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


Thursday, December 31, 2009

Winners of 2009 Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest

Hello everyone!

2009 is over and so is my 2009 Alexandra Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest. It's time to announce the winners of the December Alexandra Kosteniuk Grand-Prix Puzzle Contest as well as the overall winner of 2009.

Surprisingly, out of all the solutions received only 2 solutions were totally correct.

Here are the full answers to the puzzles:

Hoffman - Petrov, 1844. Black to move.

Puzzle 1. Black plays and wins

12. … O-O !! Nice queen sacrifice 13.

[13. Rf1 Rxf7 14. Rxf7 Qg5+ 15. Qg4 Qxg4 15. Kxg4 Kxf7 -+ ]

13. ... Bf2+ 14. Kh3

[14. Kg4 Rf4+ 15. Kg5 (15. Kh5 Rh4+ 16.Kg5 h6+ 17.Kf5 Ne7#) 15. ... h6+ 16. Kh5 Rh4+ 17. Kg6 Ne7#]

14. ... d6+ 15. e6

[15.g4 Nf4#]

15. ... Nf4+ 16. Kg4 Nxe6 17.g3 Nd4

[ 17. ... Nd8+ leads to checkmate even faster 18. Kh5 (18. Kg5 Rf5+ 19. Kg4 Rf6+ 20. Kg5 Be3+ 21. Kh4 Rh6+ 22. Qh5 g5#; 18. Kh4 Rf4+ 19. Kg5 Ne6+ 20. Kh5 g6+ 21. Kh6 Rh4+ 22. gxh4 Be3#) 18...Rf5+ 19.Kg4 Rf6+ 20.Kh4 Rh6+ 21.Kg5 Be3#]

18. Nxe6 Bxe6+ 19. Kh4

[19. Kg5 Rf5+ 20. Kg4 h5+ 21. Kh3 Rf3#]

19. ... Nf5

[19. ... Rf4 was also checkmating]

20. Kh3 Ne3+ 21. Kh4 Ng2+ 22. Kh5 g6+ 23. Kg5 Be3#

Healey, 1861, White plays and checkmates in 3 moves.

A very nice and difficult checkmate in 3 problem, here's what Fernando Rosetti writes about it:

"The knight protects a mate square (d6) while the bishop guards the c7 and d7 mate squares. Therefore, black has only two playable moves: Bd7 or Be8. How to find the key move?Theoretically, in a composition, each “extra piece” plays an important role. Not different here. The pawn on g2 avoids mate in one (Qg1), Rf3 stops the pawn advance f3-f2, and therefore g1 is an important square. The bishop on a1 seems useless but sharp-eyed solvers can understand him like a “correction” in order to avoid the dual. So, the key is the only square that does not block up the queen’s incursion to g1 via b1.

1. Rh1!! Be8/Bd7
2. Qb1 Bb5
3. Qg1#

If black plays other than 2. ... Bb5, white checkmates with 3. Qb4."

Pillsbury – Em. Lasker
St. Petersburg (1895-96)

17. … Rxc3 18. fxe6

[ In case of 18. bxc3 Black can get a better endgame by playing Qxc3 19. Qf3! (19.fxe6? Qb4+ 4.Ka1 Rc8 5.exf7+ Kf8) 19. ... Qxf3! 20. gf Bxf5+ 21. Bd3 Bh3 or he can play for an attack with 18. ... Bd7!? since after 19. Qf3 Rc8 Black's attack is unstoppable]

Ra3!! The key of the combination.

19. exf7+?

[ With the strongest 19. ba! White would have still been able to save the game but for that he would need to do many more excellent defensive moves.]

Rxf7 20. bxa3 Qb6+ 21. Bb5 Qxb5 22. Ka1 Rc7?

[The easiest way to win here is to play 22. ... Qc4! 23. Qg4 Re7! (with the idea Re4 or Re2) 24. Rhe1 Bxd4+ 25. Qxd4 Rxe1 winning]

23. Rd2 Rc4 24. Rhd1?

[White could have make a draw after 24. Re1!]

24. ... Rc3?

[24. ... Qc6 was winning]

25. Qf5 Qc4 26.Kb2?

[26. Kb1 could have helped White to stop Blaxk's attack and gain the initiative]

26. ... Rxa3 !! 27. Qe6+ Kh7?

[ Black was winning after 27. ... Kh8]

28. Kxa3??

[ After 28. Qf5+ Kh8 29. Kb1 White could saved the game]

Qc3+ 29. Ka4 b5+! 30. Kxb5 Qc4+ 31. Ka5 Bd8+ 32. Qb6 Bxb6#

You can find more comments about this game in the excellent work by Garry Kasparov "My Great Predecessors", volume 1.


The Grand-winner of the Grand-Prix is Fernando Rossetti from Brazil, he gets my new autographed book "Diary of a Chess Queen", congratulations!

Renato Oliviera and Francisco Valiente were just a few points behind the winner and get my "Best Games DVD" as a prize.

Thanks to everybody for participating!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Invitation to Miami Diary of a Chess Queen Book Signings

Dear friends of chess,

It is my pleasure to invite you to either or both of my Miami book signings, that will take place on January 7 at 7 PM at the Aventura Barnes & Noble, and on January 11 at 8 PM at the Coral Gables Books & Books.

My book "Diary of a Chess Queen" will be presented to Miami on those occasions, and I will gladly sign autographs for you and for your loved ones.

I will talk about my book, and will take any questions about my career or my games. I will take a chess board with me and if you have some question, you can feel free to ask it then directly to me.

The book contains 64 of my best chess games, commented, but also at least 1/3 of text, which conveys my life story, from being a little 5-year old girl who just learned to play chess, up to my winning the women's world chess championship last year. There are more than 100 photos in the book, and lots of diagrams, that make following the games very easy.

You can read some Amazon reviews about my book.

I hope to see you there, and send you my very best wishes for the New Year!

