The Indian player gave a press-conference after defeating Zhao Xue in the quarterfinal.

– Harika, congratulations with winning a very tough match and advancing to the next stage!

– Thank you very much! I advanced to the World Championship semifinal for the first time. Last year I lost in the quarterfinal, despite having better positions in both classical games (both were drawn). This time I also had a better position in the second game, but didn’t manage to win it. So I decided to win the tie-break at all costs.

– Was this your first tie-break at this championship?

– Yes, this was my first tie-break, but last year I played tie-breaks twice, so I already had some experience.

– How did you prepare yourself mentally for these games?

– This match with Zhao Xue was very difficult. Every day I prepared for 7 hours, sharpening my openings, and worked hard at the board. The second classical game was very hard for me. I used a new idea suggested by one of my coaches, and got a better position, but then the things started to go wrong. And when got lucky and escaped to a draw, all my friends in India were very happy for me, and gave me a lot of support. I am very glad for their help.

Last year I was in a similar situation, but lacked confidence during the tie-break and did not play my best. This time, however, I prepared better and was able to keep calm. I realized one must be strong to compete and win matches.

– Your grandmother always watches your games. What is her secret to keeping calm?

– I am happy for my grandmother to be here. Everybody was surprised when we arrived together, but this clearly was a very good decision: she takes care of everything, and I can focus on chess problems. I also want to make her happy with my results, so this brings extra motivation.

– Does she cook traditional Indian means for you? Or you prefer local cuisine here?

– Yes, she cooks for me, because during the long competitions I prefer to eat my usual meals. I spend a lot of energy, and restaurant food does not substitute for it.

I want to thank my friends, parents, trainer, grandmother and everyone who supports me. Right now I want to concentrate on my game and show my best, to make them happier.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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