The Mulfish Versus The International Master

Michael Mulford, aka “Mulfish”,

That’s Bill on the left and Mike on the right. http://www.jacklemoine.com/2009/02/bill-hall-and-mike-mulford.html

is one of the really “good guys” in Chess (and so too was Bill Hall, who was the Executive Director of the United States Chess Federation, and we go way back to a time when Bill was a teenager from the Great State of Tennessee. When in Crossville for a Senior tournament Bill treated me like royalty, spending an afternoon at the USCF office showing me around while introducing me to everyone I did not already know) and I am pleased to call him a friend, a word the AW does not use loosely. Mike has been involved with Chess for decades and has been involved in almost every facet of the Royal Game in who knows how many different states. It is rare for a person to be liked by everyone, but the Mulfish is one of those kind of guys that one cannot help buy like and admire. Not once have I ever heard anyone say a discouraging word about the Mulfish. Earlier Mike sent me an email which began:

Hi nocaB,

When you have nothing better to do, please peruse this amateur game and comment as you deem appropriate. I’ll give you more complete information about the game after you reply. The name and location of the tournament and the name of the opening were added by the AW after the fact, so I had no clue when or where the game was contested:

2022 NEW YEAR CHESS CONGRESS
KANSAS CITY, MO 64119
2022-02-12

A55 Old Indian, main line

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. h3 Re8 9. Be3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bf8 12. Bf3 a5 13. Rfe1 Nfd7 14. Rad1 Ne5 15. Be2 Qh4 16. Nf3 Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Nd7 18. Qd2 h6 19. Be2 a4 20. Bf4 Ne5 21. Bg3 Qg5 22. Kh2 Qxd2 23. Rxd2 g5 24. f4 gxf4 25. Bxf4 Ra5 26. Red1 Be6 27. b3 axb3 28. axb3 Ra3 29. Rb1 b6 30. Rc2 Bg7 31. Na4 Nxc4 32. Bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rxc4 b5 34. Rxc6 bxa4 35. Bxd6 Rxb3 36. Rxb3 axb3 37. Rb6 Re6 38. Rb8+ Kh7 39. e5 b2 40. g3 f6 41. Rxb2 fxe5 42. Bc5 Rc6 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Re2 Kg6 45. Kg2 e4 46 Kf2 1/2-1/2

That was the extent of it…I did as requested, looking over the game on a board with wooden pieces, a Drueke travel set that caused the barrister, Warren Ott, to smile broadly while giving me the thumbs up when first setting eyes on the set. I made a cuppa Joe, broke out paper and pen, and settled in to look at the game while jotting down my thoughts, just as was done in the pre-computer days. After firing an email to the Mulfish this reply was soon received:

Gotta hop on a conference call in about 15 minutes, so quickly:

  1. This game was played Saturday at G/60.
  2. The game actually went a few moves longer, but by then I was down below five minutes (my opponent had 20).
  3. I was white vs IM Michael Brooks.
  4. I was on my own the whole game, basically. Fortunately he chose a cramped opening, so focusing on keeping him cramped seemed like a good idea.
  5. As to the limp Rc2, there is a story there. My idea was to get the rook out of the way to threaten Bc1. I started to put it on d3, realized that was not an option. Brooks chuckled “Might not want to go there” I said, yeah, I’m probably not good enough to spot an IM and exchange. Rc2 seemed the best option since c4 would also need some coverage. I think he erred with Nxc4; b5 immediately must be better.

I’ll look at your other comments later. Anyway, I thought it was a decent game for G/60, and it was my first draw with an IM. I don’t think either of us ever had much of an edge.

Mulfish

I am thinking, “Wow…an International Master.” Michael Brooks

https://uschesschamps.com/bio/im-michael-brooks

has played in the United States Chess Championships!

I had no thought of it being a game in which Michael participated, thinking he would have let me know if it had been a game in which he had played. I replied asking him if he would consent to my using the game for a blog post. This was part his reply:

Wed 2/16/2022 11:36 AM
I’ve got mixed feelings on the subject. On the one hand, I’d say that if you think the game (and your notes) provide a vehicle for something of interest to your readers, I say go for it. On the other hand, if you are just doing it to pay homage to a friend, then I say that’s not really appropriate. You know your motivation.

