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

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


Monday, January 31, 2011

Please Support @kosteniuk on RUNET Competition

Hi everybody!

The life of a chess player is in constant competition. Some of those competitions are real and toughly fought, for example the Moscow Chess Open, which is taking place right now.

Some other competitions are virtual, for example, the recent ChessCafe Book of the Year Contest, which ends tonight. If you haven't yet sent an email to to support Alexandra Kosteniuk's "Diary of a Chess Queen" book, please do so now. We will be sending out prizes to people who write and send a copy of the support email to Alexandra. The results will be published on February 2, we are told. See our original post.

Today we hear about a new web competition, this time in Russia, it's by RUNET and it's goal is to find out who's the top Russian micro-blogger around. While Alexandra Kosteniuk has over 120,000 followers in her English Twitter account @chessqueen, started 2 years ago, she has only around 700 followers in her Russian account which she just recently started @kosteniuk.

To support Alexandra, you will need to either have a FACEBOOK or a TWITTER account. If you do, please CLICK HERE and then select either the Facebook or Twitter button and send the tweet, hopefully, your vote will be counted.

Thanks for your support!


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Your daily Chess Blog video tutorial hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

What's the best way to begin the week? With a chess lesson of course. So here is an easy one but very can be very crucial when you are in a tournament. We wish you success with it.

The Philidor Position in R+P vs. R.
LEVEL: Easy   

It's important to know the Philidor Position which shows the easiest way to draw as the weaker side in R + P vs. R Black plays and draws.

Ready to run the video? Go ahead.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress 2011 - Interview with GM Short plus great video

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

Here is a nice interview with the creative Grandmaster Nigel Short about the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Open.

The first title holder of the Gibraltar international chess festival in 2003, former British Champion, GM Nigel Short, is once again back on the Rock participating in the festival for the fourth time. Nigel also won in 2004, and on his third visit came a close second.

After a break of a number of years he has returned to compete in the Tradewise Chess Festival 2011... as he puts it for the "good weather" but also because he believes that from modest beginnings the festival has now become the foremost open tournament in the world.

Find great photos of chess wizard
Grandmaster Nigel Short at

"The Gibraltar Festival has grown tremendously. It has never been a weak tournament even in the first year. From modest beginnings, and from the first year, great efforts were made to bring some top players. It is now the foremost open tournament in the world. Everybody agrees Gibraltar is the best opens around," he says.

Nigel, who like many players around the world has closely followed the growth of the festival, which he acknowledges has gone from strength to strength, says: "It has built up slowly, and there continues to be a steady increase in numbers with very strong players."

Is he surprised with the success of the Festival in Gibraltar?

"No. I am not surprised with its success because it has good organisation, and the people behind the event are very enthusiastic about it. That combination coupled with good sponsors, providing you can continue to improve on the event, then it all comes together to be what it is today, a very impressive event."

Is he back to win back the Gibraltar title again?

Nigel, who says he is of course out to win the 2011 Gibraltar Master, and even though at the time of releasing this press release was leading the board, believes he has, "a very long shot for winning this tournament, and I say that as someone who has, in my three years here, won it twice, and come second, once. The tournament has improved and there are some really top class players, and there are a lot of them."

A nice video from the tournament.

The musician in the video is Maria Yarur from Chile, who is playing in the Amateur competition.

The top-20 standings after Round 6

1GMIvanchuk VassilyUKR27645.52969
2GMShort Nigel DENG26585.02831
3GMFridman DanielGER26555.02822
4GMMikhalevski VictorISR25795.02622
5GMSengupta DeepIND25304.52758
6GMAdams MichaelENG27234.52741
7GMKulaots KaidoEST25774.52714
8GMDzagnidze NanaGEO25504.52712
9GMRoiz MichaelISR26494.52702
10IMKosintseva NadezhdaRUS25524.52690
11GMCaruana FabianoITA27214.52674
12GMGopal Geetha NarayananIND25974.52667
13GMKacheishvili GiorgiGEO25854.52650
14GMNisipeanu Liviu-DieterROU26784.52636
15GMIkonnikov VyacheslavRUS25804.52623
16GMEdouard RomainFRA26344.52589
17IMBellaiche AnthonyFRA24584.52549
18IMMelia SalomeGEO24494.52521
19GMFier AlexandrBRA25714.52461
20Szuper PaulUSA21744.52445

