With three of the four teammates calling New York home and Garry Kasparov in town, New York City was the natural place to celebrate the US Women's Olympiad team's record performance at the Calvia Olympiad in October. They took the silver medal behind the mighty Chinese and ahead of Russia and Georgia. The team had a busy day on Wednesday the 8th as they reunited in New York to be honored by Governor Pataki and to meet the media at a dinner reception.
The team's special coach, Garry Kasparov, also attended both events. His non-profit Kasparov Chess Foundation was the principal sponsor of the women's training squad that was formed in early 2003. (The training squad also included Rusa Goletiani, who didn't make the team in Calvia but who just won the US Women's Championship ahead of Krush, Zatonskih, and Shahade! When she accepted her trophy Goletiani thanked the training squad and the Kasparov Chess Foundation.) The team members and coaches received special certificates of merit from the Governor's office.
l to r: Captain Paul Truong, Anna Zatonskih, Jennifer Shahade, Susan Polgar,
Garry Kasparov, Governor George Pataki, Irina Krush, Michael Khodarkovsky
The head coach is long-time Kasparov friend and trainer IM Michael Khodarkovsky, also the director of the KCF. (No, he's not a Russian billionaire jailed by Putin, that's Mikhail Khodorkovsky.) Paul Truong was the team's manager and captain in Calvia and he has long worked closely with Susan Polgar on many projects. GM Alexander Chernin of Hungary was brought in as a theoretical consultant to help with the openings.
Kasparov spoke at the reception and he mentioned something that hadn't occurred to us until that moment. Here was a hero of Russian chess training an American team that pushed the Russian women's team down to bronze! Kasparov said he was glad the USA was creating the opportunities to promote chess and was taking advantage of those opportunities. He praised the players, particularly GM Polgar, who played in all 14 games and scored a remarkable 10.5 points.
Waiting around for the Governor in his Manhattan office.
The team with GM Chernin on the far left.
Two former world champions.
Meet the press time at the dinner reception.
Anna and Susan and a view of the Chrysler Building from Pataki's office.
The silver medal. Polgar also received a gold for best rating performance on board one.