The return salvo was sent immediately:

Mulfish

You should know me better than that, Mike. I would never publish a game just to “pay homage to a friend.”

AW

These are the notes sent to the Mulfish:

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. h3 Re8 9. Be3 exd4 10. Nxd4 Nc5 11. Qc2 Bf8 12. Bf3 a5 13. Rfe1 Nfd7 14. Rad1 Ne5 15. Be2 Qh4 (This is playing fast & loose! The programs probably play 15…a4, but I would probably play 15…Qc7) 16. Nf3 (16 b3) 16…Nxf3+ 17. Bxf3 Nd7 (I really do not care for this move. I would probably play 17…a4) 18. Qd2 h6 19. Be2 (19 Bf4 looks strong) 19…a4 (Most players not named Capablanca would not return the Knight to c4 but it may be best. Another move I like is 19…g5, playing fast and loose, but no program is gonna approve! I can hear IM Boris Kogan after seeing me play a move like 19…g5. “Why Mike? Why?” he would say while shaking his head. Hey, you asked…) 20. Bf4 (I was thinking 20 f3 or maybe f4…) 20…Ne5 (I dunno…that Knight oughta be on c5) 21. Bg3 (Here’s the deal…most people would play this move, probably including me, but upon reflection, the Bishop oughta be on h2 where it’s protected by the King after a future move of the f-pawn to f4) 21…Qg5 22. Kh2 (Although the Queen may be better placed on d4, or even c2, I would probably play 22 Bf4. Allow the Queen trade has gotta help Black, does it not?) 22…Qxd2 23. Rxd2 g5 24. f4 (I’m playing 24 Red1) 24…gxf4 25. Bxf4 Ra5 (Here’s the deal…you teach Chess and one of the most important things taught is to develope your pieces, right? With that in mind I would prefer 25…Be6, because of the rule I just made up of developing your minor pieces before your major pieces…) 26. Red1 (I want to make a move on the Queenside, such as 26 a3; or b3; or even b4. I gotta feeling one of them is correct, and cannot wait to put the game into the free analysis program at 365Chess to learn which one…) 26…Be6 27. b3 axb3 28. axb3 Ra3 29. Rb1 b6 (I do not understand this move. It appears there is only a choice between 29…Nxc4 and 29…Rea8) 30. Rc2 (Don’t know about this move either…seems rather limpid…I want to play 30 Ra2 followed by doubling, but then there are trades…so I don’t know…maybe simply 30 Nd1, but only because I’m uncertain what to play, frankly. I mean, it’s not like there’s a purpose, other than making a move, and one should have some kinda reason behind playing a move, right?) 30…Bg7 (That’s my move!) 31. Na4 (When in doubt, attack something! But maybe attacking 31 Ra2 is better…) 31…Nxc4 (31…b5 is a move deserving attention…) 32. Bxc4 Bxc4 33. Rxc4 b5 34. Rxc6 (After spending far too much time on this position I can say with some authority it would have been better to have played 34 Bxd6) 34…bxa4 35. Bxd6 (I would prefer 35 bxa4) 35…Rxb3 36. Rxb3 axb3 37. Rb6 Re6 38. Rb8+ Kh7 39. e5 b2 40. g3 f6 (The moves leading up to time control, or was there a time control, were easy to understand, but 40…f6 is a real non sequitur. Frankly, I’m flummoxed…Why not simply play 40…Bxe5?!) 41. Rxb2 fxe5 42. Bc5 Rc6 (The pawn should be moved forward to e4 because I’ve heard that passed pawns should be pushed…) 43. Be3 Rc3 44. Re2 Kg6 45. Kg2 e4 (45…h5 would probably be more precise, but it’s a draw anyway…) 46 Kf2 1/2-1/2

And now, as regular readers have come to expect, here are the notes on the opening made just today after spending far too much time with the usual suspects, the ChessBaseDataBase and 365Chess.com:

