Mon, October 06, 2008
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Russian "chess queen" grabs 1st gold

2008-10-05 09:12:16 GMT2008-10-05 17:12:16 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

Alexandra Kosteniuk (R) of Russia competes during the women's chess individual blitz against Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria in the 1st World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, China, Oct. 5, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia talks with Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria before their women's chess individual blitz in the 1st World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, China, Oct. 5, 2008. Kosteniuk won the title. (Xinhua Photo)

Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria competes during the women's chess individual blitz against Alexandra Kosteniuk of Russia in the 1st World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, China, Oct. 5, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Russia's ace chess player Alexandra Kosteniuk clinched the first gold medal of the World Mind Games here on Sunday as the newly crowned queen came from behind to beat former world champion Stefanova Antoaneta of Bulgaria 2-1 in the women's blitz chess.

The 24-year-old Russian, who won the world championship in September, overcame the first-game slump in the final and regained the momentum in the following two games to seal a thrilling victory. Her win also witnessed the first gold medal being produced from the 15-day Games.

"Winning the first gold is a huge success for me. Because it was the first Mind Games and it was a good move today as we always tried to join the Olympic family," said Alexandra.

"But different from physical sports, chess is an intellectual one and you need to concentrate on it which requires a lot of energy," she added.

Despite missing out on the gold, Stefanova didn't lose confidence. She said uncertainty made the blitz game a little dramatic.

"She is a strong player, but in blitz chess, you never know what will happen. I lost in the end but I still had my chances," said the 29-year-old Bulgarian, adding that luck was not on her side in the third game.

"Maybe I was not lucky enough to have chance to play white (chess) in the final. In any cases, it was difficult to play against her in black as you have one minute less to think. But I will do my best after it, there are still many tournaments to go," she added.

In the third-place playoff, China's 14-year-old Hou Yifan beat her compatriot Zhao Xue to gift the host a bronze.

The 1st World Mind Games, which opened officially on Firday night, attracted more than 3,000 players from 143 countries and regions. Bridge, Chess, Go, Draughts and Xiangqi were on the program.

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