Alexander Grischuk and Valentina Gunina are 2009 Moscow Blitz Chess Champions!

Hello everybody!

It was a big chess feast in Moscow on August 30th. It seemed everybody was playing blitz. Unfortunately the tournament showed that I have to work a lot more in order to get back into top form.

I talked with Anatoly Karpov who attended the closing ceremony and he said that blitz is the first indicator of good or bad chess form.

The main men’s tournament was won by Alexander Grischuk who scored 17 points out of 21 games and took the first place ahead of Alexander Morozevich and Sergey Karjakin who finished the tournament with 16,5 points each.

On the photo above I am with Sergey Karjakin and his wife Kateryna Dolzhikova.

I played in the men’s tournament and achieved only 5 points which is by far not the best blitz result in my career. Despite the fact that the tournament was very strong, the only explanation lies in the lack of practice. However, I played a few interesting games and I will try to post some videos shortly. Even though I was not playing so well, I managed to beat Grandmasters Alexey Korotylev (ELO 2597) and Evgeni Vasiukov (ELO 2485), and I drew Grandmasters Maxim Dlugy (ELO 2518) and Vadim Zviagintsev (ELO 2635).

Here is my biggest disappointment of the tournament:

In this position I was playing Black against Alexander Grischuk. It’s Black to move, try to find the best continuation for Black. I didn’t find it and at the end lost the game.

The separate women’s tournament was won by Valentina Gunina (on the photo below)

who scored 13,5 out of 17 followed by Daria Charochkina with 12 points and Alina Kashlinskaya with 11,5 points.

Despite the result I enjoyed a wonderful day with my darling daughter Francesca.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Lukhovitsy – the Cucumber Capital of Russia

Hello everybody!

Yesterday I had a chance to visit the town of Lukhovitsy which is located about 130 km south-east from Moscow. Lukhovitsy is not only known for its aviation factory which produces MIG airplanes but it is also famous for producing cucumbers. In fact, there is a monument and a museum that are dedicated to cucumbers! On the photo above you can see me next to the cucumber monument and below is a photo of me in the cucumber museum.

Of course I was able to try these famous cucumbers. I must say they are delicious.

However my main reason to visit Lukhovitsy was to open a blitz chess tournament that was dedicated to the 1st of September – the Knowledge Day in Russia. I was very touched when during the opening ceremony one master from Lukhovitsy – Viktor Levochkin presented me a chess puzzle that he dedicated to me since all the pieces in the starting position are forming the K-letter, the first letter of my last name. Here it is:

White to play and checkmate in 4 moves.

Tomorrow I will try to do my best in the Moscow Blitz Championship. I played in the Moscow Blitz Championship twice in 2005 and in 2006. If you are in Moscow you can pass by anytime from noon till 6pm and enjoy the tournament. The tournament will take place in the park of Art “Muzeon” on Krymsky Val, 10. You can also follow this tournament on Twitter.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Moscow Blitz Championship 2009

Hello everybody!

After a few days in training camp I’m back in Moscow.

This coming Sunday, August 30th I’ll be playing in the Moscow blitz chess championship which will be very strong. The participants of this event are:

1. Dmitry Jakovenko – 2770
2. Alexander Morozevich – 2751
3. Sergey Karjakin – 2717
4. Vladimir Malakhov – 2707
5. Boris Grachev – 2669
6. Evgeny Najer – 2663
7. Alexey Dreev – 2660
8. Boris Savchenko – 2650
9. Alexander Riazantsev – 2647
10. Mikhail Kobalia – 2645
11. Farrukh Amonatov – 2641
12. Vadim Zvjagintsev – 2635
13. Alexei Korotylev – 2607
14. Evegeny Vorobiov – 2598
15. Maxim Dlugy – 2518
16. Alexandra Kosteniuk – 2516
17. Georgy Kastanieda – 2502
18. Evgeny Vasiukov – 2485
19. Nikolai Vlasov – 2471
20. Evgeny Dragomaretsky – 2440

It will be a very good training for me and I need it very much since this November I’ll be participating in the World Blitz Championship which will take place in Moscow on November 15, 16 and 17. I will let you know more about this coming World Blitz Championship in September.

As usual after the Moscow Blitz Champioship I will try to post on-line as many games as possible.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Olga Rubtsova Memorial Tournament

Today I was invited to the Moscow Central Chess Club on Gogol street to honor the veteran lady players participating in the Olga Rubtsova Memorial Tournament, taking place exactly 100 years after her birth.

Olga Rubtsova was the fourth Women’s World Chess Champion in history (1956-1958), see the Wikipedia article about her.

All the participating ladies next to me in the photo below are true pioneers of Soviet and Russian chess, and it is with great emotion that I was among them. The veteran of the tournament was Kira Zvorykina (see her Wikipedia page), who will turn 90 years old next week, she was 5-time champion of the USSR, and was married to GM Alexei Suetin. It’s very impressive to be playing a chess tournament at 90 years old… I hope I will be able to do that…

The winner of the tournament was no one else than Elena Fatalibekova, who actually is the daughter of Olga Rubtsova and you can see me here giving her the first prize trophy.

Every single woman in that group deserve most warm congratulations. They were simply amazing! The results table is below.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
12th Women’s World Chess Champion

Moscow and Vogue 09-09
Hello everybody!

I finally reached my destination and arrived in Moscow. The flight went very well and I liked flying with Delta Airlines.

