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9 March 2018

Alexandra Kosteniuk: I Didn't Mind Hair Colour

Captain of Brunettes team answers Vladimir Barsky's questions about the match versus Blondes and the Candidates Tournament   

– A friendly match Blondes vs. Brunettes has become a traditional event. Masha Fominykh has organized it for the 8th time. It is wonderful that a new chess tradition is being created! Especially when there are not so many traditions in the women's chess. For example, there was a super tournament dedicated to the International Women's Day in Serbia, but now it has become much weaker. It is nice that there exists such a festive event for women in Moscow.

I was taking part in this match for the second time, but it so happened that my debut had been connected with a loss. Then I had said to Masha: “It is necessary for Brunettes to form a team by themselves like Blondes do; we have to try to invite the strongest players possible”.  

– And how did you form a team this time?

– There wasn’t a lot of work. I wrote to the girls who live in Moscow and who, as I considered, could strengthen the team. Thus the team was formed.

– Were there girls with an «intermediate» hair color, whom you would like to invite to play in the team if they agreed to make their hair a bit darker?

– No, I didn’t mind hair colour!  

How so?

– The question is whom you consider yourself. If it comes to that, some of our blondes are not blondes at all! From that point of view, my approach to the teams’ forming and to the match in general becomes less serious. Of course, the athletic constituent prevails at some point, but first of all the match is a friendly encounter.  

– How did you choose dresses?

– Well, I didn’t do it.

Didnt you want to?

– Only the best players were to be given dresses. I didn't have time to go and choose a dress just in case. I decided to get enough sleep because I had arrived in Moscow shortly before the match.  And it was a right decision taking into consideration the result!

Of course, the idea is beautiful and one wants to arrange it in a beautiful way as well. Masha does a great job in making agreements, finding sponsors and partners, because many people and fine things can be attracted to this match. It is possible to develop it well, but, of course, it's easier to say than to do. But the process is going on. This year we were playing in the Central Chess Club and it is wonderful: a very beautiful club and an amazing match!

– There were short photo sessions during the play, weren’t they?  

– Yes, there were photo sessions for a calendar with us. Maybe it is better to make it separately, but, on the other hand, it is quite difficult to gather all of us together at the same time. But it is not easy to switch to a photo session between the rounds. Probably, it can be seen on some photos that a player is thinking about a blundered piece, a won or lost game.  

– Did you see the photos?

– Not yet. I remember there was a photo session during the Superfinal-2005 in Samara; after it calendars were issued and were placed in chess clubs for a while. I didn’t like my photo very much: there were too many chess things in it even for me! That's why I am a bit suspicious about a calendar. But I think that an initiative should not always go punished (smiles). Of course, sometimes it doesn’t turn out well and something can be improved. But on the other hand, it is the simplest thing – not to do anything by oneself and to criticize others sitting on the sofa.  That's why I always highly appreciate people who come up with an initiative, try to create something and to change some things for the better. As a matter of fact, it is wonderful!

– The next day, you were commenting blitz tournament at Tal Memorial. What are your impressions of the grandmasters' games?

– We were following only one game in each round and then were trying to watch the endings of other games. Blitz is always a tension, emotions, mistakes, missed chances… And spectators love it for that!

In general, we are looking forward to watching the Candidates Tournament, which starts in a couple of days. Three Russian players – Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Grischuk, and Sergey Karjakin - are participating, and we are going to root for them. I personally want to see the match Carlsen – Kramnik very much.

– Do you think Kramnik has good chances to win the tournament?

– Everyone has good chances because all participants are very strong and seriously prepared, but I badly want to see this match. But I will root for all Russians and I wish them good luck!


Photos by Anastasia Mudukova

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