Rapid Interview - Cécile Haussernot

by Arne Kaehler
5/7/2021 – Rapid interviews are fun: interviewer and guest face each other in an epic rapid chess battle. The chess guest not only has to face the interviewer's questions, but also concentrate on the chess game at the same time. This leads to surprising answers and sometimes to curious chess positions. Cécile Haussernot is probably one of the most attractive titled chess players. I asked her if this ever lead to jealousy from other players, or hate comments, and how she deals with these factors. Furthermore, I wanted to know how it is for the French WIM to live in Tbilisi, Georgia, and what her future goals are in chess. | Photos: Cécile Haussernot

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Rapid Interview with Cécile Haussernot

The 22-year WIM from France dedicated her life to chess. She works as a coach, and streams chess related topics on her twitch.tv channel.

She won two gold medals at the European Youth Chess Championships 2007 and 2009, and became French Women Rapid Champion in 2020.

  • 0:58 - The game starts
  • 1:00 - Who are you, and when did you learn to play chess?
  • 3:05 - You are one of the most attractive titled chess players. Was this ever difficult for you because of jealousy or hate comments?
  • 5:38 - You are engaged to another chess player. How did you meet?
  • 6:46 - How often do you play chess against your fiancée?
  • 7:37 - What do you think about your position at the moment?
  • 8:20 - Is there a big cultural difference between Georgia and France?
  • 9:34 - What else in life do you do besides playing chess?
  • 10:36 - How are the corona restrictions in Georgia momentarily?
  • 11:54 - What are your goals in life or chess?
  • 13:11 - Who is your favourite chess player?
  • 14:24 - What is your biggest chess strength?
  • 15:00 - Do you have a favourite chess book?
  • 16:00 - What is your favourite chess film/series?
  • 16:46 - Are you happier with your position now?
  • 17:54 - "I will gladly take this piece from you"
  • 23:08 - When do you give up in a chess game?
  • 25:22 - Do you plan to play in any real tournaments soon?
  • 25:51 - Did you follow the Candidates tournament?

Cecile Haussernot

The French chess player in action

The French WIM is dedicated to the beauty of chess.

IM Giorgi Sibashvili captured the heart of the 22-year-old chess queen.

There is more than one good reason Cécile has over 20k followers on her Instagram account.

Twitch.tv channel of Cécile Haussernot


Arne Kaehler, a creative thinker who is passionate about board games in general was born in Hamburg and learned how to play chess at a very young age. Through teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess content on YouTube, Arne was able to extend this passion onto others and has even made an online chess course for anyone who wants to learn how to play this game. Currently, Arne blogs for the English news page of ChessBase and focuses on creating promotional and entertaining articles.
Discussion and Feedback Join the public discussion or submit your feedback to the editors


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Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/11/2021 09:28
I got my information from the FIDE.com rating page. I didn't want to make it looking too bad. You can find there that actually, of all the rated players she isn't even with the top 25.000. Chessbase could also write a story about me, but I wonder whether anyone would be interested, although at position nr. 19519, the difference with Mrs. Haussernot isn't that big. Unfortunately, my looks are slightly less and I'm not a trainer.
Check the Pandolfini wikipedia page for his pupils and his accomplishments as a trainer for young children. Bad comparison.
If you had read all my comments, you could have known that, on the contrary, I believe there was reason to publish this story. I don't see anything wrong with it.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 5/11/2021 05:36
<Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy> <Take that away and you are left with a story about a player who isn't even close to the best 10.000 active players. >

By that reasoning, there should never be any articles about Junior, Senior or Women's chess at all. No articles about history either, since you specified "active" players for some reason. That may be what you really believe, but it's a pretty extreme position, held by few.

Bruce Pandolfini had a column in Chess Life for years, despite not being one of the 10,000 best active players either. Clearly this criteria is too limiting.
malfa malfa 5/11/2021 11:41
@ Frits, definitely I did not miss it: my previous irony about the cunning (ab)use of stereotypes was directed both to the present article and to her strategy of self-promotion. But what I surely criticise is the presence of an article like this in a usually quite high-quality website. And the worse is the silly reasons by the Editor to justify such a presence.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/11/2021 11:19
Malfa, yes, you're right, but maybe you are missing a point as well: that Haussernot (in my opinion, without any doubt) ^herself^, on purpose, uses her looks for chess promotion, and with success. I don't think chessbase sent a photographer to Georgia. That is not a front page news item (okay, some would say it's a page 3 item), but it could be seen as a newsworthy story. I'm neither blown away or appalled by the pictures, I just see a young woman having fun with just another way of bringing her hobby over the footlights.
malfa malfa 5/11/2021 10:43
@ Frits Fritschy, you perfectly catch a point which apparently many readers and especially the Editor continue to miss. Speaking as simply as possible, let us consider the following:

"You are one of the most attractive titled chess players. Was this ever difficult for you because of jealousy or hate comments?"

"You are engaged to another chess player. How did you meet?"

"How often do you play chess against your fiancée?"

Would anyone ask such questions to an undeniably very attractive young boy, who in every photo displayed his perfect muscles in their full glory but were not even in the world Top Ten of his age, just for the purpose of showing that "you too, can be a strong chess player, even if you are good-looking"?
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/11/2021 10:09
Kerryliles, whether one likes it or not, her good looks and the way she uses them to promote chess (and herself), are the only reasons for this article. Take that away and you are left with a story about a player who isn't even close to the best 10.000 active players.
kerryliles kerryliles 5/11/2021 03:50
Clearly a beautiful young lady - wish her all the success. Not sure her beauty has anything to do with chess per se.
Of course chessbase can expect the obvious reaction to this article - perhaps simply picking a picture of her at the chessboard would have been a reasonable compromise to avoid the obvious push back?
Petrosianic Petrosianic 5/10/2021 11:51
I like the idea of doing an interview and a Rapid game at the same time. It's vaguely similar to the Cage Match games played on the old US Chess Live site.
Petrosianic Petrosianic 5/10/2021 05:31
"You are one of the most attractive titled chess players. Was this ever difficult for you because of jealousy or hate comments?"

Judging by the comments, that looks like a Big Yes.
malfa malfa 5/10/2021 08:56
@Frederic: no trolling, just ironizing on how comfortable is to speculate on stereotypes in order to get more attention. BTW, speaking of stereotypes, of course I don't expect that a German understands humor.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/9/2021 11:02
In a broad sense, we agree. Haussernot has every right to present herself in this way and chessbase has every right to report on that. Even when a décolleté is used as a statement instead of as an adapation to weather conditions. I hope you weren't referring to me referencing 'boobs' and 'knockers'. I was just trying to define border lines for other readers.
However, I still wonder who you had in mind with those 'older Russian matrons' - and what those women might think of your description.
Frederic Frederic 5/9/2021 08:47
@malfa: I have no idea where you pulled that out. Sorry, I get it, you are probably just trolling.
@Frits Fritschy: Nobody is "encouraging" anyone to wear nice feminine outfits, we are just not discouraging it, and not looking away in embarrassment when they do. I do not understand the repeated reference to "boobs" and "knockers." A décolleté is perfectly normal in other areas of social interaction. Why should it be described in crude male terms in the context of a chess player?
malfa malfa 5/9/2021 06:31
@ Frederic: so in short your point was to show that every woman can play chess provided that she has enough skill in in her boobs, wasn't it? :-P
e-mars e-mars 5/9/2021 03:46
e-mars e-mars Just now
@Frederic C'mon Frederic, I did not even notice the typo, it did self-correct in my mind while reading. You know what I am referring to :-)
@Frits Fritschy yes, as any other exchange rate it is the demand/offer rate which dictates the fluctuations: Cecile takes advantage of that - especially in chess: if she were to compete with any other attractive girl in modeling or acting she would struggle a lot. Cecile takes advantage of that so do twitch tv, instagram, pinterest, youtube & C., but don't you forget that those giants live on advertising so at the end of the day it's their job and they don't really care whether an influencer is "crossing the line" of their field as long as they don't break any law or any T&C. Chessbase and any other niche/specific media devoted to a particular topic should not be needing to advertise "even boobs can play chess" in the first place: there are other "specialised" channels to do so. This very same article would have probably perfectly fine - and not crossing any line at all - on e.g. GQ or Vogue.
(I also understand that it is rather difficult to find a picture of Cecile without her knockers screaming through the screen "look at me!", I can give you that...)
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/9/2021 10:00
Frederic, there certainly are lines that shouldn't be crossed. Remember Sepp Blatter, a few years ago, wanting female football players to wear skirts because that would look better on tv? And in some sports there really are ideas that come from another era - in tennis women are forced to wear skirts, even when they have sportive reasons to prefer other garments, see Serena Williams. In gymnastics, German women have shown recently that changes are possible (to which the Dutch top gymnast Sanne Wevers reacted that personally, she saw showing her beauty was part of the sport).
It's about personal choices by women. Haussernot made her choice, and that's fine with me, and chessbase can write or even joke about it. But chessbase can't write about just any woman player that she has 'more than one good reason to have 20k followers'.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/9/2021 09:38
I agree Frederic's comment wasn't very lucky, although I had more problems with the 'older Russian matrons' part. Who did he have in mind? Forgiving on basis of age is just as condescending, by the way: at 75 you ought to know better.
I liked your idea about beauty having an exchange rate. However, it is not just chessbase taking advantage. Look at the images on Haussernot's tv channel: she herself chose to dress to impress. It's not like chessbase said to her: if you want to feature on our site, you got to show something.
Frederic Frederic 5/9/2021 08:50
Heligan! You resurface after 20 years and pick up the same argument we had at the time! So if chess follows the social and public mores of all other sports, of film and theatre, it is "soft porn"? Unlike other areas of social interaction and reporting chess must stick to "skilful photography, show emotions captured midgame." Have you seen mainstream athletics, tennis reporting, or the Oscars? Ice skating? Badminton? If a chess player happens to be good-looking we should studiously avoid showing that, because it would discourage her average colleagues? I went back to Arne's interview with Cecile and could not find any offensive images – certainly nothing I would consider (my goodness) "soft porn."
@e-mars: "good-locking" is called a "typo" and is not a sign of linguistic ineptitude or my being "not English mother tongue."
e-mars e-mars 5/9/2021 12:31
@Frederic if you read the book Queen's Gambit Ben Harmon was not as attractive as depicted in the tv series, simply because the tv series are for a different audience and beauty is 99% a requirement. "You, too, can be a strong chess player, even if you are good-locking." just came out really wrong and I can forgive the fact you're from a different era and not English mother tongue.
Beauty is just a currency like anything else as the same level as any other skill, talent or predisposition. Like any currency beauty has an exchange rate and it depends on markets rules: in a game of chess one might prefer talent and hard work, in advertisement and modeling beauty is a must. Let's keep things balanced and everybody will be happy. Yes, chess needs advertisement too and as long as beauty is not spoiled and becomes gross, it's OK having boobs on the screen, after all Cecile is an adult and can do whatever she wants with her body. Taking advantage of that - that way - for advertising chess (and Chessbase) is probably crossing the line ...
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/9/2021 12:08
Heligan, WIM Hausernot has chosen to promote chess (and herself) in this way. Do you want to deny her the right to do so? Is anybody forcing her? Compare her with pop stars beginning with Madonna.
Some years ago an Australian player protested against his female opponent distracting him with her cleavage. Same thing - denying women the right to be as they want to be.
heligan heligan 5/8/2021 11:34
In my (female) opinion, this article is an example of the cultural problems that discourage women from playing in the male-dominated world of chess, and it's right up there with the recent Candidates incident and some infamous mermaids. We don't want to be reminded that you consider us merely objects and dismiss most of us as unattractive.
If you want to make everyone feel included, then show photos of everyone - every age, every gender. If you want to showcase skilful photography, then show emotions captured midgame. If you want to showcase art, then the lines of experience and laughter on an aged face have a lot more meaning than a semi-naked pair of large titties.
If Chessbase (like others) wants to display soft porn, then ChessBase should get its own Instagram page.
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 5/8/2021 11:19
If Cecile Haussernot is fine with it, I'm fine with it, and any comment criticizing chessbase is criticizing Mrs. Haussernot as well. She's an adult, knows what she's doing and I don't see why anyone here has the right to say she should act differently. If you don't like it, go somewhere else.
Michael Jones Michael Jones 5/8/2021 10:32
Is there really a perception that women who play chess are "older Russian matrons"? I've never come across it, and if there is it is wildly inaccurate: of the top 20 women in the world, the oldest are Kosteniuk and Javakhishvili at 37 (coincidentally born the same day); for comparison, the men's top 20 includes five players older than that (Aronian, Grischuk, Dominguez, Anand, Topalov). So just covering tournaments involving them should be enough to dispel such a perception if it does exist. That said, as Agt the Walker points out, Haussernot posts photos on her Twitch and Instagram accounts which are clearly intended to emphasise her looks at least as much as her prowess chess, so it makes little difference if Chessbase posts similar ones. She is hardly the only female chess player to exploit her looks; does anyone imagine that the Botez sisters would get remotely near the same Twitch/YouTube following if they were Russian matrons?
Agt the Walker Agt the Walker 5/8/2021 08:40
Also agree with Frederic. It's not like the photos are significantly different from https://www.twitch.tv/cecilehaussernot/about anyway. Continue the great work!
DominicMyles DominicMyles 5/8/2021 08:26
I expect better than this "soft-pawn" from a serious publication such as ChessBase.
Serse Serse 5/8/2021 07:20
What’s about not that beautiful women (or men by the way) ? I feel personnally happy everyone enjoying chess. No matter they are pretty, ugly, old, young, male, female, trans, aliens... This discussion makes no sense
IntensityInsanity IntensityInsanity 5/8/2021 03:43
Agree with Frederic. It’s great to see beautiful women also being fanatics of our hobby. It’s also a good way to show that chess is “cool”. I enjoy these articles.
Frederic Frederic 5/8/2021 10:46
In the past I have been criticized for reporting too often on pretty young female players, accused of sexism for commenting on their looks (while very rarely calling a male player handsome or attractive). There was a specific reason for this (apart from a general approval of beauty). Non-chess and amateur female players tended to think of chess as a game for males, and for older Russian matrons. My message was: no, look at these beautiful, highly skilled girls. You, too, can be a strong chess player, even if you are good-locking. That was one of the main Beth Harmon messages, and did more for women's chess than a hundred politically correct reports. Just my view.
Wastrel Wastrel 5/8/2021 06:43
If this is intended to be funny, then it is jejune. If serious, it is inappropriate. Yes, this young lady is almost as pretty as my girlfriend and I refuse to be impressed.
karavamudan karavamudan 5/8/2021 06:16
Anna Kournikova of chess. Chess is the great leveler, good looking ones play chess just as greatly or poorly as not so good looking ones
tom_70 tom_70 5/8/2021 02:57
Strong female chess players usually conjure up an image of a swarthy, broad shouldered female with a cold stare. This is a welcome contrast to that stereotype. She is a knockout.
tacticalmonster tacticalmonster 5/8/2021 02:45
If Ms Cecile's beauty would help popularize the game of chess, I have nothing but good thing to say about that.
SoDesuKa SoDesuKa 5/8/2021 02:25
Is that a pickle in your pocket, or are you just glad to be playing me? --Mae West

Come on, Chessbase, or is it ChessBoy?
This isn't funny, so what is it?
I'll bet it's one or the other.
AVG AVG 5/8/2021 01:37
What a terrible report and even worse photos. They serve a common prejudice against good-looking women, that they owe their professional success only to their looks. Perhaps Ms Cecile Haussernot is playing with it and taking advantage of the situation, you never know, but I find the reporting condescending.
Her move to Tbilissi should be good for her chess career...
retspan retspan 5/8/2021 01:02
I had to use text-to-speech software to correctly read "There is more than one good reason Cécile has over 20k followers on her Instagram account." For some strange reason I kept reading it as "There are at least two very nice reasons Cécile has over 20k followers on her Instagram account." and it just sounded ... creepy to me.
talmage talmage 5/8/2021 12:07
I'd have a tough time playing her with a short time control.
Minnesota Fats Minnesota Fats 5/7/2021 09:47
Is this the future woman world champion? She gets my vote!
Edwin Meijer Edwin Meijer 5/7/2021 09:02
She really likes to show off her rack, doesn't she
prail prail 5/7/2021 07:33
Cécile is pleasant and confident with excellent fluency in English, but this exceptionally adoring treatment of a player makes me want to look way, as it reminds me of beach volleyball with women flopping around in bathing suits, where unfortunately, the interviewer humiliates himself by looking desperate for a girlfriend. Interesting psychological study of pretty-girl syndrome with plenty of giggles from her, and even a "take back" move? Thank you for a most interesting interview.
mickeydeadguys mickeydeadguys 5/7/2021 05:56
What a dame!
Serse Serse 5/7/2021 04:51
"The French WIM is dedicated to the beauty of chess."
ChessBase, are you serious ?!? I expect the same kind of article from you with a bodybuilder male GM with suggestive pictures!