At the airport I bought the September issue of the Russian “Vogue”
magazine and found there an article about me. They made a very unusual choice of photos but I liked the article which is the most important thing for me. I scanned the article for you so you can read it (if you know Russian, of course):) Click on the small image below to see the full article.

What do you think is the first thing I do after arriving home? The answer is obvious: I check
my emails, new tweets and my facebook page of course! So I get very disappointed when there is no internet! Luckily today everything worked fine and I received lots of interesting emails.

Andreas sent me a few puzzles for my blog and here is one of them. Once in a while I will post his puzzles to keep your mind busy:)

This is the position from the game Menchik, Vera – Graf, Sonja (Wch (Women) Semmering, 1937). It’s White to move.

Tomorrow I’m going for a week to a chess training session close to Moscow and I hope I will be able to get connected on-line there.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Kaleidoscope: Switzerland, Russia, Greece, France
Hi everybody!

Here is a review of the recent women’s tournaments and chess results all around the world.

Just a few minutes ago the very strong tournament “The Baltic Queen” in St-Petersburg, Russia has finished. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (on the photo) scored 6 points out of 9 and took clear first place. The second place was taken by Ekaterina Atalik with 5.5 points and the third place was shared by Pia Cramling, Viktoria Cmilyte and Elizabeth Paehtz with 5 points.

The Jubiläums-Open «200 Jahre Schachgesellschaft Zürich» in Zurich was won by GM Alexander Areschenko from the Ukraine who scored 7.5 points out of 9. The top women’s result in this open-tournament in Zurich was shown by Hou Yifan, who scored 6,5 points out of 9 and shared the 5th place. The final table can be found

The Acropolis-open 2009 in Greece was won by GM Borki Predojevic who took 7.5 points out of 9. The best women’s result was shown by Elina Danielian from Armenia, who finished the tournament with 5,5 points out of 9. The final results can be seen

The Russia – China match is currently under way. The classical part of the match has finished. The Russian men won 13:12, but the Russian women lost 11,5 to 13,5. Tomorrow the rapid part of the match begins and then the participants will play the blitz part. Nevertheless in the last classical game Valentina Gunina who plays for Russia won in a very convincing style against the leader of the Chinese team Zhao Xue.

Zhao Xue just took the pawn on d4 17. … cxd4 It’s White to move now, can you find it?

Valentina found a very nice rook maneuver. She played
18. Rd3! and after Rd5 transfered her rook from the center to the king’s flank 19.Rg3! This maneuver forced Black to weaken the king’s side by playing g5 and after 20.f4 d3 21.Bxd3 Kf8 22.Kh1 Qc7 23.c4 Ra5 Valentina finished the game with a nice tactical blow:

24.Nxf7! gxf4 25.Nxf4 Qxf4 26.Qxe6 Re8 27.Nh8 Black resigns 1-0

Here is the pgn of the game:

[Event "Match Russia - China 2009"]
[Site "Sochi"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Gunina, Valentina"]
[Black "Zhao, Xue"]
[Result "1-0"]
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 h6 4.Bxf6 Qxf6 5.e4 d5 6.Nbd2 Qd8 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.c3 Nd7 10.Qe2 dxe4 11.Nxe4 b6 12.Rad1 Bb7 13.Bc2 Qc8 14.Rfe1 Rd8 15.Ng3 Nf6 16.Ne5 c5 17.Nh5 cxd4 18.Rd3 Rd5 19.Rg3 g5 20.f4 d3 21.Bxd3 Kf8 22.Kh1 Qc7 23.c4 Ra5 24.Nxf7 gxf4 25.Nxf4
Qxf4 26.Qxe6 Re8 27.Nh8 1-0
You can copy and paste the moves into
the pgn-player.

The women’s championship of France is under way right now and Sophie Millet is leading the event with 6 points out of 8 and almost secured herself the first place.

At the end I’d like to show you one photo which I liked very much. It’s a photo of Irina Sudakova from the Baltic Queen tournament in Saint-Petersburg. Vicktoria Cmilyte is analyzing her game. There is some poetry in this photo. A beautiful chess player, the board and the light that comes into this small room.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Women’s World Team Chess Championship 2009

From September 1 to September 12 the 2nd Women’s World Team Chess Championship will take place in Ningbo, China. 10 of the best women’s teams from around the world will take part in this prestigious event. Here is the list of the teams and participants:


Elina Danielyan
Lilit Mkrtchyan
Lilit Galoyan
Nelli Aghinyan
Siranush Andriasyan

China Team One:

Hou Yifan
Zhao Xue
Shen Yang
Ju Wenjun
Huang Qian

China Team Two:

Tan Zhongyi
Zhang Xiaowen
Wang Yu
Ding Yixin
Wang Xiaohui


Maia Chiburdanidze
Nana Dzagnidze
Lela Javakhisvili
Maia Lomineishvili
Sopiko Khukhashvili
Salome Melia
Nino Khurtsidze


Harika Dronavalli
Tania Sadchev
Kruttika Nadig
Eesha Karavade
Gomes Mary Ann


Iweta Rajlich
Jolanta Zawadzka
Joanna Majdan
Joanna Dworakowska
Karina Szczepkowska-Horowska


Tatiana Kosintseva
Nadezhda Kosintseva
Elena Tairova
Marina Roman’ko
Valentina Gunina
or Ekaterina Kovalevskaya


Natalia Zhukova
Anna Ushenina
Inna Gaponenko
Maria Muzychuk
Natalia Zdebskaia


Irina Krush
Anna Zatonskykh
Rusudan Goletiani
Alisa Melekhina
Reserve: Tatev Abrahamian



This should be a very interesting event and I will make sure to let you know the results as they play out.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

2nd FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix tournament

The 2nd FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix tournament will take place in Nanjing (China) from September 27th to October 9th, 2009.

