USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Friday, May 29, 2009

Puerto Rico Chess Federation Woman Open Classificatory

Today I received a very nice email from the Treasurer of the Puerto Rico Chess Federation:

"Hi Alexandra:

From May 29 till May 31 the Puerto Rico Chess Federation Woman Open Classificatory will take place. It's a Swiss system where 5 players will be selected for the final Round Robin Championship.

The 2008 Pan-American silver medalist Danitza Vazquez Macarrini

will be participating as well as the WFM Jo Ann Álvarez Orta

The Puerto Rico Federation is following closely with great enthusiasms the development of its young woman chess players. The Puerto Rico Chess Federation and other chess groups are undertaking initiatives to increase the number of women chess players. One is to increase the number of female players in the public spotlight so that they serve as role models and spokespeople. These efforts are already producing results. At annual chess tournaments, the number of girls participating is increasing every year.

George Perez-Borrero
Puerto Rico Chess Federation"

I'm very happy to hear that the Puerto Rico Chess Federation is doing so many things for promoting women's chess. I hope they will continue this work and many more girls from Puerto Rico will have a chance to get to know how wonderful the game of chess is!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Women's Chess Killer Tip

Above is one of my Chess Killer Tips free video podcast with a position from my game from the 1st Mind Sports Games in Beijing China, where I played against Shen Yang. The video is 4 minutes long. I first give the position, give you some time to think about it, then show the solution.

Try to find the solution, it requires strategical thinking. Before watching the video, you can have a look at the position, here it is:

There are 60 other chess killer tips episodes here and you can subscribe free on iTunes. Solving regularly chess puzzles will increase your level of chess, for sure!

Good luck and best chess wishes to all!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Ladies Tandem Chess Simul

On May 17, at the
Pyramides sports complex, which is in Port Marly nearby Paris, a special chess event took place. My best friend Almira Skripchenko and I were invited to give a special tandem simul for 20 best players of the open which took place on May 16 at the same location.

I gave many simuls but it was the first one that I ever gave in tandem. It may seem easier for GM's to give simuls in tandem since their opponents gets less time per move, but in fact it's a lot more challenging, since the GM should not only think what to do in a given position, but he/she should also remember that the partner with whom he/she is giving this simul may have absolutely different ideas and plans about the position.

Nevertheless, after nice speeches, some photos and autographs Almira and I started the simul.
Almira and I are ready to start the event.

With the organizer of the event, Mr. Benno Feingold, whom I thank for this nice idea and warm hospitality.

As is customary, we shook hands with all the players

And started making moves, turn by turn.

It was not always easy to make decisions.

At the end of the simul, we had many things to discuss.

After a few hours of exciting play, Almira and I managed to win 17 games, 2 games were hard-fought draws and we lost one encounter (+17=2-1). For those of you who know French I can recommend reading
Almira's blog and her impressions of the simul. We also prepared for you some very nice photos of the simul, as usual, with the help of our wonderful friends on Such nice events are always a very good way to promote chess!

It's also always a pleasure for me to prove that "Intelligence and Beauty can go together"!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's Wolrd Chess Champion

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ukranian Women's Chess Championship

From May 22 till May 31 the
Ukranian Women's Chess Championship is taking place. It's a Swiss system with 41 players fighting for the title of Women's Ukranian Champion. After the 3rd round 8 players are sharing first place among which the ELO-favorite of the tournament Tatiana Vasilevich (on the photo, rating - 2399).

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Hou plays in China Champ

Men and women China Chess Championships started today, May 26. There are 12 players in each group, it's a round robin system. In the open section 15-year old Hou Yifan is playing and we will keep an eye on this very talented young lady. Among women, Zhao Xue is the ELO favorite with the rating of 2531.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

STAR interview: Martha Fierro

I'm glad to introduce another woman chess star -
Martha Fierro from Ecuador. Martha was introduced to the game of chess only at the age of 13, nevertheless she's collected many awards. She's been her country's chess leader since 1992 and has been successfully representing Ecuador at the Chess Olympiads playing on the first board. In October 2008 Martha, together with her partner Carlos Matamoros won a sensational Gold Medal in the Blitz pair competition in the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, winning in the final match against India. In March 2009 Martha was appointed the Secretary for the FIDE Commission for Women's Chess. I'm looking forward to working with Martha and hope that together we'll do many wonderful things for promoting women's chess in the world!

