Kosteniuk Travels to Dagomys via Moscow

The winners of the Izvestia Chess Contest
Yes I’m on the photo too!
(photo courtesy: Izvestia)

Hello everybody!

Just a short note to tell you all that after a safe transatlantic flight from Miami through New York to Moscow and then to Sochi I arrived to Dagomys where the Russian Team Chess Championship will start tomorrow. The games will be transmitted LIVE and I will let you know how it goes.

Yesterday, after arriving from New York I went to congratulate the winners of the Izvestia Puzzle Chess Contest. If you know Russian, you can read the article here. I also passed by the Central Chess Club to say good-bye to the 7th world chess champion Vassily Smyslov.

There were also two terrible terrorist acts in the Moscow Metro with many people killed and wounded, I just want to give my sincere condolences to the families who lost their close family and friends. It’s such a terrible thing that people in such a modern world still prefer to fight their conflicts by killing each other.

Let us wish and pray that in the future we will only have battles on the chess boards.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Vasily Smyslov 1921-2010

I’m playing a simul against
Vasily Smyslov, Moscow 1990.

Dear chess friends!

The chess legend, fantastic chess-player, searcher for chess harmony and a very talented champion, the 7th world chess champion Vasily Vasilyevich Smyslov (Russian: Василий Васильевич Смыслов) passed away last night.

It’s always sad when such a legend leaves our world but Vasily Vasilyevich will always be remembered in our hearts and through his magnificent chess masterpieces. The games of Smyslov are not filled with sacrifices but his pieces are always heading to the perfect squares.

Just a few days ago I was analyzing the following game of Smyslov from the Candidates tournament of 1953 which he won.

[Event "Candidates Tournament"]
[Date "1953.10.10"]
[Round "22"]
[White "Smyslov Vasily"]
[Black "Geller Efim P"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "E94"]
[Source "Candidates"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Be2 e5 7.O-O c6
8.Re1 exd4 9.Nxd4 Re8 10.Bf1 Ng4 11.h3 Qf6 12.hxg4 Qxd4 13.g5!
Nd7 14.Bf4 Qxd1 15.Raxd1 Be5 16.Be3 Nc5 17.f3 Be6 18.Rc1 a5 19.Rc2
a4 20.a3 Reb8 21.Rb1 h6 22.gxh6 f5 23.f4 Bf6 24.e5 Be7 25.exd6
Bxd6 26.Rd1 Bf8 27.Nd5! Rd8 28.Nf6+ Kf7 29.Rxd8 Rxd8 30.Nh7 Ne4
31.Ng5+ Kf6 32.g4 Rd1 33.Nxe4+ fxe4 34.g5+ Kf7 35.Kf2 Rd7 36.Rd2
Rxd2+ 37.Bxd2 Bc5+ 38.Be3 Bd6 39.Bd4 Kg8 40.Ke3 Bf5 41.c5 Bc7
42.Be2 Ba5 43.Bd1 Be1 44.Bxa4 1-0

Vasily Vasilievich was not only a brilliant chess player but also a fine baritone singer, who only positively decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950. He once said, “I have always lived between chess and music.”

Smyslov was also a chess composer, he created many nice chess studies, like, for example, this one:

White plays and makes a draw. V. Smyslov, 2000

I’m with the Smyslovy’s – Nadezhda Andreevna and
Vasily Vasilievich in Moscow, 2004

RIP, Vasily Vasilyevich

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

From Anand – Kosteniuk

Anand – Kosteniuk, Black to play

Hello everybody!

In the weekly chess article by Grandmaster Helmut Pfleger in the great German newspaper Die Zeit, the above position is given, from my game of the 2009 world blitz championship against the world chess champion Vishy Anand.

In this position I’m up in material and with little time on the clock, I wanted to secure a win and put make a little trap, so I played 1…Rad8, since if white plays 2.Rdxe4? I can play Qxe4! 3. Rxe4 Rd1+ with mate to follow. Anand played something different and I ended up winning the game thanks to my material advantage. However, did I not miss something in the position in the diagram?

If you’d like to see a preview of that game in a commented video, it’s on my YouTube channel at this link. I also have a full version of this game and many other nice games in my new “Blitz Chess Fever” DVD, on sale on www.chessqueen.com.

Here is the text (in German) of the article:

Wie Sergej Prokofjew spielt sie Klavier, wie Vladimir Nabokov schreibt sie Gedichte auf Russisch und Englisch, wie beide ist sie am 23. April geboren. Mag das auch jeweils etwas holpriger sein, im Schach übertrifft die 25-jährige Weltmeisterin Alexandra Kostenjuk ihre beiden ebenfalls vorzüglich schachspielenden Landsleute ohne Zweifel. »Sie bringt Glamour in die Welt der karierten Bretter«, schreibt die Weltwoche, und das nicht nur, weil sie auch als Model arbeitet und Luxusgüter bewirbt.

Über tausend Artikel in mehr als 20 Sprachen sind über sie erschienen. Ihre Homepage kosteniuk.com wird täglich einige Tausend Male angeklickt, schon 2001 – da war sie immerhin schon Vizeweltmeisterin und seit drei Jahren weibliche Großmeisterin – wurde sie vom Weltschachbund zum »Gesicht des Schachs« erklärt. In ihren eigenen Worten: »Ich bin clever, also kann ich Schach spielen; ich bin nicht ganz hässlich, also kann ich als Model arbeiten.«

Mögen auch beide angeblichen Kausalzusammenhänge nicht per se zwingend sein, bei ihr treffen sie jedenfalls zu. Bei der Blitz-WM in Moskau wagte sich die Mutter einer kleinen Tochter neben Judit Polgar mit gutem Erfolg unter die Meute der besten Männer – es siegte schließlich Carlsen vor Anand, Karjakin und Kramnik. Gegen den amtierenden indischen Weltmeister Viswanathan Anand gelang ihr dabei ein schöner Sieg.

Hier gewann sie als Schwarze mit der indirekten Verteidigung des Läufers e4 durch 1…Tad8, weil 2.Tdxe4 Dxe4 3.Txe4 an 3…Td1+ nebst Matt scheitert. Allerdings hätte sie in der Diagrammstellung überraschend auch ein Matt erzwingen können. Wie?

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Thanks to @spooksignaal for letting me know about it on Twitter!
The link to the original article is here.

Goodwill Chess by Martha Fierro

Hello everybody!

As I announced in February, March 2010 is a special goodwill events month initiated by the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess, which I co-chair.

The Secretary of the Women’s Commission Martha Fierro has given goodwill simuls and events in Puerto Rico and Ecuador and is right now in Detroit for the final goodwill simuls of this month. The FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess supported these events by donating free chess books and DVD’s to each participant.

Here is the link to the article about the simul in Detroit that has been published a few days ago.

Below you will find the info in Spanish about Marta’s visit to Guyanabo, Puerto Rico.


Por Francisco J. Cruz Arce

El pasado jueves, 11 de marzo de 2010, la Maestra Internacional de ajedrez Martha Fierro visitó el Club de Ajedrez de Guaynabo como parte la Comisión Femenina de la FIDE para impulsar el ajedrez femenino en Puerto Rico. En su visita Martha disfrutó del exquisito buffet del restaurantes Giovanna’s, mientras dialogaba con líderes del club y de la Federación de Ajedrez de Puerto Rico sobre asuntos del ajedrez a nivel isla y mundialmente. Luego la actividad comenzó formalmente, esta estaba dirigida específicamente para niñas de 6 a 18 años. Se componía de una sección de autógrafos con fotos, una simultánea y una entrega de libros y material ajedrecístico.

En la firma de autógrafo y fotos las niñas ya mostraban su emoción, por tener frente a ellas una maestra de calibre mundial, quien había sacado de su ajetreada agenda un tiempo para venir y compartir con ellas. Cabe señalar que no solo las niñas disfrutaron de esta parte de la actividad, pues fuimos muchos los que nos colamos para una foto y un autógrafo.

Luego pasamos a la simultánea. Con un total de 13 niñas y 4 niños, Martha comenzó sus partidas. Como era de esperarse fue nuestra pequeña promesa, WCM Danitza Vázquez Maccarini, quien dio la lucha más larga. Danitza demostró muy bien su conocimiento en la apertura contra 1.d4. Luego en el medio juego la fuerza de la maestra se impuso ganándole un peón, para así pasar a un final de torres con las blancas un peón arriba. Para este momento la IM Martha Fierro ya había finalizado con todas sus partidas de manera invicta, colocó un asiento frente a su más dura rival y emprendió la batalla por el punto completo. En el final la Maestra siguió presionando y luego del cambio de torres, el camino fue más fácil para las blancas, y completaron la victoria. Definitivamente una experiencia significativa para todas las niñas.

