Soviet Chess Legend Kira Alekseevna Zvorykina turns 90 today!

On September 29, 2009, the famous soviet chess player Kira Alekseyevna Zvorykina turns 90(!) years old!

Kira Zvorykina is a woman international grandmaster, international arbiter, 3-times USSR chess champion (1951, 1953 and 1956), 2-times winner of the Chess Olympiads in 1957 and 1963, the winner of the Candidates tournament in 1959, 2-times vice-champion of the world (played 2 final matches in 1959 and 1960 against Elizaveta Bykova).

Kira Alekseyevna was born on September 29, 1919 in Nikolaev (Ukraine). Her great-grandparents were from a very good family. They owned a house in Murom, were quite wealthy and had a very good education . Her grandfather Konstantin Alekseevich Zvorykin was a scientist and has written a work on metallurgy. He was the head of the politechinal institute in Kiev. He had threee children – Peter, Aleksey (the father of Kira) and Kozma.

Aleksey Konstantinovich Zvorykin (cousin of the famous pioneer in television engineering Vladimir Kozmich Zvorykin) and Lidiya Terpugova were Kira’s parents. Kira was one of their seven children.

In 1924 the Zvorykin’s family moved to Leningrad. Everbody in the Zvorykin’s family loved to play chess and it was their favorite past-time. But since they only had one chess-set for 9 people home chess tournaments always took a very long time to finish. Most of all Kira liked to play with her father, who was an expert chess player. One day Kira managed to beat him and he suggested that Kira to go to a chess club to learn to play chess better.

Since in 1918 Vladimir Kozmich Zvorykin emigrated from Russia and left to live and work to the US, Kira Zvorykin’s family faced a very tragic destiny. Her father Aleksey, the main engineer and constructor of the ships for the USSR Sea Frontier-Guard, was arrested, named “enemy of the people” and sent to prison in 1928 and was only rehabilitaded in 1964.

After her father’s arrest their family was labeled a “traitor of Motherland family members” and that meant that the mother with a good educational degree couldn’t find a decent job and had to work as a washwoman in order to be able to feed her 7 children.

So the childhood of Kira Alekseyevna was very far from a bright and happy childhood that one may dream of.

Despite all the problems that her family needed to go over, as Kira herself says “all these obstacles only made our family stronger”.

She didn’t like to study chess very much but once by coincidence went to the legendary Palace of Young Pioneers’ Chess Club in Leningrad that was led Peter Romanovsky. She started taking chess classes from him regularly. Here is 1937 Kira’s win over the second women’s world chess champion-to be Liudmila Rudenko:

Liudmila Rudenko – Kira Zvorykina, Leningrad, 1937:

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nd2 d6 3.e4 Nbd7 4.Bd3 g6 5.Qe2 e5 6.d5 a5 7.Nh3 Bg7 8.O-O O-O 9.c4 Nc5 10.Bc2 Bxh3 11.gxh3 Nh5 12.Nb3 Nd7 13.Bd2 a4 14.Nc1 Qh4 15.Qg4 Qe7 16.Ne2 Ndf6 17.Qf3 Kh8 18.a3 Ng8 19.Nc3 Bh6 20.Bxh6 Nxh6 21.Nxa4 Nf4 22.Nc3 f5 23.Ne2 fxe4 24.Bxe4 Qh4 25.Kh1 Nxh3 26.Qd3 Rxf2 27.Bg2 Rxf1+ 28.Rxf1 Nf2+ 29.Rxf2 Qxf2 30.b4 Ng4 31.Qf3

31. … Rxa3! 32.Qxg4 Ra1+ 33.Bf1 Rxf1+ 34.Ng1 Rxg1+ 35.Qxg1 Qxg1+ 36.Kxg1 Kg7 37.c5 Kf6 38.Kf2 e4 39.c6 b6 40.Ke3 Ke5 0-1

In 1937 she became the Leningrad Schoolgirl Champion and also began studying at the Institute of Cinematography. When the Second World War started her institute was evacuated to Alma-Aty where she didn’t have any time to partice chess and got back to it only when the Second World War was over.

Kira Alekseyevna came back to chess by coincidence. Once her friend Valya Belova came to visit her and brought many delicious things like ham, cacao and so on. In the after-war years it was a real rarity. Soon Kira found out that all these tasteful things her friend got by a special card that was given to her as the city’s champion. Before the war Kira always took over Belova in their direct encounters and so Zvorykina decided to start playing chess again. She started to work with Semen Furman who later became the trainer of Anatoly Karpov. And that’s how the chess career of Kira Alekseyevna Zvorykina started.

After a few years of training and tournaments in 1951 Kira Alekseyevna became the USSR women’s chess champion.

Zvorykina married chess grandmaster and trainer Alexey Suetin and in 1952 their son Aleksandr was born. That’s why she didn’t play in the 1952 USSR chess championship.

In 1952 the USSR chess federation let the leading women’s chess players compete in the quarterfinals of the USSR chess championships. Kira often played in men’s tournaments. Here is a photo of her playing against none other than Mikhail Tal:

In 1953, Zvorykina became the USSR chess champion again.

(From left to right: Eduard Gufeld, Kira Zvorykina, Mikhail Tal and general Shevtsov)

Kira Alekseyevna had a chance to work with great chess trainers of her times such as Romanovsky, Furman, Konstantinopolsky, Boleslavsky. Maybe that’s why despite her late start in chess she managed to rise to the top of the women’s chess.

Her greatest success occurred in Plovdiv at the Women’s Candidates Tournament of 1959, when victory over a strong field earned her a match with reigning Women’s World Champion Elizaveta Bykova for the title.

She wasn’t very succesful in the matches for the world title. In December 1959 she lost her match against Elizaveta Bykova. In the 1960 match Kira lost to Bykova again with the score 4½–8½.

Representing the Soviet Union at the Chess Olympiads of 1957 (Emmen) and 1963 (Split), Zvorykina produced two sparkling, medal-winning performances. On the first Olympiad, on the second board she scored 12 points out of 14, securing both individual and team gold. In 1963 she scored an impressive 5½ out of 6, helping the team to win another gold medal.

Kira Zvorykina not only played chess and was active in tournaments and matches she also ran a chess school and was a dictor of a chess TV program. She still takes part in veteran chess tournaments.

Kira Zvorykina with Nona Gaprindashvili

Here is her win over the third women’s world chess champion Elizaveta Bykova, this game was played in 1955.