1. What is your place and date of birth?

Rhode Island, USA, September 6, 1977.

2. How did you start playing chess?

When I was 13 my father taught me to play chess.

3. What are your main achievements in chess?

I have won 5 times the Junior Pan American Championship, 2 times silver medalist at the Chess Olympiad (playing first board), my titles of WGM and IM , Gold Medalist in the World Mind Sport Games and have been the top rated women in Ecuador since 1992.

4. What is your peak rating?


5. Do you consider yourself a professional chess player?


6. How often do you study chess? How many hours a day?

Everyday, depends of my schedule, because I also do a lot of coaching to many top junior and women players but I try at least 2 hours per day.

7. Do you have a chess trainer or you study chess by yourself?

I mostly study by myself, but in some occasions I do study with a chess trainer.

8. What do you study most: openings, middle game or endgames?

Middle games and endgames.

9. Do you prefer to play chess with men or with women?

I really don't have a preference in this case, for me it's the same.

10. Why do you think men are stronger than women in chess?

Because they are many more men playing and maybe there hasn't been a plan to increase and attract more women into chess.

11. When did you feel happiest about being a chess player? Why?

When I represented my country for the first time in an International Tournament.

12. If you had not become a chess player what career would you have chosen?

I would probably work in TV and radio production, this is what I studied at University.

13. How many brothers and sisters are there in your family?

I have one younger sister and an elder brother.

14. What is your favorite non-chess book?

I like to read Paulo Coelho.

15. Whom do you consider the best chess player in history?

I really like Kasparov' style and games and in my opinion he has been the best.

16. What is the best game you have ever played?

Very difficult question, because I am very critic with my games, I do have a few games that I have liked how I played but don't know my best game.

17. What do you like doing besides playing chess?

I coach a few talented young players and the top Italian women players. Apart from chess I love reading, listening to music and watching movies.

18. Do you believe in the future of women’s chess?

Yes, I believe that, with a right planning and motivation for women players we could increase the number and very important to organize more women events.

19. What is the best chess country in the world?

I think it is Spain, there are so many good tournaments and the conditions are good.

20. What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?

Apart from the Olympiads , World Youth and Pan Americans, I have just played 2 women tournaments so I cant really respond.

21. What is your dream in chess?

To become a GM.

22. What is your favorite chess piece?

I like the Bishop.

23. What is your favorite place in the world?


24. What is your favorite kind of food?

I love trying new and exotic food, but in general my favorite is Italian food.

25. What are your future plans for this year?

I am preparing for the the 2nd tournament of the Grand Prix circle and I have planned a few open tournaments.

26. Is chess popular in your country - Ecuador? Do you have any support from the government or your chess federation?

Chess has become very popular in the media, apart from football, is the other sport that gets a full front page in the sports section. After winning the gold medal at the WMSG (World Mind Sports Games) and silver medal at the last chess Olympiad I have received personal congratulations from the President of the Republic. Seems this new government will be an important supporter for chess.

Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for the Federation, they dont work to improve chess in the country and all the top players are against the way the federation acts.

27. How is it to play chess for Ecuador?

I am very proud and happy to represent Ecuador. When I am in a tournament the media follows my result daily and I receive many emails from (Ecuadorians) non chess players supporting me each round.

28. What do you think we should do in order to make women’s chess more attractive to the media?

I think we should organize more women tournaments and invite the media, also I think is a nice idea to organize simuls around the world (given by a woman). Start talking more about women players. I think in general women chess could be more attractive for the media, specially because the draw statistic is lower than in the men's competition.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Asian Continental Open

The 15-year old (born on February 27, 1994) prodigy from China Hou Yifan showed a very nice result in the
8th Asian Continental Open, she got 7,5 out of 11 and shared 3rd place.

In the women's section of this Asian Open another Chinese lady finished first - Zhang Xiaowen, the second was Huang Quian and the third Ding Yixin all are from China.

This open was a quliafication event for the World Cup which is scheduled for November 2009 in Khanty-Mansiisk for men, and for 2010 for women.

