Person of day - 18 JANUARY 2023
Alisa Galliamova was born in Kazan, where she lives to this day. In her hometown, she began to play chess in the 10th youth sports school. Afterwards, the talented young lady studied at the Moscow Sports school. Alisa’s first trainer was Oleg Iglamov. Later on, she worked with Alexander Panchenko, Alexander Filipenko, Andrei Kharlov and other trainers.
First successes in chess came to Alisa fairly quickly: in 1982, she became the champion of the Russian and Union council of the Voluntary Sports Society “Labour Reserves”, in 1983-1984 she became the silver medallist of the Tatarstan championship twice and in 1985-1986 she became the champion of the republic. In 1987, she received the silver medal for the USSR women’s junior championship and she won the world championship for women under 16. The next year, she became the world champion for women under 20.
“I began to achieve high results relatively early, for which I was invited to the USSR national team. At that time, the whole team was Georgian. I played for Ukraine after I married Vassily Ivanchuk and moved to Lviv. That same year, we won the European team championship, which was a huge success for Ukraine. We were received by the first Ukrainian president, Leonid Kravchuk.
In a sportsman’s career, everything is simple: victories are happy moments, defeats are sad. I especially remember my first trip abroad, to Austria. Back then, in 1987, I became the female world champion for the first time (in Innsbruck, 15-year-old Alisa Galliamova won 10 points out of 11 available and became, according to foreign experts, “the princess of the Tyrolean ball”- ed.) I will never forget the trip to Australia. It’s an incredible country! (From the green continent, Alisa returned as a female U20s World Champion-ed.)
Another interesting episode happened when, as members of the Yugoslav team, we won the European club championship and the sponsor danced on the table from joy. These Yugoslavs are emotional like this. They had a strong chess school, but after the war and the bombing, everything disappeared.” (A. Galliamova)
Galliamova became one of the world’s strongest chess players quickly and in 1997 she won the Russian championship and the candidates’ tournament. In 1999, she lost the match for the world championship to Chinese chess player Xie Jun. Later, she successfully participated in official tournaments several times. For example, in 2006 she reached the final of the knockout world championship, but lost to Xu Yuhua.
“The memories from the game against Xu Yuhua are not the most pleasant. We should have played that match in 1998- 8 matches in Kazan, 8 in China. But sadly, the sports committee of the republic did not organise the match and it was cancelled. Back then, no one wanted it and I was left on my own. I was shocked and confused. The Chinese offered to stage the whole match, but I declined because I realised that my chances of victory would be lower. And only in 1999 was everything organised, after our first president Mintimer Shaimiev got involved. Unfortunately, I lost. At that moment, I endured do much, became so nervous that I was not focused on chess. I burned out.
In 2006, I left chess for a prolonged period of time and, to be honest, I had no intention of playing at all. I started to train only a month beforehand. You could say that I reached the final by accident. Because of that, the loss did not sadden me as much as the one 7 years before. Now, I accept it with much less emotion than I did in my youth.” (A. Galliamova)
At the end of the 2000s, Galliamova opened a new chapter in her career after a break following the birth of her second child. Alisa became the Russian champion in exceptionally strong super-finals twice, in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 and 2014, at the same tournament, Alisa won silver medals. In 2010, Galliamova added to her collection of Olympic medals and won gold as a member of the Russian team. That same year, she became Russia’s best sportswoman in intellectual games.
This outstanding sportswoman not only performs successfully in individual and team competitions, but she does a lot to popularise chess. Amongst other thing, Alisa had staged the “Alisa Galliamova Cup” in Kazan for many years, which is a children’s team tournament in which young chess players from all over the country participate.