Kira Zvorykina – Elizaveta Bykova, XVII USSR women’s chess championship, 1955

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Be7 6.Bf4 O-O 7.Qd2 a6 8.Bd3 b5 9.O-O c5 10.Nf5 Bxf5 11.exf5 d5 12.Rfe1 b4 13.Nd1 Nc6 14.c3 a5 15.Bb5 Na7 16.Ba4 Nc8 17.Ne3 bxc3 18.bxc3 d4 19.Nf1 dxc3 20.Qxc3 Ra7 21.Rad1 Qb6 22.Rb1 Qa6 23.Ne3 Nb6 24.Bc6 Rc8 25.Bb5 Qb7 26.Bc4 Bd8

27.Nd5! Qc6 28.Rxb6 Bxb6 29.Ne7+ Rxe7 30.Rxe7 Nd5 31.Bxd5 Qxd5 32.Qe1 Qc6 33.f6 g6

34.Rxf7! Bd8 35.Re7 Qxf6 36.Re8+ Kf7 37.Bh6 g5 38.Rf8+ Kg6 39.Rxf6+ Bxf6 40.Bxg5 Kxg5 41.Qxa5 Bd4 42.Qa7 Rf8 43.Qe7+ Rf6 44.Kf1 h6 45.a4 Kf5 46.f3 Re6 47.Qd7 Ke5 48.a5 Rd6 49.Qb7 c4 50.Qb5+ Rd5 51.Qxc4 Rc5 52.Qe2+ Kd6 53.Qd2 Rc4 54.a6 Ra4 55.Qxh6+ Kc5 56.Qf8+ Kb5 57.Qe8+ Ka5 58.Qc6 Bb6 59.g4 Ra1+ 60.Ke2 Kxa6 61.Qa8+ Ba7 62.Qc8+ Kb5 63.Qb7+ Bb6 64.Qd5+ Ka6 65.h4 Ra3 66.Qc6 Re3+ 67.Kd2 1-0

When this August I visited the Olga Rubtsova memorial in Moscow, Kira Alekseyevna was one of the participants of this tournament.

Kira Alekseyevna is second on the left, standing just behind me, Moscow, August 2009

She played and fought in every game! After the tournament I agreed to make an interview with her and when I came to visit her I was charmed by this lady. Kira Alekseyevna has a very sharp sense of humor, she was telling me so many funny stories of her life with such enthusiasm that I could only say that I’m very happy and honored to succeed her in Russian chess.

From the bottom of my heart on this day I wish Kira Alekseyevna health, happiness and many more wins over the chess board!

Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Help Needed for 11-year old South African Girl

Today I received the following email from Sune de Toit from South Africa. I’ve been to the same situation many times when I was a little girl. So if you can please help this little girl to make her dream come true!

“Dear Reader / To Whom it may concern”

Chess is not one of the major sport codes in South-Africa and relies on individual businesses to financially assist our SA Champions to compete at this level. It would be unfortunate if these talented, hard-working Junior Chess Champions were to be denied this opportunity due to a lack of finances.

I am appealing to you for financial support and assistance or long-term sponsorship to be able to reach for the stars, to be the best I can in 2010- World Youth Chess Championships – Greece.

Please, have it in your heart and be so kind to read through my curriculum vitae.

Kind Regards
Suné du Toit

Parents: Engela and Gys du Toit
Cell nr : 0832906002


My name is Suné du Toit, I am 11 years old.

I am Afrikaans speaking. I am a scholar in Elarduspark primary School in Pretoria and in Gr 5.

I enjoy school with all the activities very much. I enjoy drama, eisteddfod, public speaking, playing in the school’s orchestra, learning the shofar, and reading a lot because it learns me being presentable, being able to handle myself in a crowd, being marketable and having something, someone admiring me for.


Netball is my favourite sport that keeps me fit and healthy.


Photography, swimming, being in nature, spending time with my family, friends and animals.


CHESS is my favourite mind game. Chess is a competitive game played between two players.
Today, chess is one of the world’s most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide in clubs, online, in tournaments and informally.

I love playing friendly with my dad; he was my coach when I start playing chess at the age of 6 years.

I have a deep passion for chess and works hard to promote my beloved sport and to be the best I can.

I am holding on to the key to be an ambassador for my country and good chess player – hard word, practice every day, discipline and focusing.

Chess stimulates the whole brain thinking; enhance emotional development, bringing children together.

Children become more confident and learn to take responsibility for their actions.
Chess empower children to success and helping them to grow one step at a time, just like the pawn in chess. Chess plays a symbolic role in art and literature.

I love reading books about chess – Alice in wonderland (Lewis Carroll), Wizard Chess (Harry Potter series), Checkmate – a Ballet (Arthur Bliss), Chess – musical (Tim Rice).

At the Women’s Open Chess Championships I have met the lead actor, lead singer, CITO from the pop group Wonder boom who played the part of Bobby Fisher in “Chess the musical”


My dream is to be the best I can, to be happy in what I am doing and to enjoy Chess as for the game it is. I want to be one of the best female chess players in the world.

Every young child loves the opportunity to play for their country and I AM ONE OF THEM.


2009 – Provincial Schools D4 Individual trials …I scored 6/6 –
U13 girls, Selected for the Gauteng Individual Chess team
Participitation December 2009

2009 – Top U/12 girl Gauteng North Junior Chess

2009 –Selected to be part of the Gauteng North team
(Provincial colours)
– U/12A Team, will participate December 2009 in Cape
Town, University of Cape Town

2009 – Board one player for Elarduspark Primary School in Pretoria
– Top School winners (2008)

2009 – Represent SA at an International tournament in SA against
Namibia and other schools.

2009 – Women’s open- Woodlands Shopping centre
Playing against Melissa Greeff – South Africa ’s
Women’s International Chessmaster

2008 – Board one player for Elarduspark Primary School
Girls team- Gauteng Top School winners selected to participate and represent SA at an International Tournament 2009

2008 – Represent S.A. in Vietnam at the World Youth Chess

2008 – My selection to be part of the team going to St Lo, France 2009, (due to financial difficulties I couldn’t go)

2008 –selected to be part of the Gauteng North –
Team (provincial colours)

2007 – Selected to be part of the WP team (provincial colours)

2007 – My selection to be part of the team of junior champions to represent SA at the World Youth Championships to be held in Vietnam (19-31 October 2008)

2007 – I have met Jennifer Shahade at the Women’s Open,
Womens’s Grandmaster, from America The Crest Centre, Midrand

2007 – I participate in a simultaneous with Hungarian Grandmaster,
Demitri Reimitri Reinderman and South Africa ’s
International Master, Watu Kobese


Jennifer Shahade

- a Two-time American Women Chess Champion, promoting women chess worldwide. Jennifer Shahade is a Women’s Grand-master, coach, writer and two-time American Women’s Chess Champion (2002, 2004). She has given inspirational talks and lessons all over the world, including an all girls’ school in Soweto, South Africain 2007.

Susan Polgar – a Hungarian- American chess player, one of the strongest female players ever. She made history in 1986 by being the first ever female player to qualify to compete in the Men’s World Chess Championship.

