Person of day - 4 FEBRUARY 2024
Valentina Gunina was born on 4th February 1989 in Murmansk. Despite the distance from chess centres, the young chess player rose to prominence quickly after repeatedly winning Russian, European and world junior championships. A remarkably competitive style, a desire to fight until the last move and a precise calculation of variants- all this indicated the presence of great talent and strong character in the player from Murmansk.
Valentina quickly became a grandmaster, qualified for the super-final of the Russian championship, became one of the main candidates for the national team, but her first games at the highest level were not always successful. But in 2009, Gunina decisively proved her credentials: she came third in the super-final and won the European championship with the Russian national team.
In the next couple of years, the Russian became one of the strongest female chess players in the world. She made a significant contribution to her country’s team at the 2010 Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, won the Russian championship in 2011, the European classical and blitz championships in 2012 and the world speed chess championship that same year. Notably, unlike multiple European players, Gunina showed no problems in matches against fearsome opponents from the Middle Kingdom, regularly defeating Chinese opponents.
During the last few years, Valentina has lived and trained in Moscow, working with multiple professionals in the capital- grandmaster Alexander Kalinin, international master Igor Yanvarev and grandmaster Vladimir Malakhov consult her from time to time. Valentina Gunina is a two-time Russian champion: she won the superfinals in Nizhny Novgorod in 2013 and in Kazan in 2014. She is also a three-time Olympic champion as a member of the Russian team. Valentina Gunina has been awarded with a medal “For Merit to the Fatherland” 1st class for her contribution to the development of physical culture and sport and for her sporting achievements at the 2014 chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway. In 2015 and 2017, she won two more European championships with the Russian team. In 2017, she won the world championship with the national team. At the 2016 Olympiad, Valentina was one of the best performers at the tournament, with a result of 8 out of 10.
Many experts believe that Valentina is one the chess players that could contend for the world championship in the near future. Valentina Gunina’s uncompromising style always lends charm to competitions where she participates. In December 2016, Gunina sensationally won a large rapid-tournament in London, overtaking fifty male grandmasters. Valentina won 9 points out of 10, with a performance that surpassed 2800: her blows felled grandmasters John Nunn, Ilia Smirin, Eduardo Iturrizaga, David Howell and Luke McShane.
Valentina Gunina won the European Women's Championship three times - in 2011, 2013, and 2018. In 2019, she became the winner of the Cairns Cup in Saint Louis. In 2020, she won the Russian Women's Championship Higher League, having scored 8 points out of 9.
In 2020 and 2021 Valentina became the winner of the FIDE Online Olympiads as a member of the Russian national team. In 2021, Gunina won the Russian Women's Superfinal for the fourth time.