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

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


Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kosteniuk Travels to Dagomys via Moscow

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

Hello everybody!

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Vasily Smyslov 1921-2010

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

Dear chess friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm with the Smyslovy's - Nadezhda Andreevna and
Vasily Vasilievich in Moscow, 2004

RIP, Vasily Vasilyevich

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


From Anand - Kosteniuk

Anand - Kosteniuk, Black to play

Hello everybody!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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

Goodwill Chess by Martha Fierro

Hello everybody!

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

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

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

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


Por Francisco J. Cruz Arce

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

Labels: , ,

Friday, March 26, 2010

2010 CJA Awards Program Open

Dear friends of our beloved game of chess!

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

I will keep my introduction short but to the point:

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

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

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

General Information about the 2010 CJA Awards:

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

Please note that submission rules have changed from past years.

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

Submitting an Entry

Each entry must contain the following:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instructions (PDF format)
Cover Sheet (PDF format)

To view Entries Received click here.

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 25, 2010

February 2010 Best Games

Hello all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Baby Natura invents BlankChess

Hello dear chess lovers!

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

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

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

Natura, the inventor of "blankchess"

On her web site, one can read:

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

On her blankchess site, she explains the rules:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tarrito Rojo Chess Talent 2010

Hello all!

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

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

Simultaneous exhibition in Bogotá, Colombia, April 2005

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

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

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

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

Belleza e inteligencia, cuestión de una mente sana

La Reina del Ajedrez llega a Colombia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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Good bye Elena Tairova

Good bye, Lena, we will miss you!

Dear friends,

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

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

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

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

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion


Monday, March 22, 2010

May 8 Chess Simul Alert


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

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

Greater Cherry Hill Chess is glad to announce:

May 8: A Day with the World Champion

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

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

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

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

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


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

Includes book signing, and 1/2 price seminar.

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

Sponsored by:

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Russian Team Chess Championship 2010

Hello all!

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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