Elena Donaldson Akhmilovskaya, 1957-2012
November 19, 2012
Elena in her 1986 match against Maya Chiburdanidze

Women's Grandmaster Elena Donaldson Akhmilovskaya died in Seattle after a nine-month battle with cancer on November 18, 2012. Born on March 11, 1957 in St Petersburg, Elena was a three-time US Women's chess champion (1994, 1990 and co-champ in 1993) and Women's World Championship candidate. After winning the Candidates tournament Elena played a match against Maia Chiburdanidze for the Women's World Championship in 1986. She lost the match 8.5-5.5, though she won the following game:


Elena eloped to the United States with IM John Donaldson at the 1988 Chess Olympiad in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Here's a victory from Elena at her first Olympiad playing for the US, in 1990 against a future World Champion:


She later remarried to IM Georgi Orlov, who survives her along with her two children.