Alexandra Kosteniuk – an International Woman Grandmaster (WGM) (1998) and an International Master among men (IM) (2000). During the FIDE Congress in Calvia (2004). She was awarded the title of Grandmaster (Men), thus she became the 10th woman in the whole history of chess who got this title. Her dad, Konstantin Vladimirovich – taught her to play chess when she was 5 years old.

Anzel Solomon’s from South Africa.

Best WP Women Player in 2008 (Women international Master). Drew with the Women’s world Champion GM Xu Yuhua when she represented SA at the Women’s World Championship in Russia in September 2008. Board one for SA at the Dresden Olympiad in November 2008.


Watu Kobese, from Waterkloof Academy in Pretoria.

International Master (IM) Watu Kobese coaches about 50 students at the Waterkloof Academy chess centre/ School for young stars


I am a girl in the Chess world, dominated by boys with lots of intimidation.
It is not always easy to play with a boy as opponent but I am emotionally strong enough to play a strong and good game – win or loose.
I believe in myself and know that God will protect me in the World of Chess.
Loose or Win …I will be back the next round.


“Chess is about the mind, how you think, it’s not about what you looks like or how you dress.
The minds makes chess a level playing field, you’re all equals here…” – Richard Mason in Knights of the South Bronx .
“Chess is always a battle, a battle of beautiful ideas.
That is what I loved about chess, you don’t get a black eye, and you legs don’t get busted.
You learn how to trust your mind. In life you get much further with your mind, than your fist…..” – David Mac Enult


1. Gauteng Schools / District Sport Officials:
Tournament Director :
Antoinette Kichenbrand (0827786461 )
Communications: Jannie Walstrand

2. Gauteng North Junior Chess assosiation :
Nico Botha

3. Chess South Africa :
President : Emelia Ellappen
Secretary: Lynn van Rensburg

4. Simultaneous:
Ramlodie: Rista de Beer

5. Waterkloof Academy / School for young stars:
Marissa van der Merwe

6. International Tournaments :
Team manager 2008:
Kevin Jurius: Viëtnam
Team manager 2009
Madelein Hugo: St Lo
E-mail: “

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

US women’s chess championship starts in a week

The US women’s chess championship will start in a week, on October 3, 2009 in Saint Louis.

As the organizers say during this event one will be able to find everything that he/she can be interested in, from exciting games to Jazz concert.

On October 3 the defending women’s chess champion Anna Zatonskih will give a blindfolded simultaneous exhibition on 5 boards! About more exciting events during the championship, visit this page –

The championship games start Oct. 4, and will be played at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, 4657 Maryland Ave., St. Louis. The round-robin format means that all players face each other once over nine playing days. The final playing day, Oct. 13, will include a tiebreaker game, if necessary, to determine a winner. All games are open to the public. For more information, call the Chess Club at 314-361-2437. The tournament is sanctioned by the U.S. Chess Federation.

The tournament chair of the US women’s chess championship Jennifer Shahade just came out with the 8th episode of the US chess scoop that features women’s chess. You can watch it below.

U.S. Chess Scoop #8 from DIM mak films on Vimeo.

I’m sure it will be a very exciting events and I wish good luck to all the participants and may the strongest win!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

St. Christopher’s by-the-Sea School in Key Biscayne

Hello my friends!

My family and I recently moved to the wonderful island of Key Biscayne. It’s a very quiet and peaceful island with a beautiful lighthouse. This island is sometimes called the island paradise. The Sony Ericsson Open takes place every Spring here, and people are trying to be in shape, so everywhere you can see everybody doing exercise.

There are many schools on our island. I was invited today to make a chess presentation to the St. Christopher’s by-the-Sea Montessori School, where starting at the beginning of this year a chess club was created. So I came to visit this school and gave 5 presentation lessons from Pre-Kindergarten to Upper Elementary.

Everybody had a very good time, even the smallest kids were very interested about hearing about the game of chess.

I was not the only one to visit the kids, a very special visitor from the Chess Kingdom came to meet the children as well, my little assistant the Queen puppet. And the kids liked her very much.

My puppet’s name is Her Majesty the Queen, and she told the kids many interesting things about Chess and the Chess Kingdom. What surprised me a lot that in every class I asked where the White Queen is supposed to start the game. And in every class I got the answer “White” and when I asked “Why?”, the answer was “Because she is White, she likes her color”! And these kids didn’t even know all the rules of the game!

The older students enjoyed a “more serious” approach to the topic. But they also took a very active part in the lesson.

So I was very happy that everything went so well. And I hope to hear more news about these kids since with such interest and enthusiasm there is a great potential for the chess club to have many talented young chess players.

After these lessons I went to pick-up my my daughter from Pre-School (isn’t it amazing how time flies?) and we went together to the grocery store.

Don’t you think that we look alike? ;)

To end this post here is a small combination from one of my blitz-games for you to solve:

Black just played 24. … h5, what is the strongest move for White right now?

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

New Titles To Be Awarded in Greece

Hello everybody!

During the
80th FIDE Congress in Halkidiki from October 11 to October 18 new chess titles will be awarded.

Wayne Mendryk let me know that the following ladies have applied to get titles at the 80th FIDE Congress 2009 (October 11-18,2009, in Halkidiki, Greece):

Male GM Title:

Tatiana Kosintseva (on the photo) has applied to get the Male Grandmaster Title. Her rating is 2536, which is over the required 2500.

Woman Grand Master Title (WGM):

Ju,Wenjun Country: China Current Rating: 2454, Birthday: 1991 FIDE ID# 8603006

Ilze Berzina Country: Latvia Current Rating: 2320 Birthday: 1984 FIDE ID# 11601345

Batchimeg Country: United States Current Rating: 2335 Birthday: 1986 FIDE ID# 4900839

Woman International Master (WIM):

Name Country HiRtng. Birthday
Yuan, Yuanling CAN 2205 1994
Delorme, Laurie FRA 2219 1984
Arabidze, Meri GEO 2258 1994
Fuchs, Judith GER 2253 1990
Gagare, Shalmali IND 2201 1994
Tomilova, Elena RUS 2311 1986
Abrahamyan, Tatev USA 2295 1988


Congratulations to all those talented ladies!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Kosteniuk’s busy schedule for the fall 2009

Hello all!

October 2009 is approaching and so my very intense chess schedule will soon start. On the first of October I will fly to Europe where I will play and participate in the following competitions and events:

From October 3 till October 11 I will be playing in the European Club Cup for the Monaco Chess Team .

Immediately after the end of the Eurocup I will go to Halkidiki (Greece) for the 80th FIDE Congress which will take place from October 12 till October 18.

In between very important meetings in Halkdiki, on October 14 I will fly for one day to Athens where a big chess festival will take place and I will give a simul there.

I will come back from Athens to Halkidki on October 15th and will take part in the Presidential Board meeting of FIDE on October 16 and 17.

