USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive
hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk
Friday, July 31, 2009
Baltic Queen Tournament in Saint-Petersburg, Russia
From August 10 till August 20, 2009 in Saint-Petersburg, Russia a very strong women closed chess tournament will take place.
The participants are: Pia Cramling (SWE, 2525), Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant (SCO, 2506), Elizabeth Paehtz (GER, 2474), Viktorija Cmilyte (LTU, 2470), Natalia Zhukova (UKR, 2465), Peng Zhaoqin (NED, 2418), Ekaterina Atalik (TUR, 2434), Anastasia Bodnaruk (RUS, 2388), Irina Turova (RUS, 2387) and Julia Demina (RUS, 2378). The tournament will be held by Saint-Petersburg Chess Federation, the main sponsor is OAO Gazprom. The schedule of the tournament can be found here.
I'm very glad to see that the Saint Petersburg Chess Federation is doing so many things for women's chess. This year European Women's Chess Championship was also held in Saint-Petersburg and now we will see another very strong chess women's tournament in this wonderful and beautiful city on the banks of the Neva river.
A small photo album of my visit to Saint-Petersburg in 2003 can be found here.
My best friend Almira Skripchenko sent me a few photos from her visit to an orphanage in Moldova.
Almira is originally from Moldova, but now lives in France. She was Women's European champion in 2001, three-times French champion, and represents France since 2002. Almira was rated as high as third woman in the world with a FIDE rating of 2498. She holds the titles of Woman Grand Master (WGM) and Men's International Master (IM).
She visited the kids orphanage #3 of Kishinev and was greeted by the traditional bread and salt.
Almira brought many presents for each kid: chess sets, books, and sports shoes.
Almira also gave a big TV to the orphanage. Every kid was very happy and excited to see a famous chess player and promised to start playing chess as for the next time Almira comes be able to give her a hard time over the board.
The article in Russian about this goodwill visit can be read here.
It's great to read such great news. If every day one such event would take place somewhere in the world there would be many more happy kids in the world.
The treasurer of the Puerto Rico Chess Federation George Perez-Borrero let us know that:
"The Puerto Rico Woman Chess Championship ended yesterday July 27, 2009 Tammy Segarra Choe revalidates as Puerto Rico Woman Chess Champion without losing a single game with 9 points out of 10. In second place and with only nine (9) years old Danitza Vazquez Maccarini (on the photo above with me in Nashville, april 2009) ended with 7 points after her victory in the last round over the WFM Jo Ann Alvarez Orta. Danitza ended with a rating performance of 1873."
Today I received an email from my friend IM Maxim Notkin from www.chesspro.ru who sent me the comments of GM Mikhail Golubev from www.chesstoday.net to the game between two Russian ladies Margarita Schepetkova and Svetlana Matveeva, it's a great game and I want to share it with you.
With their kind agreement I'm posting the commented game below.
Schepetkova,Margarita (2207) - Matveeva,Svetlana (2410) [C14] 59th RUS-ch wom Higher League Voronezh RUS (2.11), 02.06.2009 [Mikhail Golubev (www.chesstoday.net)]
This game was played (in the spirit of old masters!) in the recently finished Russian Women's Higher League tournament (essentially: semifinal).
The sharp Alekhine-Chatard Attack is not very often seen in the modern tournaments.
6...f6 A known, but seldom played move.
[In the pre-computer era, famous was the game Panov-Yudovich, URS-Ch Tbilisi 1937: 7.Bd3 (White also can give a check from h5 first) 7...c5 8.Qh5+ Kf8 - it followed 9.Nxd5 fxg5 10.Rh3 g4 11.Nf4 Nxe5 12.dxe5 gxh3 13.Bxh7 Rxh7 14.Qxh7 h2!–+ and White's attack has failed completely. Indeed, the line is not forced, and the experts of this system could tell much more.] 7...Nxf6 8.Bd3 0–0 9.Nf3 c5 10.Bxf6
[White is attacking after 10...Bxf6 11.Bxh7+ Kxh7 12.Ng5+‚; So, 10...Rxf6 (transposing to a Maroczy-Billecard, Hastings 1895!) is almost surely safest.]
11.Ng5! 11...fxg5 [Black has to accept the sacrifice. Instead, clearly favouring White is 11...f5 12.Qh5 Bxg5 13.hxg5±]
12.hxg5 [White could have forced a draw by 12.Bxh7+ Kxh7 13.hxg5+ Kg7 14.Rh7+ Kxh7 15.Qh5+ Kg7 16.Qh6+ Kf7 17.Qh5+= . But she plays for a victory.]