Luego, nuestra invitada tomo unos minutos para charlar con las ajedrecistas. Les dio consejos para mejorar su ajedrez, de lo importante que es tomarlo como diversión, practicarlo y estudiar para mejorarlo. En esta parte de la actividad nuestra invitada principal aprovechó la oportunidad de obsequiarles libros y material ajedrecístico a todas nuestras pequeñas invitadas, autografiados nada más y nada menos que por la campeona del mundo, Alexandra Kosteniuk. DVD’s de sus mejores partidas, así como también sus anécdotas de cómo llego a ser Gran Maestra y Campeona del Mundo; eran los temas principales.

Una noche que fue todo un éxito. La comunidad ajedrecística de Guaynabo, Puerto Rico y sus pueblos cercanos disfrutó de una actividad diferente. Una colaboración entre Martha, la Comisión Femenina de la FIDE, la Federación de Ajedrez de Puerto Rico y nuestro club que esperemos sea la primera de muchas.

Agradecemos a CHOICE CABLE TV y GIOVANNA’S LATIN BUFFET quienes fueron nuestros auspiciadores principales y también a nuestros siempre presentes auspiciadores, y los diferentes clubes del área que asisten y auspician este tipo de actividades que el Club de Guaynabo planifica con tanto esfuerzo para toda la comunidad ajedrecística de Puerto Rico. Pero, nuestro gran agradecimiento es para la MI Martha Fierro quien se robo el corazón de cada uno de nuestras niñas y jóvenes participantes que aún continúan comentando de su maravillosa experiencia.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

2010 CJA Awards Program Open

Dear friends of our beloved game of chess!

It is my pleasure to announce that the 2010 Chess Journalism Awards are open for your submissions!

I will keep my introduction short but to the point:

These awards are for YOU. I would like as many people as possible to apply, so we can have a chance to recognize YOU for the good you are doing for CHESS. There are MANY categories, including ones in which YOU are likely to have contributed (best chess blog, best analysis, best review, best interview, best chess photo…) and so YOU can have a chance to get one of the prestigious CJA awards and be published as a winner in the most circulated chess magazine in the world, “Chess Life“.

To apply is super easy and is open to any citizen of the USA or of the whole world. If you’re not yet a member of the CJA, just become one – see my previous post asking you to join the CJA (cost is only $10 USA, $15 non-USA). All the rules for applying are below, you can even apply in different categories to increase your chances. You have until June 2 to submit your entries.

Now please do me a favor, think of all the great chess journalism (web, print, photo, video) you did last year, think how nice it would be to be recognized for it, and apply for an award!

General Information about the 2010 CJA Awards:

Recipient of the 2009 Chess Journalist of the Year Award and Grandmaster Alexandra Kosteniuk, President of the Chess Journalists of America, and Ramon A. Hernandez, Chairman of the CJA Awards Committee and Chief Judge, announce their annual call for entries to the 2010 Annual CJA Chess Journalism Awards. The CJA awards honor the best in all facets of chess journalism. From journalism in print to those written and published online, the most excellent in chess articles, columns, photojournalism, infographics, layout and online are honored within their respective categories. Winners will be recognized in Chess Life and The Chess Journalist and will receive certificates.

Please note that submission rules have changed from past years.

Please read the following directions before submitting an entry or multiple entries for consideration. You may submit an entry for one or more categories. In addition, you may also submit several entries for various categories. Each entry must be entered accompanied with its own cover sheet (provided below) There is small fee which must accompany each entry or the entry will not be reviewed for consideration. Any questions on the CJA Awards should be directed to the CJA Awards Committee Chairman and Chief Judge Ramon Antonio Hernandez at rahernan@optonline.net.

Submitting an Entry

Each entry must contain the following:

* A check or money order (no cash) in the total amount of your entry payable to Chess Journalists of America. If you prefer to pay by Paypal, please contact me.

* One cover sheet per each entry you are submitting. A copy of the cover sheet is enclosed within this file. In addition, the cover sheet is available to download at our CJA website: http://chessjournalism.org

* Print entries: All entries which did not run in Chess Life or Chess Life for Kids must be submitted off a tear sheet and therefore must be [a hard copy] cut straight down the middle of the publication’s page. In addition, the same holds true for cartoons or photos. If the entry did run in Chess Life or Chess Life for Kids please mail a photocopy or a pdf of the entry as published in either respective publication. Entries which ran in CL and CL4K please indicate publication month which it ran in and which of the two it ran in.

NOTE: Entries for the Best State Magazine/Newsletter award category must send four copies of four original sets of one year’s worth of issues.

* Online entries: Entries which appear on the internet must provide the URL which contains the entry. The writer’s name must be attributed to the name of the individual on the award’s cover sheet.

If you must submit a print entry, mail five copies of the entry to the aforementioned address. By submitting an entry to the Awards, you are giving the CJA the right to display the entry on its website.

Eligibility: All entries must be for work published between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010. CJA’s Annual Chess Journalism Awards are open to any individual currently a CJA Regular Member, a CJA Life Member or those eligible to become a CJA Regular Member. You may submit entries to multiple categories.

Fees: All entries require an entry fee of $15 for the first entry (includes 1 year of membership in the CJA) and $8 for each additional entry. Life members receive the first entry free, $8 for each additional entry submitted.

Cover Sheets: One cover sheet must be stapled to each copy of print entries (originals and copies). Sheets are available at http://chessjournalism.org or by mail upon request to the awards committee chairman.

Entry Deadline: All entries must be received on or by Wednesday June 2, 2010.

Address: Mail the completed entry package to Chief Judge Ramon A. Hernandez; 1996 Anthony Avenue; Apartment #2B; Bronx, NY 10457-3911. Make checks payable to Chess Journalists of America. If you’d prefer to pay via Paypal, please contact me.

Judges: Volunteer judges are needed, CJA members or others interested in chess journalism should contact Ramon A. Hernandez at cja-entries2010@chessjournalism.org for information.

Send entries to the Chief Judge, with checks payable to Chess Journalists of America or proof of payment via Paypal:

Ramon A. Hernandez
1996 Anthony Avenue
Apartment #2B
Bronx, NY 10457-3911

The coversheet can be downloaded by clicking one of the following links.

Instructions (PDF format)
Cover Sheet (PDF format)

To view Entries Received click here.

The following categories are open only to print journalist and print publications.


Chess Journalist of the Year: Awarded to the individual who has contributed the most to chess journalism within the past year. Only work from the past year will be considered. CJA members vote by mail ballot to select the winner; please provide resume of work (i.e. articles) for the CJA website.

Best Story of the Year: Recognizes initiative and original news reporting of a situation, problem or issue affecting chess within the past year. Judges will look for entries which show leadership, quality writing, sensitivity and fairness. Please send a tear sheet of the page(s) containing the article, websites are ineligible for this award and it is open to individuals who are and aren’t members of the mainstream media.

Best Chess Column: Awarded to the columnist for best spotlighting a story which focuses on in depth news, explains recent events or revolves around a features (human-interest) story as they each relate to chess. Please send three columns, four tear sheets of each column.

Best State Magazine/Newsletter: Awarded to the best USCF state chapter and their editor-in-chief for overall excellence in news articles, features stories, features section (cartoons); graphics, photography, layout and ability to reach their state members through this medium. Please send four copies of four original sets of one year’s worth of issues. States with two publications must submit and thereby enter them separately. The entry must be the official state publication of their respective USCF state chapter/affiliate.


Best Tournament Report Article: Presented to the writer who best covers and conveys a story of a tournament occurring within the past year.


Best Editorial: Editorials, signed or unsigned, written by one individual, that speak for the magazine/newsletter or their organization and takes a clear stand on a chess issue.


Best Chess Magazine/Newsletter Layout: Honors visual excellence in designing spreads within the chess magazine/newsletter and use of each space per page. Send four of the same issues published between June 1, 2009 and May 31, 2010 demonstrating the publication’s use of page designing.


Best Recognition in Chess Advertising: Honoring an in house advertisement staff, staff ad member or outside ad agency who has submitted an ad either selling a product, house ad or ad campaign all in relation to chess. If the ad was done by an ad agency then please give the ad agency’s contact information. This award is limited to print media (mainstream or not)


Excellence in Chess Writing, Mainstream Media: Entries ineligible for other categories. Awarded to chess writing in a mainstream publication (defined as a magazine listed in the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature). Regular chess features ineligible.

Best Regular Newspaper Column: This award includes syndicated columns and will be awarded to the columnist for who best spotlights a story which focuses on in depth news, explains recent events or revolves around a features (human-interest) story as they each relate to chess.

