The Georgian Women’s Team has always been a force to be reckoned with, and in recent years GM Bela Khotenashvili has been pivotal to their success. Born in Telavi, Georgia (USSR) in 1988, Bela first garnered attention by winning the World Youth Girl’s U16 division in 2004. She won the Maia Chiburdanidze Cup in 2009, a prestigious event named after one of the country’s sporting heroes and former Women’s World Champion. A regular participant in the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix series, Khotenashvili took clear first in the 2013 Geneva event with a score of 8/11, claiming her 3rd GM norm in the process. She’s also a two-time Georgian Women’s Champion, winning the event in 2012 and 2017.
As mentioned, Bela has been instrumental to the Georgian Women’s team since making her debut in the European Team Championships in 2009, where the team got silver medal. They got two bronze medals soon thereafter, in the 2010 Olympiad and the 2011 World Team. The biggest event for the team and for Khotenashvili, however, was Chengdu World Team Championships in 2015. Bela took home two gold medals, both for the team and for her board one performance. She’s also won two golds and a silver alongside Dzagnidze with the Batumi chess club “Nona” in the Women’s European Chess Club Cup. The Georgian Grandmaster will be a dangerous opponent for anyone in the Cairns Cup.