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Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

Meet Alana Meenakshi, the 8 year old chess player making Vizag proud – Yo Vizag

Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:43 am


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Chess, they say, is the gymnasium of the mind. And so, when one sees, a young eight-year-old trapezing through it, so effortlessly, it becomes a fascinating feat to behold. Alana Meenakshi Kolagatla is such a champion. A cute and lean-looking girl, its when you challenge her to a game of chess, that the mean-thinking machine in her comes leaping out. Focussed and composed, she quickly beats you at a game, with moves youve least expected.

At the age of five and a half, when most kids were trying to use crayons and colour inside the line, this young girl was already making highly strategic moves. It all started when I brought home the game of chess, and laid out the board in front of her. I simply told her the names of each of the pieces, and showed her a few basic moves, shares Dr. Aparna, Alanas mother. Without giving it a second thought, the box was brought out the next day, and Alana recalled not only all the pieces but their positions as well. Dr. Aparna being a junior level chess player herself, was quick to identify her talent, and slowly started to encourage her child. It would be casual games at home in the beginning, but I soon felt that I wasnt doing this right. She had interest and needed time and attention. A coach could really help her understand and explore the game better. Alana soon became part of a summer camp at YMCA, and despite being the youngest, her coach Chiranjeevi saw the spark in her, when she began beating opponents at matches.

It was from this juncture that Alana started getting into serious training. She participated in competitions, at district and state levels, acing in all of them. By the end of 2018, Alana had played in different formats and even won medals for the country. This included winning four medals at the 14th Asian Schools Chess Championship, in Sri Lanka, which comprised of a gold, a silver and two bronzes in the Under 7 girls category. She went on to bag the gold in Classic format and also the Women Candidate Master (WCM) Title. Alana next participated in the 32nd Under-7 girls nationals Championships in Karnataka and was tied for gold. She went on to win at the Under 8 girls category in the Asian Youth Chess Championship, in Sri Lanka in 2019 and won two gold medals for India in the rapid format in both individual and team. Riding the wave of victories, she next represented India at the World Cadet Chess Championship 2019 in China and finished in the top 15. This was closely followed by the Western Asian Junior and Youth Chess Championship at New Delhi where Alana dominated all the Chess formats in the Under-8 girls category, as she finished with two gold in Rapid and Blitz and one bronze in Classic format. Having finished 47 brilliant matches, in a short span of 37 days, she has moved from one victory to another, as she was defeating children her age, and many opponents who were older than her too. It was encouraging to see her improve at every game, analysing mistakes and learning from them., says her mother Dr. Aparna.

Having started to play very early on, life has been far from typical for this chess player. However, it hasnt affected her much. When shes home, shes chilled out, plays with her friends, paints, and draws. When shes travelling, she adapts to new places quickly, shares her father Madhu Kolagatla. It did take a while to adjust to food options in different countries, and for a while, my wife would carry a cooker to provide the type of food that Alana was used to. But soon, that wasnt required as well, as Alana started adapting to new environments and foods. When asked what the extended family and relatives had to say, Dr. Aparna dismisses by saying, There was some criticism initially, but slowly support started growing when they saw her winning, she adds.

After her gold at the Asian Youth and Western Asian Chess Championship, Alana now eyes the dream of becoming the youngest Grandmaster. Currently undergoing training, at Chennais Chess Gurukul, this chess player is honing her skills. Shes building patience, technique, and skill, to tackle the games that come her way in the future. Having been an official Indian representative for this years Under-8 girls Chess World Youth Cadet, Asian Youth, Common Wealth, Western Asian Youth and Under-9 girls Chess Championship for World Schools, Asian Schools, and Indian Nationals, she has shouldered plenty at her young age. And as she readies for upcoming competitions, this young star is set to shine further.

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Meet Alana Meenakshi, the 8 year old chess player making Vizag proud - Yo Vizag

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December 23rd, 2019 at 10:43 am

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Schumer and McConnell Play Chess Over Impeachment Trial Rules – New York Magazine

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These two wily operators are circling each other warily. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

To read most press accounts, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his closest allies are fighting a lonely battle to keep the impending impeachment trial of Donald Trump short and bereft of witnesses. Meanwhile, Trump himself, House Republicans, and maybe some Senate renegades like Ted Cruz want a trial focused on the alleged corruption of the Bidens that the president was supposedly pursuing in his conversations with the president of Ukraine, while airing some of the vast conspiracy theories about the origins of the witch hunt Democrats have pursued to torment the poor, defenseless POTUS.

And now comes Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer with his own demands for a longer trial with witnesses, as the Washington Post reports:

The top Senate Democrat on Sunday called for subpoenaing several senior Trump administration officials who have yet to testify in the Houses impeachment probe as witnesses for President Trumps likely trial part of an opening salvo in negotiations that could determine the parameters for the Senate proceedings next month.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) outlined a number of procedural demands that Democrats say would make the Senate trial fair and able to be completed within a reasonable period of time.

That includes subpoenas issued by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. for acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; and Michael Duffey, a top official at the Office of Management and Budget. Mulvaney, Blair and Duffey had been subpoenaed by the House committees and defied the summons; Bolton has not been subpoenaed but indicated he would fight one in court.