May Love, Happiness and Chess be with you all along 2010!

Posted by ALexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Episode of my Chess is Cool Podcast

Hello everyone!

Last night I recorded a new episode of my Chess is Cool Audio podcast. You can listen to it by clicking here.

In this Episode #35 I talk of my tournament life this last fall, and I give over 50 tips on how improve your play in blitz chess.

You can also go directly to my Podcast page for past episodes, or subscribe (for free) in iTunes.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Labels: ,

New Women's FIDE Ratings for January 2010

The new FIDE ratings for Top Women as of January 1, 2010 have come out!

Some points to be noted are:

• There are now 17 women above the 2500 level (15 in November)
• Nana Dzagnidze lost most, -41 points since November (4th to 14th)
• There are now 3 Russians in the top 10 (the 2 Kosintsevas and me)
• I went up from 11th to 8th thanks to my good performance in Novi Sad
• Nice increases by Lahno +19 (now 9th) and N. Kosintseva +15 (now 5th)
• The top players from USA are #30 Anna Zatonskih and #37 Irina Krush

You can find the whole table below:

1 Polgar, Judit g HUN 2682 4 1976
2 Koneru, Humpy g IND 2614 8 1987
3 Hou, Yifan g CHN 2590 14 1994
4 Stefanova, Antoaneta g BUL 2545 7 1979
5 Kosintseva, Nadezhda m RUS 2533 9 1985
6 Cramling, Pia g SWE 2528 4 1963
7 Muzychuk, Anna m SLO 2523 25 1990
8 Kosteniuk, Alexandra g RUS 2523 10 1984
9 Lahno, Kateryna g UKR 2518 16 1989
10 Kosintseva, Tatiana g RUS 2515 8 1986
11 Chiburdanidze, Maia g GEO 2514 0 1961
12 Ju, Wenjun wg CHN 2512 4 1991
13 Sebag, Marie g FRA 2510 8 1986
14 Dzagnidze, Nana g GEO 2506 19 1987
15 Zhao, Xue g CHN 2504 4 1985
16 Mkrtchian, Lilit m ARM 2503 9 1982
17 Pogonina, Natalija wg RUS 2501 0 1985
18 Danielian, Elina m ARM 2495 11 1978
19 Javakhishvili, Lela m GEO 2493 7 1984
20 Cmilyte, Viktorija m LTU 2489 9 1983
21 Hoang Thanh Trang g HUN 2487 0 1980
22 Paehtz, Elisabeth m GER 2484 9 1985
23 Ruan, Lufei wg CHN 2479 2 1987
24 Xu, Yuhua g CHN 2478 3 1976
25 Harika, Dronavalli m IND 2471 11 1991
26 Gaponenko, Inna m UKR 2470 16 1976
27 Arakhamia-Grant, Ketevan g SCO 2470 9 1968
28 Zhu, Chen g QAT 2470 4 1976
29 Qin, Kanying wg CHN 2466 0 1974
30 Zatonskih, Anna m USA 2466 0 1978
31 Tan, Zhongyi wg CHN 2464 3 1991
32 Zhukova, Natalia wg UKR 2462 8 1979
33 Khotenashvili, Bela m GEO 2461 8 1988
34 Dembo, Yelena m GRE 2457 8 1983
35 Skripchenko, Almira m FRA 2456 0 1976
36 Rajlich, Iweta m POL 2455 13 1981
37 Krush, Irina m USA 2455 5 1983
38 Tairova, Elena m RUS 2455 0 1991
39 Ushenina, Anna m UKR 2452 6 1985
40 Hunt, Harriet V m ENG 2452 0 1978
41 Socko, Monika g POL 2450 14 1978
42 Gunina, Valentina wf RUS 2448 7 1989
43 Korbut, Ekaterina m RUS 2448 0 1985
44 Muzychuk, Mariya m UKR 2447 0 1992
45 Atalik, Ekaterina m TUR 2445 0 1982
46 Shen, Yang wg CHN 2444 2 1989
47 Foisor, Cristina-Adela m ROU 2440 10 1967
48 Huang, Qian wg CHN 2439 3 1986
49 Khukhashvili, Sopiko m GEO 2438 7 1985
50 Zhang, Xiaowen wg CHN 2437 24 1989
51 Repkova, Eva m SVK 2434 0 1975
52 Romanko, Marina m RUS 2433 6 1986
53 Melia, Salome m GEO 2431 9 1987
54 Kovalevskaya, Ekaterina m RUS 2428 4 1974
55 Munguntuul, Batkhuyag wg MGL 2427 15 1987
56 Moser, Eva m AUT 2424 8 1982
57 Li, Ruofan m SIN 2423 0 1978
58 Ovod, Evgenija m RUS 2415 0 1982
59 Khurtsidze, Nino m GEO 2414 13 1975
60 Vasilevich, Tatjana m UKR 2414 0 1977
61 Cori T., Deysi wm PER 2412 33 1993
62 Peptan, Corina-Isabela m ROU 2411 7 1978
63 Savina, Anastasia RUS 2407 20 1992
64 Matnadze, Ana m GEO 2407 9 1983
65 Karavade, Eesha wg IND 2405 11 1987
66 Milliet, Sophie m FRA 2404 13 1983
67 Jackova, Jana m CZE 2403 16 1982
68 Tsereteli, Tamar wg GEO 2403 9 1985
69 Zdebskaja, Natalia wg UKR 2402 16 1986
70 Peng, Zhaoqin g NED 2402 9 1968
71 Houska, Jovanka m ENG 2401 18 1980
72 Stockova, Zuzana m SVK 2401 0 1977
73 Tania, Sachdev m IND 2398 11 1986
74 Zawadzka, Jolanta wg POL 2391 19 1987
75 Zaiatz, Elena m RUS 2391 4 1969
76 Alexandrova, Olga m ESP 2391 0 1978
77 Matveeva, Svetlana m RUS 2391 0 1969
78 Stepovaia, Tatiana wg RUS 2389 8 1965
79 Molchanova, Tatjana wm RUS 2388 8 1980
80 Maric, Alisa m SRB 2387 9 1970
81 Turova, Irina m RUS 2386 8 1979
82 Madl, Ildiko m HUN 2385 7 1969
83 Bojkovic, Natasa m SRB 2384 9 1971
84 Kovanova, Baira wg RUS 2384 2 1987
85 Shadrina, Tatiana wg RUS 2382 9 1974
86 Pokorna, Regina wg SVK 2382 0 1982
87 Galojan, Lilit wg ARM 2374 8 1983
88 Dworakowska, Joanna m POL 2374 7 1978
89 Majdan, Joanna wg POL 2374 7 1988
90 Bodnaruk, Anastasia wg RUS 2372 2 1992
91 Lomineishvili, Maia m GEO 2371 0 1977
92 Gara, Anita m HUN 2370 17 1983
93 Michna, Marta wg GER 2370 8 1978
94 Vajda, Szidonia m HUN 2369 17 1979
95 Iljushina, Olga wg RUS 2367 0 1981
96 Goletiani, Rusudan m USA 2366 0 1980
97 Girya, Olga wg RUS 2365 23 1991
98 Gaprindashvili, Nona g GEO 2360 9 1941
99 Calzetta Ruiz, Monica wg ESP 2359 8 1972
100 Djingarova, Emilia wg BUL 2359 0 1978

