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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kosteniuk - Cori Chess Match in Machu Picchu

That's me at the Machu Picchu after getting my trophy

Women's Chess Promotion at its finest!!

Hi everybody!

I'm writing this post from the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge in Peru. This afternoon the most amazing chess match took place, in a location one could only dream of, one of the 7 wonders of the world: The Machu Picchu!

I was playing with the World Champion Under-16 Deysi Cori in what may be one of the most publicized matches of this year. The match was shown live on Peruvian TV live and dozens of photographers and TV crews from around the world came to cover this story. It was surreal, dozens of reporters were running around the Machu Picchu with satellite internet, relaying photos and videos to their headquarters live! Our train from Cusco this morning had a whole wagon for the Press!

NEW: the first game is on YouTube at this link.

Some photographers at work.
Most of them were on the other side, though :-)

I will tell you about the match in more detail soon (I have full videos of all games and of the whole event, as well as hundreds of nice photos, so get ready for new videos on my YouTube channel "ChessQueen" and new photos on ChessPics), but for the moment let me tell you how it went. Since the match was live on TV, the games were played in blitz 4 + 2 (4 minutes for the game + 2 seconds per move), which is a time control I am quite fond of (together with the 3 + 2 of the world blitz championship). So in this match against Deysi I won the first game quite convincingly, and in the second one I was 2 pawns up and only needed a draw to secure the first prize. But I lost concentration and lost the game, which made all of Peru jump in happiness and forced the match into a sudden death tie-break 3rd game. I'm pleased to say I won it in a nice style and so was able to take home the top prize.

The view from where we played was incredible, I have never been in such a wonderful place, and playing chess there was doubly as nice! Just look at the photo below, can you imagine playing there?

Deysi Cori playing me, Alexandra Kosteniuk, at the Machu Picchu

That's me, Alexandra Kosteniuk and World U-16 Champion Deysi Cori

This has been a wonderful experience for me, the road to the Machu Picchu is unbelievable, I had to get up at 2:30 AM from Lima, fly to Cusco, then a bus, a train, another bus... such nice views, but the tough road was so worth it! Photos here are worth their weight in gold, believe me! I hope this event goes a long way to promote women's chess in the world, as well as promote tourism to the Machu Picchu. If you haven't seen the Machu Picchu in your lifetime, you're missing on something very, very impressive.

Thanks to the organizers who made this amazing match possible. I'm going to bed now as tomorrow morning I will get up at 5 AM and see the sunrise here at the Machu Picchu. After that I go back to Cusco to do some more chess promotion, then I will have a big simul in Lima on Tuesday.

Posted by Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion

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