Artist Erik Johansson and Adobe pranked unsuspecting people waiting for busses, by photographing them from afar and Photoshopping into ads at the very same bus stop they were waiting at!
Watch how surprised they are when they see themselves pop up on the screen!
I would to love to spend a day doing this with the creative students we have in @commonvisionx.
There were some very powerful and emotional messages expressed again this year.
Concerned about your own relationship or that of a close friend? We have a relationship violence screening tool that you can take for yourself or recommend to a friend you care about.
Some pics from the Green Dot table at Quadmania 2013 this afternoon. We had some great visitors throughout the afternoon, asked some trivia questions on healthy relationships, gave away a lot of swag, and baffled some minds with a bit of magic.
The weather was gorgeous!
This year’s edition of the U.S. Chess Championship has been scheduled for May 2 - 13, 2013 at the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL) and UMBC graduate student, Sabina Foisor, has been invited to compete.
The U.S. Championships are one of the rare invitational chess tournaments held in the United States these days. Unlike an open tournament, where you may be paired in the earlier rounds agains lesser-rated opponents, invitationals offer top quality competition against titled players each and every round. The average rating for this year’s women’s championship is 2365 and it features two international masters, four women’s grandmasters, two women’s international masters, and two FIDE masters.
Sabina, an international student from Romania and a Women’s Grandmaster, will be competing in her fifth consecutive U.S. Women’s Championship this May. She recently competed with the U.S. Women’s Team in the World Team Championships held in Astana, Kazakhstan and helped the UMBC Chess Team finish 3rd in the nation at the Final Four of Collegiate Chess the first weekend in April.
Ms. Foisor was gracious enough to find time in her hectic schedule to answer some questions for me.
How long have you been playing chess & what keeps you drawn to the game?
I have been playing chess for almost 20 years now. My parents, both very good chess players, decided to teach me to play chess when I was about 4 years old. What keeps me drawn to the game is its creativity and its beauty. In addition, the game has brought me so much that I feel I cannot give it up. I need to create ways of giving it something back. Probably, I also always strive to make my parents proud!
How do you recover from difficult losses or setbacks?
Losses are not pleasant at all. Nobody likes them, but they are part of the game. I tend to be really upset about losses at first, especially if I feel that I played a good, interesting game and then something happened that changed the course of the game. I have learned not to let losses affect my entire tournament. After tournaments, I tend to analyze my games, see my mistakes throughout the entire tournament, and decide what I need to do next to not repeat the same mistakes again and again. In order to keep my objectivity and forget about losses during tournaments, I like to talk to my sister, who always finds ways to make me laugh and distract me from the loss. I like to have some distraction, so that I can focus on the following games that I’ll have to play.
What is your favorite memory from competing with the UMBC Chess Team over the years?
Of course I was really happy to have shared the 1st place at the Pan-Am for a couple of years, and bring the President’s Cup back to UMBC. However, my favorite memory is from the Pan American in 2010, where I played on 1st board in the B-team and scored 5 out of 5, winning with black against GM Alejandro Ramirez. It is really hard to beat a grandmaster, but it is even harder to beat him with [the] black [pieces], so that made that tournament and game memorable.
How do you balance the academic rigors of being a full-time graduate student with competing as a member of the UMBC or U.S. Women’s Team? What advice would you give to other highly-involved UMBC students, seeking to strike a healthy balance in their lives?
It has definitely been a challenge balancing grad school with chess. I have slowly started to notice that being a full-time grad student is much more difficult and it requires much more work than being a full-time undergrad. The truth is I really like challenges and I prefer having to do more work than losing time. I am really grateful to my professors who are very understanding and give me some flexibility in submitting missed work, after returning from important chess tournaments.
Chess has helped me become disciplined, and I believe that if one is able to schedule his/her time, he/she will be able to do as many thing as they decide to do. I guess I am able to balance my time pretty well to be able to balance all of these plus some extracurricular activities and volunteering! You could say I’m an overachiever, I won’t be mad, I’ve got to be on top of everything I do [sic].
In what ways do you see the UMBC Chess Team serving or building connections with the UMBC greater community beyond the chessboard?
It would take me too long to describe all of my ideas on how to build connections with the community outside UMBC. Briefly, I can say that I believe it is important to make a proposal on the importance and benefits chess can have in developing creativity, math skills, vision in space [spatial awareness], etc. We could look at some research that was done on the matter and see how other countries have made it possible to introduce chess in schools…another thing that I think would be great would be to put the basis to an actual chess club (see how Saint Louis did it) [sic].
What is/are your goal(s) for this year’s U.S. Women’s Championship?