The participants of the event are:

Zhao Xue (CHN) – rating FIDE 2544
Tatiana Kosintseva (RUS) – 2539
Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) – 2536
Marie Sebag (FRA) – 2531
Xu Yuhua (CHN) – 2485
Zhu Chen (QAT) - 2473
Lilit Mkrtchian (ARM) – 2467
Shen Yang (CHN)
- 2453
Munguntuul Batkhuyag (MNG) – 2412
Baira Kovanova (RUS) – 2406
Martha Fierro (ECU) – 2394
Betul Yildiz (TUR) – 2217

Prize fund: 50,000 US dollars

The 1st FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix tournament took place from March 5 to March 20, 2009 in Istanbul, Turkey and was won by Humpy Koneru.

In 2009-2010 FIDE is planning to hold 6 Women’s Grand-Prix tournaments with 12 players participating in each of them. There will be 17 players who will participate in the Grand-Prix series. Each player who qualified for the Grand-Prix will need to choose 4 tournaments out of 6 to play. The winner of this Grand-Prix series will play a match against the women’s world chess champion in 2011. The rules of the Grand-Prix series can be found on the FIDE website, here.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Kosteniuk wins 2009 US Open Blitz

Hi to all!

Finally now that I’m back home, I’m ready to tell you about the 2009 US Open blitz championship which I won on August 8, 2009.

It was a 7 double rounds event with 5 minutes for each partner to finish the game. Since I LOVE blitz I couldn’t miss a chance to participate in the US open blitz championship. However in the first few rounds I could feel some lack of blitz practice, and at the beginning of the 6th round I was 1 point behind the leader GM Mesgen Amanov. In the first game of our mini-match I was playing Black and equalized pretty easily to reach a draw. In the second game I was playing White and of course wanted to win. My opponent chose the very sharp Najdorf variation of the Sicilian defence and so we went into a long theoretical battle which ended with an unfortunate mistake of my partner. I commented the game for you and posted it on . You can also click on the image at the top of this post to be redirected to my video.

In the last round I was able to win 2-0 (Amanov was not able to win 2-0) and so I became the 2009 US Open blitz champion.

I’m now preparing for
the Moscow Blitz Championship which will take place on August 30, 2009 in Moscow. It will be super strong, and I hope that this win will give me enough confidence that will help me in Moscow. I hope to post many more games from Indianapolis and from Moscow in the near future on my YouTube channel “chessqueen”.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

3rd Alexandra Kosteniuk Chess Cup for kids 2009

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to let you all know that on November 28 and 29, 2009 the third Alexandra Kosteniuk Chess Cup for Kids under 6 (yob – 2003 and younger) and under 8 (yob – 2001 and younger) will take place in Elista, Russia.

Elista is the capital of the republic of Kalmykia, a federal subject of the Russian Federation (Russia). It is located on the South of Russia, approximately 2,5 hours by plane from Moscow. Two very entertaining artciles about arriving to Elista and about Kalmykia with many photos can be found on, here and here.

Elista is a very beautiful and unique city. Many important chess tournaments such as the 33rd Chess Olympiad 1998, the world championship matches Karpov – Kamsky in 1996 and Kramnik – Topalov in 2006, Women’s World Chess Championship in 2004, the FIDE Grand-Prix tournament in December 2008, many Russian Championships have been held in Elista.

The Alexandra Kosteniuk Chess Cup for Kids will be held in the City-Chess in Elista. You can have a look at the City-Chess and listen to the interview with Kirsan Ilymzhinov – the president of FIDE and of the Republic of Kalmykia, in Russian, here.

It will be a 8 rounds swiss system tournament with the time control of 25 minutes to each participant for one game. The regulations of the tournament (in Russian) can be found here.

For more information about the tournament you can write me an email, and I will gladly help you.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Turner – Socko by Monika Socko
Hi all!

Monika Socko just sent me her comments to the game with GM Turner that she won in the 5th round of the tournament in Tromso.

[Event "Arctic Chess Challenge 2009"]
[Site "Scandic Hotel, Tromsø"]
[Date "2009.8.1"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Turner, Matthew J"]
[Black "Socko, Monika"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "B22"]

White just played 28.Qxb7


Here I could have played effective 28…Nxf2!? but it only gives a draw:
29.Qc7 ( 29.Kxf2?! Re8! 30.Qa7 Qe2+ 31.Kg1 Qxb5 and black’s position is a bit better due to weak opponent’s king) Re8 30.Nd6 Nxh3+ 31.Bxh3 Qe3+ with perpetual.

29.Rf1 Nd2 30.Rd1?

Here he should have played 30.Rc1! Ne4 (30…Be4 is also possible 31.Qc7 Bxg2 32.Kxg2 Qf3+ 33.Kg1 Rf8 34.Qg3 Qe2 with and equal position) 31.Rf1 with repetition.
Worse is 30.Re1 Be4 ( 30…Nf3+? is a big mistake now due to 31.Bxf3 Qxf3 32.Qd7 Rf8 33.Re8 and White wins!) 31.Qc7 Bxg2 32.Kxg2 Qf3+ 33.Kg1 Rf8 and in this sharp position black has better chances.