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Alisa Galliamova is Russian Women Chess Champion 2009

Hello everybody!

Alisa Galliamova became the new 2009 Russian women's champion! After a break of almost 3 years, she's made a wonderful come-back scoring 7,5 (!) out of 9 with a perfomance of 2709 in a very strong Russian Superfinal. The Silver medal was won by Nadezhda Kosintseva who showed also a very nice performance of 2649 and scored 7 points out of 9. The Bronze medal went to Valentina Gunina with 6 points of 9 who showed a perfomance of 2562.

Alisa Galliamova started the tournament very well: 5 out of 5, showing that despite a long break she is still a very dangerous opponent. In the 6th round she could have secured the victory in the tournament by winning against Nadezhda Kosintseva. But Galliamova wasn't precise till the very end and the game ended in a draw. So Nadezhda continued to follow Alisa very closely till the very last round.

Below is the game of the newly crowned Russian champion from the second round. Alisa Galliamova is playing Black against Elena Zaiatz:

This game is an excellent example of "weakening maneuvers" and is very instructive. The Black pieces moved forward and backwards but each time White had to weaken her position and finally it collapses. The position below is after the 18. dxe5, it's Black to move.

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

18. ... Ng4! the first move from a series of maneuvers that will force White to weaken her king side.

19.f3 Bxb5 20.Qxb5

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

20 ... Qg5! forcing White one more time to push the pawns forward. 21. f4

(21. fxg4 didn't work very well in view of the following variation 21. ... Qe3+ 22. Kh1 {Kg2 Qf2+ and then after 23. Kh1 Black can at least to win the piece back by taking the bishop on b2 23. ... Qxb2; White's king can't go to h3 - 23. Kh3 since he will be checkmated after 23. ... Ng5+ 24. Kh4 Qh2+ 25. Kg5 Qh6#} 22. ... Qf3+ 23. Bg2 Nf2+ 24. Kg1 Qe3 {threatening to give a smothered mate by playing Nh3+ - Qg1+! - Nf2#} 25. h3 here Black can either play with a safe plus after 25. ... Nd3+ or to continue the attack with 25. ... f4!?).

Qh6 22.Qe2

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

22. ... g5! continuing to play in a nice aggressive style 23.fxg5 Nxg5 24.Kh1
Ne4 This position is an excellent example on when the knights are stronger than the bishops! 25.Kg1

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

25. ... Kh8 preparing the g-file for the rook 26.Bd4 Rg8 27.Rc2

Zaiatz - Galliamova, Black to move

27...Nef2! another maneuver that forces White to make an unwanted pawn's move forward 28.h4 Ne4 and one more move back in order to use the advantages of the g3 weakness. White's position is defendless and Alisa finished the game with a few nice tactical moves. 29.Qe1 Nxg3 30.Rg2 Nxf1 31.Kxf1 f4 32.e4 Ne3+ 33.Bxe3 fxe3 34.Rxg8+ Rxg8 35.exd5 exd5 36.Ke2 Rg2+ 37.Kd3 Rd2+ 38.Kc3 Qc6+ 0-1

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.21"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Zaiatz,E"]
[Black "Galliamova,A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "D11"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.e3 Bd6 5.Qc2 f5 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 O-O
8.O-O b6 9.b3 Qe7 10.Bb2 Bb7 11.Nc3 Nbd7 12.cxd5 cxd5 13.Nb5
Rfc8 14.Qe2 Ba6 15.Rfc1 Ne4 16.Bf1 Ndf6 17.Ne5 Bxe5 18.dxe5 Ng4
19.f3 Bxb5 20.Qxb5 Qg5 21.f4 Qh6 22.Qe2 g5 23.fxg5 Nxg5 24.Kh1
Ne4 25.Kg1 Kh8 26.Bd4 Rg8 27.Rc2 Nef2 28.h4 Ne4 29.Qe1 Nxg3 30.Rg2
Nxf1 31.Kxf1 f4 32.e4 Ne3+ 33.Bxe3 fxe3 34.Rxg8+ Rxg8 35.exd5
exd5 36.Ke2 Rg2+ 37.Kd3 Rd2+ 38.Kc3 Qc6+ 0-1

Valentina Gunina (on the photo below) who took bronze,

played in her usual creative and attacking style. Here is one of her masterpieces from this tournament. It was the second round, Gunina is playing White against another Russian young star Anastasia Bodnaruk:

Black just played 21. ... e4 I'm sure Valentina didn't event think to move back 22.Bxe4! a nice positional sacrifice. fxe4 23.Nxg5 Nxg5 24.hxg5 Bxc3 According to Valentina's words: "The first sacrifice 22. Bxe4 was done by intuition but when the game reached the following position the solution was found pretty easily".