  1. d4 d6 2. c4 Nd7 3. Nc3 e5 (The most often played move by about 15-1 over the move played in the game is the move 3…Ngf6. Deep Fritz likes 3…c5, a move with two games in the ChessBaseDataBase. Houdini will play 3…Ngf6, but Komodo will play 3…e5. No word from Stockfish, unfortunately…) 4. Nf3 Ngf6 5. e4 Be7 (The CBDB contains 1636 games with the move played in the game, 5…Be7, which has scored 61% against an ELO average 2378 rated player. The most often played move has been 5…c6, with 1987 games versus 2401 rated opposition. Then there is the number three most often played move of 5…g6, which has scored only 53% for white in 1384 games versus 2423 rated opposition. 5…g6 is, unsurprisingly, the move of Stockfish) 6. Be2 O-O (The move of Stockfish 14.1 @depth 47. It is curious that @depth 41 SF 14.1 will play the move 6…a6, a move having been attempted in only 3 prior games. The most popular move has been 6…c6, which has been seen in 1758 games, while scoring 61% for white) 7. O-O c6 8. h3 (This move has been tried in 176 games, scoring only 51% against a hypotheteical opponent rated 2365. The move 8 Be3 is the choice of SF 14. In 593 games @depth 51 it has scored higher than any other move, 67%. Still, Stockfish 130122 @depth 51 will play 8 Qc2. In 678 games it has scored 64% versus 2424 rated opposition) 8…Re8 (8…a6 has been attempted in 100 games, with white scoring 55%. Next is 8…Re8 with 46 games contained in the CBDB. It has scored only 45% for white versus a composite player rated 2392. In 31 games against 2374 opposition the move 8…Qc7 has held white to 56%. Stockfish 11 @depth 42 will play 8…h6. There are only 3 games in the CBDB in which 8…h6 has been played. Then there is the move 8…exd4…Fritz 17 will play the move, and so will SF 100122! Yet the move has only been attempted in five games!) 9. Be3 (This has been the most often played move, but in 30 games it has only scored 47% against a composite 2353 player. It is the choice of Fritz 13. Stockfish 130222 @depth 31 will play 9 Qc2, which has scored 53% in 15 games against a 2348 player. Then there is the choice of SF 14, 9 d5, which has only been attempted in 7 games, scoring 50% versus 2399 opposition. Whew! You got all of that? It’s your move, Bunky…) 9…exd4 (9 Qc7 has been the most often played move in 35 games. 9…a6 shows 17, but the choice of what used to be known as the “Big Three”, Stockfish, Komodo, and Houdini all favoring is the seldom played 9…exd4, which also happens to be the move made by the IM) 10. Nxd4 Nc5 (There are only 4 games shown for 10…Bf8; one only for 10…a6, yet IM Brooks played the move both Deep Fritz and Houdini show at the CBDB, a move not having been played previously by a titled player, so the move played in the game, 10…Nc5 is a THEORETICAL NOVELTY! Or is it? See the two games below found at 365Chess…)

Patrick Vincent vs Eric Birmingham (2300)
Event: FRA-chT
Site: France Date: ??/??/1987
Round: 5 Score: 0-1
ECO: A55 Old Indian, main line
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Nf3 Be7 6.Be2 c6 7.O-O O-O 8.h3 Re8 9.Be3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Bf8 11.Qc2 Nc5 12.Bf3 a5 13.Rfe1 a4 14.Rad1 Qa5 15.Bd2 Qb6 16.b4 axb3 17.axb3 Ra3 18.Bc1 Ra1 19.Qb2 Ra8 20.Be3 Qb4 21.Bf4 Ra3 22.Nb1 Ra6 23.e5 Nd3 24.Nc2 Qxe1+ 25.Rxe1 Nxb2 26.exf6 Rxe1+ 27.Nxe1 Bf5 28.Nc3 Ra1 29.Bd2 Bc2 30.Ne4 Nd3 31.Kf1 Nxe1 32.Bxe1 Bd3+ 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=2182057&m=27

