Prescott Blitz #4 Saturday, Apr 29 2017 

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs

Jim Briggs, Chino Valley, won the Prescott Chess Club Blitz #4. His record of 6 wins and 2 losses earned him $60 in prize money. All games were played with a time control of only five minutes for each side. Tom Green, Prescott, finished second with 5 wins and 3 losses. He received $40. This tournament, held at the Pine Cone, was an officially rated event by U. S. Chess. Three Prescott area chess players are listed on the April 2017 top 100 blitz chess players age 65 and older in the United States. Green is 48th, Henry Ebarb is tied for 67th, and David Steeves is 84th. No other Arizona chess players are on this list.

Rachel Barton Pine Performs With the Phoenix Symphony Sunday, Apr 23 2017 

Last night we attended our last Phoenix Symphony concert of the season. Franz Schubert’s Symphony in C Major, D 944 was the main attraction advertised, for example, on our tickets. However, the featured soloist, Rachel Varton Pine, performed the world premier of a violin concerto by Earl Maneein, Dependent Arising. As the concert notes detail, this new work converges with heavy metal intersecting with classical music based on the Buddhist concept that all things arise in dependence upon other things. Conductor Tito Munoz commissioned this piece and he and Pine reviewed the score at various stages of completion and made suggestions. The Phoenix audience enthusiastically applauded this new work and the composer joined the orchestra on stage to receive our appreciation. In a departure from our experience with most soloists with the Phoenix Symphony, Ms. Pine performed an encore. And, not just any encore, but an extremely difficult Paganini Caprice. Amazing! In May Avie Records will release her performance of all 24 Paganini Caprices. I look forward to adding that to our personal CD collection. Last night’s performance started with another new work, Christopher Cerrone’s Invisible Overture which was originally intended at part of his opera Invisible Cities. The Phoenix Symphony is very progressive about introducing new or little known works. We were fortunate to attend a memorable concert.

Earth Day at the Phoenix Zoo Saturday, Apr 22 2017 

Southern White Rhinoceros

Southern White Rhinoceros

This morning we arrived at the Phoenix Zoo when it opened for members, an hour before the general public. We saw several animals as they started their day on exhibit. The two spotted hyenas were checking all nooks and crannies. Before the lions were released, we heard their roar. Then, both the lion and lioness made themselves at home. A warthog was exploring his exhibit, too. We learned that there is a new southern white rhinoceros, LouLou. We returned later to see this new rhinoceros exploring its exhibit. We did not enter its enclosed exhibit, but we watched a cute common squirrel monkey. A small Galapagos tortoise was being petted by a zoo employee which we had not seen before. The Dalmatian pelicans followed a synchronized pattern as they moved through their waterway. The spotted-neck otters are usually seen sleeping, but today we observed their smooth gliding through the water. As we prepared to exit a couple of zebras found their breakfast not far from the viewing rail. A goodly number of visitors took advantage of Earth Day informational tables located throughout the zoo. A moving sculpture of a citipeti is being used to advertise “Dinosaurs in the Desert” an exhibit coming in October.

Desert Botanical Garden: April 2017 Friday, Apr 21 2017 

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

We visited the Desert Botanical Garden today, a month after our last visit. The temperatures are heating up in Phoenix and there weren’t as many guests on this Thursday. We walked on the following trails: Plants and People of the Sonoran, the Desert Loop Trail, the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail, the Desert Discovery Loop Trail, and the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. A goodly number of plants were in bloom such as senita, Sudanese aloe, Texas olive, Arabian aloe, desert rose, soap-tree yucca, silver torch cactus, blind prickly pear, and fishhook barrel cactus. The butterfly pavilion will not be open too much longer. There were lots of butterflies including white peacock, pipevine swallowtail, painted lady, and zebra longwings. A painted lady latched on my wife for the duration of our stay in the pavilion. Interestingly, I took a picture of a monarch butterfly outside the pavilion. There were lots of birds active in the garden as well as a rock squirrel and some rabbits. Jeff Hebets constructed a twenty foot saguaro sculpture with pick heads used to salvage native plants. He dedicated this sculpture to his cousin, Phil Hebets, who originated a methodology to salvage more than a million native plants that would have otherwise been bulldozed. We also visited the Ottosen Gallery where Translucense, art work by David T. Kessler, is currently on display. I especially liked “Evening Splendor,” one of his acrylic on brushed aluminum pieces that conveys a dynamic waterscape that incorporates abstract and realistic imagery. Another great day at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Out of Africa Wildlife Park Sunday, Apr 16 2017 