25.Bxd6! Qxd6 26.g6 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qe7 28.Rf7 Qxf7 29.gxf7+ Kg7

As the 3rd World Chess Champion Jose-Raul Capablance once said: "In positions with overwhelming advantage nice tactical shots are often easy to find".
30.Qh8+! a cute way to finish the attack
Kxf7 31.bxc3 Ke7 32.g4 Be8 33.Qe5+ Kd7 34.Qg7+ Kc8 35.Qe7 Bd7
36.g5 a5 37.Qxc5+ Kd8 38.Qf8+ Kc7 39.c5 Ra6 40.d6+ Kc6 41.Qxb8
Kxc5 42.Qc7+ 1-0

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.21"]
[Round "2"]
[White "Gunina,V"]
[Black "Bodnaruk,A"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "A48"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bf4 Bg7 4.e3 O-O 5.Be2 d6 6.O-O Nh5 7.Bg5
h6 8.Bh4 f5 9.c4 g5 10.Nfd2 Nf6 11.Bg3 e6 12.Nc3 Qe7 13.f4 c6
14.fxg5 hxg5 15.Bd3 Ng4 16.Qe2 e5 17.d5 c5 18.h3 Nh6 19.Qh5 Bd7
20.Nf3 Nf7 21.h4 e4 22.Bxe4 fxe4 23.Nxg5 Nxg5 24.hxg5 Bxc3 25.Bxd6
Qxd6 26.g6 Rxf1+ 27.Rxf1 Qe7 28.Rf7 Qxf7 29.gxf7+ Kg7 30.Qh8+
Kxf7 31.bxc3 Ke7 32.g4 Be8 33.Qe5+ Kd7 34.Qg7+ Kc8 35.Qe7 Bd7
36.g5 a5 37.Qxc5+ Kd8 38.Qf8+ Kc7 39.c5 Ra6 40.d6+ Kc6 41.Qxb8
Kxc5 42.Qc7+ 1-0

Unfortunately Natalia Pogonina who took the very brave decision to take part in this event just two months after giving birth to her son and started the tournament very well, later on got a fever and had to withdraw from the tournament. I wish Natasha to get well soon and to come back even stronger! Here is a nice example of Natalia's superb play from the first round against Marina Romanko:

20.Nf5+! the perfect moment to start the attack Kg8 21.Qh6 Qxc3

22.Rh3! Chess is not always about winning extra material but rather about checkmating faster.

Qxa1+ 23.Bf1 Qxf1+ (after Qh8 White checkmates by playing Ne7#)

24.Kxf1 Ba6+ 25.Ke1 Rfe8+ 26.Ne3 Re6 27.Qxh7+ Kf8 28.Rf3 Rd7
29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7 1-0

[Event "59th ch-RUS w"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2009.12.20"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Pogonina,N"]
[Black "Romanko,M"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "B60"]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 g6 7.Bxf6
exf6 8.Be2 Bg7 9.O-O O-O 10.Ndb5 f5 11.Nxd6 Bxc3 12.bxc3 fxe4
13.Nxe4 Qe7 14.Bd3 b6 15.Qf3 Bb7 16.Rfe1 Kg7 17.Qf4 Na5 18.Re3
Rad8 19.Ng3 Qc5 20.Nf5+ Kg8 21.Qh6 Qxc3 22.Rh3 Qxa1+ 23.Bf1 Qxf1+
24.Kxf1 Ba6+ 25.Ke1 Rfe8+ 26.Ne3 Re6 27.Qxh7+ Kf8 28.Rf3 Rd7
29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qg7 1-0

You can read more about the Superfinal in the reports of Misha Savinov on - the first report, the second report and the third report. The full tables and some statistics, as well as all games can be found on TWIC.

I congratulate all the winners of this tournament and wish them to have an even more successful and happy new 2010 year!

Happy winners. Left to right: Alisa Galliamova, Nadezhda Kosintseva and Valentina Gunina, photo by Eldar Mukhametov,

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Margaret Prince Celebration Ladies Chess Tournament 2010

The chairman of
the Development (CACDEC) Commission of FIDE Allan Herbert sent me today the following information:

Barbados is hosting a Ladies chess tournament from Jan 1- 4, 2010, in honour of one of our former ladies chess champions Margaret Prince (on the photo below).

Margaret Prince Celebration Ladies Tournament 2010

Open to all female players with an ELO rating of less than 2200, that is ELO <>
Type: 7 round Swiss
Time Control: 1 ½ hour with 30 seconds increment.
Dates: January 1 – 4, 2010. Two rounds on 1 – 3 and one on 4th.
Daily start times: first round 10.00 a.m., next round 4.00 p.m.
Closing ceremony 3.00 p.m. on January 04.
Playing site: Bridgetown Chess Center, Cavans Lane, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Prize fund US $ 2,600
1st – US $ 1,000
2nd – US $ 700
3rd - US $ 500
4th - US $ 250

Best Barbadian Player – US $ 150
Cash prizes will be shared equally, for those on equal points. Tiebreaks used to determine rankings in order are progressive, bucholz and sonnenberger.

Accomodation: Palm Garden Hotel, Worthing Christ Church US$ 42 per night per person with 3 persons in a room.