Sevara Baymuradova vs Aigerim Rysbayeva (2170)
Event: Asia-ch U18 Girls
Site: Tashkent Date: 07/01/2007
Round: 4 Score: 0-1
ECO: A55 Old Indian, main line
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.c4 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 O-O 7.O-O c6 8.h3 Re8 9.Be3 exd4 10.Nxd4 Nc5 11.Qc2 Bf8 12.Bf3 a5 13.Rfe1 Qc7 14.b3 Bd7 15.Rad1 Rad8 16.Bg5 Be7 17.Bf4 Bf8 18.g4 Bc8 19.Nf5 Bxf5 20.gxf5 Nfd7 21.Re3 Ne5 22.Kh2 Nxf3+ 23.Rxf3 Kh8 24.Rg3 Be7 25.Rdg1 Bf6 26.f3 Rg8 27.Ne2 Be5 28.Qd2 b6 29.Nd4 Nd3 30.Bxe5 dxe5 31.Qxd3 Rxd4 32.Qe3 f6 33.R1g2 Rdd8 34.h4 Qf7 35.f4 exf4 36.Qxf4 Rge8 37.Rg4 Qe7 38.Qg3 Rd7 39.h5 h6 40.Qe3 Qe5+ 41.Qg3 Qxg3+ 42.Kxg3 Rd3+ 43.Kf4 Re7 44.R4g3 Red7 45.Re3 R7d4 46.Rgg3 Rd2 47.a4 Kg8 48.Kf3 Kf7 49.Rg1 Rh2 50.Kg4 Rf2 51.Rgg3 c5 52.Rgf3 Rg2+ 53.Rg3 Rf2 54.Rgf3 Rfd2 55.Kg3 Rd6 56.Rf2 Rd1 57.Ree2 R6d3+ 58.Kg2 0-1
https://www.365chess.com/game.php?back=1&gid=3539259&m=27

Cannabis compounds stopped COVID!

Cannabis compounds stopped COVID virus from infecting human cells in lab study

By Kanoko Matsuyama
and
Bloomberg

January 12, 2022 4:45 AM EST

Cannabis compounds prevented the virus that causes COVID-19 from penetrating healthy human cells, according to a laboratory study published in the Journal of Nature Products.

The two compounds commonly found in hemp — called cannabigerolic acid, or CBGA, and cannabidiolic acid, or CBDA — were identified during a chemical screening effort as having potential to combat coronavirus, researchers from Oregon State University said. In the study, they bound to spike proteins found on the virus and blocked a step the pathogen uses to infect people.

The researchers tested the compounds’ effect against alpha and beta variants of the virus in a laboratory. The study didn’t involve giving the supplements to people or comparing infection rates in those who use the compounds to those who don’t.

Hemp is a source of fiber, food and animal feed, and extracts are commonly added to cosmetics, body lotions, dietary supplements and food.

“These compounds can be taken orally and have a long history of safe use in humans,” said Richard van Breemen, a researcher with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center. “They have the potential to prevent as well as treat infection by SARS-CoV-2,” he said in a statement.
https://fortune.com/2022/01/12/cannabis-compounds-stop-covid-virus-infecting-human-cells-lab-study/

Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Atlanta R.I.P.

After hearing a rumor about the demise of the new ACC it was time to check with the man known as “The Sheriff,” aka Scott Parker, President of the Georgia Chess Association. Mr. Parker does not care for the appellation but a more fitting sobriquet does not exist. It was hung on Scott by the Legendary Georgia Ironman. When queried about the name Tim said, “Scott walks around the House (of Pain) ramrod straight, like Gary Cooper in High Noon.”

High Noon (1952) Review

Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 3:31 PM

Sad but true.The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta will be shutting it’s doors on Nov. 24. Participation has not recovered enough from the pandemic for them to make a go of it. They’re in a nice space in a nice area of town, but the $3800/month rent is killing them. They are losing too much money, and the job is taking too much of Karen’s time. She’s really unhappy about having to do this, but she feels there is no choice.

My term of office ends on Dec. 12 at the conclusion of the annual GCA Membership Meeting. After that I will be tying up some odds and ends like the financials of the State Championship tournament and trying to smooth the transition to Parnell Watkins’ Presidency, but essentially I will be done at that time. It’s time for me to move on from the GCA, and it’s time for the GCA to move on from me.

Be well,
Scott

After replying the following was received:

Michael, Sat, Nov 13 at 6:46 PM

The 2022 GA Senior Championship is in limbo now. That event was to have been held in January along with the GA Women’s Championship at Ben and Karen’s place, but obviously that isn’t going to happen. Where and when it will be held will be up to the next GCA Board.

I doubt that I will be playing in any more tournaments, senior or otherwise. The prospect just doesn’t interest me anymore. I’d play some casual blitz, but that’s probably the extent of it. As I said, time to move on.

