Alexandra Kosteniuk Interview

Alexandra Kosteniuk  born April 23, 1984, was taught how to play chess at the age of 5 by her father Konstantin Vladimirovich.

Some notable achievements:

Became the European Champion among girls under the age of 10.
Became a Woman International Master (WIM) at the age of 13. July 1, 2005 reached an ELO rating as of 2516, which made her the fifth strongest woman in the world. On the USCF Rating list of August,2005, is 2565  made her the highest rated woman in the world. In August 2006,beating Germany’s top female player Elisabeth Pähtz 5.5–2.5.She became the first Chess960 women’s world champion.

On FIDE’s Top 100 Women July 2012 list she is ranked 24th at 2472.

Extreme:
Alexandra Kosteniuk is into ; modeling, acting, writing and sports.

Most kids in the USA think that “chess is for geeks”, and a lame sport reserved for people that are not cool.
This is a stereotypical idea being put to sleep by successful players like you in showing that  you can be ; Chess player, Author, Model, Actress and athlete all in one.
Thank you for making chess cool again and for taking the time to answer some questions from your fans at ChessRex.com.

puffin:

You won the Women’s World Chess Championship but Judit Polgar didn’t play in it.

She is “by far the strongest female chess player in history” (wikipedia),
and she’s “famous” for not playing women’s only tournaments.
Are you relieved when she doesn’t play women’s only tournaments,

or do want to play her so you can beat her?

Alexandra:
It would be nice if Judit played more games with women. During my whole career I only had the chance to play her twice at the 2009 blitz world championship and have a score of 1-1. I posted the game I won on my YouTube channel “chessqueen”

www.youtube.com/chessqueen.

Judit is a strong player but there are many strong women chess players nowadays, especially Hou Yifan who beat Judit in a recent tournament in Gibraltar, so it is not clear she would win all games against women nowadays.

puffin:
You’re a very famous chess-player/ChessQueen so you must get lots of offers
to play chess games..  I’m asking about oppenents that are 500-1000 points  rated lower  than you (or even with no rating)..  Do you ever play them?
If so, have you ever lost to “some guy off the street playing you in a cafe”?

Alexandra:
Yes I get lots of offers to play casual games from fans, but I cannot accept, that would disturb my training program (I train at least 8 hours a day and every move I play is important). That’s why I also usually refuse simul offers right before a tournament as playing a simul where you see blunders every minute (your opponents and of course sometimes yourself) is distracting and may hurt in the tournament performance where you must play at the top level each move.

puffin:
1. e-4
You can get my email from the ChessRex admin so we can finish this correspondence game 🙂
(I estimate I’m 1000 points lower than you.)

Alexandra:
1. e4 is a great move, my favorite, even though I now also play 1.d4
puffin:
To me the essence of chess is calculating during the middle game.  I can’t do this
in fast games.  Any starting clock 1 hour or less is not even chess to me.  But you’ve
had good success in fast games.  So, what do think about fast chess games?

Alexandra:
I love fast chess. Actually my best results are in rapid chess, not in blitz chess. You are right it’s tough to calculate when the time is short, but it’s definitely possible. Look at videos of Grandmasters, even in blitz the level can be very high. And the advantage of fast games is that you can have a whole tournament in 1-2 days. Not so many people can afford to take 9 days off to play a classical chess tournament. The Olympiads last 3 weeks! Tournaments like Corus last 2 weeks! The World championship in Rapid and Blitz can let you play dozens of games and it lasts only 2-4 days, that’s fun. Also, if you’re having a bad tournament, it’s not fun to lose in classical chess 3 games in 3 days, In rapid, you would play for example 12 games in 3 days, and there is no way you’d lose all of them, so it’s a nice factor.


alekhine:

I’m a Chess beginner so it would be a great pleasure if you can suggest how to begin a chess career.

Alexandra:
After learning to play chess all you need is to find an opponent (online or a “real” person) a little stronger than you and play. Then review the game (in a software like “Chess King”), find your mistakes, and play him/her again. Read ANY chess book from start to end. That way you’re sure to improve at chess, good luck!
alekhine:
What are your favorite openings?

Alexandra:
I have many favorite openings, the Ruy Lopez (especially after I became World Champion – I used it very successfully), but also the Sicilian defense with black (and white too!)
alekhine:
There must be some weak points you have, so how do you overcome these?

Alexandra:
I have many weak points. The thing to remember is that we’re all equal, your opponent likely has the same weak points. Chess is a sport – don’t think of your weaknesses, just jump in and play chess the best you can!
alekhine:
Who inspired you?

Alexandra:
All the world champions inspired me. When I was a kid, I was told to study the “classics”, and that helped me a lot.

higgie:

When you Forced Magnus Carlsen to make the move after he touched a Piece, (and so you shoulda)
he then went to move the Rook on e1 in a 5min BlitZz Champianship in Moscow 2009…..
I noticed a nice Cheeky Smile that had to be covered with the Perfect move…the Hand!!    after he got up and left without even a hand shake!
Was this one of your most ChessCheekiest Smiles of Pleasure or do you have more that I may have
missed following a forced move, and who was it against?

Alexandra:
I did not have particular pleasure in my win against Magnus. I just followed the FIDE rules, it is obligatory to play by “touch move” in official tournaments. I do like when players give a real smile at the end of a game. For example when I beat Aronian

he gave me a very nice smile at the end of the game. But that’s a real smile. I had a nice checkmate against Wang Hao

where he is in shock at my checkmate, check it out!

 


higgie:
Alexandra, do you know who is playing in the FRC960 OTB Chessfun Challenge that is now just Over
Start Position #200 – QBNRBKNR – (that’s 400 games as they play both colours) and are attempting to
play Games up to SP #959 – RKRNNQBB ?
Alexandra:
I don’t know.

higgie:
Do you know anyone else that has Completed this Chess challenge OTB to date(meaning some one that has played all 960 positions)?
Alexandra:
I don’t know.

AVIJIT DAS:

If you are playing with your idol which opening would you prefer and why?

Alexandra:
I’m not sure who would be my idol, I respect all world champions but don’t have anybody in particular. I’d most likely play 1.e4 but the rest would depend on what he/she plays .
AVIJIT DAS:
In blitz which three openings are most advantageous and why?

Alexandra:
In blitz you should play openings you feel comfortable with (have studied most), and which suit your style. It also depends of the situation of the tournament and the style of your opponent. If you opponent wants a draw, you can use a very sharp opening like the Sicilian to “frighten” your opponent and force him/her to take risks as a draw is not easy to get if the line is very sharp.
AVIJIT DAS:
Do you play chess with yourself?  If so then which two openings would you prefer for each side?

Alexandra:
I don’t play chess against myself, I play sometimes against a chess engine, but most of all I train on positions given to me by my trainers.
AVIJIT DAS:
Obviously you have memories of fantastic wins but if suddenly you have to pick one…
which game would come first in your mind?

Alexandra:
It’s very difficult to single out a single win, just like it’s impossible to name one favorite chess players, all are so different and so wonderful in their own right. I have selected my best 64 games in my book “Diary of a Chess Queen”.
AVIJIT DAS:
How far do you calculate in a game?  Does it remain the same for every opponent or does it vary
with different opponents?
Alexandra:
Calculations depend on the position. In some positions in the endgame you can go more than 10 moves deep, but in some others, just a couple moves. A famous GM once said it’s better to see just 1 move ahead, but the best move!

kingsnehashis:

While playing, which things should we be careful of?

Alexandra:
Always check for blunders before making a move, look what threat your opponent has as soon as he plays.
kingsnehashis:
What do you think, a player should always play an opening he is good with, or try something new?

Alexandra:
It’s good to vary openings a little, not good to play all the time rare openings. If the opening is rare and no GM ever plays it, there is a reason for that. Better to play openings that super GM’s play so you can watch their games and see their ideas.
kingsnehashis:
You have played against Carlsen and Anand … what is it about them that differs from others?

Alexandra:
Top GM’s are amazing! Anand and Carlsen show incredible talent, it seems when they play it’s so easy for them to find the best moves, for me it’s much harder!!

Higginator:

Alexandra, the Game of Chess (with 960 SP’s) that has many Start Positions has had a number of different names.
It was initially known as “Fischerandom Chess” after Fischer formalized his variation of Shuffle Chess.
Later name forms included “Fischer Random Chess” “FR Chess” “FRC”.
Some advocate of this variant, started a brainstorming process for selecting a new name,
which had to meet requirements of leading Grandmasters specifically, the new name and its parts:
1. should not contain part of the name of any Grandmaster
2. should not include negatively biased or “spongy” elements (such as “random” or “freestyle”)
3. should be universally understood that effort from the advocate has culminated in the name choice Chess960
derived from the number of different possible starting positions.
The Great Bobby Fischer never publicly stated his feeling about the name ‘Chess960’.

Alexandra, when you Talk about this Great Game what do you call it and why?
I know it’s Fischer who invented Fischer Random Chess so he deserves most credit for it. But Hans-Walter Schmitt in Germany worked to popularize the game a lot, and under his leadership and support the name “Chess960” came out, which is fine. Since he had the “Chess960” festivals, I tend to call it that way now.

What was the SP’s that you played in the final when you became the 1st Chess960 Women World Champion against Elisabeth Paehtz?

You can check my video on how I became Chess960 world champion in 2009 here

you can see in the video some of the starting positions. I should have in my files all the games I played with Elizabeth Paehtz and maybe even videos, I will check when I get back home.

As seen on the ChessPlay’s Youtube Channel with around 125 Games posted from the 400 plus games played
https://www.youtube.com/user/chessplay/videos

I am attempting to play all the Fischer Random Start Positions Over The Board against the Same Player from from #000 to #959
Alexandra, can you name my opponent?

Alexandra:
Wow, that’s quite a goal. Are you sure you can find a player who is willing to play all 960 positions against you? Why don’t you just use chance to get the starting position? After all that’s the goal of Fischer Random Chess, to have you “be surprised” at the start of the game!

AWOLNATION:

When you play against men and they lose do you feel that they make more excuses for losing to you than women would?

Alexandra:
I am a Grandmaster and when I play a Grandmaster, people know it’s the best player who wins. A Grandmaster, if he’s got all the way to becoming a GM, knows that giving an excuse for losing is not the right thing to do.

devel777:

Let’s assume that you’re the “Queen of Chess” (not the ChessQueen, that’s different) and you have to decide
the future of chess for the next 500 years.  Your choice prevents Traditional Chess OR Chess960 from being
played for the next 500 years..  What do you choose as the future of chess.. Traditional or Chess960?

Alexandra:
I have a trademark for the term “Chess Queen” relating to a chess master

http://chessqueen.com/?p=345

I love Chess960, I’d like it to be more played in the future. Note that classical chess is one of the 960 Chess960 positions, so picking Chess960 would not exclude classical chess!
devel777:
Do you think FIDE should promote Chess960 more and eventually make it more prestigious than Traditional Chess?
(gradually, over the next 50 years)

Alexandra:
Yes Chess960 is great, it avoids people to have to memorize long opening variations, chess imagination starts from the first move.
devel777:
Do you think you can recapture the Women’s World Chess Championship?

Alexandra:
Of course I strive to get the title back. 2011 was a bad year for me, but this year has been much better, I’ve gained lots of rating points, I hope to finish the year well. I will participate in the next world championship in November this year!
devel777:

Does the ChessQueen have a beautiful queen sacrifice on her record?  What was your greatest sacrifice?

Alexandra:
Yes I actually have played nice Queen sacrifices during my career. Tough to select just one though. I put several nice sacrifice games in my game collection “Diary of a Chess Queen”.

EXTREMEoverCAST:

Problems with impersonations online: most chess sites that I visit have players that like to impersonate real chess players.
I recall that on Chessmaniac there was a person impersonating you and even claiming that your husband played under the same
account and that you both would alternate on the live chat. Site owners or moderators let this go because they may think this
is good for the site, or do not vet the account users to see if they are who they claim to be.
At ChessRex.com there are simple rules:
1. No one needs to disclose who they are.
2. If you do claim to be someone and rated, prove it.
Before the question I would like to state that you do not play on our site. What most do not understand is that Chess Masters
use their Name to make money from teaching chess lessons, playing chess or promoting sites. How do you deal with people using
your Name Brand to promote their product with out your consent?

Alexandra:
You have good rules at chessrex.com and I wish success to your site! It’s true people try to impersonate me, but since it is illegal when I find out I make a report and usually it’s fixed. Now I hope people are not so naive that if someone says they are me they believe them without checking. Pretty much everyone knows my 2 official emails are chessqueen@me.com and alexandra@kosteniuk.com so it’s easy to send me a quick email and verify!

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