Entry Fee: WGM US$ 25
All others US$ 50


The FIDE Laws of Chess will govern the tournament and any modifications or clarifications to these rules are noted below.
According to the decision of the FIDE Presidential Board taken in June 2007, any player who doesn’t shake hands with his/her opponent before the game starts (and doesn’t do it after being asked to do so by the arbiter) or deliberately insults his/her opponent or the officials of the event, will immediately and finally lose the game.
Players are not allowed to leave the playing venue (Playing area, Refreshment area, Players restrooms, Smoking area) without permission of the arbiter. Violation of this rule could be punished up to declaring the game to be lost.
Players/spectators are not allowed to enter the closed area of the top boards if they don’t play there themselves.
As long as the game is in progress a player may talk only to an arbiter or with his opponent as permitted by the Laws of Chess.
In case of pre-arranged results the chief arbiter has to decide that the result of the respective game is 0-0.
Where digital clocks are used, the time control will be 90 minutes with an increment of 30 seconds per move, starting from move one.

Where no clock is available at the start of a game, one will be provided as soon as it becomes available. The arbiter will set the clock based on the time elapsed so far.
The default time is 30 minutes after the scheduled start time. Players, parents, coaches and managers are kindly asked to note that if a player defaults 2 games without notifying the Chief Arbiter by telephone and without an appropriate excuse, the player in question will not be paired for the next round and runs the risk of being withdrawn from the tournament.
All games shall be recorded on the official score-sheet provided by the organizers. Upon completion of the game, both original score-sheets shall be submitted to the Chief Arbiter or his assistants, while the copies shall be retained by the players.
Use of cellular phones and other electronic devices during play is strictly prohibited. The penalty for an infraction against this rule is the immediate forfeiture of the game. While a game is in progress, each competitor’s cellular phone shall be switched off. Should a player’s cellular phone ring while his/her game is in progress, this will also result in the immediate forfeiture of the game. The head of the player’s delegation shall also be notified of the occurrence.
Players shall not be permitted to make or receive telephone calls while a game is in progress except under emergency conditions and then only with the permission of the Chief Arbiter.
All players must pay the registration fee before the commencement of the first round (December 31, 2009).
Analysis/discussion of games is not permitted in the tournament hall.
All players must start the clock promptly when each round begins. If a clock malfunctions, STOP the clock and call the Chief Arbiter.
Both players of a game are responsible for reporting the result of their game.
If a player has lost two games by default, the player will be withdrawn from the tournament.
A player who does not wish to continue a game and leaves without resigning or notifying the Chief Arbiter is discourteous. He may be penalized at the discretion of the Chief Arbiter, for poor sportsmanship.
If a player wants to withdraw from the tournament or if he does not want to play in the next round, he must notify the Chief Arbiter in writing before the pairing for the next round is made.
All complaints concerning the behavior of players must be made to the Chief Arbiter. A player is not permitted to complain directly to his opponent.

The Appeals Committee will consist of five members. Three of them will be titular members and two reserve members. They will be appointed by the Chief Arbiter after consultation with the Tournament Director. No member of the Committee is entitled to make a decision in cases affecting his own games.

A player may appeal any decision made by the Chief Arbiter/ Arbiter. Any appeal is subject to a US $50.00 fee and is payable to the Barbados Chess Federation. Such appeals will be forwarded to the appeals committee whose decision will be final.

Contact: Mr. Rohan Waithe I.A.
Tel: (246) 425-3974 (H), (246) 269-3607 (C)

OR Mr. Kelvin Daniel F.A.
Tel: (246) 426-8008

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kosteniuk - N. Kosintseva Commented Blitz Video

I am pleased to present to you a new commented chess video of my game from the recent First ACP Women Rapid Chess Cup, that took place in Konya, Turkey about a month ago.

I took first place with 10 points out of 11 (see official table), which gave me an ELO performance of 2746.

If you have a YouTube login, I would appreciate if you went directly to my YouTube channel and rated my video 5 stars. Feel free to leave any comments, I make an effort to respond to all of them. If you are not yet a YouTube member, you can sign up (it's free) and then subscribe to my videos, that way you will be notified when I publish new commented chess videos.

Enjoy this video and Happy Holidays to all!

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 25, 2009

Star Interview: Anna Zatonskih

This year has been a great year for US players. Two very successful US-championships for men and women have been held in Saint-Louis, many young American players participated successfully in the youth championships and after visiting the Supernationals and National scholastic chess tournaments in the US one can say that chess is definitely on the go in the USA.

From October 4 to October 13, the 2009 US women's chess championship took place. The tournament had the highest prize-fund in the history of the US women's championships. All the strongest women US players took part in it and it was won convincingly by Anna Zatonskih with the fantastic result of 8,5 out of 9.

Immediately after the tournament I asked Anna a few questions and it is a pleasure for me now to introduce this new chess star on my blog: the strong chess-player, adventurer and chess mom Anna Zatonskih!

Interview of Anna Zatonskih conducted by Alexandra Kosteniuk:

Alexandra Kosteniuk - Congratulation on your win at the 2009 women's US chess championship! 8,5 out of 9 - is an impressive result! Tell us a little bit about the tournament, the organization, how it felt to play in Saint Louis.

Anna Zatonskih - The organization was just superb! That was already my second trip to Saint Louis this year. The first one was for the men’s US chess championship and was not very successful for me. I just started the tournament, played two games and was hospitalized. My friends were telling me: “Don’t’ worry, you’ll get better, you’ll come back in October and will take first prize”.

The organization team in Saint Louis is just great. In May, during the US men’s championship I was staying at the main organizer’s home. Everybody is very kind and you feel like playing chess. You feel like you are doing something really important. Also, there was the highest prize-fund of the women’s US championships in history. Everything that we wished for, was instantly done by the organizers. The playing hall was very nice. I think I wouldn’t be mistaken if I’d say that the Saint Louis Chess Club is the best chess club in America and also the best chess club I have ever seen. When you are in this club you can see that people who have created it love chess and put their soul in every detail as it was their house. The media coverage of the event was fantastic.

The ICC boradcasts of Jeniffer Shahade, Macauley Peterson were just great. Many interesting side-events took place during the tournament.

AK – What was your best game in the tournament?

AZ – A few moves that I made during this tournament were special for me. First of all, it’s the move b5 in the game against Irina Krush.

the position before 22. ... b5!