Photo credits: ©

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Milliet - Kosteniuk in Video

I created this short YouTube chess video commenting my second rapid game against French Champion Sophie Milliet from the "Match des Championnes" in Corsica last week.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk

Women's World Chess Champion

Open letter from ACP to FIDE

Letter to FIDE President Kirsan N. Ilyumzhinov

#05-05/2009 – 19.05.2009

Dear Mr. President,

The Association of Chess Professionals expresses its deep concern about the female tournament calendar for year 2009. The new Grand Prix event series have been created this year, which is undoubtedly an excellent innovation in women chess. However, the first stage of the Grand Prix (Turkey, 5-20.03) clashed with the European Championship (Russia, 7-21.03). The second stage (China, 27.09-10.10) is scheduled for the same dates as the European Club Cup (Macedonia, 3-11.10).

Thus, professionals face a difficult choice now as they cannot participate in both major events. The organizers cannot count on strongest players’ participation. Since the calendar of female tournaments is not overloaded at the moment, and there are months that are free of female competitions, we kindly ask you to avoid a clash of major female competitions.

Best regards,
ACP Board

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My Corsica Miniature

Dear Chess Friends,

Several people have asked me to show them the second game I played in Corsica this last week against French women's chess champion Sophie Milliet.

It was a very particular game since of the 18 moves I played 8 of them with my Queen... something definitely not to be recommended to beginners. This is only for seasoned Grandmasters who can value the exception that validates the rule "Always develop your minor pieces first, Knights and Bishops, don't move your Queen out too early".

Here it the game:

Let me first say the match was called "Match des Championnes" since it had me on one side (the reigning Women's World Champion) and on the other Sophie Milliet, who became French Women champion last year for the second time. The playing room was beautiful. The hundreds of kids who watched our match gave us the loudest cheering I have ever heard in my life.

After such wonderful ovations we were all in a good mood before the start of the game, here we're shaking hands in the photo below.

1. e4 d5

I won the first game in a very solid style so in the second game I was able to let myself opt for something risky - the Scandinavian Defense. This must have been a surprise for Sophie, as I have never played the Scandinavian Defense in tournaments these last years. I prepared this line specially for this match.

2. exd5 Qxd5

My Queen comes out already on the second move...

3. Nc3 Qd6

This is one of the several continuations. Also possible are 3...Qa5 and 3...Qd8. The move I played is the most modern now.

4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 c6 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Bf4!?

Sophie chooses a very interesting and sharp line. The other worthy alternative for White here is 7. Nc4

7. ... Nd5 8. Nxd5 Qxd5 9. Be2!?

The sharpest continuation in this position - White sacrifices a pawn trying to use her better development.

9. ... Nxe5 10.Bxe5 Qxg2

Black had to accept this offer, otherwise I could have ended up in a worse position with the same amount of material. Now at least I know what I'm suffering for. Of course it's dangerous as I don't have any pieces developed at all. But I did quite good home work: before the match I spent several hours at home analyzing this position many moves ahead. Sophie had less than 15 minutes to try to prove that her initiative is worth a pawn. Below you can see a photo taken exactly at that moment and you can see my Queen is on g2.

11. Bf3 Qg6

12. Qe2!

Anand in his game against Tiviakov in 2006 played 12. d5?! and after 12. ... Bg4! Tiviakov didn't have any problem since the main strategical idea for Black in this position is to trade the light-squared bishops. If Black manages to do so, the most of his problems will be solved.

12...h5 13. h3!

Again not letting trade the light-squared bishops. In a recent game of the European Championship in Budva in March, 2009 Fabiano Caruana played here 13. 0-0-0?!, his opponent Milanovic replied with 13. ... Bg4! and on the 42nd move Black won that game. Actually, before the match I thought that this line is the most dangerous for Black in the Scandinavian with 3. ... Qd6.

13. ...f6

Black has to continue to play in a very risky style, since a normal develolpment scheme such as 13. ... e6 will be met with 14. d5! and Black's position is very precarious.

14. Bc7

Most of the attention during my home preparation I paid to the line with 14. Bh2, in which case I would have played 14...Bxh3, taking a second pawn. After which White has two interesting continuations 15. d5 and 15. Bg3 I'm sure in the near future we will see many interesting games in this line.

14...Qf7 15. 0-0-0?

A blunder, at home I analyzed 15. d5!? after which after 15. ...e5 16. dxc6 Qxc7 17. cxb7 Bxb7 18. Qb5+ Ke7 19. Qb4+ Ke6 20. Qb3+ Ke7 perpetual check is possible and that could have been a draw.

