Anjelina Belakovskaia (born May 17, 1969) is a United States chess player who has achieved the FIDE Woman Grandmaster and International Master titles. She is a three-time U.S. Women's Chess Champion, with victories in 1995, 1996, and 1999.
Belakovskaia, a native of Odessa, Ukraine, won the Women's Championships of Soviet Union and Ukraine and graduated from the Odessa Agricultural University with a bachelor's degree in economics and accounting. In July 1991 she came to the U.S. to play in the World Open in Philadelphia. Flying into New York City with little money and knowing only a few words of English, her first job in the U.S. was slicing watermelons. She also won money from the chess hustlers at Washington Square Park, and she says that “Two, five and ten dollars per game” were the first English words she learned in the U.S. She won $35 the first day, but soon the hustlers would no longer play her as they had lost too much money.
Belakovskaia opened a chess school for children and learned more English. A bit role in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer" earned her enough money to pay an immigration lawyer for a green card. In 1993 she was awarded the FIDE Woman Grandmaster title (WGM). Belakovskaia won the New York Women's Chess Championship three times and played on the U.S. team in the Chess Olympiads in 1994, 1996, and 1998. In 1995 she won the first of her three US Women's Chess Championship titles, tying for first with Sharon Burtman. The next year she won the title outright, and in 1999 she became champion for the third time. Belakovskaia became a naturalized U.S. citizen on November 24, 1999.
In 2000, Anjelina Belakovskaia was Honored by Howard Golden - President of Brooklyn, City of New York - for superlative skills and outstanding achievement.
In addition to her chess career, Belakovskaia worked as a currency trader, and later in the stock market. She began graduate work at New York University in 1999, and in 2001 earned a Master's Degree in Mathematics in Finance (her Master's Project was "Basket Default Swap in the Emerging Markets") from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University.
Belakovskaia met her future husband Lawrence Bernstein at the Marshall Chess Club in 2000. Soon thereafter, she got a position as a weather derivatives trader at Williams Cos. in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In May 2001, Belakovskaia became the head of the Weather Derivatives desk at Williams EM&T (Energy, Marketing and Trading). There, she was recognized as “Best Female Employee” for her contribution to Company’s success.
After the Enron collapse and the sharp deterioration of energy industry in 2002, Belakovskaia returned to the New York / New Jersey area. Anjelina Belakovskaia and Lawrence Bernstein were married on board the Coral Princess in February 2003.
Now Belakovskaia lives with her husband and three children - Brian, Connor and Ariela - in the Catalina Foothills of Tucson, Arizona. She is currently teaching Risk Management and Derivatives classes at the Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona. Chosen to be an Honors Professor for the 2013-2014 academic year, Anjelina Belakovskaia is preparing a brand new "Chess, Leadership and Business Strategy" class for Honors Students. In addition, Belakovskaia runs Catalina Foothills Chess Academy, that she opened in the summer of 2010 at Mathnasium Catalina Foothills. This Spring, Anjelina Belakovskaia teamed up with the Flandrau Science Center and The University of Arizona, College of Science and Math Department, to organize 1st Annual Chess & Science Festival and All-Girls Tournament in Tucson, AZ - chessandsciencefestival.com... At the same time, as a Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Ad-hoc Committee on Financial Weather/Climate Risk Management, Belakovskaia actively participates in creation of centralized knowledge base and development of infrastructure to provide educational services on financial risk management of weather events. Also, known as 'Foothills Insider', Belakovskaia runs her own luxury real estate business in strategic alliance with Keller Williams Southern Arizona.