30. … Nf3+ 31.Kh1

31.Bxf3 Qxf3 32.Rd2 Be4 and Black checkmates.
or 31.Kf1 Bd3+ ! 32.Rxd3 Qa1+ 33.Ke2 Ng1+ 34.Kd2 Qb2+ 35.Ke3
( 35.Kd1 Qe2+ 36.Kc1 Qxd3 ) Re8+ -+

31. … Bc2 32.Rf1 Bd3 33.Rc1 Bxb5! 34.Qxb5 Qf4! and black won the game
35.Bxf3 Qxc1+ 36.Kg2 d4 37.Qb6 Qg5 38.a4 d3 39.a5 d2 40.Bd1 Qd5+ 41.Kg3
g6 42.b4 Re8 43.a6 Qh1 44.Ba4 Qa1 45.Bxe8 Qe5+ 46.Kg2 Qe4+ 47.Kg3
d1=Q 0-1

Here is the pgn of the whole game:

Turner – Monika Socko

1.e4 c5 2.c3 d5 3.exd5 Qxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Be3 cxd4 6.cxd4 Bg4 7.Ne2 Nc6 8.Nbc3 Qa5 9.h3 Bf5 10.a3 e6 11.g4 Bg6 12.Bg2 Bd6 13.O-O O-O 14.Qb3 Qa6 15.Nb5 Rfd8 16.Nec3 Rac8 17.Rac1 Na5 18.Qa4 Bb8 19.b3 Nc6 20.Rfd1 Ne7 21.Bg5 Qb6 22.d5 Nexd5 23.Nxd5 exd5 24.Be3 Rxc1 25.Rxc1 Qe6 26.Bxa7 Bxa7 27.Qxa7 Ne4 28.Qxb7 Qf6 29.Rf1 Nd2 30.Rd1 Nf3+ 31.Kh1 Bc2 32.Rf1 Bd3 33.Rc1 Bxb5 34.Qxb5 Qf4 35.Bxf3 Qxc1+ 36.Kg2 d4 37.Qb6 Qg5 38.a4 d3 39.a5 d2 40.Bd1 Qd5+ 41.Kg3 g6 42.b4 Re8 43.a6 Qh1 44.Ba4 Qa1 45.Bxe8 Qe5+ 46.Kg2 Qe4+ 47.Kg3 d1=Q 0-1

You can copy the moves and paste them into

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Monika Socko winner in Tromso
Who says that women play chess worse then men? Show me one man on the planet of Earth who will be capable of taking care of 3 children, of a spouse, of the house and at the same time will be able to become a GM, to play strong and exciting chess and sometimes win chess tournaments. If you will find such man, please let me know, but I doubt there is one. At the same time, I can name you one woman who is not only doing all the things that I wrote above, but who also is a great and very kind person who is always ready to help.

I’m very glad to introduce to you today the women’s chess star – Monika Socko!

A.K.: Dear Monika! Congratulations on your impressive victory in Tromso! What are your impressions of Tromso and the tournament?

Monika Socko: Tromso is a lovely city surrounded by mountains and sea. It is located near the Arctic circle, but the weather was really nice during the tournament!
I have really nice memories from Tromso. Not only because of my result but also because of many nice activities I had, like excursions, fishing trips etc.

A.K.: What is the best game of yours in the tournament? Can you comment a small fragment of any of your games of Tromso?

Monika: I would say the game against GM Turner was the best. I played Sicilian as black, sacrificed a pawn and got a strong initiative.

A.K.: You came to Tromso with your husband and your son, how did you manage to prepare, play and take care of your family?

Monika: My son is a very quiet child (as opposed to my daughters), so he was not a problem during my preparation.

A.K.: I noticed that your son was also playing in Tromso, do you want to see your children as professional chess players in the future?

Monika: We’d like them to play chess of course, but the choice of being professionals is theirs.

A.K.: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your date of birth?

Monika: March 24, 1978

A.K.: Where were you born?

Monika: Warsaw (Poland)

A.K.: Where do you live now?

Monika: During my childhood I lived in Rybnik – a town on the south of Poland, but now we all live in a small village near Warsaw.

A.K: How did you start playing chess?

Monika: My father wanted to teach his son football, but he has 2 daughters so he teached them to play chess.

A.K.: Who was your first coach and with whom you are working right now?

Monika: It was my father, of course. Then I worked with IM Matlak, and now mostly I’m working together with my husband.

A.K.: What are your main achievements in chess?

Monika: Gold medal in the European Team Championship in 2005, bronze medal in the Olympiad in Bled in 2002. I also won the European Club Cup twice with the Monaco team. Individually I was 3 times champion of Poland. I won a strong closed tournament in Baku 2007. My win in Tromso is also a great success.

A.K.: What is your peak rating?

Monika: My best rating was 2505 a year ago, and I hope to have a better one soon.

A.K.: Do you consider yourself a professional chess player?

Monika: Yes. I’m not doing anything else, but I must say that taking care of my family and home is really a full time job also.

A.K.: I’ve always admired you and your energy. You have a big family and still play chess very successfully. Can you tell us a little bit about your family and share the secret about how do you manage to be a mom, a wife and a strong chess player?

Monika: We have 3 lovely children (Weronika 9, Szymon 7 and Julia 3). There is really a lot to do with them, so we don’t have much time to work on chess at home, but we try to spend every free moment on chess. I treat tournaments like a holiday from the work in the house, so maybe this is the reason of my recent success… :)

A.K.: Do you believe in the future of women’s chess? And what do you think we need to do in order to make chess more popular?

