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|WGM Rusudan Goletiani|
Rusudan "Rusa" Goletiani is known for her strong nerves and fighting spirit. Whether she is playing a much lower rated player or a GM for the championship game, she devotes all her energy to the game. One of Rusa's biggest triumphs was at the 2008 Dresden, Germany Olympiad, where she scored 9/11 on board three, netting an individual silver medal and more importantly, helping the American women earn bronze medals.
Rusudan's victories in three pressure packed World Youth competitions (1995- 1997) leave little doubt about her talent. Indeed, Rusa is considered by many to be potentially even stronger than results such as these would indicate. Limited time for study has restricted her opening repertoire. Until recently, she has employed very offbeat lines such as 1.Nf3, 2.b3, often following up with a Kingside fianchetto (g3). As Black she played the Snake Benoni ---a cool name for a dubious opening. It appeared that Rusa hoped to avoid theory while getting by on her middlegame skills. The problem with such a long-term strategy is that it fails to consider how important it is for top players to gain an edge with white.
In 2004 Rusudan Goletiani was awarded the Samford Fellowship, which gives American world Championship contenders the financial security to focus solely on chess for two years. This award gave Rusa the opportunity to study chess more deeply and since receiving the fellowship she has started to play more conventional openings like the English.
In 2005 Rusudan became the U.S. Women's chess champion by defeating her friend Anna Zatonskih in the last game of the 9-round Swiss, then convincingly winning the playoff against the teenager Tatev Abrahayman. In 2006, Anna would come back to defeat Rusa in a two game match final. For Rusa, scoring a third IM norm in that tournament provided some consolation. Despite their spirited rivalry over national titles in both '05 and '06, Rusa and Anna could be seen dancing in a Brighton Beach nightclub after the 2006 Championship--- celebrating both Anna's victory and Rusa's birthday.
Rusa was born and raised in the women's chess Mecca of Georgia. Georgia, a tiny country bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan has borne two World Women's Champions and three gold Olympic team medals. Rusudan moved to the U.S in 2000. She now lives in Westchester, New York, where she is the co-owner of the Westchester Chess Academy , a chess training program.