Best Regular Newspaper Article of Local Interest: Limited to local, metropolitan or regional columns. This award will be presented to the reporter who best spotlights a story which focuses on in depth news, explains recent events or revolves around a features (human-interest) story as they each relate to chess. It is also open to non-mainstream media publications and their editorial staff.

The following categories are open to journalist and publications both in print and those found online.


Best Chess Photojournalism: A single photograph portraying some aspect of chess. This award aims at recognizing the craft of photographically reporting chess, not just the artistic and technical qualities of photography. Please send a tear sheet of the page containing the photograph which should have the photo credit along side it. If the entry is on the web, please submit the URL containing the entry and acknowledging yourself as the photojournalist who captured the shot near the photo.


Best Instructive Lesson: For written lessons of a game of chess, (should be a lesson, not just an annotated game).

Best Review: Presented to a writer for the best review of a book, software, etc.

Best Humorous Contribution: Open to chess jokes, cartoon, satire, irony, parody, etc. Judges will decide on the basis of which entry bought of the most laughter in contrast to other items entered within the category.


Most Notable Achievement in Correspondence Chess: For journalistic work of any type (article, photojournalism, graphic, editorial, etc.) regarding correspondence chess.

Best Historical Article: For articles describing an aspect of chess history, especially those tying chess history to social or cultural events from the past.

Best Interview: Not limited to a question and answer session, this award will be judged on the reporter’s/writer’s ability to show skill in eliciting instructive, emotional and revealing responses.

Best Chess Art: Send a magazine/newsletter cover, internet display, etc. If the entry is posted on the web you must be the designer of the artwork and owner of the website or affiliated with the organization who owns the URL.

Best Analysis: For openings, middlegames, endgames, games or groups of games analyzed deeply. Please send a tear sheet of the page(s) or URL containing the pgn pictures and analysis.

The following categories are open only to online journalist and their websites.


Best [USCF] State Chapter Website: Awarded to the top website which must be produced and maintained primarily by a member of that United State Chess Federation’s (USCF) state affiliate. Awards will be based on design, ease of navigation, writing and editing, graphics and interactivity.

Best General Chess Website: Awarded to the top website which focuses on chess (either by offering instructional tips, serves as reference, etc) Awards will be based on design, purpose, ease of navigation, writing and editing, graphics and interactivity.

Best Streamed Video of Chess News: Awarded to the best streaming video news and news video clips streamed on the internet on a website owned by oneself or that allows one to upload a video for which can be streamed by the public. The content must be newsworthy in chess and uploaded within the past year.

Best Chess Blog: Open to online chess blogs. Send URLs of three best blog entries off the same top-level domain. Blogs will be judged on visual appeal, content and ability to draw constructive comments from readers.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion
President of the Chess Journalists of America

February 2010 Best Games

Hello all!

As happens every month, a few days ago I received a nice email from IM Maxim Notkin from chesspro.ru with the best games of February, asking me to choose my top 10. I was so glad to see that among those 20 games there were 2 beautiful games by chess ladies.

Here they are, for you to enjoy (copy and paste the moves into my PGNPLAYER)

[Event "Bundesliga 2009-10"]
[Site "Trier GER"]
[Date "2010.2.28"]
[Round "11"]
[White "Degtiarev, E."]
[Black "Muzychuk, A."]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "A81"]
[Annotator ""]
[Source ""]

1.d4 f5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.O-O O-O 6.c4 d6 7.Nc3 e6
8.Re1 Ne4 9.Qc2 Nxc3 10.Qxc3 Nc6 11.Rd1 Qe7 12.Qa3 a5 13.Bg5
Qe8 14.c5 h6 15.Bd2 Qe7 16.cxd6 cxd6 17.h4 Bd7 18.Rac1 Rfc8 19.Be1
Be8 20.Qd3 e5 21.dxe5 dxe5 22.e4 Bf7 23.Qb1 Be6 24.h5 f4 25.gxf4
Rf8 26.Bd2 exf4 27.hxg6 Ne5 28.Nxe5 Bxe5 29.f3 Rf6 30.Bc3 Qc5+
31.Kh1 Rxg6 32.Bd4 Qe7 33.Bxe5 Qh4+ 34.Kg1 Rxg2+ 35.Kxg2 Bh3+
36.Kh1 Bg4+ 37.Kg2 Qg3+ 38.Kf1 Qxf3+ 39.Kg1 Qg3+ 40.Kf1 Bh3+ 0-1

[Event "Sicilian Theme Match"]
[Site "Hilton Head USA"]
[Date "2010.2.23"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Polgar, Ju"]
[Black "Kaidanov, G."]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B78"]
[Annotator ""]
[Source ""]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3
Nc6 8.Qd2 O-O 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.O-O-O Rc8 11.Bb3 Ne5 12.Kb1 Re8 13.h4
h5 14.g4 hxg4 15.h5 Nxh5 16.Rdg1 e6 17.Bh6 Qf6 18.fxg4 Bxh6 19.Qxh6
Qg7 20.Qd2 Nf6 21.g5 Nh5 22.Nce2 Nc4 23.Bxc4 Rxc4 24.b3 Rc5 25.Ng3
Nxg3 26.Rxg3 Rec8 27.Rgh3 e5 28.Rh4 exd4 29.Qh2 Kf8 30.Qxd6+
Kg8 31.Qxd7 d3 32.c4 Qc3 33.R4h2 b5 34.e5 Qxe5 35.Rh7 R5c7 36.Qd6 1-0

Also, Maxim sent me the top games of the year 2009, you can view them here. It’s nice to see that the win by Judit Polgar over Boris Gelfand is in this list.

[Event "World Cup"]
[Site "Khanty-Mansiysk RUS"]
[Date "2009.11.28"]
[Round "3.2"]
[White "Polgar,Ju"]
[Black "Gelfand,B"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C24"]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 c6 4.Qe2 Be7 5.Nf3 O-O 6.Bb3 d6 7.O-O
Nbd7 8.c3 a5 9.a4 b5 10.Bc2 Ba6 11.axb5 cxb5 12.Nbd2 Qc7 13.d4
a4 14.Bd3 Rfb8 15.Nh4 g6 16.f4 exf4 17.Ndf3 Nh5 18.Bd2 Nb6 19.g4
fxg3 20.Ng5 Nc4 21.Nf5 Bxg5 22.Bxg5 f6 23.Bh4 gxh2+ 24.Qxh2 Rf8
25.Be2 gxf5 26.Bxh5 fxe4 27.Qf4 f5 28.Kh1 Kh8 29.Rg1 Rf7 30.Bxf7
Qxf7 31.Qh6 Rf8 32.Rg6 1-0

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Baby Natura invents BlankChess

Hello dear chess lovers!

Thanks to @pawnman44004 on Twitter who told me about the short video above of a little girl who invented a new kind of chess game.

Since I have a little girl almost 3 years old, I am interested in what one can do at such a young age, and went to check it out. I must say I liked it very much!

The little girl is called Natura and she just turned 5 years old 11 days ago. (Happy birthday! Write me an email and I will send you a birthday gift)

Natura, the inventor of “blankchess”

On her web site, one can read:

Baby Natura invented BlankChess when she was 4 years 4 months old. She is placing chess pieces on the board as shown on a print out to learn knight forks. She started placing with King pieces and she got this idea. She told her father to play like that way. Interestingly, he thought that this game could be a chess variant and he searched on the web, but this is not existed. He realized this will become a wonderful chess variant. He named it BlankChess and he decided to make her the youngest Grand Master. She is now practicing more and seeking invitations, promoters and support to create more wonders.

On her blankchess site, she explains the rules:

The beauty of this game is playable with normal chess set
and also great stuff for beginners as well as very tough for grand masters.

This game follows all normal rules of regular chess, but where the opening of the game does play a major role.

As the name states “blank chess”, the game starts without pieces on the chess board. And the chess board divides horizontally into two equal fields, virtually those are white’s field and black’s field. Each player should introduce their pieces randomly anywhere in their own field starting with King, one by one, also can move or capture on their turn with already introduced pieces wherever possible on the board. Remaining rules are same as the regular chess and no special moves.

I immediately liked this idea since it’s much better than all those chess variants that have crazy new chess pieces, and can be played with a normal chess set. Also, it starts with fewer pieces, introducing them one by one, which is a nicer idea, and avoids the panic many kids have facing unknown openings.

Baby Natura can be reached by email, and the link to the original video on YouTube is here.

Best wishes to Natura, her family, and to blankchess!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Tarrito Rojo Chess Talent 2010

Hello all!

