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U.S. Chess Scoop June 26, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : chess , 2 comments

I started a new video blog on Chess Life Online! Here is the third episode.

Click here for the first and here for the second.


U.S. Chess Scoop Episode 3 from DIM mak films on Vimeo.

Brave Iranian Women June 22, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : chess,feminism,politics , add a comment
The top two women chessplayers in Iran, Shadi Paridar and Atousa Pourkashiyan

I had a dream last night that I was in Iran and that I left my building without wearing hijab. I felt terrified that I would be caught so I ran around and found a pair of leggings to cover my hair. The dream reminded me  I am lucky to have the right to vote, protest, or to wear whatever sort of nail polish I desire, but as a feminist I am connected to those who don’t have the same privileges.

I am moved by the courage of Iranian women who are protesting at the risk of beatings, and even death.

I wonder about the Iranian women’s chess team and Shadi Paridar, who I profiled in Chess Bitch in the chapter "Checkmate Around the World."  

Chess is one of the few sports in which Iranian women can compete abroad… (because) wearing hijab is not an impediment to play. When I ask Shadi if she likes wearing hijab, she bursts into…laugher and makes faces at me….When she finally calms down she says sarcastically, "Oh I just love it. I feel like such a star in this outfit. People look at me and know I am from Iran." Then she raises her eyebrows and informs me, "I am very bad at wearing hijab."

I also wonder about the members of the Iranian team who we hung out with in China (Shadi was not there). The Iranians were very strong in China- the men beat the American men in the bronze medal playoffs for the rapid teams and Atousa Pourkashiyan, rated just over 2200 at the time, went on a rampage to defeat a number of WGMs and IMs. Iranian arbiter, Mehrad Pahlevanzadeh who now lives in United Arab Emirates, literally gave me the vest off his back when I suggested that my father would probably love it as a souvenir from the Mind Sport Games. Mehrad also wrote a very smart article on chessbase.com about how if we want to make chess more popular, it is important to play till checkmate.

I hope that Shadi, Atousa, Elshan etc. are all safe and that the revolution will end in a way that’s positive for the Iranian people. And who knows, maybe the next time we meet the Iranian women’s chess team, they will be wearing different outfits.

Recently, I reviewed Shadi Paridar’s games while mining for material for an upcoming 9queens workbook filled with combinations of top women players. You can read a little more about the workbook here. Here’s a puzzle from one of Shadi’s games.   I will publish the answer as a comment to this blog post.  


White to Move


From Vegas to AQ in AC June 16, 2009

Posted by Jennifer in : poker,travel , add a comment

At the Ladies World Series of Poker this year in Las Vegas, I had almost no interesting hands. I won a race AKs vs. a shortstack with ATo,  which got me through about four hours with approximately the same stack as I started with. About five hours in, with 17x the BB I pushed from the SB with 33 and lost a race to AJo in the BB. My two-time "in the money streak" broken, but I had few regrets about the way I played.

On an unrelated note, I was impressed by the size and number of breast implants in the tournament. Somebody called it the cleavage vs. the grandmothers– It’s not typical that I feel like I have one of the smallest bras at the table!

This year, I’m playing in the Main Event on July 4th weekend, which is exciting but scary cause it’s a way deeper tournament than anything I’ve ever played. I was too busy with the chess tournament at the South Point to get much poker practice in June in Vegas, so yesterday I went to Atlantic City for the Ladies Event at the Borgata Summer Open. 174 players entered including one lady-man, with a blonde wig and muscles larger than any dude in the casino. According to the floorman, there’s nothing they can do to stop a man from entering.  On break, he told me he played for the "great action", which made me suspicious. I support anyone who identifies as a women to play in a Ladies’ Event, but I don’t want to see an entire fraternity showing up for the "action."

The structure was nice- we started with 10,000 chips and 25/50 blinds with 35 minute levels.

I had two annoying AQ situations on the first level that I’d like to share: 

#1- Second to Act limps, I raise to 200 in MP with AQo, the Small Blind calls, original limper folds. Flop is Q54 with two hearts and a diamond, but I have the ace of hearts. SB checks, I bet 300, she reraises me to 1000. Already I’m unhappy, but I make the call. The turn is a 7 of spades and she overbets the pot to 3000. After a long think, I folded.  My logic was that since I had the Ace of Hearts, that cuts out a lot of draws that I can beat, and it felt more likely to me that she had one of the hands that busted me, like 44 or 55 than a hand that I busted, like KQ. Later she told me she had Kings.

#2- Folded to me in the cutoff. I raise to 200 with AQo. Button and SB call. Flop KQ4 rainbow. SB checks, I decide to take a stab and bet out 400. Both opponents call! Turn is a 5. Checked around. River is an Ace, no flush possibilities on board. SB checks. I bet 1000, which I’m not sure about- what hands can I beat that she’ll call me with? Maybe AT or KJ?  Anyway, when I bet 1000 the Button thinks for a while and re-raises me to 2000. SB folds and I call. The button has Jc Tc for a straight, so I lost a bunch of chips on this hand.

Later I rebounded by showing down a straight, winning one race and then stealing blinds. Then, I busted about 20 players before the money with TT vs. AK.

Let me know if you have any tips on prepping for the Main Event except for winning races.