15... Qxa2!

Probably playing 15. 0-0-0 Sophie overlooked that here 16. Bxh5+ is not possible due to 16. ... Kd7 and after White retreats her bishop, for example, 17. Bg3, Black has 17. ... Qa1+ 18. Kd2 and 18. ... Qa5+! and the bishop on h5 is hanging.

16. d5


This move is not only defending the h5 pawn, but at the same time threatens to play ...Bh6 check with devastating effect. It's funny, here Black has not a single developed piece apart from the Queen, but White is already in a very difficult position since the position of her king is much worse than mine.

17. dxc6??

The decisive blunder. Sophie forgets about the next move of Black. White could have defended from this check by playing 17. Bf4 or 17. Bg2 but White's position is still worse since after Qa1+ and Qxb2 Black will be already three pawns up.

17. ... Bh6+!

And here Sophie realized that there is nothing to do, the only way to avoid getting checkmated the next move is to lose her Queen, but that's no fun and leads to certain defeat, so she allowed...

18. Rd2 Qa1 checkmate.

After this game was ended, we gave some short comments to the organizer Léo Battesti (watch the short Quicktime video in French), we got our prizes,

and then there were lots and lots of autographs signed.

The next day Léo took us (with my little daughter Francesca who is 2 years old) to have a stroll in the beautiful village of Bonifacio, below are some photos of that outing. The full photo album is on Chesspics at this address.

Thank you Corsica for this great chess feast!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Champion

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Match des championnes in Corsica

There are many interesting chess women's events this week in France. Many creative people live in France and often chess and new ideas give beautiful combinations.

I just came back from a trip to the wonderful island of Corsica. I was invited there by the main organizer Leo Battesti for the "Match des Championnes " between me (the world champion) and the champion of France -
Sophie Milliet. This match took place on the 15 of May and hundreds of kids had a chance to watch this match and to play their final school tournament.

Leo told me that he thinks that for promoting chess we should mainly focus on schools. We should start teaching kids to play chess in schools and through this the popularity of chess will rise automatically.

This match was a very interesting experience for me. Sophie and I had to play 2 games of 15 min + 3 sec/move in front of the very excited kids. We played on the scene, as true actors and what was interesting that the commentary to our games were live and with no headphones, so everybody, including the players, could hear these audio commentaries. Of course there were basic commentaries for the kids.

It turned out that I was much better prepared for the match. I won quite easily with White in the first game and in the second game I was able to checkmate my opponent in 18 moves with Black (including 10 which were made with my Queen.

You can have a look at Pufichek's photos on Chesspics by clicking

Tomorrow, May 17, my best firend
Almira Skripchenko and I will be giving a simltaneous exhibiton in the Pyramides, which is close to Paris. You can watch a very nice slideshow with the photos of me and Almira here.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Champion

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Women Chess Stars love Gibraltar!

Today I received a letter from the organizer of the Gibtelecom International Open, which takes place each year in Gibraltar in January - February,

From what I have been told by my colleagues women chess players, the tournament is very well organized, and the prizes for top women are excellent.

Judge it for yourself, this is an open tournament, where lots of seasoned male chess grandmasters play (top players GM's Svidler, Milov, Gashimov, Nakamura, etc.). Now the women who come to play also are equally as impressive (Dzagnidze, Stefanova, Cramling, who last year all got 7 points out of 10, only 1 point away from the two male winners).

Note that the first prize for men in this open in 2010 is 15,000 UKP, while for women the first prize is 8,000 UKP, more than $12,000 at today's exchange rate! And also a woman can win not only a woman's prize, but also one for open competition or rating prizes. In the past this has happened.
Thus a woman could win £23,000 next year, plus the Best Game Prize of £1000.
I was told that most of the women chess professionals who play there want to go back the next year.

Feel free to write to Brian. I think he'd be very happy if more women join his tournament. Let's show the men what women can do!

Below you can find his letter to me.

Dear Alexandra,

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Brian Callaghan and I am the organiser of the Gibtelecom International Open Chess Tournament in Gibraltar and I have read you open letter with great interest and support.

We are entering our 9th Tournament which will be held in Gibraltar from Tuesday the 26th of January, 2010 to Thursday the 4th of February, 2010 and are now arguably the best Open Tournament in the world according to journalists, vying with Moscow for that honour.