Be well,
Scott

A case can be made that Scott Parker was, historically speaking, the best President of the Georgia Chess Association. Then there is Chess Hall of Famer Thad Rogers, who single-handedly kept the sinking boat of the GCA afloat after Earle Morrison bankrupted the organization. For what it’s worth, Mr. Parker said he thought Ted Weiber was the best POTGCA.

https://i0.wp.com/voyageatl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/IMG_2535.jpg
http://voyageatl.com/interview/meet-karen-boyd-chess-club-scholastic-center-atlanta-roswell/
GM Ben Finegold & Karen Boyd
https://atlchessclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/FreePlayGraphicForRegistration-1024x949.jpg
atlchessclub.com
https://atlchessclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/gawking-rabble.jpg
Merchandise – Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Atlanta
atlchessclub.com
https://en.chessbase.com/Portals/all/thumbs/072/72099.jpeg

Reading the New South

The following article appeared in the venerable New York Times after the last post was composed, and posted, as if by synchronicity…

After getting to know a little about me a fellow in Louisville, Kentucky, Rick Rothenberg, from Indiana, said I reminded him of another Southerner he had known earlier. Rick said, “The man was so Southern he would not even go out of the house if the wind was blowing from the north!”

Reading the New South

A group of forward-thinking, upstart journals and websites are exploding the stereotypes so many attach to this place and its people.

By Margaret Renkl

Contributing opinion writer

Sept. 17, 2018


Some of Lyndsey Gilpin’s collection of books on the South.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

NASHVILLE — I was a graduate student in Philadelphia when James Watt, the former Secretary of the Interior of the United States, came to campus in 1984. Mr. Watt’s brief tenure in federal office was characterized by an almost cartoonish villainy. Rolling Stone magazine called his attitude toward the environment a “rip-and-ruin view of our natural resources, land, water, parks and wilderness.” That night Watt argued for letting each state set its own air- and water-safety standards, a position that makes no sense if you’re aware that rivers and winds don’t respect state borders.

During the Q. and A., I took my turn at the microphone to make this point. “Sir,” I said, “I’m from Alabama.” Instantly that giant audience of Pennsylvanians broke into laughter. Who was this cracker daring to voice an opinion about federal environmental policy?

Well, that was 1984, you’re probably thinking. Today we don’t judge people by their accents any more than we judge them by their skin color. People know better now.

Except they don’t. The political polarization of our own day means that a region like the South, a red voting bloc in national elections, is a source of continual liberal ridicule, no matter the subject. In June I wrote about the transcendently beautiful Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most ecologically diverse places in the country. When I posted the link on Facebook with a note about its magic, someone commented, “Except that it’s in Alabama.” As though nothing in the whole state could possibly have any value at all.

As stereotypes go, this one surely doesn’t rank among the top 10 most objectionable human prejudices, but it stings even so. Fortunately there is plenty of on-the-ground proof to counter it. Among the most important is a raft of publications, many so new they’re still on shaky financial footing, that aim to convey the genuine complexities of the modern American South. They are planted in the South and created by Southerners, people who love this place but who nevertheless see it all too truly.

Unlike lifestyle glossies like Southern Living and Garden & Gun (which is assiduously apolitical, despite what its name might suggest), these publications blast past sweet-tea-and-moonshine preconceptions to convey the nuances of a region where people are rarely as ornery and dumb as they’re held to be in the national imagination.

The oldest of them is the Oxford American, founded in Oxford, Miss., but now based in Conway, Ark., which was first launched in 1992. (A print quarterly, it has foundered a number of times over the years, ceasing publication until new funding arrived, which somehow always has.) In many ways, it set the tone for all the publications that followed, celebrating the artistic innovations of the region but refusing to gloss over its manifold shortcomings.

The latest issue includes a nonfiction report by Kelsey Norris on a Nashville oral-history project focusing on the descendants of slaves; Beth Macy’s profile of the Appalachian playwright and novelist Robert Gipe; “Bikers,” a poem by the Virginia native Kate Daniels about her brothers (“What foreign lives they lived / With their deer hunts, and their / Love of speed, and their boring jobs / In factories”) and a short story by David Wesley Williams about a hitchhiker stuck in West Memphis, Ark. The story is called “Stay Away From Places With Directions in Their Names.”

