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Keti To Represent Scotland

January 21, 2008

Chess Scotland is delighted to announce the confirmation from FIDE of the decision by Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, or simply Keti, to change federations from Georgia to Scotland with immediate effect. She is eligible to represent Scotland later this year at the world's top team tournament, the Chess Olympiad. Her first individual tournament under the Scottish flag will be the Gibraltar Masters, which starts on 22 January 2008 .

Individual success

One of the World's top female players since she won the Women's World Junior Championship in Dobrna 1985, Keti is a former Candidate for the Women's World Championship and she won the Interzonals in Jakarta 1993 and Kishinev 1995 before the Championship changed to the current knock-out format. In 2001 she tied for first at the European Women's Individual Championship in Warsaw taking bronze on tie-break. Successes in the UK include the Scottish Championship at Edinburgh 2003 and 4 consecutive British Women's Championships up to 2007. In 2006 she came close to becoming the first woman player to win the full British title, finishing in clear second place ahead of a group of strong English GMs and only half a point behind the winner, Scotland 's Jonathan Rowson.

Currently rated 2457 puts Keti in the top 20 females in Europe and top 30 in the world. She holds the Women Grand Master (WGM) and full International Master (IM) titles and currently has two Grandmaster norms, achieved in the London Foxtrot 1996 Women v Veterans match and the Calvia, Majorca 2007 tournament.

Feared for her aggressive style, her countless individual GM scalps include legends such as former world champion Vasily Smyslov (3 times), Candidates Portisch, Geller, Taimanov, Gligoric, Ivkov and Hort as well as the current crop of top GMs Sutovsky, Nakamura, Gagunashvili and Mamedov.

Team medals

In team chess she has successfully represented the USSR , Georgia and the UK , winning medals on numerous occasions. In 1990 she won individual gold with a perfect 12/12 for the USSR at the Novi Sad Olympiad. For Georgia she went on to win team gold in the European Championship Pula 1997 as well as two team golds and one individual gold in later Olympiads (Moscow 1994 and Yerevan 1996). In the UK versus China match in Liverpool , September 2007, she made the British team's best score with 4/6.

Chess Scotland response

President Donald Wilson welcomed Keti's decision to switch to Scotland saying "This is excellent news. I welcome it wholeheartedly, as, I am sure, does every chess player in Scotland . Keti will boost the strength of our international team immediately. In the longer term I hope her commitment to Scotland will inspire more girls and women to play chess competitively ."

Scottish squad strengthened for Olympiad

This move considerably strengthens Scotland 's potential squad for the Olympiad, to be held in Dresden , Germany from 12 to 25 November 2008 . Current British Champion GM Jacob Aagaard chairs the Chess Scotland International Selection Committee. He said "The addition of Keti to the Scottish Team is great on many levels. For the Scottish girls who currently lead the grading lists in front of the boys, for the chess fans in Scotland who appreciate Keti and have always done so, for the national team, which will become better and for me personally, who will have the chance to play in the same team as this wonderful human being."

3-time British Champion GM Jonathan Rowson said "Keti's decision to represent Scotland is great news. I have known Keti since playing her shortly after her arrival in Scotland , and her warm and likeable demeanour is good camouflage for a classical and dangerous opponent who does not need to be encouraged to attack. Her participation in our Olympiad team could transform Scotland into a team without weak links that can punch above its weight internationally, with the playing strength to compete with major competitors, including England !"

Keti has lived in Edinburgh since 1996 when she married Scottish international Jonathan Grant. On a local level she plays for the Edinburgh West chess club and regularly trains a number of Scotland 's top juniors. She said " This feels like the right time for me to represent Scotland . The players have made me feel very welcome. I'm greatly looking forward to becoming part of the team, especially in an Olympiad year. "


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