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Olympiad impressions of GP players

IMG 2752 The Olympiad is over, another important event is under way. 
Life goes on but good memories stay forever…

The whole chess world is still under impressions of the recently ended World Chess Olympiad in Istanbul. This is a big and important event for all chess professionals, chess lovers and fans indeed. Many chess players still remember the hospitality of the Organizing committee of the Olympiad as well as the tense battles that they had at the chess boards.

Most of the participants of FIDE Women’s Grand Prix took part in Olympiad and shared with us their impressions after this big event.

IMG 2970Munguntuul Batkhuyag:
To my mind our team has shown a good result at the Olympiad. We finished 13th, though we were on 18th place according to the average before the Olympiad. So, this is good for us. The goal of our team was to win as higher place as possible. I am also happy about my personal result. I took the fourth place on board 1, making 7 out of 9.

IMG 3444Tatiana Kosintseva: Of course I am happy about the result of the Olympiad. Everything was changed during two matches, which turned out to be decisive for my team. Unexpectedly China made a draw in a match against Kazakhstan. In the last round we were expected to win 4-0 in order to win the Gold. That’s what we did actually. Our team used the chance that we had, but the Chinese players did not, they gained only 2,5 points which were not enough. Of course our team was very happy that we managed to do it. In general the Olympiad was very tough for us, we had three tough and important matches against China, the Ukraine and Poland. One could expect any result. After those matches our team collected all our strength and played the further matches against India, Armenia and Kazakhstan with full energy. I would also like to recall my game against Katya Lahno. It was very tough game. My position was undoubtedly winning. When we went out of time trouble I started to spend a lot of time to think over, became nervous. I started to make mistakes move after move, lost the victory not less than 15 times! It was one of the most difficult times during the Olympiad. My half a point was important for our match of course as we could have won it. The Olympiad is a very tense tournament in general, everyone is nervous and under pressure. This of course matters a lot. It is of course much easier to play in an individual tournament rather than in a team one in this respect. 
I remember that after this match, we experienced a big shock but managed to get ready for further important matches. We realized that we have nothing to lose; we just need to play and to show our best. Me personally, I had sort of breakthrough after my game against Lahno and that made me gather all my energy to use during the rest of the games.
Kubra Ozturk: I had some health problems during the Olympiad. It is not an excuse of course, but I could have played better. It was the first time I played on the first board and it was a new experience for me. One of the key games to my mind was against Anna Zozulya. I remembered this 50 moves rule of course but at one point I did not know if I made them already or not. I was not that sure if I can claim a draw already at one point and I did not want to give to my opponent these two minutes advantage in case if I’m wrong. We were under time pressure and it was not easy to make the decisions.

Ruan Lufei: I was not participating in the Olympiad. Unfortunately I did not have time to follow the games as well, for I was preparing my diploma paper. After that I started to prepare for my next tournament here. So, I followed just several games actually. Truly speaking I was almost sure that it would be easy for my team to win the Olympiad. But unfortunately they made some mistakes and they did not manage to win the Gold.

Monica Socko: I lost my last game and it was disappointing for me of course. But anyway I got 7 out of 10. I could have won a medal, but unfortunately Elina Danielian outplayed me and my team lost to Armenia in that match. We were playing good during whole event and we made a draw in the match against Russia which was so good result. We could have won that match actually. I had a winning position but could not lead it to a victory. Another boards had also good positions.. Later on we lost to China. So, it was not a good Olympiad for our team. The victory in the last round would bring us to the fifth place but instead we finished the tournament on 15th. But the conditions were good in general. During the free day we went around the city, we visited Grand Bazaar, it was a very nice experience.

Viktoria Cmilyte: well, truly speaking, my team did not have many chances for good places. We don’t have that many strong players in the team. Our team is very young and hopefully promising. Unfortunately we lost our last match. If we could have won it, perhaps we could have managed to be in top twenty or close to that. As a result, we ended something like 40. My individual result was not that bad. I gained 8 out of 10 and I did not lose any game, that was good.

Zhao Xue: Antoaneta, do you remember, we had already this situation in another Olympiad when China played the last match against Bulgaria? This time I saw the pairings and we were like oh, again Bulgaria in the last round! If we would have outplayed your team with higher result, we could have won the Olympiad. Your team has become stronger this tournament I think.

IMG 3015Antoaneta Stefanova: (smiling) It is us who should complain, this time we had a completely winning position in our match against your team. You should not blame us, it is not our fault that you did not win the Olympiad, sorry (laughing), It was a fault of Kazakhstan or some other team some rounds before.

Zhao Xue: But generally it is so pity for all my team that we lost our chances. Me personally, I played very badly. In my game against Russian and Ukrainian opponents I lost both times. If I could have drawn my game against Russian player, we could have won the match. It was for the first time, when I lose very important game during the Olympiad. So, I am very disappointed.
Antoaneta Stefanova: Actually we had good chances to get better place. Ok, we are not very strong team. But in Khanty-Mansiysk Olympiad for example we shared 3-8 place, in the European team championship we finished 6th. This time we did not play well but we had good chances in the last round. Of course we were not happy with the pairings. But we thought, ok, if we win this match, we will have a clear 5th place. It would have been our best performance since long time. But we lost in the end and we finished 16th. So, both teams, Bulgaria and China were really disappointed with the result, as a matter of fact.

IMG 3012Betul Yildiz: the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul was my best tournament ever in chess career. I played well to my mind, but after the Olympiad I was very tired. I am still very much tired. But it was good experience. Moreover I made my second IM norm. I participated in 2000 Istanbul Olympiad but I was young at that moment, I had learned chess only one year before, so it was like a fun for me. This time everything is absolutely different. I managed to make a norm, took a medal. This time I played on board 2 and it turned out to be lucky board – everyone wants to play on this board (laughing). But seriously speaking there is no difference to play on 1st or 2nd board. 

Humpy Koneru: I did not go to Istanbul, but I followed the games. It was quite exciting till the end, when Russia and China were fighting for the Gold. Of course it was a big disappointment that I could not play. I had some problems with my federation. I wanted to play but they wanted me to travel alone. They did not allow my dad to join me. In general the situation with my federation is not in my favor. I am just playing on my own, whatever tournaments are taking place. But I think it is quite normal. Every federation might have some problems with some players. I am not the only one. I hope that everything will be sorted out. But I am happy that my team did well, it was a good result after all.
Anna Muzychuk: Well, the Olympiad was not one of my best tournaments in my career (laughing). It was one of my worst results I think. Of course all other things matter, the organization was good but result always affects impressions when we speak about professional chess players.
Ju Wenjun: I was very lucky to be a part of our team. I did not play well, but the rest of the team is strong, so we had good chances but unfortunately didn’t win Gold.


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