Person of day - 28 OCTOBER 2020
Alina Kashlinskaya was born on 28th October 1993 in Moscow. She began to play chess when she was 7, in a group trained by grandmaster Lyudmila Zaitseva. In just a year, she evolved from a beginner to a first-category chess player. Shortly after, she was mentored my international master Valerii Tsaturian, but she made her real breakthrough under the guidance of renowned specialist Vladimir Vulfson. The young FIDE master became the champion of Russia and a two-time vice-champion of Europe in her age category.
“I did not choose chess- chess chose me. During my childhood, I attended two sports classes: ballet and chess. I had to choose one. When I was seven, I made a choice that I have not regretted since. I liked to dance, but I made my choice in favour of chess. In dance class, our trainers sometimes knocked on our kneecaps to make us keep them straight. I was a home-grown child and I understood that this was a necessary part of preparation, but I could never get used to it, so I chose chess. You can sit and think about your position and no one disturbs you!” (A. Kashlinskaya)
One of the most promising young chess players in Russia was admitted to a sports school, where she worked with grandmasters Valery Chekhov and Sergey Arkhipov and since 2008, she has been trained by the former Russian men’s team coach Sergey Dolmatov. As a result of her lessons with Dolmatov, Kashlinskaya fulfilled all the women’s international grandmaster norms in 2009. Furthermore, a large contribution to the development of one of Russia’s strongest female grandmasters was made by the two-time Soviet champion Lev Psakhis.
In 2010, Kashlinskaya made her debut for the Russian national team in a friendly match against China, which finished with a Russian victory. At the 2010 Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Alina played for the junior national team and won a silver medal at her board. She was a champion of Russia with SHSM-RSSU in 2011 and a prize-winner at the European Cup. She also won the 2011 Russian women’s blitz championship.
Alina Kashlinskaya won a silver medal at the 2012 Universiad with RSSU and another silver medal at the 2012 students’ world championship. She was also the Russian junior champion in 2013 and in the same year, she debuted at the Superfinal of the Russian championship and won a medal at the Universiad in Kazan.
The grandmaster performed notably in matches between “Snowdrops” and “Oldhands” and she is a regular at competitions between the strongest Russian players. In 2015, she played at the knockout women’s world championship, having come third at the Old World championship beforehand. Before the 2016 Russian team championship, Alina was injured while skiing, but this did not stop her from showing the best result on her team and leading Muscovites to gold medals.
Alina graduated from the Russian Social State University’s psychology faculty. She has written several poems and articles on her favourite sport. She was awarded the Anton Chekhov medal for her poem titled A Girl and Sportswoman. She holds clear philosophical views, runs her own website and gives multiple interviews where she discusses ideas relevant to the lives of chess players.
“This phenomenon can be explained by the rigours of the game and a weaker nervous system. Oftentimes, women simply cannot survive through competitions. They often struggle to find the strength for a final push for victory in a given game. Women often let emotions dominate their rationality. That happens in life as well as in chess. For example, it is well-known that most women are bad at defending themselves from attack. This is because female chess players start to get scared of hypothetical threats and do not retain their composure. A computer can give a ration of -1.80 in a position where Black has more pieces, but White can make a few moves and the Black would be on the defensive. A computer can calculate these moves in two seconds, but a human will find it more difficult. People are liable to become simply scared in certain positions.” (A. Kashlinskaya)
Alina Kashlinskaya is married to a famous Polish grandmaster, Radosław Wojtaszek. Their wedding was attended by many famous chess players, including former world champion Vishy Anand.
At the Superfinal of the 2018 Russian championship, Alina Kashlinskaya split 3rd-4th places, but finished fourth based on additional criteria.
In October of the same year, Alina showed the best result among women in a traditionally strong open tournament on the Isle of Man (her husband became the winner of the event). In April 2019, Kashlinskaya won the European Women's Championship.