The tagline for Facing South, an online publication of the progressive Institute for Southern Studies in Durham, N.C., is “A Voice for a Changing South.” The site focuses on politics, history and human rights, with recent articles on voting rights during Reconstruction, South Carolina’s present refusal to evacuate convicts in advance of Hurricane Florence and delays in compensation for people sickened by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Scalawag, another nonprofit publication out of Durham, also reports regional politics with a progressive eye, though it covers regional art and literature, too, and includes a section titled, simply, “Witness.” The magazine, which is published online and in print, fosters “critical conversations about the many Souths where we live, love and struggle” and aims to empower “activists, artists and writers to reckon with Southern realities as they are, rather than as they seem to be.” Recent stories confront toxic masculinity, explain how to fight racism through the auspices of craft beer, collect a range of Latinx poetry from around the American South, and report on Syrian cuisine in small-town Georgia.

The Southern Foodways Alliance, based in Oxford, Miss., publishes a print quarterly called Gravy. Despite its name, the journal does more than report on cuisine, continuing the work of the alliance itself by showcasing, through food, “a South that is constantly evolving, accommodating new immigrants, adopting new traditions and lovingly maintaining old ones.” The latest issue includes an article on “The Queer Pleasures of Tammy Wynette’s Cooking” by Mayukh Sen and a profile by Osayi Endolyn of Joe Stinchcomb, an African-American bartender who invented five new cocktails, to celebrate Black History Month. The drinks had names like “Blood on the Leaves” and “(I’m Not Your) Negroni,” and they definitely raised some hackles down there in Mississippi.

For anyone still hoping to define Southern literature, storySouth is an online literary journal based in Greensboro, N.C. It publishes “the best fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry that writers from the New South have to offer,” according to its website. Subjects that seem to play into regional stereotypes can be found there at times. The current issue features a poem called “Roadkill” by Megan Blankenship and one by William Woolfitt called “Grassy Branch Pentecostal Church, Face of Christ on Tin,” for example. But read the poems: This is not your unlamented Agrarian’s Southern literature.

Perhaps the liveliest of the whole bunch is an absolutely wonderful online publication called The Bitter Southerner, an irreverent Atlanta-based site that truly covers the cultural waterfront, celebrating the lunacy of genuine homegrown geniuses, lifting up the unsung heroes of the region, and peeking behind the veil of great cultural institutions, and all while holding power to account in a part of the world where power has too often lost its uneducated mind.

But it’s the newest of these publications that most often captures my own attention these days. Southerly began in late 2016 as a weekly newsletter of investigative journalism, plus curated links to “News Flying Under the Radar” by other journalists around the region. Until this summer, when it received a grant from Solutions Journalism Network, it was funded entirely by Patreon subscribers, who monthly contribute an average of five dollars each through an online portal. Those supporters are still crucial to its survival. Lyndsey Gilpin — the magazine’s founder, editor and publisher — is a Northwestern University-trained journalist based in her hometown, Louisville, Ky., and her weekly reports from impoverished and often oppressed corners of the South have given a microphone to people whose voices are rarely heard in conversations about climate change, environmental exploitation or economic disparity.


Lyndsey Gilpin, founder of Southerly, an online magazine, near her home in Louisville, Ky.CreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

In July, Southerly grew into a full-fledged “independent media organization” that “covers the intersection of ecology, justice and culture in the American South,” according to its new website, and already it is taking no prisoners. The site — in partnership with The Montgomery Advertiser and Scalawag — launched with a four-part series on the breakout of tropical diseases in the rural South owing to failing sewage infrastructure. On Sept. 22, Southerly will convene a public discussion in Hayneville, Ala., about poverty-related illnesses and how communities can address the governmental crisis that spawned them.

Southerly’s mission statement sets out some uncompromising goals: “This region stands to bear the brunt and lose the most from the effects of climate change. It is experiencing massive economic shifts from a changing energy industry. The South is the fastest urbanizing area of the United States, but it is also the most economically distressed. Southerners deserve a publication that covers the nuances of their environment, history and communities without being condescending or stereotypical, without parachuting in from large metropolitan areas. The rest of the world deserves to know about the creative ways communities here are adapting to these changes, and the challenges that come with that.”

You could almost call it a mission statement for celebrating — and transforming — the South itself.