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4 Apr, 2009 06:45

It’s in the way she moves

A Russian prodigy is making the right moves in the world of chess. Alina Kashlinskaya, 15, from Moscow is Europe's youngest Woman Grandmaster, and is ranked as world number two in her age group.

Despite being the youngest at Russia’s premier chess tournament, Alina can hold her own in the sweaty and tense atmosphere. Regardless of whether she wins or loses at the event, she will likely remain undaunted in her chess ambitions.

Back at home, Alina leads an average teenage life, with the exception that every day after school she spends many hours playing, analyzing and studying various chess formations.

Alina may appear shy, but a natural assurance cuts through, particularly when she talks about her passion.

“I can play chess for ever and ever, I can create. No two games are the same, and I can always find something new,” Alina confessed.

Finding and paying for coaches and sparring partners, as well as traveling to tournaments, has cost Alina's parents thousands of dollars, and a large chunk of their lives.

In the chess world, the common stereotype is pushy parents driving their children to success at such a young age. However, the prodigy’s parents reveal that their situation is not the case at all:

“We've met a lot of parents who go as far as hitting their children when they lose. But we are not like that. We support her when things aren't going well, and celebrate with her when they are. And she knows this,” father Anatoliy Kashlinskiy explained.

Alina concurred, saying that playing chess has been her choice alone:

“My parents have never made me do anything. It's always been my decision.”

Alina has been touted as a prodigy since she was nine. At every tournament all eyes are on her, but lodged outside the top 100 female chess players she still has a long way to go.

“We are hoping that things will turn out as planned, but we don't think that even if she doesn't hit the heights life has been a failure. Because in any case, chess has made her the person she is,” Anatoliy said.