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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Wrap-up chess report and videos on Tata Steel Chess Fest 2011

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk 2011

Hi everyone,

Here are more details and great videos for our wrap-up report on the Tata Steel Super-GM Chess Tournament 2011 that concluded in Wijk aan Zee yesterday. Hope you read our previous report here on

Hikaru Nakamura won the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament. In the last round the American grandmaster drew with Black against Wang Hao from China. His main rival Vishy Anand from Indian also drew his game with Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi. In the B group Luke McShane and David Navara drew, and will both be invited for the A group next year. Daniele Vocaturo won the C group after drawing with Ilya Nyzhnyk in the last round.

Hikaru Nakamura - The champion's interview.

The Tata Steel Chess Tournament was held from Friday, January 14th till Sunday, January 30th, 2011 in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands. Besides many amateur events there were three Grandmaster Groups (A, B and C), all 14-player round-robins. The time control was 100 minutes for 40 moves, followed by 50 minutes for 20 moves, then 15 minutes for the remaining moves with 30 seconds increment for each move starting from the first move. You can find loads of info at the official website

And, a nice article to read in The Huffington Post.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Your daily Chess Blog video tutorial hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hi everyone,

Ready for class with your cup of coffee? It's Sunday Super Chess Class. Here is our next video from the hosted by Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk. Enjoy.

LEVEL: Intermediate
CATEGORY: Middle Game

This position was taken from a game between A. Kosteniuk and S. Cherednichenko, Szeged 1994. White plays and wins.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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John Nunn wins 2nd Tata Chess and Studies Day

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

The 2nd Tata Chess and Studies Day had
twenty, international participants.

Hi everyone,

The current world solving champion, British grandmaster John Nunn, has won the second Tata Steel solving tourney in Wijk aan Zee on Saturday, after finishing second in the first edition, two years ago. Twenty participants tried their best to crack nine original studies, seven of which were contributed by well-known Dutch GM Jan Timman.

Nunn, a three-time winner of the grandmaster A tournament in Wijk aan Zee, scored 36 out of the maximum of 45 points to closely finish ahead of the top Belgian solver GM Eddy van Beers (34 points). The big surprise of the event, was the third place finish of WGM Alina l’Ami (member of the Romanian Olympic women team and the wife of Dutch GM Erwin l’Ami) who scored 33 points in her first solving tourney ever!

She was followed by Dutch IM Piet Peelen, ahead of Marcel van Herck 31.5, Martin van Essen 29.5, GM Piotr Murdzia 27.5 (The world’s highest rated solver) , IM Twan Burg (winner of the first edition) 27, and GM Dolf Wissmann (the Dutch champion) 26.5. The best junior prize was won by Peter Ypma who ended in 10th place with 26 points.

You can find a great, detailed report at Enjoy.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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News Flash - Congratulations to Nakamura for winning Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2011

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Find great photos of Hikaru Nakamura at

Hi everyone,

We've been following the Tata Steel Chess Tournament 2011 from Wijk aan Zee and today, in the final round, drawing with Wang Hao, Hikaru Nakamura has walked away with the championship title. He notched up a total of 9 points.

Standings after round 13 of Group A

1. H. Nakamura 9
2. V. Anand
3. L. Aronian, M. Carlsen 8
5. V. Kramnik, M. Vachier-Lagrave
7. A. Giri, R. Ponomariov
9. I. Nepomniachtchi, Wang Hao 6
11. A. Grischuk, E. l'Ami, J. Smeets
14. A. Shirov 4

 Standings after round 13 of Group B

1. L. McShane, D. Navara
3. Z. Efimenko 8
4. L. Liem, G. Sargissian, W. So
7. V. Tkachiev 7
8. R. Wojtaszek
9. L. Fressinet, Li Chao 6
11. S. Ganguly
12. W. Spoelman 5
13. J. Hammer 4
14. F. Nijboer

Standings after round 13 of Group C

1. D. Vocaturo
2. I. Nyzhnyk 8
3. I. Ivanisevic
4. K. Lahno, D. Swiercz 7
6. M. Bluvshtein, M. Kazhgaleyev, T. Sachdev
9. B. Bok 6
10. S. Siebrecht
11. J.W. de Jong, R. Pruijssers, M. van der Werf, R. van Kampen 4

Updates to follow.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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Tata Steel Chess Super-GM final round today: Exciting finish awaited; videos of Naka, Carlsen wins

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello Everyone,

The fantastic Tata Steel Chess Super-GM in Wijk aan Zee will witness the final 13th round today. It's been an exciting tournament and the last round is sure to live up to it all.

