Translated from Russian by Ilan Rubin.
Fresh from her victory in the Batumi Grand Prix tournament, following which she looks virtually certain to win the entire series, Valentina Gunina set off to discover Tbilisi.
Here too she met other female players – for lunch rather than to play chess. But not only.
Throughout her trip to Georgia Valentina was accompanied by her Mother – whose presence brings her luck.
Several kilometres from Tbilisi, near Georgia’s ancient capital city of Mtskheta, by the Jvari monastery. The scene shows the intersection of two rivers. Nearby (but not visible in the picture) the Georgian Military Road runs all the way to Vladikavkaz – or, depending on how you look at it, to Tbilisi.
But you aren’t reading this for geography lessons! Let us introduce you to two more great players away from the board: Bela Khotenashvili and Alexandra Vakhania.
How much did Ms Khotenashvili pay for that personalized number plate?
A Georgian lady chess player cutting meat to pieces – don’t expect any mercy!
Valentina is into fortune telling with coffee beans. In fact she read all our fortunes, but I can’t remember mine.
Mtskheta market, especially for tourists. Here we are choosing some souvenirs.
No mention of Putin here – Stalin is the local attraction.
A sudden May shower created an even prettier picture.
Valentina likes shooting. In fact, you had better watch out – she’s quite a hot shot!
Her eyes lit up the moment she saw the shooting gallery. Nana Dzagnidze and her husband Lasha are watching in the background.
The guest was given ten bullets – if nine hit the target then she gets to choose a prize.
Valentina scored 8 out of 10. That score in chess would be enough to win just about any tournament you can think of, but not in shooting. But Georgia would not be Georgia, and the shooting gallery manager could hardly claim to be a true Georgian, if the latter failed to provide our heroine with one more chance. So he pulled another bullet out of his pocket. Who knows, maybe he kept it there for the end of the world, and this lady that had made such an impression on him saved him from using it...
"If you hit the target we’ll call it 9 out of 10," he said.
Valentina shot the yellow boar as cold-bloodedly as when she finishes off her opponents in the fifth hour of her chess games. Another victory!
I bet that Valentina wouldn’t say no to children’s toys herself, but Nana has two children so she was granted the right to choose and keep the prize.