On October 18 I will fly to Moscow, from where together with my team of Russia I will fly to Novi Sad (Serbia) to the European Team Chess Championship on October 21.

After this championship I will come back to Miami in order to spend some time with my daughter and to prepare for even more exciting November where I will take part in the World Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow and in the World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiisk.

Of course I won’t forget to tell you the answers to my September puzzle contest and will announce the winners of this month just before flying to Europe on October 1. And of course I will post 3 new puzzles for the October puzzle contest.

That’s quite a busy schedule, don’t you think so?

And to finish this post here is a small combination from one of my today’s blitz-games:

Black just played 22. … Qe5?? what is the best continuation for White right now?

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

2010 Women’s Chess Tournaments Calendar

Hello dear lady-tournament players!

Today FIDE announced the final schedule of the Women’s FIDE Grand-Prix Series for 2009/10. There is one such Grand-Prix tournament left in 2009 and there will be 4 more Grand-Prix in 2010. Together with these tournaments I started a special table for open, closed, FIDE and all types of tournaments in 2010. The same table for the year 2009 you can found here.

There are quite a few great tournaments to keep us women chess players busy, practically all year long. Women also have the advantage to be allowed to also play in men’s tournaments, which can be of a very high level and can be useful to get grandmaster practice.

Below are just the main starts for 2010 women-only tournaments, the dates of which I found on-line. If you know the dates of other chess events of if you are organizing a women’s chess tournament, please feel free to let me know by entering a comment in this post and I will include your event in this calendar.





Russian Club Cup, Dagomys, Russia, April 1 – 12, 2010





World Junior and Girls U-20 World Chess Championship, Chotowa Czarna, Poland, August 2 – August 17, 2010


11th World University Chess Championship, Zurich, Switzerland, September 5 – September 12, 2010

Chess Olympiad, Khanty-Mansiisk, Russia, September 20 – October 4, 2010


European Club Cup for Women, Plovdiv, Bulgaria, October 16 – October 24, 2010

6th FIDE Women’s Grand-Prix, Santiago, Chile, October 27 – November 9, 2010
16th Asian Games, Guangzhou, China, November 12 –November 27, 2010

Women’s World Chess Championship, Turkey, December 2 – December 25, 2010.

London Chess Classic, Women’s Invitational, December 8 – December 15, 2010 (Contact: Lawrence Cooper)

Now to all of you I wish a year 2010 full of chess successes, on the chess board and in your lives!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

October Greece FIDE 80th Congress


Hello all!

The FIDE 80th Annual Congress will be held in the period from October 11th to 18th in Kallithea, Halkidiki, Greece. I am a member of the FIDE Presidential Board and so I have been invited to participate.

During this Congress many important meetings will take place. The chairmen and the members of each commission will meet and discuss the ways to work and to cooperate in the future (to see the schedule of these meetings click on the image below).

One of these commission is the Commission for Women’s Chess (WOM). As I am the co-chairman of this commission I’d like to make sure that we discuss and go over the main issues in women’s chess in order to make it more popular and better for women’s chess players. For that I will need help from all of you. If you have any questions, ideas, projects on women’s chess and you want these ideas to be discussed in the following Congress please let me know either my writing an email, or leaving a comment in this post, you can also leave me a message in Facebook or Twitter.

I believe that if we work together, we can do a lot of good things for chess in general and for women’s chess in particular.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Successful 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship

Yesterday I got an email from Janet Newton (Jan), here is what she wrote:

“Dear Alexandra,

Here is an update on the 89th Montreal Open Chess Championship held in Montreal, Quebec September 11 – 13, 2009.

Early in June I read about this tournament. As you know, one of our goals is to promote more chess femmes to play in local tournaments and this one seemed ideal for our purposes. Not too big and not too small, and in Don McLean’s hometown. Don is an original founder of Goddesschess and its long-standing webmaster.

We made our offer to fund some prizes for the female players in the B, C and D classes, and our communication had an unexpected result. We received a “yes, thank you”, which we hoped we would, but our offer, coming out of the blue, so it seemed to the organizers, had the effect of energizing everyone involved in putting the 89th Championnat together!

New ideas were cooking! The organizers decided upon an intense effort to attract as many female players as possible and also scholastic level players. New initiatives were started — Early on, Goddesschess was approached for and agreed to provide funds to assist in this endeavor. You and your website became involved when a request was made for your assistance in getting the word out to WGMs who might be interested in appearing at the Championnat. The organizers were determined!

Goddesschess was not involved directly in the process of finding a WGM who would come to Montreal to play in the Championnat, but the organizers kept us informed on developments. Ultimately, WGM Salome Melia (GEO 2441), who read about the Championnat’s quest for a WGM at your, was decided upon and the organizers kicked into high gear! Would she be able to get the paperwork processed to get a visa in time? Everyone was on pins and needles!

It was a happy ending after much suspense. WGM Melia arrived on time. The organizers had made all arrangements to provide for the WGM’s comfort, including providing a place to stay, meals, and showing her many of the wonderful sights and attractions that Montreal offers when she stayed some days after the conclusion of the Championnat. They also arranged for WGM Melia to play a simul at a popular local chess cafe, Pi.

So, you see, Alexandra, that you and your played an important role in bringing the Championnat and WGM Melia together.

Don McLean was onsite all three days of the Championnat and took over 100 photographs and several videos. They can be found here.

The organizers’ efforts to attract more chess femmes met with great success! In all, 19 females registered and 17 actually played in the 89th Championnat. This was about 10% female participation rate, out of 191 players. In the 88th Championnat, approximately 5% of the players were chess femmes. The 191 players was also the highest participation in the Championnat since many years ago!

WGM Melia was the second highest rated player at the Tournament, and she performed excellently, finishing in 2nd place overall in the Open with 4.0/5. She won the title, an old Championnat tradition that was revived this year, as Female Champion of Montreal.

