The 29th of December 2011, after finishing a long series of tournaments, I called my Coach Yuri Razuvaev. The last years I would always call him after tournaments and hear his opinion on how I had done. I had no idea that it would be our last conversation. Having just finished the European Championship, on March 19, I wanted to call him as soon as I returned home. But on arrival, I found out that he was no longer with us…
When someone you care about and respect passes away, it’s hard to find the right words to explain your sorrow. You have emptiness and pain in your heart, knowing that you won’t be able to meet someone so dear to you. Each meeting with Yuri Sergeevich, each lesson with him were a special moment for me. I believe I have been blessed to have been able to meet in my life such a Person as Yuri Sergeevich Razuvaev.
You will always be remembered, Yuri Sergeevich!
Below you can find some photos of us together, at tournaments and at training sessions.
Here is also some text from my book “Diary of a Chess Queen”, which is the story of my life up to getting the title of 12th women’s world chess champion:
I had my first training sessions with Yuri Razuvaev after the Calvià Olympiad. We dedicated those sessions to the Ruy López – the opening which, four years later, would help me to become World Champion. In these meetings, Yuri Sergeyevich recommended that I try to solve chess studies blindfold. Since then, you will rarely find me without a study collection in hand. Since 2004, I have solved more than a thousand studies, and have become a great fan of chess composition. I particularly like the miniatures – treasures created on the board with a minimal number of pieces. And also, once I started the practice of regular study-solving, all those breaks, waiting periods, flights and train trips no longer made me nervous: all I had to do was to open up my book and spend a few hours immersed in problem-solving.
Returning from the World Championship in Elista, on the plane to Moscow I fell into conversation with grandmaster Yuri Razuvaev. Right away, he asked if I planned to continue playing chess, and to work at it. Because it had been three years since the 2001 World Championship, and my results – and more importantly, my playing strength – had not changed significantly since then.
Here I must note that I had already known Yuri Sergeyevich for a long time. In 1992 and 1993, I had attended some sessions at Razuvaev’s school, where I had enjoyed the lectures given by Yuri Sergeyevich and other grandmasters. I also spent time with the other kids my age, and played soccer and other sports. Yuri had long worked and spent time with Mikhail Botvinnik, the patriarch of the Soviet chess school. Thus, the work in Yuri Sergeyevich’s school was set up along the same lines as Botvinnik’s. In the difficult years of the ’90s, unfortunately, the Razuvaev School could not survive for long. It was one of the last of the great chess schools that did so much to help young players grow, and formed an important link in the chain, handing down experience. It was just this link in the chain that we lost for a while in the early ’Nineties, and the Russian juniors’ current results in junior championships are ample testimony to this.
In July 2004, Yuri and I reached an agreement to work together; after the Calvià 2004 Olympiad, we held our first sessions. These exercises were unquestionably priceless to me, not only because of the chess wisdom that I received but also thanks to Razuvaev’s advice; in addition, Yuri convinced me that there was nothing to prevent me from reaching a high level and competing successfully in men’s tournaments. These words, from a chess specialist I respected so highly, helped to prevent me from cutting short my chess career (and I admit that such thoughts had already begun to appear) and to decide instead to keep working toward making myself a better player.
(quotes taken from Diary of a Chess Queen, by Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2009)