Nominations received for
Chess Journalist of the Year (2009)

Cramer Award Category
Category 1: Chess Journalist of the Year
Nominations should be sent to the Chief Judge for the CJA with a supporting statement. This should be a person who has greatly contributed to chess journalism this past year. Only work in the past year should be considered.

For a full list of CJA Awards categories see: 2009 Chess Journalists of America Awards.

Ballots for voting by CJA members will be distributed in the June 2009 issue of The Chess Journalist.
You may also email your vote to the chief judge
. Each member may vote once. Only individuals listed in the current Membership List may vote.

Votes must be received by xxx, 2009 to insure they are counted.


Following are the statements provided by the nominators.

Note that the Award is for work done during the last year, not for their career.

GM Alexandra Kosteniuk
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Champion

Alexandra Kosteniuk

Alexandra Kosteniuk is the 12th Women's World Chess Champion, a title she received last fall by winning the Women's World Chess Championship in Nalchik, Russia, at the age of 25, after 20 years playing chess.

2008 was the most successful year ever for Alexandra. She started by successfully defending her Chess960 (Fischer Random) World Champion Title at the Rapid Chess960 World Championship in Mainz, Germany in August, in a 4-way match that included Lahno, Cmilyte and Zhukova, then by winning the classical Women's World Chess Championship in September, and finally in October 2008, she won 3 medals, including the first Gold medal ever, in the First Mind Sports Games in Beijing China.

Thanks to her becoming World Champion, during the last year alone, Alexandra has been on the cover of more than 10 magazines (see and many more publications have published some of her games of the Women's World Championship, in particular the first game of the final against Yifan Hou. Countless articles in 23 languages have been published about Alexandra in the press, some can be viewed at this page:

Alexandra is originally from Russia, but in 2009 has moved to Miami and is on the way to becoming a permanent resident of the USA, with her husband and 2-year old daughter. Alexandra is a chess Grandmaster (with the GM men title) ranked in the top women in the world continuously since 2004 (#11 in April 2009 with 2516 ELO, highest #3 in 2006 with 2540 ELO), who apart from her activity in chess tournaments continually works to actively promote chess in the world, exclusively in a positive way, showing the world that chess is the coolest game of all.

After her arrival in Miami, Alexandra was on National American TV with interviews on FOX and CBS, this last one you can watch here:

Some examples of Alexandra's work for the period 2008-2009:

Alexandra maintains her personal home page regularly adding news, photos, competitions, games. Site visited by 1,000-3,000 daily fans and visitors.

Continues the “Chess is Cool” Audio podcast started in November 2005 and now a popular chess audio podcast on the web see Episodes available free on iTunes and more than 1,500 regular subscribers.

Continues the free instructional chess video podcast “Chess Killer Tips” which has 3,000 regular subscribers (who get episodes immediately as soon as they are listed in iTunes) and many episodes over 15,000 views (top viewed video has over 26,000 views).

Continued to be the top contributor of the video chess sites (Quicktime video) and (Flash video) regularly posting there commented blitz videos, as well as tournament report videos.

Continued to promote scholastic chess by visiting schools and giving lectures in schools around the world. Recently in April was a guest of honor at the Nashville Scholastics Supernationals and gave 2 monster simuls (107 games in all, 100 wins, 7 draws), a free lecture, and a free seminar.

Continued her support to deserving chess charities (for example new in 2009 The 9 Queens Organization so that they can grow and help others to play and learn chess. She is very much involved in supporting chess in developing countries such as Colombia, South America and sponsors a school for underprivileged children there. She travelled to South Korea to promote chess and dozens of articles were published about her visit.

NEW! Created in 2008 the free youTube channel "Chessqueen" where she posts some of her chess games, blitz, rapid or classical, commented. Top viewed video has over 16,000 views. Alexandra is an exceptional chess commentator and the games she selects to comment (her own or of other GM’s) are most instructive. Several videos have passed the 10,000 views line.

NEW! Created in 2009 the free youTube channel "ChessqueenTV" where she posts TV reports about her and about chess to attract sponsors to chess.

VERY NEW! Created in 2009 the new chess blog exclusively to promote Women's Chess in the World. Alexandra is a lead promoter for Women's Chess thanks to the fact she has been appointed co-chair of the FIDE Commission for Women's Chess (in 2009) and also Member of the FIDE Presidential Commission (appointment thanks to her being the current Women's World Champion since 2008). This blog has started with a bang with hundreds of visitors in the first days of activity.

NEW! Created in 2008 the new chess utility site where it is possible to copy and paste chess moves in pgn format to be able to see the game played on a chess board. Free. Used daily by hundred of people worldwide.