First, the standings. 

Standings after round 12 in Group A
1. H. Nakamura
2. V. Anand 8, 
3. L. Aronian, M. Carlsen
5. V. Kramnik, M. Vachier-Lagrave 7
7. A. Giri, R. Ponomariov 6
9. I. Nepomniachtchi, Wang Hao
11. A. Grischuk, E. l'Ami, J. Smeets 4
14. A. Shirov

Today's pairings
Group A: Round 13 - Sun. Jan. 30st
Ian Nepomniachtchi - Viswanathan Anand  
Vladimir Kramnik - Max. Vachier-Lagrave  
Wang Hao - Hikaru Nakamura  
Alexander Grischuk - Magnus Carlsen  
Levon Aronian - Jan Smeets  
Alexei Shirov - Erwin l'Ami  
Anish Giri - Ruslan Ponomariov

Some super cool videos now.

Standings after round 12 of Group B

1. L. McShane, D. Navara 8
3. Z. Efimenko
4. L. Liem, G. Sargissian, W. So, V. Tkachiev 7
8. R. Wojtaszek 6
9. L. Fressinet, S. Ganguly, Li Chao 5
12. J. Hammer, W. Spoelman 4
14. F. Nijboer

Standings after round 12 of Group C

1. D. Vocaturo
2. I. Nyzhnyk 8
3. I. Ivanisevic
4. K. Lahno, D. Swiercz 7
6. M. Bluvshtein, M. Kazhgaleyev, T. Sachdev
9. B. Bok 6
10. S. Siebrecht
11. J.W. de Jong, R. Pruijssers, M. van der Werf, R. van Kampen 4

Stay tuned for Sunday's final action in Wijk aan Zee at the official website

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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Hou Yifan - talented chess champion next door

Chess blog for latest news and trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

This is a nice interview in the Telegraph about the youngest women's world chess champion. Hou Yifan is just 16, charming and your regular teenager next door - by self admission. Yes, you can be a fun person and still win at chess. That's why chess is cool. Enjoy the interview.

'I'm just a normal teenager'

9:00PM GMT 29 Jan 2011

There is nothing in the slightest bit ordinary about the achievements of Hou Yifan, the Chinese chess prodigy who stunned the world just before Christmas by becoming the youngest ever women's world chess champion at the age of just 16.

And yet, in appearance at least, it is a quintessentially ordinary Chinese teenager that shuffles in through the door at the Chinese Chess Association in Beijing, feet clad in Nike trainers, colourful scarf draped around her neck and a trendy purple beret holding back neatly bobbed hair.

As her mother looks on, Miss Hou greets us with a bright but bashful smile and an easy-going "hiya" showing off the English language skills she's picked up from her travels on the international chess circuit where she has been playing since the age of nine. The story of Miss Hou's ascent to the upper echelons of world chess is both the chronicle of single-minded ambition and the everyday tale of a Chinese only child born to hardworking parents who would sacrifice everything for their child's achievements.

Miss Hou is both a genius – she became the youngest ever female chess grandmaster at the age of 14, earlier even than her hero Bobby Fischer – and a typical Chinese teenager who, like millions of nameless others, has worked almost unimaginably hard to make the most of her talents and opportunities.
But asked the sacrifices required for her daughter's success, Miss Hou's mother, a 42-year-old nurse, chooses to stress the ordinariness of her daughter's start in the provincial city of Xinghua, 200 miles north of Shanghai where her father was an official in the local justice department.

"We weren't rich, but we weren't poor either," says Wang Qian, "but you will have heard of China's one-child policy, and like every other parent we were always thinking of ways of to improve our child's development. "There was no dream or great plan, but one day when Yifan was aged five a neighbour's older child taught her how to play draughts (checkers). After only being taught once, Yifan was winning easily against the older child, so we decided to pick on board-games to broaden her thinking.
"We took her to a local games club but she always showed fascination in the Western pieces, the horses and the castles," adds Mrs Wang, "so we decided that chess was the one for her. But back then it was only about broadening her mind, and helping her education, we never dreamed we would come so far."