I don’t like to talk about my goals from such important and prestigious tournaments. Of course I always aim high, but I plan on taking a game at a time and give my best to be creative and make beautiful games [sic].
Like one of my dear friends says, “Play your game,” and after you win sign [your scoresheet], “from UMBC with love.”
I am going to the tournament confident, as I know there are many people out there who are supporting me no-matter what, so I’d like have a great tournament to be able to dedicate it to them all!
Sabina will be joined by fellow UMBC alumnus, Grandmaster Alexander Onischuck (2006 US Champion), who will be competing in the men’s championship, running simultaneously.
If you happen to pass Ms. Foisor on campus, be sure to wish her well and remind her that Retriever Fever is behind her all the way!
Created by the talented crew of students in the @UMBC commonvision iNet Studio.
You guys are the bees knees!
FINAL FOUR OF COLLEGE CHESS - Sunday, April 7, 2013
The UMBC Chess Team, coming off a very exciting and tense match with Webster Univ. in Rd. 2, was mentally tired from the fighting chess that they put on display the evening before.
WGM Paikidze had the day off today after a series of tough games that stretched back to the Philadelphia Open at the end of March.
With the goal of finishing the tournament with a strong performance, the Retrievers hunkered down over their respective boards and went to work.
UMBC vs. Univ. of Illinois
On board 1, GM Margvelashvili was paired with FM Rosen, a very talented competitor who impressed more than the Illinois delegation with his fighting chess and impressive draw with GM Sadorra from UTD in Rd. 2.
GM Rosen setup a hedgehog formation, which is a more restrained defensive approach where black advances his pawns to his third rank and places his pieces behind them, inviting White to overextend himself.
Giorgi seemed to have the better chances throughout the middle-game, but FM Rosen continued his gritty play and managed to gain a draw from the Grandmaster.
GM Huschenbeth’s game displayed a rather unusual King walk to c6 in the middle-game, a dare that Grandmasters may handle with patience and little concern, but patzer amateurs, like myself, avoid because its usually inviting disaster to the party.
Soon, Michael Auger’s king found itself in the center of the board on d4, while the black forces, commanded by Niclas, began to swarm around him. Niclas demonstrated excellent technique and successfully converted the victory for UMBC.
GM Huschenbeth had a terrific tournament for the UMBC team, scoring 2.5 out of 3.0 points.
WGM Foisor faced off against Xin Luo, an Illini from China, who was a promising junior talent in his native country before giving up chess when he was 11 years old. After being re-introduced to the game via the Univ. Of Illinois chess club, he blazed through his games in the 2013 Pan-Am tournament with an undefeated record.
Their Rd. 3 game unfolded as a Benoni and Sabina was able to organize an attack against black’s d-pawn. She eventually was able to get a passed d-pawn, support it with her knights, and place some pressure on the Black position, requiring accurate play. But true to the fighting spirit shown from the Illini team throughout the Final Four, Mr. Luo fought hard and wrested the point from the UMBC team.
NM Balasubramanian played the Ruy Lopez (Spanish Game) with the Black pieces against his opponent, Aakaash Meduri from Illinois. Adithya managed to double his rooks in a bid for control of the d-file, then maneuvered his knight to c5, where it had its sights set on the d3 outpost, which would have put the white position in quite the bind.
The players executed a series of exchanges, trading off pieces into a queen and multiple pawn ending. Adithya wisely kept his queen active on the board, attacking weak pawns and making threats to the white king, and eventually converting the point to successfully redeem the loss he experienced in Rd. 1.
Final Match Score: UMBC - 2.5 / Univ. of Illinois - 1.5
FINAL FOUR OF CHESS - Saturday, April 6, 2013
Coming off their respective match victories in Rd. 1, it was becoming ever more likely that UTD & Webster U. would face each other to fight for the national championship in the final round on Sunday.
UTD faced off against the ironman, cinderella squad from Illinois in Rd. 2 , who, with only four players to their squad, have no alternates to sub in for the subsequent rounds. These gentlemen will be duking it out for their school all the way to the end.
Webster arguably has more pressure on them in Rd. 2 because the expectation will be that UTD will win their match with Illinois, which means that Webster may not be able to be content with drawing their match with the Retrievers.
UMBC vs. Webster Univ.
After a long game in Rd. 1, GM Margvelashvili had little time to rest and prepare for Rd. 2 against GM Meier from Webster U. The opening unfolded without any surprises, both sides developing their pieces naturally, a truce becoming evident after the first couple of exchanges. With no tension in the position and little advantage for White out of the opening, the players agreed to a draw on move 12.
