Golden Knights 2000 Tuesday, Jan 13 2009 

Yesterday I received a $50 check for my 20th place finish in the 2000 Golden Knights postal chess championship.  The U. S. Chess Federation sponsors the Golden Knights, also known as the U. S. Open Correspondence Chess Championship.  Postal chess is not for the feint of heart.  It can take 2.5 years to complete all of the games in a section.  In this tournament, seven players are assigned to a section, with each player playing six games, three with the white pieces and three with black.  I was one of thirty masters competing among 546 entries.  After the prelimnary section, I was one of only nine masters with a perfect score.  Only those players with 4.5 points out of six (one point for a win, a half point for a draw) advanced.  The semi-final consisted of 22 sections, but only five players made perfect scores and only three of those were at 12-0.  In my semi-final section I was nicked with a draw against Jason Braun so I was in contention for a top finish.  The final round had six sections.  Interestingly, Jason Braun was again in my section, but with the opposite color.  I beat him in the final and drew three games, including one against Chuck Cullum who finished ninth.  Through a preliminary, semi-final, and final section, my final weighted point score was 29.35.  So, although my last game finished in 2004, games played by others in my section or in other sections may have continued until recently.  Anyway, it was a nice surprise to receive the check.

Chihuly: The Nature of Glass Sunday, Jan 4 2009 

The Sun

The Sun

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is currently the site of Dale Chihuly’s work in a desert garden environment.  Many of the pieces have similarities to those seen at the Franklin Park Conservatory and from other sites.  Before paying the entrance fees, the “Desert Wildflower Towers” whet our interest with light green glass work that looks like desert plant life.  Upon entering, one immediately gravitates toward “The Sun,” 14’x14’14’.  Chihuly’s chandeliers include “Orange Hornet and Eelgrass Chandelier,” 8.5’x5’x4.5′, which is magnificent against a blue sky and the “Squero di San Trovaso Chandelier, 7.5×4’x4′, 1996 and Chiostra di Sant’ Apolloria Chandelier, 13’x7’x6.5′, 1995, the only works not made in 2008 for this exhibition.  Chihuly uses two boats in different ways, “Float Boat” is filled with multi-colored floats while “Blue and Purple Boat” uses candles and other shapes.  “Blue Reeds, Marlins, and Floats” and “Blue Fiddleheads” both use shades of blue in interesting ways.  “The Moon,” a 7’x7’x7′ orb located along the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail, has blue colored disks worth contemplating.  The complexity of some of the pieces give pause to the question “How does he do it?”  Most pieces fit the surrounding environment in ways that encourage us to reflect on the dialog between nature and art.  Chihuly’s work with glass is amazing!