Our objective is to make Gibraltar a place where Chess players want to play. We have increased the prize money year on year and this year will be offering total prize money of £112,000 (up 12% on last year) which is a marvellous result given present financial difficulties.

Perhaps most importantly the Gibraltar Open is a SOCIAL EVENT where some very good, and at times not so good, Chess is played, usually in the sunshine! An important part of our Tournament is the emphasis and encouragement we give for Women Chess players to attend and indeed we are at the forefront of that objective.

This coming year we will be increasing the Women’s prize money by 22% to £22,500.- with the first prize for Women of UKP8,000 and a further seven main prizes.

The top Men’s prize is UKP15,000 with a further 12 main prizes and many, many extremely good rating prizes.

Happily Gibraltar is well supported by Women players but we seek and NEED greater support and that has to become a reality and your support would be most helpful.

I wish you every success in your role in the Commission for Women’s Chess.

With very best wishes,

Brian Callaghan

Organiser Gibtelecom International Open Chess Tournament


Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk

Women's World Champion


Women's Chess Brilliance

By popular demand I will regularly post brilliant chess moves by top women champions.

I will start with the first women's world champion, Vera Menchik.

The position you can see above is from the game Menchik - Vega, 1939.

White plays and wins. Please think about this position for awhile, then post the solution in the comments below.

Good luck!

The color of this chessboard are © where you can copy and paste any pgn moves and see the game on the board automatically.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Women Chess FIDE Statistics

Thanks to Vladimir Kukaev for the following statistics about women chess players:

In 2009:

99,876 players in April 2009 FIDE rating list in total (men and women)
18,521 female players registered in FIDE database of chess players
7,826 female players have FIDE rating

So women account now for about 8% of all FIDE rated players.

5 years ago, in April 2004 there were:

51,909 players in FIDE Rating list total
3,592 female players on the FIDE list

So women represented about 7% of all FIDE rated players.

So we see there has been an improvement from 7% to 8% in 5 years, which is not bad, but we need to go much further.

What is more surprising is the doubling of FIDE rated chess players as a whole in 5 years, from about 50,000 to about 100,000 and that's very good for chess! The more rated players, the better!

And that means women players on the FIDE list more than doubled from 3,592 to 7,826, we're on the right track!

Please feel free to comment!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Monday, May 11, 2009

STAR Interview: Natalia POGONINA

New Series: Women Star Interviews!

I admire many women chess players. Some of them are very serious, some are funny, some are simply exceptional. In this regular series of my blog I will introduce you to exceptional women who love to play chess. They are all successful women for whom a game of chess means something special.

The first chess star that I have the pleasure to introduce to you in more detail is Natalia Pogonina from Russia. Natalia is currently rated no 3 in Russia and no 14 in the world. She just lanched her new web-site - and in her busy schedule had time to answer my questions:

1. What is your place and date of birth?

I was born on March 9, 1985, in
Vladivostok, Russia.

2. How did you start playing chess?

My grandfather taught me how to play chess when I was about 5-6 years old.

3. What are your main achievements in chess?

Adult chess:
Bronze medal at the European Women Chess Championship (2009) and North Urals Cup (2007), Winner of the Moscow Open (2009), Gold Medal at the the First International Mind Sports Games (2008), Rudenko Memorial (2007), Bykova Memorial (2006)

Junior chess: Three-times European champion (U16, twice U18), Bronze medal at the
World Championship (U18)

4. What is your peak rating?

2501 as of April 2009

5. Do you consider yourself a professional chess player?

Yes, chess is my primary occupation.

6. How often do you study chess? How many hours a day?

I am a very active tournament player, so there is not much time left for studies. About 4 hours during free days, a bit more during training sessions.

7. Do you have a chess trainer or you study chess by yourself?

My chess coach is IM Pavel Lobach, plus two seconds GM Vladimir Georgiev and IM Vladislav Akselrod.

8. What do you study most: openings, middle game or endgames?
I pay attention to all stages of the game. In general, it's impossible to gain an understanding of an opening without analyzing the emerging middlegame positions.

9. Do you prefer to play chess with men or with women?
It's equally pleasant.

10. When did you feel happiest about being a chess player? Why?

It's hard to pick one moment, there are so many of them. The European Chess
Championship U16 was probably the most memorable since then I became European Champion for the first time in my life.