Here is a summary of the final standings of the winners in the Open and Class sections, and all of the chess femmes who played:

Class A:

1 Hebert, Jean MI 2418 +32 +14 +5 +11 =2 4½ 1300,00
2 Salome, Melia GMF 2441 +22 +13 +18 =3 =1 4 235,00
3 Jiang, Louie MF 2278 +31 +15 +12 =2 =4 4 235,00
4 Gerzhoy, Leonid MI 2412 +16 =8 +10 +7 =3 4 235,00
5 Mai, Lloyd 2194 +29 +9 -1 +24 +13 4 235,00
6 Barbeau, Sylvain MF 2365 =20 +41 +8 =9 +12 4 235,00

Class B:

1 Kayembe, Doris 1943 +47 +42 +4 +3 +8 5 650,00
38 Wang, Kelly 1529 -27 -16 -46 +52 +53 2 45,00 (Goddesschess prize)
40 Yang, Marguerite 1317 -10 -34 B— -20 +50 2
52 Wang, Yan 1620 -48 -45 -50 -38 B— 1

Class C:

1 Ross, Samuel 1595 +50 +18 +5 +15 =2 4½ 188,33
2 Chang, Michael 1553 +54 +40 +17 +4 =1 4½ 188,33
3 De Gongre, Stephane 1575 +41 =13 +19 +27 +9 4½ 188,33
22 Lee, Mei Chen 1516 +56 +49 -4 -18 +41 3 35,00 (Goddesschess prize)
38 Trottier, Claire 1202 =10 +30 -27 -13 =52 2
48 Ma, Indy 1371 H— =24 -39 -46 +55 2
53 Bilodeau-Savaria, Cendrina 1109 -11 -21 =45 -57 +60 1½
56 Paquette, Esther 992 -22 -17 B— -33 -47 1
61 Del Agua, Jesrael Noelle unr. -6 F32 U— U— U— 0

Class D:

1 Saine, Zachary 1034 +30 +23 +20 +2 +5 5 170,00
18 Brichko, Kate 1054 +25 H— -7 -10 +28 2½ 25,00 (Goddesschess prize)
21 Dormeus, Sandy 850 -12 +30 +23 -4 -16 2
22 Dubois, Lorraine 989 -20 +29 +16 -3 -14 2
27 Gao, Christine 1105 -4 =11 -14 -15 +31 1½
29 Nazarov, Stephanie 743 -9 -22 H— -28 +32 1½
32 Gao, Catherine 747 -2 -16 -30 -25 -29 0

I understand that the organizers asked the participants in the Championnat to fill out and turn in a survey, and many complied. I do not know the particulars of the survey, but I was told that there was overwhelming support from all of the players, young and old, female and male, for another Championnat next year just like this year’s. Don McLean quoted one of the fathers of a young chess femme who was playing in the Class C section, “by adding flowers (women and children) to the trees, (chess kings and princes) something quite precious and magical was discovered.”

I have also been told that for the 90th Championnat, the organizers will not settle for anything less than 20% female participation!

I did many posts about the action at the 89th Championnat at the goddesschess blog and Don McLean also posted information and links at the goddesschess.”

:-) ))))

I’m very glad to hear that my blog helped Montreal to find a strong WGM and I hope that one day this blog will be the leading portal for women’s chess player and tournament organizers. I believe that if we work together and cooperate, our efforts will allow many more people to learn about our wonderful game and there will be more women’s chess events, and ultimately more women will play chess.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Nice start for ladies in Antwerp

Hello dear chess friends!

Here is the latest news about the women’s tournaments that are taking place right now or will start still in September.

From September 18, 2009 to September 26, 2009 the Inventi Chess tournament is taking place in Antwerp, Belgium. Among the participants are two ladies: Antoaneta Stefanova (2535) and Anna Muzychuk (2542).

The other players of this tournament are: Etienne Bacrot (2709), Gabriel Sargissian (2678), Emil Sutovsky (2676), Krishnan Sasikiran (2661), Bartosz Socko (2637), David Howell (2624), Jan Timman (2588) and Bart Michiels (2451). Today the first round was played and both Stefanova and Muzychuk won their games.

Below is the position from the game Jan Timman – Antoaneta Stefanova. White just played 24. Bxf4 what is the strongest move for Black now?

There are two wonderful photo reports by GM Ye Rongguang of the recent women’s world team chess championship that took place from September 1 to September 12 in Ningbo, China,

have been published on, you can watch them here and here. Above you can see a very nice portrait of Nadezhda Kosintseva.

The Serbian Women’s Chess League is taking place in Pozarevac, from September 14 to September 22nd, 2009. After 8 rounds the chess club BAS is leading with Bojkovic Natasa (2429), Gaponenko Inna (2438) Vasilevich Tatjana (2423) Stojanovic Andjelija (2323) and Drljevic Ljilja (2207). The full results and team-compositions can be found here.

The Women GM Chess Tournament Krk – Mediterranean Golden Island in Croatia took place from September 11 to September 18, 2009. Tatiana Shadrina and Nino Maisuradze shared first and second place with 7 points out of 9. The full table can be found here.

Maotai Prince Cup China National Chess King/Queen Championships is taking place from 17th to 25th September 2009 in Jinzhou, China, each group has 8 players. Time control: 90 minutes + 15 minutes + 30 seconds increment per move from first move.
Chess Queen Championship participants:

1 Hou Yifan g CHN 2585 1994
2 Zhao Xue g CHN 2542 1985
3 Ruan Lufei wg 2486 1987
4 Xu Yuhua g 2485 1976
5 Shen Yang wg 2453 1989
6 Ju Wenjun 2443 1991
7 Tan Zhongyi 2435 1991
8 Huang Qian wg 2424 1986

Official site: Parings and resuts of the King championship are here. Parings and resuts of the Queen championshipare here.

The First Teller Ede Memorial Chess Tournament will be held from September 24th to October 5, 2009 in Paks, Hungary. The following women are playing in this event: WGM Majdan Joanna 2382 POL, IM Vajda Szidónia 2375 HUN, WGM Gara Tícia 2354 HUN, WGM Doluhanova Evgeniya 2327 UKR, WGM Kochetkova Julia 2310 RUS, WIM Toth Lili 2172 HUN. Average rating: 2320 Category: 3. The official tournament website is

The 2nd Fide Women Grand Prix event is going to take place in Nanjing, China from September 27-October 9,2009. Here is the list of the participants of this event: Zhao, Xue (2544), Ju, Wenjun (2443), Dzagnidze, Nana (2536), Sebag Marie (2531) Xu, Yuhua (2485) Zhu, Chen (2473), Mrktchian, Lilit (2467), Shen, Yang (2453), Batkhuyag, Munguntuul (2412), Kovanova, Baira (2406), Fierro, Martha (2394), Yildiz, Betul (2217).

So there are many interesting events and there will be even more this autumn. As usual autumn is the golden time for chess players and fans.

Special thanks to my friend from Canada Wayne Mendryk for letting me know about some events and sending me links and all the info. :)

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

On This Day, One Year Ago

On this day September 17, exactly one year ago, in Nalchik, Russia, after incredibly tense non-stop 3 weeks of competition, I drew the last game of the final match in the
Women’s World Chess Championship against the Chinese prodigy Hou Yifan. The final score of the match was 2,5 to 1,5 in my favor, and I thus became the 12th Women’s World Chess Champion in the history of the game.

It was a most special day for me. There are no words that can describe the way I felt after the final match was over. It was a moment of utmost happiness and it’s such a pleasure today to look back and to recall that day.