Monika: Yes, I think women’s chess has a future. My daughter plays in junior tournaments and I can see many young girls playing chess. This is good. The only problem is the insufficient number of good women tournaments, but I think it is changing slowly.

A.K.: What is the best chess country in the world?

Monika: Russia. But there is a strong opponent – China.

A.K.: What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?

Monika: This was closed tournament in Baku in 2007. I wish I could play there again!

A.K.: What is your dream in chess?

Monika: To win the last game in the World Championship.

A.K.: What is your favorite chess piece?

Monika: The pawn. It has a future!

A.K.: What is your favorite place in the world?

Monika: Rio de Janeiro

A.K.: What is your favorite kind of food?

Monika: I really like soups. The best is Polish “Zurek”

A.K.: What are your plans for this year? In what tournaments are you planning to play?

Monika: I will play the Polish club championship, and then the European Club Cup and the European Team Championship.

A.K.: Thank you very much, Monika! I’m very grateful to you for this wonderful interview! Good luck in your future tournaments and all the best to you and your family!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Russia-China Annual Chess Match

From August 15 till August 24 in Dagomys (Russia), the 6th annual match between the national teams (men’s and women’s) of Russia and China will take place. Each team will consist of 10 players (5 men and 5 women). The players will play a Scheveningen match with 5 games with classical time control, 5 games in rapid chess and 5 games in blitz.

The Russian men’s team will consist of Vladimir Malakhov, Evgeny Tomashevsky, Artiom Timofeev, Nikita Vitiugov and Jan Nepomniachtchi.

The Chinese men’s team will consist of Wang Yue, Bu Xiangzhi, Ni Hua, Zhou Jianchao and Ding Liren.

The Russian women’s team will consist of Tatiana and Nadezhda Kosintseva, Elena Tairova, Marina Romanko and Valentina Gunina.

The Chinese women’s team will consist of Zhao Xue, Xu Yuhua, Shen Yang, Ju Wenjun, Huang Qian.

This should be a very interesting match and I will keep you posted of the results.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion


A few days ago I received an email from Mr. Nizar Elhaj, vice-president of FIDE. He wrote that a few countries in Africa are looking for a good trainer that will agree to train the women’s chess teams of these countries (max. rating of the players is 2200) for one year, traveling from country to country every 10 weeks to 3 months. So if you have any training experience and do want to go to Africa in order to help women’s chess in Africa and to train African women’s teams, you can write an email to Mr. Nizar Elhaj with your resume, training experience and your conditions.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

US Chess Open 2009: DAY 2

Hi everybody!

I just got back to my hotel room after a nice walk in Downtown Indianapolis.

Today was another wonderful day for me at the US chess open since I won
the US Open Blitz Championship with 12.5 points out of 14. I will write about this championship in a couple days, as now it’s time for my chess story of the second day of the main event in the US Open 2009.

I wrote about my first 3 games in my previous post.

In the fourth round I was playing Black against the FM Carl Boor. I didn’t face any problems in the opening with Black and soon after the opening we reached the following position:

White just played
19. Rab1. It seems that White has to be doing OK. In fact they are already almost losing. Since after I played 19. … f5! 20.Nc3 e5! I’m threatening to play e4 and then Nd4 and White’s position is collapsing. My opponent tried to complicate the game after 21.Nd5 Qd6 22.c5 but I took the pawn on c5 22. … Qxc5 and after 23.Bc4 Kh8 24.b4 Qd6 25.Rbd1 created a nice pawn chain by playing 25. … e4

and 13 moves later I won the game.

In the fifth round I played the most exciting game of my tournament against GM Nikola Mitkov.

In this position it’s White to move. I was playing White and I liked my position very much during the game. The only problem since it was a 60-minutes game and I didn’t have much time at this moment I wanted to find a plan to follow. 25.Re2 with the idea after Qg5 to play 26.Rae1 and to double my rooks on the e-file might have been the best decision here.

But I started a life-threatening operation to win the f4 pawn and played
25. Qf3 Qg5 26. Re4 Black took on b6 Bxb6

and here I almost automatically took on b6 since before playing 25. Qf3 I decided to go to the position that happened in the game but I missed the very strong 28th move for Black

27. axb6

Instead I could have played 27. h4!?
since after Qxh4 28.Rxf4 Qg5 I have the very strong move 29.Nxf7! because if Black takes on f7 now 29…Bxf7 30.Rxf7 after Ba7 White will take 31.Rxb7 and then most likely will win the pawns on c6 and then on a6 and will have sufficient compensation for the bishop. If Black plays 29. … Qe7 then after 30.Re1 Bc7 31.Nxd8 Qxd8
32.Rfe4 Qd5 33.Qd1 Qd6 34.Qh5
with the idea of playing Bb3 and despite the fact that Black has two pieces for a rook White has a good position.

Black played Bd5
asking what my idea was.

Obviously I had seen this position before playing 25. Qf3 and decided to play here

28. Qxf4 but missed the move f6!

At first I thought that I have to play 29. Qxg5 hxg5 30.Nxc6 Bxc6 and even though I have some compensation for the piece I was not happy with that since a few minutes ago my position was much better and now I will need to play for a draw. After a few more minutes I noticed an interesting idea and played

29. Nf3!?
but objectively speaking 29. Qxg5 would have been stronger.

Rxe4 30.Qc7!

But my opponent found the very strong move Re1+! and I had to make a difficult choice again.