12...Bxg5 [After 12...Rf7? White has 13.Bxh7+! Rxh7 14.Rxh7 Kxh7 15.Qh5+ Kg7 16.Qh6+ Kf7 17.Qh7+ (less clear is 17.g6+ Kf6 18.0–0–0 Nc6 19.Rd3 Nxd4 20.g7+ Kf7 21.Rg3 Bd7) 17...Ke8 18.g6 cxd4 19.Ne2± and the g6 pawn is unstoppable because after 19...Bf6?? (19...Bf8??) there is 20.Qf7# ]
13.Qh5 13...Rf7 14.Bxh7+ Kf8 15.Bg6! Rg7
[There was an alternative at this point. At least practically playable is 15...cxd4!? 16.Bxf7 dxc3 17.Qg6 Qf6 (another line is 17...Bd2+ 18.Ke2 Ke7 19.Rh7 Kd6 20.Qg3+) 18.Qg8+ Ke7 , etc.]
16...Nd7? [The line 16...cxd4?! 17.Qh8+ Rg8 18.Rf3+ Ke7 19.Rf7+ Kd6 20.Qxd4‚ looks frightening for Black to say the least; Most probably, critical was 16...Bf6! and, for example, 17.0–0–0!? cxd4 18.Nxd5 Qxd5 19.Qh8+ Ke7 20.Qe8+ Kd6 21.Qf8+ leads to the uncertain consequences, Black can play 21...Kc7 22.Qxf6 Rd7]
17.Rf3+ Bf6 18.0–0–0! cxd4 19.Nxd5! Nice, what to say.
20...Qe7?! [This loses by force. But after 20...a5!? (the best chance, preparing ...Ra6) the most direct 21.Qh8+ Rg8 22.Qh6+ Rg7 23.Re8+ Qxe8 24.Bxe8 Kxe8 25.Rxf6 Nxf6 26.Qxg7 Ra6 and here 27.f3! (preparing g4!) gives White a huge advantage.]
The first women's world champion Vera Menchik died in 1944 during an air raid during the second world war. After the war in the winter of 1949–1950 the World Chess Federation (FIDE) held a tournament in Moscow to determine the new women's world champion. Sixteen women from twelve countries competed, with the four Soviet players taking the top four spots. Rudenko won, and held the Women's World Championship title until losing it to Elisabeth Bykova in 1953 in the next championship cycle. After the war, Rudenko's chess trainers were Alexander Tolush and Grigory Levenfish.
For those of you who know Russian, there is an interesting article about Lyudmila Rudenko here.
Every year in Saint Petesburg, the city where Rudenko lived for a long time, an annual women's tournament is taking place dedicated to the great chess champion. This year it will take place from August 25 till September 3, 2009. The information about the tournament can be found on the official site of the Saint-Petersburg chess federation, here.
Here is a game between Lyudmila Rudenko and Clarice Benini from the women's world championship tournament of 1950.
Black just played 37. ... Nf4. It's white to move. Try to find the continuation that Lyudmila Rudenko chose, later on you can have a look at the whole game, the pgn of which I'm adding below:
I'm very glad to announce that my new book "Diary of a Chess Queen" will soon be hitting the shelves.
The English version of the book will be published on December 1, 2009 and available to ship right after that.
The Russian version "Дневники шахматной королевы" will be printed on August 18 and is available to ship in September.
Here is how the Russian version of the "Dairy of a Chess Queen" - will look:
I spent almost 6 months writing this book and hope that readers will like it, as I put all my heart and effort into it to make it my masterpiece with the best material I have ever created. There is much more text than usual, I would say over 1/3 is pure text and the rest are my best 64 chess games from my whole career, commented as best I could. Anatoly Karpov, the 12th world chess champion, wrote the introduction to my book.
Here is a concise review of the book, by the publisher, Mongoose Press:
"Women’s World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk chronicles her rise to the top of the chess world in this introspective autobiographical work. Drawing from personal diaries kept during her youth, Kosteniuk takes the reader from the very dawn of her career as a child star in Russia, through triumph and disappointment, and finally to the pinnacle of success on the black-and-white battlefield. Along the way, we are treated to much more than an inside look into how a grandmaster approaches the royal game: we also learn the unique challenges posed to a young woman pulled at once by the diverging demands of professional chess, the glamour of the modeling lifestyle, and the joys of love and family life.
Part memoir and travelogue, part game collection, Diary of a Chess Queen features a selection of 64 annotated games with a wide range of world-class competitors, including super-GM Sergey Karjakin and former women’s world champions Zhu Chen and Antoaneta Stefanova. Fashion model, wife and mother, Alexandra Kosteniuk became the European Women’s Chess Champion in 2004 and the Russian Women’s Chess Champion in 2005, then prevailed in the final match for the Women’s World Championship in 2008."
