Person of day - 27 DECEMBER 2023
Kateryna Lagno began her chess journey as a wunderkind, surpassing Judit Polgar’s seemingly-insurmountable record and becoming the youngest female grandmaster in history, receiving this prestigious title when 12 years and 4 months old. Born in Lvov, one of the best representative of Kramatorsk’s chess school soon made her first big steps in big chess- she qualified for the quarter-finals in the world championship in Elista in 2004, won the European women’s championship in 2005 in Kishinev, won first place in the super-tournament “North Ural Cup 2006”, became an Olympic champion as a member of her country’s team in Turin in 2006 and in 2008 she once again won the individual competition of the Old World Tournament.
In 2009, the talented chess player opened a new chapter in her life: she married Robert Fontaine, a French chess player and TV journalist and moved to France, but continued to represent Ukraine in competitions. Soon, the grandmaster family had a son, but before that Lagno won the Russian team championship as a member of team “Spartak” (Vydnoe) and the European Cup of club teams in Ohrid. However, Kateryna and Robert’s marriage fell apart after several years.
After the birth of her child, Kateryna made a triumphant return to chess in 2010, immediately winning the blitz world championship and demonstrating consistently strong results ever since, which demonstrates her commitment to becoming the best in the world. At the 2012 Olympiad in Istanbul, Lagno came third, in 2013 she became the European and World champion as a member of the Ukrainian team and in April 2014 she won the world championship for rapid chess.
In March 2014, Kateryna Lagno applied to transfer to the Russian Chess Federation and on 11th July 2014, the Presidential Council of FIDE approved her transfer. “For me, half-Russian, speaking in Russian and just cognizant of our history, Russia is as close as Ukraine. I would like to stress that my transfer is not connected to the political situation in Ukraine.” (K. Lagno)
At the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso, Kateryna played at the first board of the Russian team and became an Olympic champion for the second time in her career. In 2015, she was the silver medallist of the world champion and winner of the European championship as part of the Russian team.
In 2016, at the World Mind Games, Kateryna Lagno won the blitz tournament and demonstrated the best result at the Russia-China match. As a member of SHSM “Legacy Square Capital” she won the team tournament at the Russian championship.
In November 2018, Kateryna made it to the final of the World Women's Championship in Khanty-Mansiysk and lost to the reigning champion Ju Wenjun in a dramatic tiebreak match. Nevertheless, the end of the year was a success for her as she won the World Women's Blitz Championship, which was held in Saint Petersburg in December. She was given the Medal of the Order “For Merit to the Fatherland” 1st class for this achievement.
Kateryna Lagno won bronze at the FIDE Women's Candidates Tournament (Kazan, 2019). In the same year, she became the European champion and the silver medallist of the World Team Championship as a member of the Russian national women's team. In December 2019, she became the three-time world women's blitz champion.
In May 2020, Kateryna became the winner of the FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial held on Chess24.com.
Kateryna Lagno is married to Alexander Grischuk, one of the strongest grandmasters in the world. She has four children.