If White takes with the rook after 31.Rxe1 Bxf3 32.g3 Black has the strong move Re8! and White cannot take on e8 in view of 33. … Qc1+ and Qh1# that’s why I took on e1 with the knight.

with the idea to take on e1 and to give checkmate on g2 afterwards.

Of course I didn’t play 32. Qg3 here since the only idea for me in this position is to try to promote the pawn on b6 even if I would need to sacrifice some material for that. That’s why I chose


and even though after

Qe3+ 33.Kh2 Qxc3 34.Rd1
Black won the knight Rxe1 35.Rxe1 Qxe1 36.Qxb7 my b6 pawn gave me enough compensation and forced Black to give away the bishop on d5 after Qd2 37.Qc7 Bxf3 38.Bb3+ Kh8 39.Qg3 Qxb4 40.Qxf3 Qxb6 Black has two extra pawns and probably their position is won but having less than a minute on my clock I was able to hold it and even at the very end my opponent forfeited on time but I only noticed it after I proposed a draw and he agreed. A very hard-fought draw and I had one more round to play and of course I wanted to finish the tournament on a good note.

In the sixth round I was playing Black against IM Daniel Fernandez. Interestingly enough I already met Daniel 5 years ago playing in the US open in Fort Lauderdale. That time I also played Black and won the game, so I was not against a small deja-vu. :)

We started the game with the sharp Sicilian Defence, Daniel didn’t play precisely and I got a very dangerous initiative.

White just played
21. Bg4 I continued the game with the nice 21. … d3! White replied 22. Bh2

If White plays 22.Kb1 then after dxc2+ 23.Qxc2 Black can take on f4 Qxf4

and after 24.Bh2 to play Qxg4 because if White takes on b8 now 25. Bxb8 Black has a strong move Bb7! with double attack on e4 and the bishop on b8 and the game can continue like this: 26. Rd4 Rc8! 27. Bc7 e5 28. Rc4 Rxc7!!. If White plays 25.Rhg1 Qxh4 26.Bg3 Qxg5

Back to the game after 22. Bh2 I played 22. … b3! White has to take 23. axb3 Rxb3 24. f5 Qc6

25. Be5

If White plays here 25. Kb1 then after Bb4 26. Qf2 Black can sacrifice the rook by playing 26. … Rxb2! 27. Kxb2 Bc3+ 28.Kb3 e5 and White has no defence from coming Be6 and Rb8 since after 29. Qa7 Black plays Bd4, winning.

Qa4 26.Kb1 Rb5 27.Bc3 Qxe4 28.f6 Bb4
I completetly outplayed my opponent and am almost winning here but my opponent tries a very nice trick 29.Qxd3!?

It’s Black to move now. Try to find the best continuation for Black.

Probably I was tired here since it was already the third game of the day or maybe for some other reasons but I calculated the following variation:

29. … Qxg4 30. fxg7 Re8 31. Qd8 threatening to take on e8 with checkmate and I decided that I have nothing to do and started looking for some other moves. Instead I should have continued the variation with 31. … Bxc3 and after 32. Qxe8 it’s only a check since the pawn on g7 is not protected anymore and I can simply take the pawn
32. … Kxg7 and Black is winning since after 33. b3 Ra5 White has no defence from checkmate.

That’s how I could have ended the game immediately, instead I found the very nice Queen sacrifice 29. … Bxc3!? but unfortunately for me White doesn’t have to take my Queen since after 30. Qxe4?? Black wins after 30. … Rxb2+ 31. Kc1 Ra2 and in order to save from being checkmated White will need to give back his Queen.

My opponent replied 30. Qc3 and I had to start winning the game all over again which I managed to do in a nice way. You can watch the rest of the game simply by copying the moves below and pasting them into the

[Event "US open"]
[Site "Indianapolis (USA)"]
[Date "2009.08.07"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Fernandez, Daniel"]
[Black "Kosteniuk, Alexandra"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B63"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 e6 7.Qd2
Be7 8.O-O-O Qb6 9.Nb3 O-O 10.f3 a6 11.Be3 Qc7 12.g4 b5 13.g5 Nd7 14.h4 b4 15.Na4
Nce5 16.Nd4 Rb8 17.f4 Ng4 18.Bg1 Nc5 19.Nxc5 dxc5 20.Be2 cxd4 21.Bxg4 d3 22.Bh2 b3 23.axb3 Rxb3 24.f5 Qc6 25.Be5 Qa4 26.Kb1 Rb5 27.Bc3 Qxe4 28.f6 Bb4 29.Qxd3 Bxc3
30.Qxc3 Bb7 31.Rhg1 Bd5 32.Rd4 Qe5 33.Re1 Qb8 34.fxg7 Rc8 35.Qa3
Qb6 36.Rf4 Rb8 37.Bh5 Rxb2+ 38.Kc1 e5 39.Rff1 Qd4 40.Qd3 Qb4
41.Kd1 Rb1+ 0-1

That’s how my second day of the US open 2009 finished. Be sure to check the blog next week since I will try to prepare a story about the US open blitz championship as well as I will comment and post some videos with the games from the blitz championship to my YouTube Channel – .

I will also announce the first three winners of
the Alexandra Kosteniuk ChessBlog Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest. So if you haven’t sent your solutions to the first three puzzles, you still have a few days to do so.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

My US Chess Open 2009 Experience DAY 1

I played a great US Chess Open 2009! In the first 6 rounds I took 5,5 out of 6, that’s 5 wins and only 1 draw (against GM Mitkov).