As some of my fans and followers might remember, in April 2005 I had a big promotional event in Colombia. I visited 3 cities – Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena and gave many chess simuls, speeches, interviews. You can watch some TV-programs from 2005, here. The following is what I wrote about that trip in my recent book “Diary of a Chess Queen“:

In April 2005 I traveled to Colombia at the invitation of the Colombian company JGB, makers of the vitamin supplement drink Tarrito Rojo. In the week that I spent in this wonderful Latin American country, I gave countless interviews, along with a few simultaneous exhibitions, speeches, chess lessons. The most memorable of the chess simuls was put together in the largest of Bogotá’s major commercial centers. I had not seen such interest in a chess event in a long time. The whole five hours that the simul lasted, there was a huge crowd watching the games.

Simultaneous exhibition in Bogotá, Colombia, April 2005

There’s another interesting story, which I only heard about four years later. During my visit to Colombia, a great number of stories about me were printed. At the same time, somewhere in the jungles of Colombia, three Americans were kidnapped; one of them, Mark Gonsalves, happened to spot one of these stories. Encouraged by what he had read, he carved himself a chess set, which helped him to pass the time until his release (and he and his fellow captives spent 1967 days imprisoned). In 2009, Mark published a book, Out of Captivity, where Mark talks about this incident. I am happy that chess helped Mark through a tough time in his life.”

Today I’m very glad to tell you that 5 years later the same company JGB has invited me to make another promotional trip to Colombia. On April 16 I will fly to Bogotá where my promotional tour “Tarrito Rojo Chess Talent 2010″ will start. Since the event of 2005 was one of the best organized event that I have ever taken part in, I’m already looking forward to my trip to Colombia next month. Even though there is almost one full month before the event, the organizers have already started a special preparation for this event. The key moment of my April trip to Colombia will be a big simultaneous exhibition with the top 25 finishers of the qualification tournament. The qualification tournament took place on March 20 in Bogota. 465 (!) young chess players took part in this competition. All the results of this tournament, as well as the official press-release in Spanish can be found here.

In March I went to Cali for 1 day to meet with the organizers of the event and to go over all the important organizational questions. Below is a photo of me with the Golden Cat of Cali, I hope it will bring me luck:)

The Press Release for this trip is below (in Spanish):

Belleza e inteligencia, cuestión de una mente sana

La Reina del Ajedrez llega a Colombia

El ajedrez, así como las vitaminas y los minerales, contribuyen al desarrollo mental. Una muestra de ello: Alexandra Kosteniuk, Campeona Mundial de Ajedrez, que llegará a Colombia invitada por la marca Tarrito Rojo, de JGB, primera compañía en Sur América que organiza un evento con su presencia.

Alexandra Kosteniuk, Campeona Mundial de Ajedrez, considera que esta disciplina ayuda al desarrollo mental de las personas, y de la misma manera lo hacen las vitaminas y minerales que son parte de una alimentación balanceada. Para impulsar el buen funcionamiento físico e intelectual de los niños, la firma JGB, con su marca, Tarrito Rojo, llevará a cabo el torneo Tarrito Rojo Chess Talent 2010.

Tarrito Rojo traerá a Alexandra Kosteniuk, un ejemplo de cómo el ajedrez ayuda a un óptimo crecimiento de los niños. La rusa de 25 años empezó su carrera como ajedrecista a los cinco años, siendo hoy una de las figuras más importantes de esta disciplina.

Kosteniuk ostenta el título más importante del ajedrez en la rama femenina: Campeona Mundial, y considera que esta disciplina trae grandes beneficios en la educación de los niños y niñas. Su más reciente libro, “Diario de una reina de ajedrez”, es la recopilación de cómo, a sus 25 años, ha logrado obtener grandes reconocimientos.

Durante su visita a Colombia, la rusa jugará simultáneas con 25 estudiantes de colegios distritales de Medellín y Bogotá, y demostrará porque es la mujer número 12 en la historia del ajedrez en obtener el título de Campeona Mundial de esta disciplina. También aprovechará la visita para entregar juegos de ajedrez y productos como Tarrito Rojo a los niños de la Fundación Pies Descalzos.

La ajedrecista, así como los niños del torneo, empezó su carrera desde muy joven, cuando su padre la inició en el mundo del ajedrez, y desde allí, ha tenido un recorrido lleno de éxitos. A los 10 consiguió el campeonato europeo en la categoría niñas. A los 14 se convirtió en Gran Maestro, y actualmente es Gran Maestro Absoluto, el título más alto alcanzado por hombres, y al que muy pocas mujeres han llegado.

Sin embargo, Kosteniuk no solo es la reina del tablero. Su trabajo como modelo la llevó a ser una de las figuras consentidas de Elle y Vogue y portada de Marie Claire. También se ha destacado como actriz de películas, escritora de libros y poemas, y como madre de Francesca, de dos años.

La Campeona Mundial de Ajedrez es ejemplo de mujer moderna, que le dedica tiempo a todo, incluso para jugar simultáneas y para vender artículos por internet para financiar su fundación. Detrás de su postura pensativa y seria durante los partidos de ajedrez, no esconde los atributos que la clasifican como la reina del ajedrez.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Good bye Elena Tairova

Good bye, Lena, we will miss you!

Dear friends,

I just found out on chessmoscow.ru that the very talented 18-year old Elena Tairova passed away on the 16th of March.

Elena was one of the brightest young chess stars of Russia. In 2006 and 2007 Elena twice took silver medals in the Russian women’s Superfinal and joined the Russian national team. Her FIDE rating was 2455. She had made fantastic progress between 2005 and 2007, going up 200 ELO points in 2 short years.

At the beginning of 2008 Elena got sick and missed a few important chess tournaments, but she came back to professional chess in 2009 winning the Women’s Russian Higher League and taking silver in the Russian Championship among Girls U-20. I spoke with Elena last August and was sure she would have many nice victories in the years to come.

Saddened by this terrible news, let’s thank Elena for the beautiful chess games she gave us and to the world, and let’s pray for her family and friends.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

May 8 Chess Simul Alert


New location (less than 1 mile from old announced location):

Cherry Hill High School West
2101 Chapel Ave.
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Greater Cherry Hill Chess is glad to announce:

May 8: A Day with the World Champion

On Saturday, May 8th Greater Cherry Hill Chess is proud to present a day with Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk.

In addition to being the world champion, Alexandra is probably the most prominent chess promoter of our times. Her website features news and chess photos from around the world and instructive podcasts that are truly extraordinary.

Alexandra will play 30 players in a simul. Afterwards, Alexandra will be available for photos and to sign copies of her new autobiography “Diary of a Chess Queen“. She will also deliver an afternoon seminar on her best games.

CHESS OPENINGS WIZARD ($197 value), to anyone who can defeat or draw Alexandra, compliments of Mike Leahy.
$50 GIFT CERTIFICATE TO CHESSCAFE.COM to 2 players Alexandra chooses, regardless of results, compliments of Chesscafe.com

5 HEAVYWEIGHT COMBINATION CHESS SETS AND 5 SAITEK CHESS CLOCKS– prizes for winners of the game 30 quads on Saturday night. Prizes compliments of WholesaleChess.com.


SIMUL PLAYER (30 avail). $50 10 a.m to 1 p.m.
Includes book-signing, and seminar.

Includes book signing, and 1/2 price seminar.

1:00-2:00 (For spectators, simul players and seminar attendees.)
(Simul participants attend free; Simul Spectators 1/2 price).
DINNER BREAK. 4:15-5:15
CHESS TOURNAMENT: Game 30 rated quads $10 5:15 to 9:15

Sponsored by:

Russian Team Chess Championship 2010

Hello all!

Next Monday, March 29, I will be flying to Moscow, and 2 days later to Sochi. I’m going to Dagomys to take part in the Russian Team Chess Championship.

On the image below you can see the red dot, that’s where Dagomys is, in the South of Russia, on the coast of the Black Sea.

There will be two men (higher and first leagues) tournaments and one women tournament. There will be many strong GM’s playing and this tournament is a qualification for the World and Euro Club Cups that will take place later on this year.

The women tournament will take place from April 1 to April 7, 2010. There will be 7 teams playing in the women’s tournament. I will be playing for the Moscow Chess Federation Team. My teammates will be Valentina Gunina, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Svetlana Matveeva and Olga Girya. The other 6 teams of the event are: Saint-Petersburg Chess Fedearation (with Monika Socko, Viktorija Cmilyte, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Ekaterina Atalik, A. Bodnaruk and Julia Demina); Giprorechtrans (with Natalia Zhukova on the first board); Moscow Palace (with Marina Romanko on the first board); AVS (with Antoaneta Stefanova; Anna and Maria Muzychuk, Natalia Pogonina, A. Savina and Tatiana Shadrina); GUDO SDUSHOR from St.Petersburg and Ekonomist SGSEU-Saratov (with Anna Ushenina, Zhao Xue, Elizabeth Paehtz, Baira Kovanova, Maria Kursova).

