Person of day - 28 SEPTEMBER 2023
Nino Khurtsidze made a name for herself in Soviet chess at the age of 13, when she qualified for the 1989 Premier League of the women’s Soviet championship. Nino’s successes in juniors’ tournaments were even greater: the woman from Tbilisi won the European U20championship and the world U16 championship, as well as two world U20 championships. The talented young player was helped by Egudzha Phakadze, her uncle who had trained her since she was 7. Soon after, she began to be trained by a respected mentor called Georgy Kacheishvili.
In 1993, Nino won the Georgian zonal tournament, overtaking multiple worthy adversaries. Khurtsidze became a grandmaster at the inter-zonal tournament in Jakarta. In 1995, at another inter-zonal tournament, the Georgian chess player finished only half a point behind those who became candidates. A year later, she came second at a super tournament in Vrnjačka Banja, behind Maia Chiburdanidze.
Despite all her achievements, Nino made her debut for the Georgian national team only in 1997- such was the level of competition. She played in the world men’s team championship, where the Georgians were invited to play as the strongest women’s team. Later on, she won silver and bronze at Olympiads, bronze at the world team championship and a bronze and two silvers at the European team championship. At the 2000 Olympiad, she won 11 points out of 13 and became the most efficient player in the tournament. On a more general level, the Georgian grandmaster often excelled at her board in team tournaments.
Khurtsidze was even more successful at club tournaments: she won multiple Georgian and Yugoslav team competitions and won gold medals at the European Cup with Merani (Georgia), Agrouniversal (Yugoslavia) and Miki (Armenia).
In 1998, Nino Khutsidze won the world junior championship for players under 26, defeating her eternal friend and competitor Ekaterina Kovalevskaya at the finish line. A year later, Nino became an international master among men and won another zonal tournament.
She played at the 2000 and 2002 World Cups and the 2001 knockout world championship, where she lost in the quarter-final to Zhu Chen, who would go on to win the tournament. In 2006, Nino beat Hou Yifan 2:0, but lost to Alisa Galliamova later on. In 2008, Khurtsidze was considered one of the favourites for the world championship in Nalchik, but she could not play due to an escalation of tensions between Russia and Georgia.
The six-time winner of the Georgian women’s championship and winner of the Georgian Men’s Cup passed away on 22ndApril 2018 after a long illness.