From the first letter to the last word I wrote this book myself and I'm looking forward very much to having this book in my hands!
You can pre-order both the English and Russian versions NOW on www.chessqueen.com . Even with the autograph, we will be able to sell the book below retail price, $22.95 instead of $24.95.
By ordering your copy before it's printed, I will offer a free personal autograph to ev.eryone at no extra cost. Just email me the name of the person you want me to autograph it to and I will do so!
The direct link to buy the English version is here.
The treasurer of the Puerto Rico Chess Federation, George Perez-Borrero let me know today that: "The Final of the Puerto Rico Woman Championship, Puerto Rico National Women Championship -2009 is being held at the Casa de Ajedrez
in Caguas Puerto Rico from July 11, 2009 to July 27 2009. The institution of 9,753 square feet is the only installation dedicated exclusively to chess in Puerto Rico. The house was built at a cost of $1,6 million. Casa del Ajedrez "the House of Chess" opened its doors in October of 2006 under the direction of IA Rafael Ortiz Bonilla with the purpose of promoting the education and practice of the sport science."
After eight rounds the Chess Champion of Puerto Rico en titre - Seqarra Choe Tammy is leading with 7.5 points, the 9 years old Danitza Vazquez is in second place with 5 points. On the photo below you can see the direct encounter between the leaders.The latest results can be seen here. For those of you who know Spanish, the official web-page of the Puerto Rico Chess Federation is here.
A new French movie "Joueuse" by Caroline Bottaro will come out on the screens of France on August 5, 2009.
Here is a preview of the movie:
It's a movie about one woman, who is a housemaid. She lives an ordinary life, going from work to home and back. All of a sudden, one day, she sees a couple playing chess and falls in love (not surprisingly, uh?;)) with our game.
More photos from the scene and about the movie can be found here.
Kevin Kline and Sandrine Bonnaire are playing the main roles and I'm already looking very-very much forward to seeing this movie. I hope it will be shown not only in France but also worldwide. You can be sure I'd go to the cinema as soon as I can to watch this movie!
One thing that I like the most about being a role-model for boys and girls, something that makes my profession of chess-player and chess-educator so special, is the wonderful gifts, letters, emails and wishes, that young chess players sometimes send to me.
On the photos below you can see some letters that were sent by the Class 4-206 at P.S. 18, Queens, NY just after I won the world championship in Nalchik.
The most fascinating thing for me is to watch girls and boys playing chess. Despite being so young, they create, fight, they are trying to become better not only in chess but also in life. Chess often gives us the reason of living, it opens in front of us a wonderful world full of magic. We play, win or lose, we become a big part of this world. Fascinated by this ancient game, that came to us across the centuries. Thanks to all of you for these wonderful congratulations letters, special thanks to the teacher of this class Vicky Guadagno who inspires these young kids to study chess, and helps me in my goal to show the world that "Chess is Cool!
Women's Chess Kaleidoscope: Spain, Greece, Canada and Poland
A little review of the recent chess results by the leading women chess players.
The tournament in San-Sebastian was won by Sophie Milliet (on the photo). She finished the tournament with 7 points out of 9, one point ahead of Yana Melnikova and Sadchev Tania who shared the second place.
Irina Krush shared the third place in a very strong Canadian Open. She took 7 points out of 9, drawing in the last round against Michael Adams.
During this game I created a very special idea but alas my opponent chose another continuation and at the end I lost that game. I realise now that simply adding a pair of pawns will be enough to make a real nice study out of this game.
So here is the position of my study:
Kosteniuk, 2009 (inspired by the game Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime - Kosteniuk, Alexandra, Paris, 2008)
Black starts and White draws.
(in the original game against Maxime, there were no pawns on the a-file.)
Here is the solution to this study:
The only move for Black here since after 1...Rxc1 2.Qf4+ Kh5 3.Qxh2+ Kg5 4.Qf4+ Kh5 5.Qxf6, White will be better since he will be able to win the pawn on a6 later on and create a very dangerous passed pawn
Black even loses after 2. ... Kh5?? since after 3. Qcf4! Rd1+ 4. Kc5 Rc8+ (or Qg1+) White king escapes to d6 5. Kd6 and Black has no defense from Qh8#
After 3...Kh6 4.Qh3+! Kg7 ( 4...Qxh3 stalemate) 5.Qd7+ Kh6 6.Qh3+ It will be a draw by perpetual check or a stalemate
Thanks to my Google alerts I came across today's article by Lubomir Kavalek in the Washington Post.