It is rather a simple move but it doesn’t come to your mind, I didn’t notice it immediately.

[Event "ch-USA w"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2009.10.6"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Krush,I"]
[Black "Zatonskih,A"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "D56"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 O-O 7.e3 Ne4
8.Bxe7 Qxe7 9.Rc1 Nxc3 10.Rxc3 c6 11.Qc2 Nd7 12.cxd5 exd5 13.Bd3
Nb6 14.O-O Be6 15.Rb1 a5 16.Nd2 Nc8 17.Ra3 Nd6 18.Qc5 Qc7 19.Rc3
Rfc8 20.Rbc1 Qd8 21.h3 Bf5 22.Bf1 b5 23.Rb3 Nb7 24.Qa3 b4 25.Qa4
c5 26.dxc5 Nxc5 27.Qb5 Rab8 28.Qe2 a4 0-1

Second, the 41st move a4 in the game against Alisa Melekhina

The position before 41. a4!

[Event "ch-USA w"]
[Site "Saint Louis USA"]
[Date "2009.10.10"]
[Round "6"]
[White "Zatonskih,A"]
[Black "Melekhina,A"]
[Result "1-0"]
[Eco "E62"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.g3 O-O 5.Bg2 d6 6.Nf3 Bd7 7.O-O
Qc8 8.Re1 Bh3 9.Bh1 Bg4 10.Bg5 Re8 11.Qd2 c6 12.Rad1 Nbd7 13.Bh6
Bh8 14.Ng5 Nf8 15.Bg2 Ne6 16.f3 Nxg5 17.Bxg5 Bh3 18.Bxh3 Qxh3
19.e4 Nh5 20.Qf2 Bf6 21.Be3 b6 22.f4 c5 23.e5 cxd4 24.Bxd4 dxe5
25.fxe5 Bh8 26.Nd5 Rac8 27.b3 Qe6 28.Bb2 Ng7 29.Rf1 h5 30.Nf4
Qf5 31.Qe2 Ne6 32.Nd5 Qg4 33.Qg2 h4 34.gxh4 Qxh4 35.Rd3 Bg7 36.Rh3
Qg5 37.Rg3 Qh5 38.Rh3 Qg5 39.Rg3 Qh5 40.Qf2 g5 41.a4 Rcd8 42.Qf5
Qg6 43.Qg4 Kh7 44.h4 Bh6 45.Qf3 Rf8 46.h5 Qc2 47.Rg2 g4 48.Qxg4
Rg8 49.Rxf7+ Kh8 50.Rxc2 Rxg4+ 51.Rg2 Rxg2+ 52.Kxg2 Nf4+ 53.Nxf4
Rd2+ 54.Kf3 Rxb2 55.Ng6+ Kg8 56.Rxe7 Rxb3+ 57.Ke4 Rb4 58.Rc7
Rxa4 59.e6 Ra1 60.Rc8+ Kg7 61.e7 Re1+ 62.Kd5 Kf7 63.Rf8+ 1-0

and also the Be4 move from my game with Foisor.

The position before 56. ... Be4!

[Event "2009 US Women's Ch."]
[Site "St.Louis"]
[Date "2009.10.12"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Foisor, Sabina Francesca"]
[Black "Zatonskih, Anna"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "D35"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 Nf6 6.Qc2 c5 7.e3
cxd4 8.exd4 Nc6 9.Bb5 Qb6 10.Nge2 O-O 11.Bxc6 Qxc6 12.O-O Be6
13.Rac1 Rac8 14.f3 Qd7 15.g4 b5 16.a3 Ne8 17.Qb3 a6 18.Bg3 Rc4
19.Rcd1 f6 20.Rfe1 Bf7 21.Nf4 Nc7 22.Qc2 b4 23.axb4 Bxb4 24.Qf5
Qxf5 25.gxf5 Nb5 26.Nfe2 Nxc3 27.bxc3 Bxc3 28.Nxc3 Rxc3 29.Kf2
Rfc8 30.Re3 Rxe3 31.Kxe3 Rc3+ 32.Rd3 Rxd3+ 33.Kxd3 Bh5 34.Ke3
a5 35.Bd6 Kf7 36.Kf4 Ke8 37.Ba3 a4 38.Ke3 Kd7 39.h3 Kd8 40.Bf8
Ke8 41.Bc5 Kf7 42.h4 Kg8 43.Kf4 Be8 44.Ba3 Bb5 45.Ke3 Kf7 46.Bb4
Bc4 47.Kd2 Bf1 48.Ke3 Bh3 49.Kf4 Ke8 50.Ba3 Kd7 51.Bf8 Kc6 52.Ke3
Bxf5 53.Kd2 g5 54.Be7 gxh4 55.Bxf6 h3 56.Be5 Be4 0-1

I also won the prize for the best game of the tournament for my game against Alisa Melekhina but for me it’s difficult to name the best game, all my games were pretty well-played. I didn’t have any worse position almost anywhere except for the first game.

AK - Tell us a little bit about the special event that you participated in before the start of the championship. You played a 5 boards-simul blindfolded.

A blindfolded defending champ. Photo Betsy Dynako

AZ - Yes, we played in the Modern Art Museum, I played against 5 players. 2 players were from Saint Louis, one player from the club, one more was the organizer of the women’s championship Rex Sinquelfield, who is doing a lot for chess in the region. Except the men’s and women’s US championships that took place in SL this year, there are big chess programs for kids, the kids chess center and they are trying to include chess to school’s programs, so we are very fortunate that so great people live in SL! The fifth players of the simul was the cousin of Rex. I would say that the strongest players were 1700-1800 and the others are a little bit weaker. Of course I felt tremendous pressure since there were quite many people watching and I was very afraid to forget anything. The games of the simul can be found here.

AK - Did you have any prior experience with this kind of simuls?