One year has passed and during this year I wrote a book “Diary of a Chess Queen” that just came out in Russian and will come out in English on December 1 (it can be preordered with free autograph, Christmas delivery guaranteed). I also created a special DVD about “How I became the 12th women’s world chess champion” where I analyze all my games of the Nalchik championship in great detail and in video. You can watch comments to one of my games from the very tense third round against my compatriot Tatiana Kosintseva in the video below. My DVD contains both all my games played and a long version of the documentary, over 4 hours of video in total. Entertaining and at the same time extremely useful chess training.

I dedicated the victory in this championship to my daughter Francesca but I must also thank my husband, Diego and my family – my dad, my mom and my sister Oxana. Thank to all these people I became today who I am and I’m very grateful to them for their love, support and patience.

I also thank all of you, visitors to my blog, and web site, and of course my Twitter followers and Facebook fans and friends, and YouTube subscribers for your messages of support before, during and after the championship. Without you, I would not have had the strength to go all the way to the top.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Kosteniuk to play in World Blitz Chess Championship 2009 in Moscow

The blitz chess world championship will take place on November 16 – 18, 2009 right in the heart of Moscow in
the GUM department store (Kremlin Square, 3).

As the Russian Chess Federation announced today, the participants of this event will be:

1. Vishwanathan Anand
2. Vladimir Kramnik
3. Levon Aronian
4. Magnus Carlsen
5. Peter Leko
6. Vassily Ivanchuk
7. Boris Gelfand
8. Alexander Morozevich
9. Peter Svidler
10. Ruslan Ponomariov

these 10 players will also take part in the Tal Memorial that will take place from November 5 to November 14, 2009 in Moscow.

In the world blitz chess championship the following personally invited players will also take part:

11. Anatoly Karpov
12. Lenier Dominquez
13. Alexander Grischuk
14. Alexandra Kosteniuk

And the 6 qualified players which are:

15. Sergey Karjakin
16. Shakhriyar Mamedyarov
17. Vugar Gashimov
18. Evegny Bareev
19. Vladislav Tkachev
20. Zhou Jianchao

I’m very happy that I will play in such strong tournament and I’m really looking forward to it! It will be by far the strongest chess tournament in which I will have played, and I am preparing for it already now.

If you want to see some of my commented blitz chess videos (I comment the games as they go on), go to my YouTube channel called “Chessqueen” . The videos are entertaining and very instructive.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Chess Queen Program at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart

Hello to all!

After 3 weeks of traveling in Russia, I’m back to Miami again.

Yesterday, September 15, I had the tremendous pleasure to start my chess program at the Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami. I had two presentation lessons for the Montessory-Primary girls and their parents and Intermediate and Junior High students and their parents. Everybody, including myself, was very excited. There is a special and wonderful atmosphere in the school, there are so many girls who are motivated in getting the best education, I immediately felt at home among them.

Here are a few words about Carrollton: “Sacred Heart education is a formation for life. Knowing that life is filled with joy and with sorrow, with challenges and with blessings, what education will most effectively prepare students for the future? We think it’s a life rooted in prayer and values. We are convinced that the quality of the future depends on the choices to be made by well-educated, thinking, confident people. We want our students to become such leaders. Nothing short of excellence in their education will prepare them to assume such leadership.”

My dream is one day to lead a scholastic team of young girls to victory in a national chess competition, and to have my team be called the “Chess Queens”!

I hope that learning chess will help these wonderful girls in becoming better, disciplined and motivated young ladies.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Elisabeth Paehtz nice wins

Hi to all!

While you are enjoying this week-end, here are two nice wins from Elisabeth Paehtz that was sent to me by Andreas:

It’s the postion from the game Cramling – Paehtz, Saint-Petersburg 2009, white just played 27. h3, it’s Black to move now, what would be your choice?

That’s the position from the game Paehtz – Cmilyte, Saint-Petersburg, 2009. Black just played 35. … Qf7, it’s White to move, what is the best move?

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Mikhail Tal Blindfold Chess Video
As a continuation to my recent post about blindfold chess today I found an interesting video where Mikhail Tal is giving a simultaneous exhibition on 10 boards. It’s in Russian, but even if you don’t understand Russian you can read the article with translation on

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

CHINA is 2 times women’s world team champion!

The women’s world chess championship 2009 came to its end. After a very exciting last round, where China could only achieve a draw against the outsider of the tournament, the team of Vietnam. Russia, after winning 3-1 against China-2, caught up China by match points. Ukraine after a very dramatic match by some miracle also managed to win their match against Armenia 2,5 to 1,5 and also caught up China by match points.

So 3 teams shared first place by match points – China, Russia and Ukraine, both with 12 match points. But individual team points are decisive. So China took gold with 21,5 points. Russia won silver medals with 21 points and Ukraine took bronze medals with 20,5 points. The full table of results can be found here.

The best player of the championship according to points and to the percentage was Russia’s Valentina Gunina (on the photo below) with 6,5 points out of 8 (81,3%).

The best player of the championship according to perfomance was Russia’s Nadezhda Kosintseva (on the photo below) with a perfomance of 2608!

Congratulations to the teams and all the players for a very interesting and hard-fought championship!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion News: HHCF West Coast King & Queens Tournament

Hello to all cool people!

Today in my Twitter feed, I noticed that @hiphoppress made a post about a coming chess tournament with the nice name “Kings & Queens”. That’s great and I am pleased to relay the info to you, too. A great combination Chess & Hip-Hop, that makes both elements way cooler!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk on
Women’s World Chess Champion (Check me out on Twitter)

Hip-Hop Chess Federation Announces West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament
Rappers & Martial Artists Gather to Empower the Youth

Sept. 1oth 2009, San Francisco, CA- The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is proud to announce the West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament. The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is the world’s first organization to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. There will be a traditional rated chess tournament, people can learn chess basics, watch graffiti art battles, b-boy ciphers, celebrity chess matches, martial arts exhibitions, prize giveaways and more! It all takes place Oct. 10th 2009 at John O’Connell High School from 9AM to 6PM at 2355 Folsom St. @ 19th in San Francisco, Ca. ADMISSION IS FREE FOR ALL AGES.

Celebrity guests inculde Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples, rap legend Ray Luv, Traxamillion, Casual from Hieroglyphics, Balance and Big Rich, Conscious Daughters, T-KASH, DLabrie and others to be announced. The event will be DJ’ed by KMEL Street Soldiers DJ Malcolm Marshall. There will also be a special All Queens Life Strategies Panel where Concious Daughters, Jean Hoffman of 9 Queens and other prominent business women will discuss how young girls can step forward with positivity and confidence into the future.

“It was time for the HHCF to do something specifically to celebrate the power and impact of the artists from the west coast,” said HHCF founder and CEO Adisa Banjoko. “We always provide safe, family friendly environments for people to discover their true potential in life and have fun. All of the artists in attendance have a proven track record not only of being raw, but in giving back to the communities they come from. We’re honored and humbled to have them all in attendance.”