For the last 3 rounds I decided to take 3 half point byes as is allowed in the rules, and I announced it on the first day. So my final result in the US Open is therefore 7 out of 9 points, and I should take one of the top spots in the tournament, I’m very happy about that!

I played a few interesting games and since many of you follow me on Twitter and on Facebook, I will tell you everything about my tournament here on my chessblog.

I started the tournament with a win over Charles Burress:

Black just played
8. … d5

Before making the obvious 9. exd6 en passant, I spent some time calculating 9. Nxd5?! which seemed interesting at first since after cxd5 10. Bxd5 Rb8?? I’m winning after 11. Bxf7+! winning the Queen on d8. If Black plays 10. … Bd7? I have another nice move which is 11. Qf3! double attack on the a8 Rook and f7 pawn, winning. But after some thought I realized that Black will just play 10. … Be6 and after 11. Bc6+ Bd7 12. Bxa8 Qxa8 13. 0-0 even though my position is still better because I’m much better developed, but I decided that after

9. exd6 exd6 10. 0-0 I have the right to hope for more. Since here after 10. … d5 I already have 11. Nxd5! exd5 12. Bxd5 and after Be6 13. Bc6 Ke7 is the only move but here my attack is unstoppable 14. Qf3 Rc8 14. Bg5 f6 15. Rfe1!, winning.

10. … Be6 11. Re1 d5

Now, it’s White to move. Try to find the best continuation for White. I will post the rest of the game below this post.

The second game was one the toughest of the tournament. I played Black against a talented young boy Kyle Shin.

My opponent played fast and well while I was spending time trying to complicate things in a position where normally one should think about equalizing. That’s the position I had after my 22nd move:

I just played 22. … Qc6, having about 15 minutes to finish the game I was prepared for a long battle for a draw, but suddenly my opponent played 23. Qb3? after the game he told me that he missed that after 23. … Bd3 24. Rbd1 Bxe4 25. Bxc5 I have the intermediate move Bxf3, instead my opponent played 25. Ng5 and after a few more mistakes lost the game.

I won the third game against K. Barclay quickly after my opponent’s bishop got trapped:

Black just played 12. … Bg4? I replied 13. Qe1 and after 13. … Nc4 14. b3 Nb6 15. f5 there is no way to save the bishop on g4 and after a few more moves my opponent resigned.

After the third win I decided to have a walk and to get some kind of a reward for my three wins. The first thing that I could think of is to come to the closest MacDonald’s and to get an ice-cream. Since it was already past 10pm only the drive-through was open. So without hesitation I went by foot to the drive-through window and tried to order an ice-cream but it turned out that in order to order something through a drive-through windows you have to be in a car. So I was able to get an ice-cream only by asking people in the next car to order one for me.

So after that little story let’s get back to my first game after
11. … d5

I spent almost 20 minutes here calculating the variations after 12. Nxd5! and finally decided not to sacrifice the piece since even though I felt that there should be something after 12. … cxd5 I didn’t see the concrete way of winning the game after this sacrifice. Instead I played 12. Ba6!? which is also a strong move but not as beautiful as
12. Nxd5! cxd5 13. Bb5+ Ke7 14. Bd2!
with the idea after
14. … f6 (Black loses after 14…a5 15.Bc3 f6 16.Qg4 Qd6 17.Rxe6+ Qxe6 18.Re1 )

to play
15.Ba5! Qxa5 ( 15…Qc8 16.Qxd5 ) 16.Qxd5 – triple attack! With the ideas to take on e6, on a8 or to give a checkmate in 1 by playing Qd7#. Obviously, Black is not able to protect from that many threats.

Tomorrow I will let you know about my last three games of the US-open. I played them against a FM, a GM and an IM.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Abby Marshall wins Denker High School

Hi everybody!

I just won my first game at the
US-open. It feels a little weird to play serious chess again after such a long break.

Last night I gave a simul here in Indianapolis. I played against 17 opponents, drew three games, won 14, with no losses. The final score was +14=3-0. I will post more photos and games of this event soon.

One of my opponent in the simul was Abby Marshall

who a few days ago won the Denker Tournament of High School Chess Champions becoming the first female chess-player to do so in 25 years! My heartfelt congratulations to Abby!

You can read her article about the way to the top on the official website of the
United States Chess Federation (USCF), here.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Central America and Carribean Youth Chess Championship 2009
From August 6 till August 11, 2009 the Central America and Carribean Youth Championship is taking place in Panama.

The treasurer of the Puerto Rico Chess Federation George Perez-Borrero let us know that:

The Puerto Rico Chess Federation will be sending a delegation of nine young chess players to the IV Central American and Caribbean Youth Chess Festival to be held at Panamá City, Panamá from August 6 to 15, 2009. The delegation will be lead by the Puerto Rico Chess Federation President., Omar Añeses-Bocanegra and among the representation there will be two chess trainers FM Luis Sosa-Trani and Abnel Ayala-Sanchez.

Among the delegation the last year Pan American Youth silver medalist Danitza Vazquez-Maccarini will be participating in the 10 year old girls section. Danitza Vazquez-Maccarini with only nine years old came out in second place in this year’s Puerto Rico Woman Chess Championship with a rating performance of 1873.