On board 2 GM Huschenbeth had the black pieces against GM So. Niclas entered the middlegame phase with an inferior pawn structure and a tough road to equality ahead. Positions like this call for patience, concentration, and accurate evaluation as worse doesn’t always mean losing in chess.
GM Huschenbeth continued to put up a fight through an inferior endgame, but found fortune when, in a bit of a time scramble, his opponent repeated moves one too many times, resulting in a draw.
WGM Paikidze played the white pieces against GM Robson, a player with a sharp and aggressive reputation over-the-board. It wasn’t a surprise that the Gruenfeld Defense, a notoriously sharp defensive setup for black, appeared as the weapon of choice by Robson. Nazi had secured an extra pawn in the middle-game, and even though it was isolated and doubled, she managed to maneuver her pieces onto active squares, forcing Black to to find the correct plan with the added pressure of trying to win back the lost material.
Nazi and GM Robson found themselves in drawish looking circumstances with less than a minute on both of their clocks. One misstep was all it took for the pendulum of advantage to swing in GM Robson’s favor and WGM Paikidze resigned.
WGM Foisor, who stepped in to play board 4 for UMBC in Rd. 2 achieved a some interesting tactical tension in the middle-game, using the strength of her queenside pawn majority to offset the central pawns and centralized knight of her opponent.
Sabina managed to usher her b-pawn to the 7th rank, one square away from promotion to a second queen. After a series of moves and subsequent exchanges was up a bishop, but, like her teammate, ended up in some time pressure. As the crowd of spectators slowly grew around their board, WGM Foisor and GM Hoyos continued to battle out an imbalanced position. Eventually, the game played out to a draw.
Final match score: UMBC - 1.5 / Webster U. - 2.5
Tournament score (after 2 rounds):
1. Webster Univ. - 6.5
2. Univ. Texas, Dallas - 6.0
3. UMBC - 2.5
4. Univ. of Illinois - 1.0
A brief video of the start to Rd. 2 between GM Margvelashvili (UMBC) and GM Meier (Webster U.). The players called a truce after 12 moves.
FINAL FOUR OF CHESS - Saturday, April 6, 2013
In true chess player fashion we were rushing out the doors of our hotel, hopping in cars, and heading to the playing venue, the Booz Allen Hamilton Rockville Headquarters, with only about 15 minutes to spare before the round began.
Some of our players were cramming in some last minute preparation for their games, so we actually lifted a plate of breakfast for Nazi so that she could eat on the way to the playing venue. (Dear Sheraton, I promise we’ll bring the plate back).
The time control for all of the rounds is game in 90 minutes + 30 seconds per move, so there is no second time control after reaching a certain move number. This is different than most classic-style tournaments and may mean some time pressure and mad scrambles in the games that follow, which is always more exciting for spectators.
Our first round opponent was our historical rival, the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD).
In the early middlegames we had an advantage on Bd. 2 where GM Huschenbeth was paired against GM Sadorra from UTD. Niclas was able to nurture that advantage throughout the middlegame. GM Sadorra soon found himself in a bit of time-pressure. With less than a minute on his clock and an untenable position, he resigned.
Board 3 was a little less clear as Nazi went into a sharp line of the Ragozin Variation in the Queen’s Gambit Declined that looked a bit crazy at first glance, but turned out to be opening theory when we checked our ChessBase database. The game continued with some errors from both players, who seemed content with playing on the edge of a position where the advantage could swing either way with one dubious move. It’s the true blessing & curse of Caissa: the only difference between a winning position and a losing position is one move by either player.
Nazi managed to trade down into an endgame where she had a bishop for three pawns and some unclear possibilities for a draw. White had a majority of pawns on the kingside, in addition to a passed a-pawn, which ultimately proved to be more than the black position could manage, so she resigned.
Late in the round, there was an issue with the clock used on Board 1. GM Margvelashvili and GM Yotov noticed that their clock had been improperly setup for increment from the start, only adding two seconds per move instead of the intended 30. The tournament director was brought over and resolved to add 30 minutes to each of the players’ clocks to compensate for the technical error.
NM Balasubramanian (White) sacrificed a piece for an attack against GM Holt’s exposed king, but after a re-coordination of his forces, GM Holt was able to organize a mating attack, forcing White to resign.
With two losses on the pairing sheet, GM Margvelashvili was in a must-win situation and forced to play on a pawn down in an unpleasant position. At best he could have hoped to eek out a draw somewhere, but GM Yotov continued to play accurately with the White pieces, scoring another point for UTD.
Final match score: UTD - 3.0 / UMBC - 1.0