The tournament will have live coverage on the official web-site of the Russian Chess Federation. I will let you know how this tournament goes and promise to send you many photos and news.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Castle Chess Camp Scholarship

Hello all!

I’m glad to tell you that in conjunction with the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess, Castle Chess Inc. is awarding one full scholarship to a young woman from South America to come to their 2010 camp. The young woman will be a strong player with experience in international chess competition chosen by the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess, and transportation to camp will be provided by the Commission. English proficiency is required.

I’m sure that participating in a chess camp is a great way to have fun and at the same time to get better at chess. If I have a chance I’m always happy to go to a special chess training where I can dedicate 100% of my time to chess and to improving.

As a co-chairman of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess I’d like to thank Castle Chess Camps for awarding one full scholarship for a young player from South America!

Best wishes,
Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Pia Cramling – Women’s European Champion 2010

Hello everybody!

Today the last tie-break matches of the European championship have been played and it’s time to congratulate the winners.

Pia Cramling from Sweden took clear first place in the women’s European chess championship 2010 , she scored 9 points out of 11, congratulations! It’s the second success of the Swedish GM in the continental championships, Pia also took gold 7 years ago in 2003.

Viktorija Cmilyte who lost to Pia in the final round took clear second place with 8,5 out of 11. This is Viktorija’s third second-place finish, the other two being in 2003, and 2008.

The bronze medal was decided on tie-break since 5 players shared third place with 8 points out of 11. After winning all the tie-break matches Monika Socko won the bronze medal.

1. Pia Cramling 2. Viktorija Cmilyte 3. Monica Socko

Congratulations to these 3 ladies on their great performance and fair play!

Among the players who scored 7,5 out of 11, tie-break matches were also needed to determine the qualifiers for the 2012 women’s world chess championship. Since only 14 qualification places were on play, some players needed to play tie-breaks. Among all the tie-break matches one can notice the win by the 14-year old Ziaziulkina Nastassia (2188) from Belarus who beat Almira Skripchenko in blitz 2-0 to take the final qualifying spot.

The full table of the 2010 European Chess Championship can be found at the bottom of this post.

The previous winners of the European Chess Championships are as follows:

2000: Natalia Zhukova
2001: Almira Skripchenko
2002: Antoaneta Stefanova
2003: Pia Cramling
2004: Alexandra Kosteniuk
2005: Kateryna Lahno
2006: Ekaterina Atalik
2007: Tatiana Kosintseva
2008: Kateryna Lahno
2009: Tatiana Kosintseva
2010: Pia Cramling

Below are a few tactical shots from Pia Cramling’s games from this championship:

Round 1. Sandu – Cramling. Black to move

Round 3. Molchanova – Cramling. Black to move

Round 4. Cramling – Zawadzka. White to move

Round 9. Khurtsidze – Cramling. Black to move.

By the way, did you know that Pia and I share the same birthday day – April 23 :-)

Here is the full final table of the European Championship:

Rk. NameFEDRtgIPts. TB1 TB2 TB3 Rpnwwew-weKrtg+/-
GMCramling PiaSWE25239,0061,574,526771197,071,931019,3
IMCmilyte ViktorijaLTU24858,5059,573,52622118,56,561,941019,4
GMSocko MonikaPOL24658,0163,577,525951186,161,841018,4
GMSebag MarieFRA25068,0260,573,525551187,340,66106,6
GMKosintseva TatianaRUS25248,0363,076,025951187,010,99109,9
WGMZhukova NataliaUKR24928,0460,572,525561187,130,87108,7
IMDembo YelenaGRE24578,0557,069,525451186,731,271012,7
GMStefanova AntoanetaBUL25557,5065,580,52552117,57,420,08100,8
IMMuzychuk AnnaSLO25337,5063,577,02550117,57,180,32103,2
IMKosintseva NadezhdaRUS25547,5061,074,52540117,57,63-0,1310-1,3
IMMuzychuk MariyaUKR24447,5061,074,52550117,55,871,631016,3
IMKhurtsidze NinoGEO24347,5060,574,02526117,56,061,441014,4
IMSkripchenko AlmiraFRA24567,5060,073,52514117,56,590,91109,1
IMUshenina AnnaUKR24527,5058,070,52511117,56,580,92109,2
IMRajlich IwetaPOL24597,5056,570,02477117,57,160,34103,4
WFMZiaziulkina NastassiaBLR21887,5056,569,02543117,52,485,021575,3
IMKovalevskaya EkaterinaRUS24387,5053,066,02457117,57,120,38103,8
WGMZawadzka JolantaPOL24047,0064,577,524781175,881,121011,2
GMHoang Thanh TrangHUN24877,0061,574,524421177,55-0,5510-5,5
IMMoser EvaAUT24377,0060,573,525171175,791,211012,1
IMRomanko MarinaRUS24097,0059,572,024881175,811,191011,9
IMGvetadze SopioGEO23427,0057,569,524851174,892,111021,1
WGMSavina AnastasiaRUS23917,0056,569,524841175,631,371013,7
WFMGunina ValentinaRUS24577,0056,569,024151177,59-0,5910-5,9
GMDzagnidze NanaGEO24797,0055,567,024721177,11-0,1110-1,1
WGMBodnaruk AnastasiaRUS23847,0055,565,023511065,420,58158,7
IMGaponenko InnaUKR24727,0054,566,524151177,81-0,8110-8,1
IMPaehtz ElisabethGER24867,0053,564,523971178,20-1,2010-12,0
WGMGalojan LilitARM23806,5061,574,02473116,55,051,451521,8
WGMGuramishvili SopikoGEO22666,5059,571,52467116,53,572,931544,0
WGMNebolsina VeraRUS23106,5058,570,02436116,54,561,941529,1
IMSedina ElenaITA23346,5058,070,52468116,54,472,031020,3
WIMSchneider VeronikaHUN23146,5056,568,52423116,54,861,641524,6
WGMCosma Elena-LuminitaROU23466,5055,068,02403116,55,640,86108,6
IMDanielian ElinaARM24916,5054,566,02387116,57,92-1,4210-14,2
IMMelia SalomeGEO24676,5054,565,52369116,57,82-1,3210-13,2
WIMMolchanova TatjanaRUS23696,5054,067,02398116,56,030,47157,1
WGMGirya OlgaRUS23626,5054,066,02373116,56,310,19152,8
GMPeng ZhaoqinNED24016,5053,565,52411116,56,330,17101,7
WGMManakova MariaSRB23156,5053,063,52391116,55,311,191517,9
WGMCharkhalashvili IngaGEO23386,5052,564,52399116,55,570,931513,9
WGMKashlinskaya AlinaRUS23326,5051,564,52399106,55,590,911513,6
WGMKovanova BairaRUS23856,5051,563,52358116,56,83-0,3310-3,3
WGMVega Gutierrez SabrinaESP23146,5051,563,02374116,55,600,901513,5
IMKhotenashvili BelaGEO24486,5050,561,52334116,58,05-1,5510-15,5
WGMZdebskaja NataliaUKR23906,5050,561,02339116,57,22-0,7210-7,2
WGMKochetkova JuliaRUS23136,5048,559,52345116,55,980,52157,8
GMArakhamia-Grant KetevanSCO24476,0064,578,024571165,860,14101,4
IMMatveeva SvetlanaRUS23736,0059,071,524341165,120,88108,8
IMJavakhishvili LelaGEO25006,0058,069,523691167,83-1,8310-18,3
WGMChelushkina IrinaSRB23196,0057,569,524111164,671,331013,3
WGMKursova MariaRUS22966,0053,563,523171165,180,821512,3
WGMDoluhanova EvgeniyaUKR22976,0053,563,523401165,020,981514,7
WIMArabidze MeriGEO22926,0053,065,023911164,621,381520,7
IMMkrtchian LilitARM25036,0053,064,523131168,59-2,5910-25,9
WIMSchut LisaNED22246,0053,063,023431164,281,721525,8
WGMVojinovic JovanaMNE22966,0051,061,522621054,570,43156,4
WIMFranciskovic BorkaCRO22456,0051,061,023051164,711,291519,4
IMMilliet SophieFRA23916,0050,561,023001167,39-1,3910-13,9
IMFoisor Cristina-AdelaROU24336,0050,063,023201167,63-1,6310-16,3
WGMPrzezdziecka MartaPOL22546,0050,062,023631164,411,591523,9
WGMMajdan JoannaPOL23646,0050,061,523451166,32-0,3215-4,8