11. If you had not become a chess player what career would you have chosen?

I would probably have been a sportsman since I love all kinds of sports.

12. How many brothers and sisters are there in your family?

Unfortunately, I don't have any brothers or sisters.

13. What's your home?

I live at Saratov, but don't spend too much time there since I'm constantly traveling from one tournament to another.

14. What is your favorite chess book?

I like many chess books, so it's hard to name just one. Among the ones that I've recently read I liked Sergei Rublevsky's selection of his best games.

15. What is your favorite non-chess book?

I love reading, my favorite writer is Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

16. Whom do you consider the best chess player in history?

Once again, it's so hard to name the greatest. Let me try.

17. What is the best game you have ever played?
I'm not sure that the notion "best game" exists at all. Each game is remarkable and instructive in one way or the other.

18. What do you like doing besides playing chess?

I like taking pictures, traveling, singing and lots of other activities.

19. Do you believe in the future of women's chess?
I strongly believe that women's chess is going to progress since women are very attractive and interesting.

20. What is the best chess country in the world?


21. What is the best organized women's tournament you took part in?

Annual North Urals Cup, I guess.

22. What is your dream in chess?

It's a secret. Dreams tend not to come true when revealed to everyone.

23. What is your favorite chess piece?

I love all of them.

24. What is your favorite place in the world?

Kamchatka, since I spent my childhood there.

25. What is your favorite kind of food?

Okroshka. See for details.

26. How do you manage to combine playing chess with studying in the University?
Luckily enough, the University's authorities support me a lot.

27. What are your future plans for this year?
I'm in such a crazy period right now that it's very hard to make plans, but I will decide on them soon.

28. What do you think we should do in order to make women's chess more attractive to the media?
Chess players should be more active. Promote chess and themselves on the Internet, participate in advertisements. Play exciting exhibition matches. It's vital not to confine yourself to the game only. Apart from playing in tournaments and studying one should remember about the interests of chess fans and do his/her best to make chess more popular.

Interview made by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Champion

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Women Chess Titles

I received an email today from a tournament organizer in England who asked me to create a table with all the women players who are GM title holders (Grandmaster), IM (International Master) and WGM (Woman Grandmaster).

The title "Grandmaster" is awarded to the strongest chess masters by the world chess organization FIDE. Apart from "World Champion", Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can attain. Once achieved, the title is held for life.

GM, IM, and FM (Fide Master) are open to both men and women.

Table of FIDE titles:

Grandmaster (appr. rated 2500 and above)
International Master (appr. rated 2400 and above)
Woman Grandmaster (appr. rated 2300 and above)
Fide Master (appr. rated 2300 and above)
Woman International Master (appr. rated 2200 and above)
Candidate Master (appr. rated 2200 or above)
Woman FIDE Master (appr. rated 2100 and above)
Woman Candidate Master (appr. rated 2000 or above)

Women can get both women and men titles. International Master (IM) is more difficult to achieve than Woman Grandmaster (WGM) title. All the women who have been able to get the IM title are automatically awarded the WGM title.

In 1978
Nona Gaprindashvili became the first ever woman to be awarded the GM (men) title.

There are currently 20 female players to hold the GM title comparing to 1201 male GM holders.

Nona Gaprindashvili
Maia Chiburdanidze
Susan Polgar
Judit Polgár
Xie Jun
Pia Cramling
Zhu Chen
Koneru Humpy
Antoaneta Stefanova
Alexandra Kosteniuk
Peng Zhaoqin
Hoang Thanh Trang
Kateryna Lahno
Xu Yuhua
Marie Sebag
Zhao Xue
Hou Yifan
Nana Dzagnidze
Monika Soćko
Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant

As of May 11, 2009 there are 77 women who hold the International Master title:

* Olga Alexandrova
* Ekaterina Atalik
* Irina Berezina
* Natasa Bojkovic
* Dagne Ciuksyte
* Viktorija Cmilyte
* Silvia Collas
* Elina Danielian
* Yelena Dembo
* Joanna Dworakowska
* Martha L. Fierro Baquero
* Cristina Adela Foisor
* Alisa Galliamova
* Inna Gaponenko
* Anita Gara
* Nino Gurieli
* Sopio Gvetadze
* Zuzana Hagarova
* Dronavalli Harika
* Jovanka Houska
* Harriet V. Hunt
* Nana Ioseliani
* Jana Jackova
* Lela Javakhishvili
* Ketino Kachiani-Gersinska
* Sopiko Khukhashvili
* Nino Khurtsidze
* Masha Klinova
* Tatiana Kononenko
* Ekaterina Korbut
* Nadezhda Kosintseva
* Tatiana Kosintseva
* Liubov Kostiukova
* Ekaterina Kovalevskaya
* Irina Krush
* Susan K. Lalic
* Tea Lanchava
* Maia Lomineishvili
* Carolina Lujan
* Ildiko Madl
* Alisa Maric
* Iulia Mashinskaya
* Ana Matnadze
* Svetlana Matveeva
* Nora Dr. Medvegy
* Salome Melia
* Sophie Milliet
* Lilit Mkrtchian
* Eva Moser
* Anna Muzychuk
* Mariya Muzychuk
* Evgenija Ovod
* Elisabeth Paehtz
* Corina Peptan
* Svetlana Petrenko
* Sulennis Pina Vega
* Sofia Polgar
* Maka Purtseladze
* Iweta Rajlich
* Olita Rause
* Eva Repkova
* Marina Romanko
* Elena Sedina
* Almira Skripchenko
* Elena Tairova
* Sachdev Tania
* Irina Turova
* Anna Ushenina
* Szidonia Vajda
* Irina Vasilevich
* Tatjana Vasilevich
* Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi
* Wang Yu
* Elena Zaiatz
* Anna Zatonskih
* Olga Zimina
* Anna Zozulia

There are 239 WGM holders, you can find the whole list with names on the FIDE web-site.

There are 971 WFM (woman fide masters).

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Chess Mother's Day!

Dear Chess Players!

Let's all unite to wish all Women Chess Players who are also Mothers a wonderful Mother's Day!

Maybe more than anybody we know how hard it is to balance our private and professional lives at the same time, and when our babies come into this world, travel, chess tournaments, and study become harder than before.

Congratulations to all of you who have managed and continue to manage your motherhood and chess professional lives, it's incredibly hard to do, but you're doing it!

I wish to all Chess Playing Mothers many moments of happiness in their lives. May our children be healthy and happy and may all our wishes come true, on the chess board as well as outside of it!

Very best wishes to you!

Alexandra :-)

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Champion


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Gunina wins Russian Championship U-20!

Valentina Gunina today became the new Russian champion among girls under 20. The championship took place in Dagomys, Russia from April 29 to May 9, 2009. Valentina took clear first place with 7,5 out of 10, thanks to her win in the last round against Elena Tairova, who was leading before that with 7 points.

I played with Valentina for the Russian National team in the
First World Mind Sports Games in Bejing in October 2008.

I congratulate Valentina on this success and wish her all the best in the coming World Championship Girls U-20 which should take place in Argentina at the end of this year. I was also very happy to see the come-back of Elena Tairova who didn't play competive chess for a few months due to health problems. Despite her loss to Valentina in the last round Elena took second place.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Photo source: Chesspics

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Great perfomance by Humpy Koneru

Congratulations to Humpy Koneru for her nice perfomance in the 2nd Mayors Cup International Open Chess Tournament, that was held in Mumbai from May 1 till May 9, 2009!

The field was comprised of over 10 men grandmasters, and Humpy did much better than just hold her own, she finished in the top spots 1-4, with a performance of 2640, and without losing a single game, that's great! She continues to prove that she is playing in the 2600+ range, a good sign for the future.

I wish Humpy well for her future tournaments!


NameFEDRtgPts. TB1 TB2 TB3
GMAreshchenko AlexanderUKR26579,086,572,068,75
GMKoneru HumpyIND26129,085,069,568,00
GMMiroshnichenko EvgenijUKR26809,083,569,066,25
GMPanchanathan Magesh ChandranIND24629,078,066,562,50
GMDeviatkin AndreiRUS25668,584,570,563,75
GMDeepan Chakkravarthy JIND24828,583,069,061,50
GMTimoshenko GeorgyUKR25508,580,566,560,25
IMShyam Sundar MIND24248,576,563,057,25
GMIuldachev SaidaliUZB24978,576,563,056,75
GMSafin ShukhratUZB24858,576,061,557,00

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Photo source: Chesspics