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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kosteniuk Goodwill Tucson Christmas Trip

Simul in the MAST Boutique in Tucson, AZ. Photo by Jeff Smith

Hello everybody!

I'm now ready to tell you more about my Goodwill Christmas trip to Tucson, AZ. I had decided to make the gift of Chess to one city in the world, and I am so happy that it's the very deserving 9 Queens organization that answered me with the best organizational ideas.

As I already told you in my recent post on December 20, 2009 I flew from Miami to Tucson. I was flying with Delta and had to make one stop in Atlanta. As you can see from the map, it was quite a long flight, my total travel time including airport time was longer than the time spent in Tucson. Luckily most Delta flights are now equipped with wi-fi internet that works during the flight, it's so cool to work online and to chat with people while you are 10,000 feet above earth.

At 1-20 PM on December 20, 2009 I arrived safely to Tucson (which reads as Tyu-son), after a short stop in the very beautiful Arizona Inn Hotel we went directly to the Tucson Mast Boutique where after a Q&A and signing sessions for my new book I played a 32-board simul. The simul lasted for 2,5 hours and my final score was +28 =4 -0, I'm very happy with this result since in some of the games I was very close to losing, and I came back to avoid any loss. Have a look, for example, at my game against the 12-year-old Bryan Hu, rated USCF 2075 (Bryan just took the second place in the K-7 in Nationals in Dallas) which was the last game to finish:

In this game immediately after the opening I made a few mistakes and ended up in a worse position 2 pawns down. At one point I continued to play on only because I didn't want to resign, but by some miracle at the end I was able to activate my pieces and created some counter-threats. Since it was already the last game in the position on the diagram I offered Bryan a draw.

But Bryan decided to play on and continued with 1. ... Rb7+ and I replied 2. Ka4. From now on, at any moment till the fatal blunder, my opponent could have agreed on a draw by perpetual check Ra7-Rb7 but, since most of the game he was winning, he hoped for more and continued the game with 2...Nxe6? ( Black could have won by playing 2...Re2! with the idea after 3. Rxf8 to push the a-pawn forward a2 4. e7 Rbxe7 winning) 3. Bxe6 b2 4. Bf5 Ra1?? (Now it would have been a good idea to secure a draw by playing 4...Ra7+ 5.Kb4 Rb7+ 6.Ka5 Ra7+ 7.Kb4 Rb7+ (White cannot play 8.Kc3?? in view of Rb3 9.Kd2 b1=Q+, with checkmate ) and I managed to give checkmate after 5.R1g6+ Kc7 6.Rc8#

The organization of the simul and the event was excellent. Two TV stations filmed the simul, many local journalists and photographers were following the simul. You can read the article about the event in the Arizona Daily Star Newspaper here. Jean Hoffman's post about the visit can be found on the official 9 Queens web-site. Jeff Smith, the official photographer, gave us the link to his wonderful photo-album of this event with simply amazing photos.

I want to thank the wonderful and energetic Jean Hoffman,

Jean Hoffman and me, photo by Jeff Smith

all her whole team at 9 Queens. With such a short notice they did a wonderful job and most of what is going on in Arizona women and scholastic chess with the help of 9 Queens is just amazing! It was a very short visit but there were so many great moments! Tucson, AZ for me now is a great place with many people who simply love chess and share my passion to this wonderful game, I am so happy to have new chess friends there!

Young participants of the simul in Tucson, AZ. Photo by Jeff Smith.

I'm sure that this visit will start a very good tradition of Christmas Goodwill Simuls that I could perform on a regular basis. I already have requests from other organizations for next year :-)

Merry Christmas to all! I wish all of you Love, Happiness and of course, some Chess! :-)

May all your wishes come true!

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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  • At December 23, 2009 at 6:24 AM , Anonymous Jimmy S. Chen said...

    Nice to see everyone enjoying chess in Tucson. You must come over here to the UK to hold a simul. I'm sure you coming over will help to raise the profile of chess here, just like the recent London chess classic. And I wouldn't mind giving you a game either ;)

  • At December 24, 2009 at 1:20 PM , Blogger AnnA said...

    ♥ ♥ ♥ I Wish You A Merry♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ I Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥ I Wish You A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year!♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪♥ ♥ ♥

  • At December 24, 2009 at 9:46 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

    Alexandra I am glad that you made it safely to Tucson, and had a wonderful time there. Have a very Merry Christmas and a very relaxing holiday and wonderful New Year! The expressions on the faces of the three girls in the photo you posted are so wonderful and are so priceless! Thanks for sharing your time in Tucson with us and thanks for sharing the photo with your fans and friends!


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