WIMTarasova ViktoriyaRUS22616,0050,061,523791164,311,691525,4
WIMDanelia MariamGEO21996,0049,559,523021164,291,711525,6
WGMKostiuk TatianaUKR22946,0049,559,022341054,960,04150,6
IMVasilevich TatjanaUKR24146,0048,559,523011167,56-1,5610-15,6
IMLomineishvili MaiaGEO23856,0047,558,022861167,47-1,4710-14,7
WGMAginian NellyARM22966,0047,057,022431166,43-0,4315-6,4
WIMSolic KristinaCRO21926,0045,555,523331163,972,031530,5
WIMVidenova IvaBUL22586,0043,052,522621165,910,09151,4
WIMSeveriukhina ZojaRUS23556,0041,552,021231168,27-2,2715-34,0
WGMBerend ElviraLUX22995,5058,570,02317115,54,910,59158,9
IMPurtseladze MakaGEO22995,5057,568,52366115,54,331,171517,5
WGMMelnikova YanaRUS22725,5056,568,52349115,54,411,091516,4
WGMKadziolka BeataPOL23115,5053,565,02335115,55,120,38155,7

WIMDolzhykova KaterynaUKR22905,5053,565,02335115,54,860,64159,6
WIMSikorova OlgaCZE22565,5053,064,52288115,54,740,761511,4

WIMWorek JoannaPOL22455,5053,064,52346115,54,011,491522,4
WFMLomako AnnaRUS22585,5052,563,52298115,54,610,891513,4

Papp PetraHUN22635,5052,562,52233104,54,010,49157,3
IMBojkovic NatasaSRB23845,5051,563,02277115,57,07-1,5710-15,7
WIMOzturk KubraTUR22605,5051,562,02314115,54,660,841512,6

Mrvova AlenaSVK22395,5051,561,52240104,53,610,891513,4
WGMMotoc AlinaROU23485,5051,062,52263115,56,77-1,2715-19,0
WGMMamedjarova TurkanAZE22695,5050,561,52312115,54,860,64159,6
WIMButuc MariaRUS21945,5049,060,02318115,53,711,791526,9

Abdulla KhayalaAZE21405,5047,057,02292115,53,312,191532,8
WIMKazimova NarminAZE22125,5046,056,02226115,55,030,47157,1
WIMToma KatarzynaPOL22595,5043,054,52223115,55,91-0,4115-6,2
WIMDrljevic LjiljaSRB22485,5036,546,52050115,57,47-1,9715-29,5
WIMBorosova ZuzanaSVK23075,0052,563,022351155,95-0,9515-14,3
WIMPapadopoulou VeraGRE22285,0052,064,022501154,670,33154,9
WFMMammadova GulnarAZE22995,0052,063,022171155,83-0,8315-12,4
WIMGromova IuliaRUS22265,0052,062,522561154,460,54158,1
IMDworakowska JoannaPOL23565,0051,062,522121157,10-2,1010-21,0
WIMIvakhinova InnaRUS22185,0050,061,022891153,931,071516,0
WIMFakhiridou EkateriniGRE22525,0050,060,021961155,48-0,4815-7,2
WGMCalzetta Ruiz MonicaESP22965,0049,059,021931156,01-1,0115-15,1
WGMMamedjarova ZeinabAZE22895,0048,559,521851156,36-1,3615-20,4
WGMMedic MirjanaCRO22795,0047,058,021881156,26-1,2615-18,9
WGMSemenova IrinaRUS22725,0047,056,522091155,93-0,9315-13,9

Haast AnneNED22355,0046,056,022201155,22-0,2215-3,3
WIMTsatsalashvili KetiGEO23265,0045,556,021761157,19-2,1915-32,8
WIMUmudova NargizAZE22115,0045,055,022011154,820,18152,7
WIMPaikidze NaziGEO23225,0044,556,021691157,24-2,2415-33,6
WIMHoolt SarahGER22155,0044,054,021641155,43-0,4315-6,4
WIMKopinits Anna-ChristinaAUT21835,0044,052,521611154,930,07151,0
WIMJelica MaraCRO22355,0043,554,021121044,92-0,9215-13,8
WGMSandu MihaelaROU22775,0042,555,521991156,11-1,1115-16,6
IMBorsuk AngelaISR23385,0042,054,521851157,22-2,2215-33,3
WIMNikolova AdrianaBUL23485,0042,054,022001157,15-2,1515-32,3
WGMNemcova KaterinaCZE22645,0042,052,021311156,85-1,8515-27,8
WGMCherednichenko SvetlanaUKR23375,0042,052,021771157,35-2,3515-35,3
WFMCherednichenko ElenaUKR21005,0040,551,022101153,361,641524,6
Ikonomopoulou MariaGRE20815,0036,545,01910823,01-1,0115-15,1
WIMFuchs JudithGER22224,5051,564,02238114,54,340,16152,4

Pavlidou EkateriniGRE21354,5050,562,02228114,53,221,281519,2
WIMYildiz Betul CemreTUR22444,5047,556,02143114,55,53-1,0315-15,4
WIMBrunello MarinaITA22174,5047,058,02180114,55,11-0,6115-9,1
WIMSargac RajnaCRO21574,5047,056,52213114,53,780,721510,8
IMKachiani-Gersinska KetinoGER23464,5046,058,52198114,56,71-2,2110-22,1
WFMKushka AlenaRUS21644,5046,056,02216114,53,770,731510,9
WFMBerke AnaCRO20974,5045,556,52197114,53,111,391520,9
IMZimina OlgaITA23194,5044,555,02127114,57,28-2,7810-27,8
WIMIsgandarova KhayalaAZE22244,5044,553,52103103,54,48-0,9815-14,7
WGMPaulet IozefinaROU23034,5044,054,52143114,56,74-2,2415-33,6
WIMTrofimova AntoninaRUS21824,5043,053,02145114,54,98-0,4815-7,2
WGMKouvatsou MariaGRE21614,0051,563,522211143,220,781511,7
WGMMakropoulou MarinaGRE22254,0051,063,022121144,22-0,2215-3,3

Djukic SandraSRB22144,0047,057,521611144,76-0,7615-11,4
WGMShaydullina SandugachRUS22184,0047,057,521681144,74-0,7415-11,1
WIMPertlova SonaCZE22624,0045,056,020981146,14-2,1415-32,1
WGMPartac ElenaMDA21724,0045,054,520241034,15-1,1515-17,3
WFMBaciu DianaMDA21464,0044,553,01968923,08-1,0815-16,2
WFMBogumil TatianaRUS22014,0044,054,021321144,94-0,9415-14,1
WIMVan Weersel ArletteNED21974,0041,551,020791145,47-1,4715-22,0

WFMEfroimski MarselISR21784,0041,551,020821145,23-1,2315-18,5
WIMMakka IouliaGRE21804,0041,049,019941034,45-1,4515-21,8

Brunello RobertaITA20434,0040,550,020371144,13-0,1315-2,0
WFMSemenova ElenaRUS21954,0039,549,020261146,21-2,2115-33,2

Kukic LoraCRO17234,0039,548,019391031,861,141517,1

Kharatyan AnahitARM21174,0039,047,519991145,21-1,2115-18,1

Tonel GiuliaITA20234,0038,046,019181033,83-0,8315-12,4

Boyarchenko MarieLUX20093,5044,052,52042102,51,860,64159,6

Yusuphanova Sadi-CarolinISR18433,5041,550,02029113,51,941,562539,0
WFMCoimbra MargaridaPOR21233,5041,050,52021113,54,89-1,3915-20,9

Kanceljak DaliaCRO19393,5040,549,01945102,52,340,16152,4
WGMZakurdjaeva IrinaRUS23133,0042,053,02093935,56-2,5615-38,4

De Seroux CamilleSUI20193,0040,048,519111022,99-0,9915-14,9

Racki BarbaraCRO16983,0037,545,518541021,460,54158,1

Posted by:
Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Russian President Medvedev’s Decree

Hi everybody!

I just found out today that on the 8th of April 2009, Russian President Medvedev wrote a decree awarding me a Medal “For Services to the Homeland” of 2nd Level. It’s to honor me for winning the Women’s World Chess Championship in September 2008.

I’m very happy about it, but why did it take them so long to send me the original of the Decree?

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Chess Movie – The Story of I.S. 318

CHESS MOVIE (working title) from Rescued Media on Vimeo.

Hi dear chess lovers!

Today I got an email from Katie Dellamaggiore, that I’d like to share with you. She’s working on a chess movie, with an inspiring story about scholastic chess, which I liked very much. It stars the I.S. 318 chess team of Elizabeth Vicary in Brooklyn, New York. A true marvelous chess story that definitely deserves to be shared with the world!