Practically answering my question that I raised in a recent post about a female chess composer GM Kavalek at the beginning of the article writes:
"W. J. Baird (1859 - 1924) was the most prolific chess composer among women, not only in her native England but in the world. She created more than 2,000 problems in her lifetime. Her work "700 Chess Problems," published in 1902, took her 14 years to complete. In one of the problems (on the diagram), white mates in two moves (Solution next week)."
The full article of Lubomir Kavalek in the Washington Post can be found here.
I made a little research on-line (you can find almost everything on the web these days) and found a few very interesting articles about Mrs. W. J. Baird.
Edith Helen Baird (1859-1924), born Winter Wood, was the most famous female chess composer. She published her problems using the name "Mrs W. J. Baird." She composed over 2,000 problems.
She published two notable books of her compositions - in 1902 the King's printer, Henry Sotheran, published her Seven Hundred Chess Problems, to be followed in 1907 by The Twentieth Century Retractor.
The first book can be found in the google books here.
Edith had one child, Lilian, who, like all her Winter-Wood ancestors, seemed to imbibe chess with her mother's milk.
She was publishing problems before she was 10 years old. Frederick Gittins' description of her in his book The Chess Bouquet (1897) can hardly be bettered.
"Of Miss Lilian Baird we can only say that she is one of the marvels of the chess world. A child of thirteen, with long sunny golden hair falling back from a fine and lofty forehead, thoughtful eyes, and all the shy grace of childhood, she has already, in some mysterious intuitive way, learned the secret of problem-composing, and, absolutely unaided, has produced upwards of seventy compositions which have excited the admiration of the most critical judges. Some of the first composers of the day have dedicated problems to her honour, editors of chess columns are continually asking her to contribute, and people have asked her for her autograph - one of the surest evidences of fame. Like a wise mother, however, Mrs Baird seeks to keep her back rather than to press her forward, so she is now being kept mainly to her lessons and those natural pleasures of childhood to which even the most gifted boy or girl turns with joy. Like her mother, she writes verses quite charmingly and draws beautifully; but, with all her gifts, she remains a child and the happiest and mist industrious of schoolgirls. A childhood of such exceptional promise, and so wisely and affectionately guided and tended, can scarcely fail to lead up to a womanhood of rare fruition". The full article can be found here.
More about Edith E. Helen Winter-Wood Baird can be found here in English or here in German.
85 years ago FIDE (international chess federation) was created.
On July 20, 1924 in Paris representatives from fifteen countries signed the declaration to form FIDE. The original signatories were mainly European but today FIDE has 166 member federations in all Continents.
Starting from 1966 each year on July 20 FIDE celebrates the International Chess Day. Chess is a special game that unite people all over the world. More than 500 millions people play chess worldwide. Some very interesting chess photos can be found on the Visualrian web-site.
I want to congratulate all the chess players and people who love chess on this wonderful day! Let hope that one day battles and wars will take place only on chess boards.
One of the leading Russian chess web-sites www.chesspro.ru has a variety of very interesting chess articles, analysis and columns (it's in Russian but anybody should be able to follow the games quite easily). It also offers a live coverage of the most important chess events. Today I will let you know about the monthly voting for the best game of the month that is run by Maxim Notkin.
Once a month Maxim chooses the most interesting 12-20 games and sends them to GM's with the request to choose their top 10. The game with the top number of GM votes is considered to be the best game of the month. At the end of the year GM's look at the 12 best games of the year and choose the best game of the year. For example here you can find the best games of the year 2008. The top voted game of the year 2008 was a win of Veselin Topalov over Vladimir Kramnik in Wijk-aan-Zee 2008.
You can watch here Maxim's suggestion of 19 best games of June 2009.
Among these 19 games, one is from the higher league of the Russian Women's Championship between Margarita Schepetkova and Svetlana Matveeva. It's very nice, have a look:
You can see the position after the 10th move of Black. It's White to move.
Margarita found a very nice way to continue the game and won in a very convincing style.
Today I received an email from my friend Chess Grandmaster Natalia Zhukova. She wrote to me about a very special presentation by the automobile company Mercedez-Benz that took place in Kiev, Ukraine.
Natalia was invited to the special presentation of 3 newest Mercedes-benz car models, very modern and very technologically "intelligent". If we look at the main colors of this series, which are Black and White, analogies to chess become almost inevitable.
Natalia Zhukova hosted the Chess Show and gave a chess simul.
More photos and the full article in Russian can be found here.