By the age of seven, aided by the extra night shifts worked by her mother to free up time to guide her daughter, Miss Hou had already outgrown her local chess club in Xinghua and the family moved north to Shandong province where a bigger club helped with coaching and living expenses.

At that age she attended a full day at school, came home to complete her homework and then at 5pm went to played chess, sometimes for five or six hours at a stretch, although Miss Hou herself says it never seemed that long.

"I had such an interest in the game, a passion you could say, that meant I never got bored with it. I never tried to get out of playing. I think that is what has helped me succeed, I always wanted to keep playing, to keep learning more," she says.
She dismisses the suggestion that her mother was a "Tigermom" in the mould of Amy Chua, the Yale Law professor, whose unapologetic paeon to tough Chinese parenting, Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior caused such furore recently. "My parents always gave me a choice about playing, but they said that if I wanted to play chess, then I should focus on it completely," she says, adding that such attitudes and parental expectations are simply the norm for Chinese children. The difference is her success.

"I also have my other studies and I still have some time to do other things, like swimming, listening to music and reading books. I love to read. I recently just finished Oliver Twist for my English studies which is a great book."
Miss Hou says that her sheer love for the game protected her from the stress that, according to a joint Chinese-UK study published in the British Medical Association's Archives of Disease in Childhood journal last year, afflicts about a third of primary school age children in China.

Success also helps makes sense of the sacrifices – she won $60,000 for winning the world championship and the Shandong government have verbally pledged to give her family a new house – although Miss Hou says she doesn't play for money, but to win.

"Half the money went to the federation, some more in tax and anyway I have it all to my parents. If I need something I just ask. After the world championship I asked for a new, faster computer as my old one was too slow for the best chess programs."

It was in Shandong, at the age of nine that Miss Hou came to the attention of China's national coach, the grandmaster Ye Jiangchuan, who recognised the talent of the young girl sitting opposite him when she played him and immediately picked up on almost all his weak moves.
"She had wisdom beyond her years," he recalled with his protégé safely out of earshot, "she was precocious and an aggressive and fearless player. It was clear to me then that she was a very rare talent."

Months later in 2004 Miss Hou was enrolled under Ye's tutelage at the Chinese Chess Association training program in Beijing where she continues to build on a talent whose full potential is still many years from being reached.
At just 16, Miss Hou is already the third-ranked woman player in the world (the world rankings, based on a points system, are separate from the world championship), with many predicting that she will continue to surpass the achievements of the great Hungarian woman player Judit Polgar. Ms Polgar, now 34 and the only woman among the world's top 100 players according to FIDE, the international chess federation, became a grandmaster at 15 - a record broken by Miss Hou two years ago.
Miss Hou's rise, like the rise of China in so many other spheres of life, is not isolated. She is now one of the 10 Chinese players in the women's top 100, a position unthinkable as recently as 2002 when not a single Chinese woman made the elite list.

But Miss Hou's sights are set higher than becoming the world's best female player, with ambitions to take on the very best male players, emulating her hero Bobby Fischer whose games against the Soviet Union's Boris Spassky she studies for her own training.

"Traditionally women have not beaten the best men," adds coach Ye, "but Hou has the potential to rival the best men. Chess is a game based on military tactics and stategy, so it has always appealed more to men. You need to have a strong, aggressive desire, but she Hou has that. Now only time and hard work will tell."

Ask Miss Hou herself and she seems slightly embarrassed by such talk, offering an answer of typically Chinese mix of self-deprecation and Confucian piety. "I think I will just keep working, follow my parents' advice and keep playing my chess and let nature take its course. That is how I achieved my current status."

But Liu Wei, the manager of the Shandong chess club where Miss Hou cut her teeth is more forthcoming, believing Miss Hou has a unique quality for a woman player that over the next decade could help her to achieve more than any woman chess player in history.

"When you meet her, she's such a sweet-tempered, good-natured girl. She's very quiet and straightforward, a bit like her father. But when she plays chess, then she plays with such aggression, she's like another person. I think this drive and attacking spirit comes from her mother." As so often in China, in the end, it all comes back to the parents.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at

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