Schumers demands, it should be understood, are in the context of a possible (but not at all mandatory) bipartisan resolution laying out the details of an impeachment trial beyond the broad outlines set by the Constitution and the standing Senate rules. Such a resolution was enacted prior to the Clinton impeachment trial in 1999, to the great surprise of observers at the time. Absent a deal, the Senate majority can easily impose a set of rules of its own by a simple majority. And items not covered by those ad hoc guidelines may trigger rulings from the chair (in this case, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts) and/or additional Senate votes, with 51 needed for a decision (except for procedures that require amendment of the standing Senate rules, which will require a supermajority).

Yes, Democrats particularly in the House, where the White Houses obstruction of efforts to secure testimony from high-ranking administration officials led to an entire second article of impeachment would love to get the opportunity to question Mulvaney, Blair, and Duffey, and have reason to think a subpoena issued by the chief justice in a Senate trial would not be challengeable in federal courts. But the White House and Senate Republicans are very unlikely to agree to such a stipulation. So what Schumer is probably conducting is a dual gambit to satisfy Democrats who want a deeper impeachment investigation than the House was able to pull off, while signaling no deal to McConnell on a bipartisan rules package even as he talks the language of bipartisanship.

Schumer is also doing McConnell the favor of giving him a talking point against Republican demands for a broader, longer trial with the witnesses Trump wants. Absent a bipartisan deal (and Schumer is no more likely to accept the idea of Hunter Biden testifying than McConnell will go along with dragging Mulvaney into the Senate), decisions about calling witnesses could wind up being resolved on individual votes, and McConnell might well fear the possibility of just enough Republicans defecting on one or more that he could lose control of the parameters of the trial. In any event, the only available compromise is for both sides to back off demands for witnesses, leading to the short-and-sweet trial and acquittal McConnell wants.

This is a tricky business, though. House Republicans and allied professional troublemakers like Ted Cruz are unlikely to stop agitating for a longer trial with witnesses until Trump publicly goes along with McConnells plans. Thats why the Kentuckian is making such a big display of his total coordination with the White House, as I noted last week:

McConnell knows that the only way to put out the MAGA fire building for an insane-a-thon in the Senate is to get Washingtons chief pyromaniac on his side. What harm is a little groveling if it keeps the lid on the craziness? Being a megalomaniac wrangler is all just part of service in Trumps army.

In other words, theres a lot of not-entirely-sincere posturing going on about how this impeachment trial will proceed. My money would be on McConnell keeping a lid on it, providing Republicans with a quick acquittal, and Democrats with protection for Joe Biden and for the five Democratic senators currently in the presidential race who could be imprisoned in Washington during a long trial.

Having said that, Cruz has helped cast some light on the fiction that senators are exactly like jurors in a criminal trial who must remain totally silent during the trial:

Senators are not required, like jurors in a criminal trial, to be sequestered, not to talk to anyone, not to coordinate. Theres no prohibition, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) said on This Week, calling impeachment inherently a political exercise and Trumps impeachment a partisan show trial.

The standing Senate rules for impeachment trials provide no avenues for senators to speak (they must submit questions for any witnesses in writing), but theres no gag order preventing them from saying whatever pops into their heads when the trial itself is not in session. Id expect senators to have a lot to say late at night and on Sundays, though some will use the juror excuse to avoid reporters and angry constituents.

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Schumer and McConnell Play Chess Over Impeachment Trial Rules - New York Magazine

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December 23rd, 2019 at 10:43 am

Posted in Chess

Library fun over break: Hot cocoa storytime, Lego play, chess, and magic – mysouthborough

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by beth on December 19, 2019

Above: The Library has planned some free fun for kids after Christmas. (images from Library Facebook page, Magician Stephen Brenners website, and of Legos from flickr by Benjamin Esham)

It has been a busy time of year for public events. Thats about to quiet down, but the Southborough Library will offer some fun for kids on school break. Here are the dates to save.

First, they will be taking a break for Christmas Eve and Day, so be sure to check out materials or passes by Monday at 5:00 pm.

Theyll reopen on Thursday, December 26th.

At 4:00 pm that day, Childrens Librarian Kim Ivers will hold her annual winter break storytime with Hot Chocolate. Kids are encouraged to come in their pjs. This year, the fun will take place in the downstairs Eaton Meeting room.

On Friday, December 27th, the Library offers two drop-in choices for fun.

From 10:30 am 4:00 pm kids can build with Legos in the Eaton Meeting Room. They can build creations to be displayed in the Childrens Room. (Parent attendance is required. The activity is geared towards ages 4 and older.)

That afternoon, Drop-in Chess will take place from 2:30 4:30 pm on the main floor. All ages are welcome to play. (Thats also available this Friday, December 20th, in the Eaton Meeting Room.)

The following week, the Library is bringing in special entertainment.

On Monday, December 30th at 11:00 am, the Library will host a magic show for kids:

Magician Stephen Brenner will share magic and a surprise or two! This fun and engaging event is sponsored by Friends of the Southborough Library. All ages are welcome and registration is not required.

The Library will close early on Tuesday, December 31st for New Years Eve (5:00 pm).

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Library fun over break: Hot cocoa storytime, Lego play, chess, and magic - mysouthborough

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December 23rd, 2019 at 10:43 am

Posted in Chess


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