I decided to back her project with a donation, maybe you’d like to do the same.

My name is Katie Dellamaggiore and I’m an independent filmmaker from Brooklyn, New York. Over the last 2 years I have been producing and directing a documentary about scholastic chess with my company Rescued Media. Chess Movie (working title) goes inside one of the best junior high chess program in the nation, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York. Many students at 318 come from difficult circumstances and 60% are from low-income families, but being part of a winning chess team gives them a unique opportunity to experience success at a young age. Justus, Patrick, Alexis, Pobo & Rochelle are 5 of 50 team members that are learning on the chessboard the skills they need to face challenges of adolescence and their working class circumstances. As a woman who has found such great success at chess I think you will particularly enjoy Rochelle’s story because she dreams of one day becoming the first female African American grandmaster. A dream that is well within her reach!

In April 2009 we embarked on our first trip with Rochelle and her teammates to the USCF Super Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee. Once we witnessed how big the scholastic chess world was, we were hooked. Over the next year we embedded ourselves with the team– at home, at school and away at tournaments — and slowly, the kids’ individual stories began to take shape. It’s our ultimate goal to secure a national television broadcast for Chess Movie on PBS and maybe even a small theatrical release. We also plan to build a strong community outreach campaign in the hopes the film will build support for scholastic chess programs in under served communities as we have witnessed firsthand the profound effect the I.S. 318 chess program has had on its students.

Right now we have a fundraising campaign underway at Kickstarter.com. Kickstarter is an online funding platform for artists to engage with their audiences and build support for their projects. Our Kickstarter campaign has been successful so far, reaching our initial goal of $4,000 in just a few short weeks. But we still have 40 days to go and we need more than 4k to finish this film. As independent filmmakers we are working hard to make this documentary on our own and hope to complete production in the next few months.

The original link to the 5-minute teaser is here, and the company’s blog is here.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Women’s Chess shines all around the world

Hello everybody!

The last round of the European Chess Championship just started. You can see the very first moves of the games on the image above. The winner will be decided in the direct encounter between Pia Cramling and Viktorija Cmilyte. While we are waiting for the final result of this exciting tournament, let me tell you some news about women’s tournaments around the world.

From March 3 to March 14, 2010, Iranian Chess Championship Finals for Men and Women took place. In the women’s final the 16-years old WFM Ghazal Hakimifard defended the lead and eventually won the women championship by collecting 10 points from twelve games.

The winners of the Iranian women’s chess championship 2010.

Last year champion WGM Atousa Pourkashian finished second with 8.5. The full reports with photos and results can be found on chessdom.com.

I visited Iran in August 2001 and played with the best girls of the country. Since women in Iran can officially participate only in very limited number of sports and chess is one of such sport, chess is very popular among women and girls.

The women’s Iranian team on the Olympiad 2006 in Torino.

I faced Iranian girls also at the very top level competition, for example, in the Women’s World Chess Championship in Nalchik in 2008 where I played against Atousa Pourkashian in the first round.

As the web-site The Week in Chess reports from March 8 to March 14, 2010 the Parachute Advansed International took place in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh. Organised by GM Niaz Murshed of organisation Six Seasons Chess Tornaments. Manisha Mohanty Kiran was the convincing winner by a point and a half on 7/9.

That’s nice to see so many women’s tournaments played all around the world. If you know about a women’s tournament in your country or your community and would like to share it with the world, write me an email with your article and photos. I’m sure that if we all unite our efforts in making chess and women’s chess more popular we will succeed!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Free Trainer Seminar for Women

Dear Chess Friends!

I am pleased to announce the Atlanta May 7-9, 2010

FIDE Trainers Seminar for Women and for Women’s and Girl’s Trainers

PRESENTED BY FIDE Women’s Commission & FIDE Trainers Commission

IN ASSOCIATION WITH U.S. Chess Federation & American Chess University



Women’s World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk

FIDE Senior Trainer and GM Alexander Chernin,
2004 U.S. Women’s Olympiad Team Coach

FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky,
2004, 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympiad Team Head Coach and Captain,
2005 – 2009 U.S. World Youth Teams Coach


Burt Lerner National Elementary Championships in Atlanta, GA

May 7-9, 2010 at the Hyatt Regency

Fri., May 7 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sat., May 8 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sun., May 9 9:00 am – 5:00 pm

During the seminar you will learn about:

  • Professional development
  • Endgame Golden Rules
  • Pawn Endings
  • Minor pieces Endings
  • Rook Endings
  • Queen Endings
  • Endings: Bishop vs Knight – Knight vs Bishop
  • Most Important Tactical Elements
  • Combinations and the Role of Calculation
  • Studies and Exercises
  • Principles of Opening Play – Building a Repertoire
  • Literature – Opening Preparation – Why do we Lose
  • The Exchange Sacrifice
  • The Positional Sacrifice
  • Outpost
  • Zugzwang
  • The Role of Classics
  • Trainers’ Common Mistakes
  • Physical and Psychological Factors
  • Technique of Analysis
  • The Role of Prophylactic Thinking-1
  • The Passed Pawn
  • Open File – Semi-Open File
  • Working with Classical Games
  • Basic / Typical Plans
  • Thinking Process – Elements of Evaluation
  • The Role of Prophylactic Thinking -2
  • Middlegame and Endgame Studies
  • The Isolated Pawn – 1
  • The Isolated Pawn – 2
  • Doubled Pawns – Backward Pawn – Hanging Pawns
  • Pawn Majority – Pawn Minority
  • Attacking the King
  • Mixed Endings
  • The Bishop-Pair
  • Lost Positions

At the end of the seminar you will have a special written examination.

All participants will be certified upon conclusion of the seminar by FIDE Trainers Commission.

Contact/registration by phone: (201) 317-8581

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion
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Cmilyte leads Euro 2 rounds left

Hello everybody!

In the Women’s European Individual Chess Championship 2010 that is being played these days in Rijeka, Croatia Viktorija Cmilyte won today’s game against Monika Socko to take the sole lead in the tournament.

[Event "11th EICC Women"]
[Site "Rijeka CRO"]
[Date "2010.3.15"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Socko,M"]
[Black "Cmilyte,V"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "C63"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5

Here Viktorija opted for the Schliemann Defence (Jaenisch Gambit)

3. … f5!? 4.d3 fxe4 5.dxe4 Nf6 6.O-O Bc5 7.Bxc6 bxc6 8.Nxe5 O-O 9.Bg5 Qe8 10.Bxf6 Rxf6 11.Nd3 Bd4 12.c3 Bb6 13.Nd2 d5 14.e5 Rf8 15.Kh1

( The game between Hernandez Hol 2287 – Gomez F 2462 , 2001 Holguin 82/(300) continued with 15.Qe2 Bf5 16.Ne1 Qg6 17.Kh1 Rae8 18.b4 c5 with compensation for the sacrificed pawn)

15. … Qg6 16.Nb3 Ba6 17.Nbc1 Rf5 18.Qd2 Raf8 19.a4 Rh5 20.Re1

Here Cmilyte found the very strong continuation – 20. … Rff5! with the threat to play 21. … Qg3!! and then after 22. fxg3 Rxh2+ and Rh5#. That’s why Monika replied with 21. h3

( If 21.a5 then 21. … Qg3 !! 22. fxg3 Rxh2! 23. Kxh2 Rh5# )

The position before the 21st move of Black.

But Cmilyte continued the attack with the brilliant 21. … Rf3! and soon was able to win the game

22.Nf4 Qh6 23.gxf3 Rxh3+ 24.Nxh3 Qxh3+ 25.Kg1 Qg3+ 26.Kh1 Bxf2 27.Qxf2 Qxf2 28.Nb3 Qxf3+ 29.Kg1 Be2 30.Nd4 Qg3+ 31.Kh1 Bd3 32.e6 Be4+ 33.Rxe4 dxe4 34.Rf1 Qh4+ 35.Kg2 Qg5+ 36.Kh3 e3 37.b4 c5 38.bxc5 Qxc5 39.Kg2 g6 40.Rf3 Qe5 41.Nc2 e2 42.Kf2 Qxe6 43.Ke1 Qe4 0-1

So after the 9th round, Viktorija Cmilyte is in clear first place with 7,5 points out of 9, followed closely by Anna Muzychuk, Antoaneta Stefanova and Pia Cramling, all with 7 points. There are 2 more rounds to go and we can be sure to see some exciting games. The game live can be found on the official web-site fo the organizers, here.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Today’s Stars – Jovanka Eric and Monica Socko

The first move on the board of the future winner
of the 8th of March Women’s Chess Tournament

Hello everybody!

Jovana Eric (on the photo below)

is the winner of the 42nd annual 8th of March Women’s Grandmasters Tournament that took place from March 3 to March 12, 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia. Margarita Voiska scored the same number of points as the winner – 6,5 but was second on tie-breaks. The bronze went to Grabuzova Tatiana from Russia.

Here are two nice wins by the winner:

White just played 14. Kh1, what is the best move for Black?

[Event "42nd WGM"]
[Site "Belgrade SRB"]
[Date "2010.3.4"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Petrenko,S"]
[Black "Eric,J"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "B92"]
[Annotator ""]
[Source ""]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be2 e5 7.Nb3
Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.f4 b5 10.Bf3 Bb7 11.a3 Nbd7 12.f5 Qc7 13.Qe2
Nc5 14.Kh1 Na4 15.Nd1 d5 16.Nf2 Rac8 17.c3 Qc4 18.Na5 Qxe2 19.Bxe2
Ba8 20.exd5 Bxd5 21.Bd1 Bd8 22.Nb3 Bb6 23.Nd2 e4 24.Nh3 e3 25.Nf3
Bc4 26.Re1 Ng4 27.b3 Nf2+ 28.Nxf2 exf2 29.bxc4 fxe1=Q+ 30.Nxe1
Nxc3 31.Bf3 Rxc4 32.Nc2 Ne2 33.Be3 Bxe3 34.Nxe3 Rc1+ 35.Rxc1
Nxc1 36.g4 Nd3 37.Nd5 Ne5 38.Be2 Rd8 0-1

Black just played 9. … h6, what is the best continuation for White?

[Event "42nd WGM"]
[Site "Belgrade SRB"]
[Date "2010.3.8"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Eric,J"]
[Black "Petrovic,Mari"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B06"]

1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Be3 d6 5.Qd2 Nd7 6.Nf3 Qa5 7.Bd3
Ngf6 8.O-O Ng4 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bxe7 Qc7 11.Bh4 Ngf6 12.e5 Nh7 13.exd6
Qb8 14.Qe3+ Kf8 15.Qe7+ Kg8 16.Bxg6 1-0

7 rounds have been played so far and Monica Socko (on the photo below playing White against Tatiana Kosintseva) is in the lead with 6 points out of 7.

She is followed by Antoaneta Stefanova, Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, Viktorija Cmilyte, Lilit Galojan, Pia Cramling and Yelena Dembo, all with 5,5 out of 7. Tomorrow, March 13, is a free day and on March 14 the tournament will continue with 4 more rounds to go.

The shortest decisive game of the championship so far is the encounter between Aginian and Goslawska which lasted for only 16 moves:

[Event "11th EICC Women"]
[Site "Rijeka CRO"]
[Date "2010.3.6"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Aginian,N"]
[Black "Goslawska,C"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "C66"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 d6 4.c3 Be6? 5.d4 Bd7 6.O-O Nf6 7.Re1
g6 8.Nbd2 exd4? 9.cxd4 Bg7 10.e5 dxe5 11.dxe5 Nd5 12.Ne4 Nde7??
13.Nf6+ Bxf6 14.exf6 Be6 15.Qxd8+ Rxd8 16.fxe7 1-0

The longest game has been the game between Baira Kovanova and Monica Socko which lasted for 129 moves:

[Event "11th EICC Women"]
[Site "Rijeka CRO"]
[Date "2010.3.8"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Kovanova,B"]
[Black "Socko,M"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "B30"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6 5.O-O Ne7 6.d3 Ng6 7.Nc3
d5 8.b3 Bd6 9.Ba3 O-O 10.Re1 f6 11.Na4 Qe7 12.Qd2 Rb8 13.c4 e5
14.h3 Nf4 15.exd5 Qf7 16.Bxc5 Bxc5 17.Nxc5 Bxh3 18.g3 cxd5 19.d4
Qh5 20.Nh2 Rbd8 21.dxe5 fxe5 22.Qe3 Rde8 23.gxf4 Rxf4 24.Kh1
Bg4 25.Kg2 Ref8 26.Nd3 Bf3+ 27.Nxf3 Qg4+ 28.Kf1 Qh3+ 29.Ke2 Rxf3
30.Qxa7 Rxd3 31.Rg1 Qf3+ 32.Kf1 g6 33.Qb6 Qh3+ 34.Ke1 Qf5 35.cxd5
Rxd5 36.Rc1 Rd4 37.Rg2 Rh4 38.Rg1 Rh2 39.Rc2 Qxc2 40.Qe6+ Rf7
41.Qe8+ Kg7 42.Qxe5+ Rf6 43.Qe7+ Rf7 44.Qe5+ Kf8 45.Qb8+ Ke7
46.Qxh2 Qb1+ 47.Ke2 Qxa2+ 48.Kf1 Qb1+ 49.Kg2 Qe4+ 50.Kf1 Kf8
51.Qd6+ Re7 52.Qd1 Kf7 53.Qg4 Qd3+ 54.Kg2 Qxb3 55.Rc1 Qd5+ 56.Qf3+
Qxf3+ 57.Kxf3 h5 58.Kg3 Kf6 59.Rc5 Re5 60.Rc6+ Kf5 61.Rc8 Ra5
62.f3 Kg5 63.Rc4 Rf5 64.f4+ Kh6 65.Rc3 Rd5 66.Rb3 Kg7 67.Ra3
Kf6 68.Rb3 Kf5 69.Ra3 Ke4 70.Ra6 Rd3+ 71.Kg2 Kf5 72.Kh2 Rf3 73.Kg2
Rxf4 74.Kg3 Re4 75.Ra5+ Re5 76.Ra8 Re3+ 77.Kg2 g5 78.Ra2 g4 79.Ra8
h4 80.Rf8+ Ke4 81.Re8+ Kd3 82.Rg8 Rg3+ 83.Kf2 Rf3+ 84.Kg1 g3
85.Rh8 Rf4 86.Kg2 Ke3 87.Re8+ Re4 88.Rf8 Rd4 89.Kh3 Rf4 90.Ra8
Rd4 91.Re8+ Kf2 92.Rf8+ Ke3 93.Re8+ Kd3 94.Rg8 Re4 95.Rf8 Re1
96.Rd8+ Ke2 97.Kg2 Ke3 98.Re8+ Kd2 99.Rd8+ Kc3 100.Rc8+ Kd4 101.Rd8+
Kc5 102.Rd2 Re4 103.Kh3 Rd4 104.Re2 Kd5 105.Re8 Re4 106.Rd8+
Ke5 107.Re8+ Kf5 108.Ra8 Kf6 109.Ra2 Rf4 110.Ra6+ Kg5 111.Ra5+
Rf5 112.Ra4 Rf4 113.Ra5+ Kf6 114.Ra6+ Ke5 115.Ra5+ Kd6 116.Ra6+
Kc5 117.Ra2 Kb4 118.Re2 Kc3 119.Ra2 Rd4 120.Ra3+ Kd2 121.Ra8
Ke3 122.Re8+ Kf3 123.Rf8+ Rf4 124.Ra8 Kf2 125.Ra4 Rf3 126.Ra2+
Kg1 127.Ra1+ Rf1 128.Ra2 Kh1 129.Rg2 Rf2 0-1

If you want to watch the games interactively, the best way to do so is to COPY the moves (in the case above 1. e4 c5 etc.) and PASTE them in my PGN PLAYER, then you’ll be able to play the games on-screen.

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion

Chess Diva Haiti Fundraiser

Chess Diva episode #8 from Lauren Goodkind

You’re invited to the “Chess Diva” Chess-Haiti Fundraiser!

Nationally ranked chess players Barbara and Lauren Goodkind, producers of the award winning local access TV show, “Chess Diva” will play 5 minute blitz games with the public. Non chess players will find it entertaining to watch! Parents, bring your kids!

Suggested donation per game is $5.

When: Saturday and Sunday, March 20th and 21st, 10 am to 4:30 pm 
Where: Lytton Plaza, 202 University Ave, Palo Alto, CA. (next to Pizza My Heart)

All proceeds will go to UNICEF.

Lauren and Barbara Goodkind,
the producers of “Chess Diva”

About the Producers (from their website):

Lauren has been playing in chess tournaments for about 8 years. Her current United States Chess Federation is 1859. After graduating recently from a 4 year university with a BA in communications, she decided to work with the chess community and pursue a career in media production at the same time. “Chess Diva” is one of her first projects. She gives a lot of credit to the Media Center in Palo Alto, which made this effort possible.
Barbara was first of the sisters to play in chess tournaments. She currently attends a 4 year university to obtain her BA degree.

Lauren and Barbara Goodkind are ranked among the top 100 females in the United States (see top rating list).

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women’s World Chess Champion