived in the U.S. borderland for several years. Actually, I was born here in Wichita Falls and even when I wasn't living here, I still maintained close ties with my family here.
This last week I began attending City View, my new school. It's real cool! I liked both my math and social studies class. Now that I am close to Dallas, I will be playing at the Dallas Chess Club in the next few weeks. I will be focusing on chess rating and elevating my game since I have only played about 14-USCF rated tournaments.
I will keep everyone posted!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


An Arctic cold front is pushed into the Metroplex early Thursday morning, bringing bitterly cold weather and light precipitation into North Texas.

On Thursday and Friday, temperatures are expected to be between 28 and 13 degrees and the wind chill could dip below zero. At about 8 a.m., wind chills across DFW varied from 6 to 14 degrees. On Friday morning, wind chills have the potential to range from -1 to -9 degrees. A winter chill advisory is in effect until 10 a.m. Friday. Get a complete forecast here.

Drivers should drive carefully on bridges and overpasses, as thin layers of ice from light freezing drizzle have been reported across North Texas. The chances of seeing ice will be greater in the counties north of Dallas and Fort Worth, NBC DFW Chief Meteorologist David Finfrock said Wednesday night.

So far, more than 225 school districts have closed or delayed starts Thursday, including Frisco, Keller, Northwest and HEB. At this time, Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth are all still open and on time. (See a complete list of school delays and closings here)

North Texans Brace for Frigid Weather

North Texans Brace for Frigid Weather

North Texans Brace for Frigid Weather

Frozen Pipe Concerns

Frozen Pipe Concerns

Frozen Pipe Concerns

Dallas Area Rapid Transit has reported delays of up to 45 minutes from Mockingbird Station north due to icing on overhead power lines. There are also Blue Line delays around the Illinois Station due to local icing. This may affect other parts of the system as well. The Trinity Railway Express is operating normally.

HOV lanes on Interstate 30 East RL Thornton and Interstate 30 Tom Landry, Interstate 35-E/US 67 and High Five at LBJ/Central Expressway are closed.

There have been no reported delays at DFW International Airport or Dallas Love Field.

In West Texas, forecasters report temperatures at 6 a.m. Thursday were 18 degrees in Lubbock, 10 degrees in Pampa and 13 degrees in Borger.

Gov. Rick Perry ordered the activation of the National Guard and other state resources as a precaution for any weather-related emergencies. More than 75 military personnel and three dozen high profile and other support vehicles were in place in Corsicana, Huntsville, Lufkin, Marshall and New Boston.

With the extreme winter weather, the Red Cross and local officials are advising North Texans to take precautions to stay safe and warm over the next few days, especially in their homes.

On Wednesday evening, hardware stores quickly sold out of some cold-weather supplies, including insulated covers for outdoor faucets and exposed pipes. Customers also crowded discount retailers such as Target for gloves, coats and other supplies. (Read more here about what people were buying.)

The National Fire Protection Association states that heating equipment, like space heaters, are the No. 1 cause of home fires during December, January and February and the second-leading cause of home fires year-round. Most accidents involving space heaters are the result of human error -- heaters are placed too close to combustible material like drapes and furniture, or they have not been properly maintained. (Read more here about taking precautions during extremely cold weather.)


In Dallas, street services have sanding trucks and crews on standby and code compliance crews are looking for businesses or residents who may be violating city rules by running a sprinkler during inclement weather. Dallas Water Utilities has repair crews on standby in the event of a water main break.

The Dallas Police Department has activated a plan to locate unsheltered homeless persons and take them to the Bridge, Dallas' homeless assistance center. (Read more here about Operation Code Blue.)

The Dallas ISD has canceled all outdoor athletic activities from Thursday through Saturday due to the impending cold. In Fort Worth and Arlington, the school districts have implemented plans to de-ice walkways, check plumbing and turn off sprinklers while warming buses and schools earlier to insure that student instruction is not disrupted due to frigid temperatures. (See a complete list of school delays and closings here)

"With temperatures below 21 degrees, we have crews that arrive at 4 a.m. to begin starting and warming the buses," said Mike Horsely, director of Fleet Operations for the Fort Worth Independent School District. "The biggest issue in cold weather is that diesel fuel thickens, but we don’t expect the cold to last long enough for that to be an issue."

Finally, don't forget your pets. Even animals that live outdoors most of the year should be brought inside during times of inclement weather.

"If you're cold, your outdoor pets are cold," said Jonnie England, director of Animal Advocacy for the Metroplex Animal Coalition. "The body temperature of dogs and cats is just a little higher than a human's, so even though they're wearing 'fur coats,' they're still going to suffer in weather this cold. If it's not feasible to bring the pets inside the house, at the very least, they should be set up in a draft-free garage or storage building with plenty of dry, clean bedding." (Read more about taking care of pets in extremely cold weather.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


By Caitlin Castello, Town Correspondent

Anya Corke was taught by her father how to play chess as a young child in Hong Kong. Now, at 19-years-old, she is the first women to play for the Boston Blitz, a local chess team which competes in the United States Chess League.

Corke, a Wellesley College freshman, has gone undefeated in Cambridge-based chess league since she joined.

"I was a little nervous about my first game for the Boston Blitz. I didn't want to disappoint, especially with the extra scrutiny of being the team?s first female player," said Corke, in a statement released by Wellesley College. "After being immersed at Wellesley for a month, it's a mild culture shock for my gender to be newsworthy."

Being the first women to play for the Boston Blitz is not Corke's first chess distinction.

At 14-years-old, she qualified for the woman grandmaster title at the men's Olympiad. At 9-years-old, she won the Hong Kong junior championship in 8-10-year-old category, according to the Wellesley release She holds three junior British titles, four Hong Kong championships and an Asian girl's championship.

"The competitive lifestyle is tough and you have to grow up a little faster, and maybe miss out on some of the typical teenage experiences, but I think the trade-off has definitely been worth it," Corke, who plans to double major in Russian and either Philosophy or English, said in a statement.

Over the winter break, Corke heads to the Czech Republic to represent England in two tournaments.

Corke normally dedicated 2-4 hours a day to chess practice before she started at Wellesley College. She now trains more sporadically, using books, databases and playing online with her coach in Moscow.

Caitlin Castello can be reached at

Monday, January 4, 2010


Claudia and Faith
After several months of planning, our two beautiful daughters entered City View Elementary and Junior High in Wichita Falls, Texas. After several years of living in the borderland region, they are back in their hometown. Once Claudia gets situated, in February she will be playing three tournaments per month at the Dallas Chess Club. In January, she has regionals, which is her only chess commitment for the month.
We wish our two daughters the best in this new move!