“We are enthusiastic and grateful to all the celebrities, kids and educators coming together for the Kings & Queens Tournament,” said Banjoko. “This organization has been hurt badly by the failing economy. Yet by forging strong strategic alliances we’re still pushing ahead. These are tough times for many of America’s youth. Nevertheless the HHCF remains unflinching in our goal to share the countless educational and artistic life options for them in this world. We are grateful for all the rappers, chess masters and martial artists who have donated their time to teaching kids healthy alternatives to violence on the streets. Since our explosive beginning there have been many imitations, but there is only one Hip-Hop Chess Federation! See you all there.”

All who wish to compete in the Kings & Queens Tournament can sign up today at:

Partners for the West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament are Bay Area Chess and Other sponsors include JW Foundation, 9 Queens,,, 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu SF,, Heroes Martial Arts and Upper Playground. For more information on how to participate visit


Media Contact | Meko Gaborski (323) 335-4497


Dear friends!

We had a great August Chess Puzzle Contest, with over 100 answers, and 3 winners, which will soon be receiving their prizes (I will mail them the day after I come back from my travels).

Now it’s time for the September Puzzle Contest and 3 more interesting puzzles of the Alexandra Kosteniuk GRAND-PRIX CHESS PUZZLE CONTEST. As usual till the end of this month you can send me your solutions by email. On the 1st of October I will announce 3 winners who sent me the most complete and correct solutions.

For those of you who missed the August Contest I remind that from August 2009 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. At the end of each month I will announce 3 winners who will get 3 chess prizes (1 for each).

At the end of this year, on December 31, 2009 I will announce the Grand-Prize winner who will get the top chess prize. 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. And please write as the subject of the email September Puzzle Contest. Good luck!

Here they are!

(Above) Puzzle 1. Black to move
Black plays and draws. Category Easy.

(Above) Puzzle 2. Black to move
Black plays and wins. Category Intermediate.

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

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Success for Shira Chess Challenge for Charity

Hello dear Chess Supporters and Lovers!

Jan Newton sent me an email a couple days ago to summarize the success obtained during the Charity Event she is supporting via The Goddesschess Blog.

She writes:

First of all – THANK YOU SO MUCH – to:

GM Susan Polgar for her encouragement in undertaking this “quest” and the publicity she provided to us at the Susan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information blog., for giving us front-page publicity on its website the day before our match began, and their private kind words of support and encouragement.

Current Women’s World Chess Champion GM Alexandra Kosteniuk for her kind words and the publicity she provided to us at her

Chessville – who began it all with an article published on June 23, 2009 from sometimes columnist JanXena :)

Kelly Atkins a/k/a Chessdaddy (whom I met eons ago at the message board now affiliated with Chessville), who volunteered to be my coach, despite knowing what a difficult femme I am – kiss my foot, Chessdaddy! He tried hard to whip me into shape, and I resisted every step of the way :) Despite his own fully-booked family and work schedule, he found time somehow to teach me some good stuff, and I found his analysis of Game 2 invaluable – not in preparing for Game 3, but in providing a template for patterns in my own play. I’m going to study that game a lot more.

Laura and Dan Sherman of Your Chess Coach, who spent a lot of hours with me via email and on the telephone giving me pointers on how to play and analysis of two of my prior “practice” games from I cannot tell you how much I learned from that time on the telephone with Dan, wow! Dan, I was even able to use “c3″ in my game today – and it worked just as you said it would :) Unfortunately, I blew the game, but not because of that move. Laura, thanks for that sweet supporting shoulder to cry on!

Don McLean, my long-suffering fiance. He’s not keen on playing chess – and neither had I been until I cooked up this Chess Challenge for Charity with Shira a few months ago. Mr. Don indulged me and while he was here a few weeks ago for my 58th birthday (we were going to Las Vegas to celebrate with our friends) he willingly played four games to help me with my training. Two here at the house, and one each to and from Las Vegas. I love you with all my heart, mon homme, and I’m soooo glad I won that game at 35,000 feet flying back from Las Vegas :)

Phil Innes and Rob Mitchell. Your enthusiasm at the beginning of this “project” was invigorating and inspirational. Rob, thanks for the practice games :)

Shira, I hate you! LOL! I hate you so much I donated $100 to your Cause at Facebook. I hope this will spur some donations.

Interest in the Chess Challenge for Charity was high. Traffic at this blog where I did daily updates on the Challenge games increased substantially over average. Thank you all for your support!

Donations to Shira’s Foundation are 100% tax deductible to qualifying taxpayers and the Foundation accepts donations in cash and in kind – that is, if you have a working in good order laptop you’d like to donate, you can contact Shira at the Foundation for further information. If your laptop is accepted by the Foundation, you get to write off its value as a charitable deduction.

Shira and I are very sorry that our plan for playing “live” games did not work out. Neither of us realized that the live play interface at is a “beta” model still a work in progress, prone to malfunctions. Oy! We are sorry that anyone who wanted to follow along with our play was not able to do so while we were playing them. You missed all of our sparkling repartee :)

A summary of the action over the past several days:

Game 1

Update for Game 2 – Technical Difficulties

Game 2

Game 3

In tribute to Chessdaddy’s hard work on my behalf, I post his analysis of my Game 2:

Event “Online Chess”] [Site "Chess. com"] [Date "2009. 09. 06"] [Round "1"] [White "JanXena"] [Black "shirae"] [Result "0–1"] [WhiteElo "979"] [BlackElo "1421"] No time control we played in real time but without clocks game lasted about hours] [Termination "shirae won by resignation"] 1.d4 d6 2.e4 e5 3.Be3 Not a blunder by any means, but it is fundamentally wrong as it is way too passive & defensive instead of using White’s advantage of having the first move to maintain the initiative and create threats. Be3 just gives Black equality and hands the initiative to her. Nf3 or dxe5 were better. 3…Be7 4.Nf3 Bg4 5.d5 [5.dxe5 Bxf3 (5...dxe5 6.Qxd8+ Bxd8 7.Nxe5 and you've won a pawn, have a big lead in development and a much better position.) 6.Qxf3 dxe5 with a nice lead in development.] 5…f5 6.h3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 f4 8.Bd2 you’re still in good shape here, but your dark-squared bishop has been pushed back to an ineffective square and will have a hard time getting active – on reason putting it on e3 wasn’t so hot. OTOH, Black has gained some space and pushed the bishop away, but has really opened up her kingside 8…Nf6 9.Bd3 Again, not a blunder, but putting a piece on a square where it’s ineffective and unlikely to have any scope. Remember, the opening is not just about developing pieces, but developing them to effective squares, anticipating what they’ll be able to do from those squares, developing them to work with the rest of your pieces, etc. It’s also about creating threats and causing your opponent problems she must address that compromise her position. If you really want to castle short and needed to get that bishop out of the way in order to do so, putting it on e2 to back up the queen, have access to the more open d1–h5 diagonal, and not be staring into the back of one of your blocked center pawns would’ve been better.Here, you needed to do some planning and assess the future of the game. With Black being very open on the kingside, she likely won’t (or at least shouldn’t) castle to that side. Also, with Black having penetrated to f4 with a supported pawn, you are gonna need to bust that up or suffer a very cramped position and be vulnerable to attack if you castle there. A rule of thumb is to attack in the direction your center pawns are pointing, meaning Black is probably going to have better attacking chances on the kingside and you on the queenside. Since Black is gonna need to castle long and you are gonna be vulnerable on the kingside, you should too, and all this means that if you both castle long, you should have the better attacking chances against your opponent’s king. This also means you can afford to play g3 in the near future and start busting up Black’s advanced pawns on the kingside. Moves like Nc3, Rg1, or g3 were better than Bd3. This is a good position to learn how to evaluate and assess and plan correctly. 9…Nbd7 10.Nc3 0–0 11.0–0–0 Very good! You obviously realized you would be vulnerable after 0–0. With opposite side castling, a pawn storm is almost always in order. It gets very nasty and the first one who push their pawns into the opponent’s king’s position and open it up usually wins. Time is VERY important here and you must make every move count. 11…c6 This is a great position to stop and assess the strengths & weaknesses of both sides, then make a plan for how to make the most of your strengths and take advantage of your opponent’s weaknesses. Doing this well isn’t as easy to learn as tactics, but it’s not all that hard either. ALL plans MUST be based on objective analysis of the position, not on what you just WANT to do.Here, you have a very solid, secure castled king, the bishop pair, more space on the queenside, and an opportunity to launch a pawn storm on the kingside. Your weakness is that your bishops have very little range or scope, and your knight doesn’t have a good advanced square to go to. A very helpful rule of thumb is that when you have bishops, open the position… usually by forcing pawn swaps in and around the center. If you have knights, or your opponent has the bishop pair, keep the position blocked and closed. You can almost put an automatic 1 in the win column in this position by simply pushing pawns in the center and on the kingside to open the position up.Shira’s king is castled, but the position around him is a little loose. Her only bishop is bad (on the same color squares as her center pawns, meaning it doesn’t have much scope), her knights don’t have many good squares to go to, and she’s behind in development.The plan for you here should be to immediately play g3, bust up Black’s advanced K-side pawns, open lines for your rooks to attack down the g and/or h files, and push any remaining pawns on the K-side to attack Black’s castled king. This will also open up the c1–h6 diagonal for your bishop; after you remove Black’s f4 pawn you can play f4 to remove her e5 pawn then advance your own e-pawn to open the diagonal for your light squared bishop, or maybe have to reposition it to e2. Also you may need to play Ne2 to bring the knight over to the kingside to put extra pressure on f4 and g3 and perhaps on to directly assisting in the kingside attack. In a nutshell, open up lines on the kingside, throw your kingside pawns at Black’s king, and throw all your pieces at him also. 12.Bc4 Unnecessary and not helpful. You’re responding to Shira’s threats instead of taking the initiative. You don’t want to recapture here with your bishop anyway, as that gives up the bishop pair unnecessarily. Let her capture then retake with your knight or e-pawn. Best was to ignore the threat since it didn’t really hurt you at all, and play g3, forcing Shira to respond to you, then follow the plan of opening up the center & K-side and flooding it with your pieces in a direct attack. 12…b5 13.dxc6+ Not a huge blunder, but a mistake nonetheless. It doesn’t lose material, but it gives up your bishop (and the bishop pair, and opens up attacking lines for Black against your king. Much better was preserving your bishop and keeping the Q-side closed with Bb3. It’s these little subtle things that make the difference in a good position that’s easy to win from, and a hard-to-defend bad position where you become overwhelmed with problems. This move took you from having a very solid position with a decent advantage, to a position that was just about dead even, but with some potential problems. 13…bxc4 14.cxd7 Qxd7 15.g3 fxg3 16.Qxg3 Nh5 17.Qg2 Qg4 here forces a Q trade, removing most of Black’s attacking chances, making you much safer and pretty much assuring you of a draw. Not necessarily better than Qg2, but would have given you an almost certain draw. 17…Rab8 18.Rdg1 Not a losing move, but I think you failed to anticipate Black’s direct attack on your king and take steps to defend. Moving your king to b1 to bring your bishop to c1 in order to defend b2 was good. b3 will work, but it will also weaken the area around your king, though you should still be able to fight off and attack. 18…Bh4 19.Bh6 Looks good at first glance, but doesn’t work due to Black’s threats at f2 and his solid defense of g7. Easy to see why you’d play this though and it’s not easy to calculate this accurately and see if it works or not. [19.Qg4 Black either has to give up the attack by trading queens, or play Qb7 and take a pawn or two and run your king around while letting you get a free piece, leaving you with a nice advantage.] 19…Rxf2 20.Qxg7+ [20.Qg4 was your only decent move here. Everything else loses the queen. Even with Qg4, you're still in some trouble, though not really lost... just down a pawn and under some pressure.] 20…Nxg7 21.Be3 [21.Rxg7+ MUCH better. You get a Q & N for a R & B. Still leaves you a pawn & rook down, but...] 21…Rf7 22.Rg2 Rbf8 23.Rhh2 Kh8 24.Kb1 Rf1+ 25.Bc1 Re1 All in all, you played MUCH better than expected. Shira by NO means ran over you. In fact, you had the advantage throughout most of the game and played well with no big mistakes until a small miscalculation near the end. Until then, all your mistakes were very small, minor things that are easily corrected. Although you lost this game, you have a LOT to be proud of and you played quite well. 0–1

Thanks, Chessdaddy :)

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Russian Chess Queen Diary Presentation

Today, September 9, 2009 the leading Moscow news organization “Argumenty I Fakty” (see wiki page) invited me to a Press Conference to talk about the newly published Russian version of my book “Дневники шахматной королевы” (“Diary of a Chess Queen” in Russian). If you read Russian and would like to buy it, it’s available now and on sale on .

During the Press Release and presentation I answered many questions about my book, and many others, such as what is the difference between men’s and women’s chess, what are my expectations for the Karpov-Kasparov chess match that will take place in Valencia in September, what do I think about doping in chess, will it be possible to see chess in the Olympic Games one day and many more questions. I also gave a 10-board simul and won all games. It was all recorded by TV and I hope to get a copy to share with you later on.

Here are some photos of today’s presentation in Moscow:

I remind you that the English version of my book “DIARY OF A CHESS QUEEN” is available for pre-order now and will be coming out in the USA on December 1, just in time for Christmas! If you order it before it’s published you are guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery and also I will sign a free personal autograph for you or for your loved one in the book. When ordering mention the desired text, for example “Merry Christmas to …” and I will add a note to that too.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion