Tromso: Female chess stars at the Olympiad

Tromso: Female chess stars at the Olympiad


Let’s end with a small puzzle. These four women play together on a single team. Can you guess which?


Destiny Sisior, 10 years old, from Palau – enough said…


The first time I saw Garry Kasparov was in the hotel where he was staying. He was tied up with his election campaign and looked stressed and tired. Two days later I saw him again with this girl in the playing hall. I suspected it was his daughter, but I still went up to him to confirm my guess. He was very relaxed and friendly when he responded, “Yes, yes, she’s my daughter”.

Remember when top women chess players were stereotyped as elderly matrons? Well, times have changed and today, and today they look more like film or sports stars. And we can prove it: there are many wonderful video interviews conducted by GM Daniel King with top women from our Olympiad studio in Tromsø. Many of the interviews are online for you to watch. Enjoy.



Female chess stars in Tromsø


Remember the days when one expected top female chess players to look like the above bronze statue, is located outside the playing hall in Tromsø?



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Well, in case you haven’t noticed: today’s 2400+ players look a bit different



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M Tania Sachdev is playing board two for the Indian women’s team. She has recorded two Fritztrainer DVDs for us, and plans to return to Hamburg to do more. The above image is from that session. You can view a four-minute standup interview conducted by Danial King here:



Tania also gave Daniel King a post-game interview which one of the spectators commented thus:

I saw King’s interview of Tania just now, and liked it a lot. I knew about Naka and Red Bull, and am glad to see Tania and the seriousness of the commitment. I must say that Tania is one of the clearest speakers I have seen. She presents her ideas clearly and well. I was impressed.

Here is the 17-minute interview with analysis of the game she has just played:

Tania has just drawn Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan in round three and says the game did not go as well as she had hoped for: she did not manage to get anything out of the opening which “completely did not go as planned”.

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In the interview Tania praises 20-year-old WGM Padimini Rout (above), a very talented 20-year-old who evened the score in round three when IM Eesha Karavade lost to the astonishing WGM Zhansaya Abdumalik, who is all of fourteen years old.


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Zhansaya Daniyarqyzy Abdumalik is a name we are going to have to remember. She is almost exactly as old as the millennium, having been born on January 12, 2000, in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Zhansaya is currently the top ranked U14 girl in the world and the second ranked U14 player, male or female.



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In the interview Danny and Tania analyse Padmini’s game against Madina Davletbayeva, which is still in progress. The section starts at 2 min 45 seconds into the video, and resumes at 14 min 40s. It is very nice to watch the two evaluate White’s chances in real time.

In her interview Tania says she loved Norway and was stunned by the location when she first arrived, but now she “missed the night” (Tromsø is in the Arctic Circle). In the interview she talks about her chess career, her trainers (IM Vishal Shareen, GM Elisbar Ubilava) and her contract with Red Bull.



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Tania is the first chess player they ever took on as a Red Bull Athlete – you can watch the trailer Wings for Life World Run here (and maybe read Christopher McDougall’s “Born To Run” which our co-editor Albert Silver has been lancing in top GM circles).



Tania she explains (at around 11m:30s) her involvement in spectaculars like the

Battle for the Queen” that the sponsors staged in four Indian cities with her.


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Daniel King also interviewes India’s board one on the women’s team, GM Harika Dronavalli.

She is the second strongest female player in her country and, like Tania, a very special friend


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Another special friend is GM Irina Krush, whom I have known since her mid teens. Irina is multiple US Champion, very strong and very intense – I treasure the adversarial debates we have had. She never takes my verbal aggression amiss, but always comes for more.

You don’t know Irina Krush? Here is a lovely video introduction by Daniel King. You’ve got to love this line: “I was born in Odessa, which was then the USSR; now it’s the Ukraine – still the Ukraine…”. The way she slips in a single rueful word into that sentence.



The young German WGM Melanie Ohme was subject of one of our pre-Olympiad reports.

You can watch Melanie’s vivacious video interview with Danny King above

And here is one with Natalia Zhukova, whom we have also known from her teenage years

Yuanling Yuan is a Canadian, playing on board one for her country

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There are also interviews with lesser-known but more exotic players, like these two from Jamaica



These are the Gara sisters Anita (2327) and Ticia (2321) who were interviewed in our Tromsø studio by André Schulz. Both visited the ChessBase office when they were talented pre-teens. My, how they have grown!


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IM Elisabeth Pähtz, who plays on board one for Germany, has been in and out of my

house since she was a child. Elli has done a couple of nice Fritztrainer DVDs for us.

On a personal note: I know that I am going to get some irate letters from feminism watchdogs who will take me to task for implying that I consider some of the subjects of this report to be attractive or beautiful. I even know who is going to write – one letter will be from a chess player in Scandinavia, one from Holland, both from males. Unfortunately political correctness is not one of my greatest strengths, and I tent to adhere to the principle of treating chess like any other sport, like entertainment, films and music. But in order to mollify my critics I will include a few video interviews that Daniel King has conducted with male players for you enjoy. They are all attractive hunks and machos…