giraffeAn African Bush Safari provided an opportunity to see and feed some of the animals in the Out of Africa Wildlife Park near Camp Verde, Arizona. The open air bus allowed easy access to feed a camel through cutouts in a fence and later a giraffe who placed its head in the bus and stuck out its tongue to retrieve green-leafed snacks from passengers. We also saw zebras, an ostrich, Watusi cattle, and other African deer-related animals. After eating lunch on a picnic table overlooking the Tiger Splash Arena, we had excellent seats for watching a tiger and white tiger switching between play and devouring food treats. We walked around the area adjacent to the food court where we observed Fisher, a caiman, resting near his water hole. The ring-tailed lemurs were actively encouraging guests to feed them leaves from outside their exhibit. A rhinoceros iguana and black and white Argentine tegu were active in this exhibit, too. Bart, a sloth, was sleeping in his exhibit as was a Patagonian cavy in its exhibit. We observed guests who paid an additional $5 to feed a tiger. Just down the way an employee was feeding a grizzly bear. We then circled back to Critter Corner for the Giant Snake Show. Tapestry, a 17-foot reticulated python, was picked up out of its carrying box by several snake loving guests. Then several people who admitted a fear of snakes were enjoined to overcome that fear. One woman was moved to tears by the experience. We visited the park with a 2nd and 3rd grader who were eager to have the opportunity to touch this huge snake. After this experience, we went back to the Tiger Splash Arena for a show featuring two hyenas. It was interesting to hear their mooing and laughing sounds. On our way out of the park, we visited a reptile building where we found Tapestry at rest and were amazed at the size of several yellow anacondas and the variety of other snakes. Back on the dirt road while we were walking toward the exit, we saw a cougar, black leopards, and prairie dogs. Other activities in the park include ziplining or taking a helicopter trip. We visited the gift shop before departing.

2017 Yavapai County Scholastic Chess Tournament Saturday, Apr 1 2017 

Riley Nollet

Riley Nollet

Sixteen scholastic chess players converged on the Yavapai College campus for a day of chess on Saturday, April 1. The tournament, divided in two sections based on grade, was played in the Community Room.

Riley  Nollet, a 3rd grader at Franklin Phonetic in Prescott Valley, was the top finisher in the grammar school section. He defeated second place finisher Robbie Manning, a 5th grader at BASIS Prescott, in an exciting tie-break playoff. Preston Reed, a 5th grader at Franklin Phonetic won the grammar school third place trophy.

Mason Low

Mason Low

Mason Low, a 7th grader at BASIS Prescott, was the top finisher in the middle school section. One-and-a-half years ago Mason , as a 6th grader, was the 3rd place finisher in the middle school section. Joshua Meintjes, an 8th grader at Congress Elementary, won the second place trophy. Cody Ballinger, an 8th grader at Congress Elementary, and Dallin Cannon, a 7th grader as Mile High Middle School, each received a trophy for their 3rd place finishes.

 

 

 

Galen Dennis

Galen Dennis

Galen Dennis, a 12th grader at Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy, won the 1st place high school trophy. He won all five of his games in a section that combined both middle school and high school players.

Players who did not win a trophy selected a chess pin recognizing their participation.

The Prescott Chess Club sponsored this unrated chess tournament. Tom Green directed the event with help from Tommy Keenan, David Steeves, and Henry Ebarb.