WGM Katerina Rohonyan
Katerina Rohonyan at the 2008 Dresden Olympiad. Photo FM Mike Klein
Katerina Rohonyan moved from Ukraine to Baltimore in 2004 for a chess scholarship at the University of Baltimore County. This turned out to be lucky for the 2008 American Olympic team, as Rohonyan was a key member of the bronze medal squad. Katerina has an aggressive style and uses razor-sharp openings like the Open Sicilian as White and the Sveshnikov and the Benko as Black. Rohonyan enjoys dynamic positions and therefore earns better results, even if she's not always up on the hottest theory. She advises CLO readers: "It's nothing to play a sharp opening- you just need to be brave."

A prime example of Katerina's courage is this Tal-like win over the Romanian WGM Alina Motoc in the Dresden Olympiad, which she said: " inspired me for the rest of the tournament ."


Rohonyan works as a programmer and graduated from UMBC with a degree in computer science. She doesn't think computers make chess less interesting, but that "thanks to computers, chess became more robust and now being meticulous pays more than being creative. It became more of a sport than an art. " For enjoyment, Katerina prefers to study chess on a board, but when preparing for a imminent competition, she uses a computer.   To CLO readers looking to improve, Rohonyan recommends My System by Nimzovitsch and Dvoretsky's books.
In comparing life in America and in Ukraine, Rohonyan finds many pros and cons. "Life in America is more goal oriented...all about planning, achieving. In Ukraine...it was more family and friends oriented. And there are many things that I will never be able to understand about life in the US even if I live here forever, like how can your mom be your landlord?" As for chess, Katerina prefers playing for America, because although chess attracts more attention in Ukraine, Rohonyan finds the American system of titles and invitations more fair and transparent.  

Katerina recently moved from Baltimore to Seattle to work for Microsoft. She loves the "emerald city" so far, since it suits her love for outdoor activities such as camping, hiking and kayaking.

Rohonyan's current ambitions include earning a U.S. Women's title and another Olympic medal. "Then...I'll become more ambitious."