AZ - When I was working in Long Island in a very good non-for-profit organization which is called the Great Knights, I often gave blindfolded simuls in clubs and they were quite successful, kids liked it but especially their parents. So I had some experience with this kind of simuls and when we talked with Jennifer about different possible events during the championship we decided that a blindfold simul is an interesting idea.

AK - Weren’t you afraid that the blindfolded simul just before the beginning of the important US championship is a too difficult challenge for your brain? They say that blindfolded chess is a very big strain for the brain and in the USSR this kind of chess was even prohibited due to the belief that it could be dangerous for health.

AZ – Well, some players of the tournament asked me this question. But since people from Saint Louis are doing such an amazing job for chess and I thought if I could help somehow to popularize chess as well I should do it. I thought that people will like it and they even talked about it on the radio. People might not remember my name after the simul but they knew that I was the one who gave the simul on 5 boards. I also wasn’t afraid, because I was not sure about my form since in September I played badly in the women’s world team championship, so in order to get somehow to a better chess mood I decided that I have to do something a little bit extraordinary, maybe that helped. And also the championship started only on the next day so I had some time to rest.

AK – What did you do after China? What changed since then?

AZ – I wouldn’t say that I did anything special. Maybe I just decided to relax and took it easy.

AK – Who helped you throughout the tournament.

AZ – My husband, GM Daniel Fridman was helping me, but since at the same time he was participating in the European Club Cup and we had 7 hours time difference, he was just giving me some advice, ideas, which were helpful and were very important for me. And honestly I don’t think that on our level the openings are the most important part of the game.

AK – By the way, about the level of play. I have a few questions regarding this issue to you. First of all, shortly after the end of the championship the Wall Street Journal published an article where the author asks to abolish women’s titles.

AZ – Yeah, I read this article.
AK – Ok, so what’s your opinion regarding this article? And the second question about it, what’s your point of view about the difference between women’s and men’s chess? And why do men play stronger then women at the moment?

AZ – Well, I think there are many differences between men and women. We should first say that we should popularize more women’s chess, we should create more possibilities for women that will attract to chess. About the article I don’t think that it’s a problem to have men’s and women’s titles and women’s titles motivate women and girls to continue playing and participate in tournaments. Maybe with some time it will be worth considering to abolish some of those titles but it’s definitely not for today. For example when I was giving lessons to kids I notice that there were much more boys then girls probably even 80% to 20%. And we have to change this, since chess is helpful for boys as well as for girls. Chess helps children to succeed in school and there are many good words about it that have already been said. Also 200 years ago there were only men playing while women were mainly housewifes and also I think chess was at the beginning invented as the game for the kings that teaches the strategical principles of battles, so at the beginning chess was considered to be a war game and war is the privilege of men. In the modern world, however, we can see that there are many girls who go to the army. Especially in Israel, in US there are many such women. I often fly in airplanes and see these girls. And it's the same for chess, nowadays there are many more girls and women who play chess. That’s why the difference between women’s and men’s chess 50 years ago was just huge, today, maybe slowly but steadily women are moving forward chesswise and most likely in a few more years women will play chess better compared to today. Also professional chess requires a lot of energy and often women who become mothers face problems since to play chess professionaly one needs to go to chess camps and to go away for a long time and according to Nature women tend to prefer to spend more time with their family. So in other words we have been created differently and we have different priorities in life. And I think it’s absolutely natural to have separate women’s and men’s tournaments. In the USSR we had different categories and in order to get this category a man or a woman needed to fulfill some norms and these norms were different for men and for women, so if we consider chess a sport, why should we have the same norms for men and for women?

AK – Yes, but the supporters of the Wall Street Journal article say that chess is not a physical, but rather an intellectual kind of sport and women can compete on the same level with men. Of course being a professional chess player myself I understand that one need to have great physical capabilities to play chess professionaly on a very high level but still these people say that women should be able to compete on the same level as men on the intellectual fields.

AZ – Well, chess is like gymnastics for the brain, but it’s still gymnastics. On the professional level when the average game can last for 5-6 hours, plus four hours of preparation one definitely needs a lot of physical strength. And still, we need to motivate more young girls to play chess and the titles are one of the way to motivate them. It's the same way with titles, as when players get trophies and medals playing in tournaments.

AK – What do you think is the most important step in improving women chess what are we lacking?

AZ – It’s a good question. We have a few good organizations that are doing a great job for promoting kids chess, so I think we have to do the same thing for women chess. In the US they are doing a great job for promoting youth chess, you and I both visited the Supernationals in Nashville in April this year and we saw how many kids participate, so we need to do the same with women. We have to create these organizations that will try to attract more girls to chess and will motivate them with different kind of scholarships to stay in chess and to continues playing chess professionaly.

Ak – Anna, tell me, for a very long time you represented the Ukraine and then you decided to change federations. First of all where were you born?

AZ – I was born on July 17, 1978 in Mariupol.

AK – And then you changed federation, by the way what is your point of view in regards of changing federation at the recent cogress of FIDE, where this problem has been discussed, since after Sergey Karjakin decided to change his federation from the Ukraine to Russia many people think the rules shall be sricter. And tell us, since you have seen both sides of chess in the Ukraine and in the US, why did you decide to change federation?

AZ – I can understand that if a player plays one Olympiad for one country then he changes his federation and at the next Olympiad plays for another country, that's ok. But I think it’s not right if every single Olympiad the player changes federation, one – for one country, the other one – for another, the third one – for some other country, I think first of all we have to have some restrictions.

AK – So why did you decide to change your federation?

AZ – Well, in the Ukraine I had some problems which I’m not ready to share with the world. I immigrated to the US and started to live here, and I changed my federation not instantly but after some thought. Also at that time we had a special programm that supportedpreparation for the women’s team for the chess olympiads and we had a very good support. And at that moment I thought that it’s the right decision, I lived in this country and I loved this country and that’s why I decided to change my federation. Today I live in Germany since I’m married to a German GM however I’m not planning to change my federation for the moment.

