The Russian Women's Championship was held from May 14 to 26, 2005, in Samara, Eastern Russia.
The 12 strongest players of the country took part: Tatiana and Nadezhda Kosintseva, Alexandra Kosteniuk, Ekaterina Kovalevskaya, Alisa Galliamova. Natalija Pogonina, Svetlana Matveeva, Elena Zaiatz, Valentina Gunina, Julia Kochetkova, Ekaterina Korbut and Yulia Yakovich. It was a round robin and remained exciting to the very end. Before the last round Alexandra Kosteniuk was leading with 8.0/10 points, followed by Ekaterina Kovalevskaya with 7.5/10. So a draw would have been sufficient for Alexandra. But typical for the character of this beautiful young lady she played without compromise for a win. And win she did – the game, tournament and title.
The tournament hall of the Russian Women's Championship
Alexandra Kosteniuk vs Natalia Pogonina
Game, tournament and Russian Championship!
The winner in full concentration mode
When dealing with Alexandra Kosteniuk one sometimes tends to forget that she is not just a beautiful young lady, but that she also has a very analytical, incisive mind and an extremely determined spirit. Winning the Russian Women's Championship with a performance rating of 2691 speaks for itself (actually shouts for itself).
We have published a lot of glamour pictures of Alexandra Kosteniuk before – links to prove it are given at the bottom of this page. When visiting the Kosteniuk web site (always something we can recommend) a number of new shots caught our eye. The photos were taken in April, after Alexandra had visited Colombia for the TV show "Yo, Jose Gabriel". There she was given as a present the smallest chess set ever made, measuring just 1.2 centimeters square! It's made in Tinjaca, Boyaca (Colombia), and is in Tagua, the fruit of the ivory-nut palm which becomes very hard and is also called vegetable ivory. The artists are Cesar Bonilla and his wife Julia Vergara, who are true masters of their craft.
After a meeting with the first lady of Columbia to discuss chess in the schools, Alexandra flew to Miami, where she posed for Swiss photographer Pierre-William Henry for a delicious series of photos, some of which we present here [with kind permission of Pufichek].
We could go on forever. Instead we recommend that you go to the Kosteniuk web site (didn't we just do that?) to see more of the same.