Chess: Love me for my moves on the board, says chess queen

The Times (London)
June 10, 2006, Saturday

Love me for my moves on the board, says chess queen

by Raymond Keene and Rajeev Syal

Before this week Arianne Caoili was a beautiful but little-known
competitor on the international chess circuit. That all changed when
The Times broke the story of how a British grandmaster attacked the
Armenian World No 3 when he was dancing with her in an Italian
nightclub during a tournament.

Now, in her first interview since the incident on the dancefloor of
Hiroshima Mon Amour in Turin, Ms Caoili, 19, is keen to address a few
misconceptions. Despite being described around the world as the
“Kournikova of Chess”, she said: “I want to be known as the Sharapova
of chess, rather than the Kournikova -known for both my brains and

She loves the game because it is “fighting for the mere pleasure of
fighting”, adding: “There is nothing like arguing for the mere
pleasure of arguing. It is my weakness to sometimes start a random
friction between myself and another to test reactions, psyche, get
amused, or simply to relax.”

Ms Caoili started playing aged 5 and took up chess seriously when she
went to live in the Philippines, her father’s home. At 14, when she
stopped playing to concentrate on schoolwork, she was an
international master who had competed in Europe, Canada and the
United States.

She recently took up the game again and now hopes to study law and
international relations at Oxford University or in Germany. But her
desire to be taken seriously has not stopped her throwing herself
into modelling and taking up singing. “I am currently recording songs
for my first album,” she said. “And I am looking for a recording

Ms Caoili’s website lists her personal interests as, among other
things, “philosophy”, “getting up to no good” and “fine food (and
fine boys)”.

It was apparently a fondness for Latin dancing that started the
trouble during the Chess Olympiad in Turin last week. Ms Caoili
claims that she told Danny Gormally, the England No 10, that she
wanted to be “just friends”. Later that evening, she began doing the
salsa with Levon Aronian, Armenia’s star player, when there was a
commotion. “Suddenly there was a scrum and Lev was on the floor,” she

“Fortunately Lev was not badly hurt. Danny might have punched the
wrong chess player, since I was supposed to be with the young German
grandmaster Naiditsch that evening. He was my official escort,” she

She believes that Mr Gormally, 30, whom she has known for years, may
have been drinking.The next morning the England team captain
apologised to the leader of the Armenian delegation, who is also the
country’s Defence Minister. Mr Aronian enjoys star status at home,
where chess is a national obsession, similar to David Beckham in
England. He also accepted the apology.

However, when Mr Gormally went out for coffee, he was apparently
attacked by Armenian chess players bent on revenge. He returned home
before the tournament’s end.

Friends of Mr Gormally said that he had developed an e-mail
relationship with Ms Caoili. On her website is a message from a
Daniel Gormally quoting the Stevie Wonder song My Cherie Amour. It
says: “mycherieamour, lovely as a summers day, mycherie amour,
distant as the milky way…oh sh** where was i? lol. for my good
friend ari may the sun always guide her to her destination.”

Ms Caoili declined to say whether she was in a relationship with Mr

However, her mother, Annette Caoili, told an Australian newspaper
that they were romantically involved.

Mr Gormally declined to return calls or requests for an interview.


This is Arianne Caoili’s favourite chess win from the Turin Olympiad
last month.

She wins the Round 4 game against a strong rival.

White: Chelushkina, a former Soviet champion

Black: Caoili, Australia

Kings Indian attack opening Lasker defence

1 g3 Nf6
2 Bg2 d5
3 Nf3 Bf5
4 d3 h6
5 Nbd2 e6
6 0-0 Be7
7 Qe1 0-0
8 e4 Bh7
9 Qe2 c5
10 e5 Nfd7
11 Re1 Nc6
12 a3 Qc7
13 h4 b5
14 Nf1 Rab8
15 Bf4 b4
16 axb4 Nxb4
17 b3 c4
18 bxc4 dxc4
19 Rec1 Nb6
20 Ne3 cxd3
21 cxd3 Qd7
22 d4 Rfc8
23 h5 Na4
24 d5 Rxc1+
25 Rxc1 Nd3
26 Rc4 Rb2
27 Nd2 Bb4
28 Nd1 Nxf4
29 Rxf4 Nc3
30 Qg4 Bf5
31 Rxf5 exf5
32 e6 fxe6
33 Qg6 Rxd2
34 Nxc3 Bxc3
35 dxe6 Qe7
36 Qxf5 Qf6
37 e7 Qxf5
38 e8=Q+ Qf8
39 Qe6+ Kh8
40 Kh2 Rxf2
41 Qe3 Bb4
42 Qxa7 Bc5
43 Qb7 Rf5
44 g4 Qd6+
White resigns game

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