Boys Under 12: Abnell Comas Colon
Boys Under 14 : Rinel Comas Colón
Boys Under 16 : Pedro Rodríguez Mercado
Boys Under 18 : Raúl Vázquez Reyes
Girls Under 14 : Rinelly Comas Colón
Girls Under 10 : Danitza Vázquez Macarrini
Girls Under 16 : Jill Bianca Claudio del Valle
Girls Under 18 : Wilmairi Sánchez Rodríguez

The official page for the event is

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Mainz Chess Classic 2009

Today I will tell you about the recent
Mainz Chess Classic Festival that took place from July 27 to August 2, 2009 in Mainz, Germany.

This festival which is run by the great organizer Hans-Walter Schmitt has a long history and every year is getting bigger. Two world championships – Chess960 and Rapid, two opens – Chess 960 and Rapid which are qualifyers for the world championships and many interesting side events including the computer world chess championship, children tournaments, simuls and many more are in the program of the Mainz Chess Classic.

Chess960 (also known as Fischer Random Chess) is a variant of chess that was invented by Robert (Bobby) Fischer. You can listen to Fischer, speaking about his variant of chess. Chess960 is played using traditional chess rules, the only difference is that at the beginning of the game the players shuffle the pieces and place them randomly on the first rank. Only two rules have to be followed: 1 – the king should be in between two rooks and 2- each player should have a dark-squared and a light-squared bishop.

I played in Mainz 4 times and always enjoy these tournaments. The first time I came to Mainz was in 2002. I gave a simul which was one of the toughest and longest simuls in my career

and played a rapid match with Elizabeth Paehtz.

It was a very tense and interesting match, I won it 6-5 by winning the final tie-break game. The photo album of the 2002 event can be found

I came back to Mainz only in 2005 in order to play in the qualification tournament for the Chess960 Women’s World Championship 2006. I won the qualification tournament by showing the best result among women in the Chess960 Open.

In 2006 I met with Elizabeth Paehtz in a match in Mainz again. But this time we were playing the Chess960 match for the Women’s Chess960 World Title.

This time I won 5.5 to 2.5 and became the first Women’s World Chess960 Champion. The photos of the 2006 event can be found

In 2008 I came to Mainz in order to defend my title. This time I first had to play a round-robin tournament with 3 contenders: Kateryna Lahno, Victoria Cmilyte and Natalia Zhukova. The players who took the first two places, me and Kateryna Lahno, had to play a match for the first place and for the World Champion title.

In a very exciting and breath-taking match, I won it 2.5 to 1.5 and became two-times women’s world Chess960 champion.

With the organizer of the Chess Classic Hans-Walter Schmitt after the very spectacular match with Kateryna Lahno.

All the photos of the 2008 event can be found
here. You can also listen to my Chess is Cool podcast where I’m telling in details what is chess960 and how I won the 2008 championship here.

Below is a 10-min movie about Mainz and the tournament which will make you feel the atmosphere of this festival:

This year there wasn’t the Women’s World Chess960 Tournament since it’s being held once every two years. But nevertheless we had a few exciting tournaments to follow. First, we found out the name of the new Chess960 Men’s World title holder which was Hikaru Nakamura. Hikaru won against against the defending Chess960 World Champion in the final match with the score 3,5 to 0,5 and became the new Chess960 World Champion. An article about this match can be found

After the World Chess960 Championship, the FiNet Chess960 Open was played which determined the names of the contenders for the next Chess960 World Championships. The main event was won by Alexander Grischuk, who gets a chance to play in the next Chess960 World Championship in Mainz and the best female player of the Open was Kateryna Lahno, who should be invited to play next year in the Chess960 Women’s World Championship. The full article about the FiNet Chess960 Open can be read

After Chess960 events there was time for Rapid tournaments in Mainz. After the World Champion Vishy Anand failed to qualify for the final of the GRENKELEASING Rapid World Championship, Levon Aronian was the clear favorite to win the title against the Russian Ian Nepomniachtchi. The full article can be found on the web-site of the organizers of Mainz

The rapid Ordix Open was won by Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, who took the clear first place with the fantastic score of 10 out 11 points! The top female player this time was again Kateryna Lahno who finished the tournament with 8 points out of 11. The article about the Ordix Open can be found

As usual the Chess Classic 2009 in Mainz went very well and with a great success and I’m already looking forward very much to coming back to Mainz next year in order to defend my Women’s World Chess960 Champion title.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion
Women’s World Chess960 Champion

TweetIt from Chessblog


Dear friends, dear chess lovers,


From now on, once a month here on I will give you 3 chess puzzles to solve, ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult. They will be challenging and interesting for everyone. I hope you will try to solve them on your own without help from the computer.

I will announce these puzzle contests here on, on, and on my Twitter and Facebook pages.

Below you will find the 3 first puzzles of the Grand-Prix, try to solve them and send your solutions as complete as possible to
my email till August 31, 2009.

At the end of each month I will announce 3 winners who will get 3 chess prizes. At the end of this year, on December 31, 2009 I will announce the Grand-Prize winner who will get MANY useful chess prizes. The Grand-Prize winner will be determined by the number of times participated, and of course the maximum number of correct answers.

The more you participate in my puzzle contests, the more chances you will have to win, and of course solving my puzzles will be useful to you and will help you improve at chess.

Please answer only by email and not putting the solution in the comments to this post, give a chance to everyone to enjoy solving the problem on their own. And in the email, please mention whole variations to the end, do not only give the first move, special credit will go for completeness of the solution. When several variations are present, write them all.


Good luck!

(Above) Puzzle 1. White to move
Mate in 4 moves. Category Easy.

(Anove) Puzzle 2. White to move
White plays and wins. Category Intermediate.

(Above) 3. Black to move
Black plays and wins. Category Difficult.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion