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Kosteniuk Spreads Holiday Cheer in Tucson Print E-mail
December 22, 2009
Move over Santa! Women's World Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk spread holiday cheer for 9 Queens students in Tucson, Arizona with her goodwill simultaneous exhibition on December 20
Alexandra Kosteniuk races around the room, Photo Jeff Smith

In Kosteniuk's 34 board simul at the new boutique, MAST, she won 30 games and drew four. The holiday spirit was very much in the air: the event featured cupcakes, pizza, hot pink custom made boards, an autograph session by Kosteniuk and a raffle. Ann Price, a member of the Tucson Ladies Chess Club (and a regular 9 Queens volunteer) was one of the participants. Ann, like many of the simul participants, is a dedicated chess enthusiast who just recently started studying the game. Every week Ann meets with a group of adult women at a Tucson coffee shop to play and analyze chess games. It's good to see adult women taking on the great challenge of chess--one of the newest 9 Queens mottos is "I Beat My Mom at Chess."


The event was hosted by 9 Queens, a non-profit co-founded by Jean Hoffman and CLO editor Jennifer Shahade to promote chess for those in most need of its benefits, especially girls and at-risk youth. Fittingly, the day was particularly inspiring for young girls. A mother of one of Alexandra's opponents, Randi Dorman, said, "It was so amazing for Skye, at 5 years old, to see a young woman as chess champ. Skye asked me how Alexandra did it, and I told her she practices a lot and concentrates really hard. (After the simul) she looked serious and I asked her what she was doing. She said she was concentrating so that she could be the next chess champ!"
Alexandra Kosteniuk signs autographs, Jean Hoffman laughs Photo Jeff Smith

Kosteniuk also signed copies of her new book, Diary of a Chess Queen (a sell-out that day), as well as copies of her new DVD, My Best Games. You can get both on chessqueen.com, or pick up Diary of a Chess Queen at the USCF store. Enjoy some photos highlights below and see the whole set by Jeff Smith and learn about what made the event possible on the 9queens blog.
An intense battle with the chess queen, Photo Jeff Smith

Kosteniuk picks out a lucky raffle winner, Photo Jeff Smith

An owner of MAST, Tasha Sabatino with executive director Jean Hoffman,
Photo Jeff Smith

Kosteniuk ponders a move, Photo Jeff Smith

Look for more on 9queens in the January issue of Chess Life Magazine, where Paul Gold profiles executive director and co-founder Jean Hoffman. Find out more about Kosteniuk on chessqueen.com, her official website, twitter, facebook and her chessblog. Also see previous CLO interviews with Kosteniuk by Jerry Hanken (RIP) and Jennifer Shahade.