Saturday, November 17, 2012

Interview with Socko and Hou Yifan

Official website:

Monika Socko and Hou Yifan visited the press-center and answered the questions about their match.

– Monika, tell us please about the course of the games you won today.

– I am very happy to defeat the World Champion, but I didn’t think about such possibility during the first game. My position was slightly worse, and after I played 28…d5, we reached the ending with bishop versus knight. Here I recalled the game Vallejo-Carlsen, they had a somewhat similar structure: Black sacrificed the bishop on f3, and the h-pawn advanced. I employed this plan and won. In the second game I played for a draw. After the game I was told that I could won quicker by 30.Nxe6 and then 31.Qe5+. I actually felt the win is near after playing 29.Nf4, perhaps I should have taken more time at that point, as I had five minutes left. I missed this line, the struggle continued, but I still managed to win it.

– Hou, the beginning of the match was very promising for you – you won the first game with Black pieces. What went wrong after that?

– Maybe my cold is the reason. I started to blunder in the second classical game. This climate does not suit me very well, and it probably affected the outcome.

– In the second classical game you were content with a draw, but you still wanted to play for a win. Could this uncertainty affect your performance? 

– I played as usual, but it just didn’t work out. Sometimes it happens when you are not feeling well.

– Monika, you were in a similar situation during the tie-break. Your pawn sacrifice 20.d6 – did you play for a win or for a draw?

– First of all I wanted to play a good and interesting game. After my opponent played 20…Nxd6, I realized that she has a dangerous plan – g5, f5, Kh8 and g4. I didn’t want to allow any counterplay, and I needed the initiative in this game, so I tried to seize the d5-square.

– Hou, you play the main Sicilian so well, and your theoretical knowledge is excellent. Why did you chose to play sidelines in this match?

– I cannot really answer this question, I have no idea myself. Sometimes I go for sidelines, but there is nothing wrong with them, they also lead to playable positions. I lost because I blundered a lot.

– Monika, Russian is a very difficult language, how did you learn to speak it so well?

– At the chess tournaments, of course! I have many friends here, including Anna Zatonskih. I am rooting for her so much right now! (Anna Zatonskih also played a tie-break, but lost to Ju Wenjun and was eliminated from the championship – editor’s note.)

– As far as we know, everyone in your family plays chess. Could you tell a little about it? 

– My husband Bartosz is also a chess player, he is one of the best grandmasters in Poland. We have three children, and they all play chess. Our elder daughter is 12 now, she tied for 10-13th places in the national championship. My father also plays chess, and he was my first chess teacher.

– Hou, you don’t seem to be fascinated about the local climate. At the opening ceremony Kirsan Ilyumzhinov said that Khanty-Mansiysk is a chess capital, and will host many major tournaments, including women’s championships. Will you come here again?

– Frankly speaking, I got used to playing in better climatic conditions. Unfortunately I feel uncomfortable when it’s freezing, plus I have a cold, which influences my play. However, I think I would feel better here in a different season.

– How often emotions overtake logic in women’s chess?

Hou Yifan: Women are indeed more emotional, and sometimes we prefer emotions to logic when making decisions.

Monika: I agree with Hou Yifan, but it really depends on a tournament. In this championship I managed to defeat Almira Skripchenko, and after that match didn’t feel any tension. Today I didn’t have better positions, but I had a psychological advantage. One has to be prepared to cope with emotions.


Anonymous said...

Hou Yifan must be sick.

Anonymous said...

Yes, she suffered from severe flu. During her match with Soko, in game 1, she played like computer analysis. In game 2 and 2 tie-breaks, she missed many simple moves. She also caught flu in her previous 2 visits here.

Anonymous said...

She looks sick -drawn and tired looking. She did say she got cold. May be next year.

Anonymous said...

She looks sick. She did say she caught a cold and she look drawn and tired. Better luck next year.