NEW! For the first time in history a World Chess Champion male or female, has created a DVD about becoming World Champion, with everything about the World Championship and all games deeply commented. The DVD has been exceptionally compiled, with a professionally made documentary movie, narrated all along by Alexandra herself, covering everything from the surroundings, the championship itself, video of the players and venue, and of course the opening and closing ceremonies, including the official coronation and speeches and a very special dancing scene at the end, Alexandra being dressed in a fabulous local costume. Apart from that, all 12 games played during the championship are on the DVD, very deeply commented by Alexandra herself. The games account for more than 3 hours of video, including more than 1 hour for only the 4 final games against China's prodigy Hou Yifan. Alexandra talks not only of the moves themselves, but also about her preparation, her emotions during the games and when she concluded the last game of this 3-week marathon. It is a very instructive video. The DVD has extra materials in the form of video on how she also won the Chess960 World Championship in Mainz in 2008 and the First Gold Medal at the Mind Sports Games in Beijing, China, by beating ex-world champion Antonaneta Stefanova. This is a historic DVD, no other World Chess Champion has ever compiled so much original and instructional video and audio material about his or her way to the title. Information about the DVD is here:

As a special gift to CJA members, Alexandra has decided to make as an absolutely free gift a copy of her DVD ($20 value) to any current member of the Chess Journalists of America who simply requests one by sending an email to with subject line "I'm a CJA member and I want my DVD". Include your mailing address and within a few days you will receive it at your home, totally free, for you to enjoy. Nothing to pay, not even shipping. This is how Alexandra says thanks to the CJA and all their members for the great work they do to promote chess in all kinds of media publications in the world. Note that to be eligible for the free DVD, membership to the CJA must be verified on the official CJA list as of 3-17-2009 as published on the CJA web site. DVD's can only be mailed to the address on record on the CJA database. If you're not a member of the Chess Journalists of America, become one! It's only $10 for USA members and $15 for foreign members. This offer is only valid until the election for CJA Journalist of the year 2009 is completed, latest August 1, 2009.

Last year Alexandra ran for this same award and came in second to Macauley Peterson, whom she congratulates wholeheartedly for his win. Alexandra recently was featured in one of Macauley's videos, see (quicktime) and here in flash: This year winning the Chess Journalist of the Year Award would provide Alexandra with recognition for what she is doing and what she has achieved, and will give her even more energy to continue to promote chess in America and in the World. As the winner of the award, she will also continue to promote high quality chess journalism as well as the CJA itself.

Dan Heisman

Dan Heisman

  • Ran charity chess tournament to raise money for women in need
  • Wrote Novice Nook column for Chess Cafe
  • Wrote Scholastic Chess Corner for Pennswoodpusher
  • Ask the Renaissance Man weekly chess program on Chess.FM
  • Helped broadcast play-by-play of Linares on Chess.FM
  • Wrote 9th chess book The Improving Chess Thinker (out late 2009)
  • Wrote 4th edition of book Elements of Positional Evaluation (out late 2009)
  • Helped publicize chess on The Howard Stern Show May 18, 2009
Mark Donlan
Mark Donlan
(photo by Tony Cortizas)

Mark Donlan

  1. Editor for 2001-Present. Responsible for editing and creating web based articles.
  2. Editor for Russell Enterprises 2001-Present. Responsible for editing and publication design. In the past year he has worked on projects such as Dvoretsky's Analytical Manual, by Mark Dvoretsky; Let's Play Chess by Bruce Pandolfini; as well as modern editions of Lasker's Manual of Chess and St. Petersburg 1909, by Emanuel Lasker; and New York 1924 and Nottingham 1936 by Alexander Alekhine.
  3. Editor for Chess Horizons, the magazine of the Massachusetts Chess Association (, since September 2000. Responsible for content and design.
  4. Editorial consultant for Lev Alburt’s Building Up Your Chess.
  5. Editorial consultant for Susan Polgar’s Chess in 24 Hours.
  6. Editorial consultant for Michael de la Maza’s Rapid Chess Improvement.
  7. Freelance proofreader for Thinkers’ Press, Inc. 1999-2001.
  8. United States Chess Federation Certified Chess Coach and Correspondence Candidate Master.
  9. Chess Instructor, teaching Middle and Elementary School students since 1997. Responsible for the development and implementation of curriculum.
  10. Chief Fund Advisor and Tournament Director for the Mark Hayden Fineman Memorial Chess Tournament, which awards annual grants of $1,900.00 and is administered by the Boston Foundation.
  11. Cape Cod Times Chess Columnist 1993-1997.
  12. Founder and editor of the Cape Chess League Letter, a bimonthly newsletter published 1993-2000.


This Page Last Updated on 7 June 2009

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