AK – What do you consider your homeland? For people like you, who were born in one country, then moved to another now live somewhere else.

Az – I have very strong ties with the Ukraine. When I watch the Olympic Games I always root for the Ukraine. But I've lived in the USA for a long time, and also like it very much. So it’s a very difficult question I would say both the Ukraine and the USA are my homelands.

AK – Can you tell us what differences you see between people in the Ukraine and in the USA?

AZ – Well, first of all, if we compare the USA with Europe, in the US nobody feels they are foreigners. Everybody is very patient to your accent, to your problems, they are trying to help, in some way people in the US are more well-wishing, open. Maybe that’s because the average level of living is higher in the US, than for example in the Ukraine. For example when I was living in the US on Long Island I like it there very much.

AK – How did you start playing chess?

AZ – I was the only child in my family. My parents were also chess-players. My dad has a rating around 2300, at some point he played even stronger. So they are big admirers of chess and they supported my chess lessons very much. I was about 4 or 5 years old when I started to play but I went to a chess club much later, at the age of 9 or 10.

AK – When did you decide to become a professional chess player?

AZ – I had many hobbies in my childhood. I was taking quite seriously track-and-field athletics classes, I also visited the theatrical club. At one point I couldn’t’ anymore go to track-and-field athletics so I started to spend more time playing chess. I became the champion of my city. So I would say that at the age of 13-14 I knew that most likely chess would be my profession.

AK – What are your main achievements in chess?

AZ – According to perfomance, it’s my win in the recent US championships in Saint-Louis. It’s difficult to say, but I think it’s the highest perfomance of my chess career so far. So I am a 3-times US champion, I was also the Ukranian champion among women and girls. Also my result of the 2008 chess olympiad, where we took the bronze medals and I took the gold medal on my board, and also the result of the 2004 chess olympiads.

AK – If we look at your results, there are many big successes after you became a mom in March 2007. I understand that normally the birth of a child can not help a professional chess player but in your case it seems that it motivated you even more.

AZ – Well, if we look at the facts 10 years ago I had the same Elo rating. But somehow my daugther Sophia motivates me because I think since I’m leaving my baby alone when going to tournaments I have at least to try to show the best result possible. Maybe these thoughts motivate me. And also this huge love for my baby gives me more power.

AK – Does you dauhgter say anything when you leave for tournaments?

AZ – She is very close to her grandma and I don’t have a problem with that. My mom has been with her since her birth and now she is very close to her.

AK – How often do you study chess? How many hours per day?

AZ- As much and refularly as possible. Especially just before and during tournaments.

AK – What in your point of view is the most important part of a chess game to study – opening, middle game or endgame? And what part of the game you would recommend to study to beginners?

AZ – For beginers, it’s definitely not the opening. So they have to focus on the basics which are the middle game and the endgame.

AK - Do you prefer to play chess with men or with women?

AZ – Hmm, I don’t really see the difference. I play in both kind of competitions.

AK - What is your favorite chess book?

AZ – I would definitely recommend “ My System” of Nimzowitsch, it’s a classic, that influenced my playing style a lot.

AK - If you had not become a chess player what career would you have chosen?

AZ – It’s a difficult question, I was studying accounting at the university. But now I’m more interesting in genes engineering, physics, psychology, something scientific.

AK - When did you feel happiest about being a chess player? Why?

AZ – I have two special moments. First one is my game against Votava in the Reikjavik-open,

The position before 17. ... Qxf3+

[Event "Reykjavik op 21st"]
[Site ""]
[Date "2004.3.14"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Votava Jan"]
[Black "Zatonskih Anna"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Eco "A00"]

1.g3 e5 2.Bg2 d5 3.c4 dxc4 4.Na3 Nf6 5.Nxc4 Bc5 6.Nxe5 Bxf2+
7.Kxf2 Qd4+ 8.Ke1 Qxe5 9.Qa4+ Nbd7 10.Qf4 Qe6 11.Qxc7 O-O 12.b3
Ne5 13.Nf3 Nd3+ 14.Kf1 Re8 15.Nd4 Qg4 16.Qc3 Bf5 17.Bf3 Qxf3+
18.Nxf3 Bh3+ 19.Kg1 Rxe2 20.Qxd3 Rg2+ 21.Kf1 Rxd2+ 22.Ke1 Rxd3
23.Ke2 Rd7 24.Re1 Ng4 25.Bd2 Re8+ 26.Kd1 Nf2+ 27.Kc2 Bf5+ 0-1

and now in Saint-Louis where I showed the best result of my career and people respected that.

AK - What is your favorite non-chess book?

AZ – I have many favorite books. First of all it’s Master and Margarita by Bulgakov, and Arch of Triumph by Remark;

AK - Whom do you consider the best chess player in history?

AZ – I would say it’s Kasparov and Fischer

AK - What do you like doing besides playing chess?

AZ – I like going out with my dauhgter and explaining her all the simple things. I also like riding a bicycle, going to the mountains. During the 2008 women's world chess championship in Nalchik I dreamt about going to the top of the Elbrus Mountain.

AK - What is the best chess country in the world?

AZ – I have heard a lot of good things about Iceland.

AK - What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?

AZ – Saint Louis and also I remember a rapid tournament in China in 2005.

AK - What is your goal in chess?

AZ – I don’t really have a goal in chess, I try to enjoy the game.

AK - What is your favorite chess piece?

AZ – All pieces, maybe the most important one - the king.

AK - What is your favorite kind of food?

AZ – I like chinese, indian food, spicy food.

AK - What is your favorite place in the world?

AZ – First of all, it's Curacao, I tried scuba-diving there for the first time, and basically I like all water kind of sports very much. There is also a place Blue Lagoon in Iceland that’s I liked very much, and the Elbrus area amazed me a lot.

Anna, thank you very much for your time. I wish you all the best and we hope to hear of your great results in the future!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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