The American player tells about her victory over Pia Cramling.
– Irina, our congratulations with your victory! A few words about the match, please.
– Thank you. It started quite badly for me as I lost the first game. The game was very sharp, and I correctly felt that my position was alright, but failed to find the correct defense and lost almost without a fight.
– According to the computer, it was a one-move blunder?
– Yes, a single move turned equal position into a completely hopeless one. A lot of calculation was required, and I didn’t do my job well. Sometimes you select an inferior move and lose immediately.
– How tough it was to continue the match as if nothing happened?
– On the one hand it is easy, because all the bridges are burnt, and you just have to show your best. And your opponent is often uncomfortable with the situation. During the breakfast Emil Sutovsky told me that winning on demand is doable, because making a draw on demand is even harder. On the other hand, losing the first game is a big handicap, and not everything is depending on you.
– You strategy was to avoid early conflicts and play a maneuvering game, right?
– Yes, everybody says this is the right way to play – avoid forced lines, exert pressure and be prepared for a very long game. Just like in the perfect example – the 24th game of Kasparov-Karpov match in Seville, where Kasparov started the game with 1.c4. The resulting positions seemed to suit Karpov’s style, but Kasparov managed to outplay him in a very long game.
– What was the objective evaluation of your endgame?
– To be honest, when we traded rooks I thought I have great winning chances. It turned out the opponent could make a draw playing with computer precision, as I was told later. I kept creating problems, Pia defended very well, but on 57th move made the final mistake with just three seconds left on the clock: 57…f5. After this move Black is lost.
– Was this tie-break less exhaustive than the previous one?
– Yes, thank God! Each tie-break is a very tough test. You have to fight for you tournament life, and everything is decided here and now, there is no tomorrow to mount a comeback. And when tie-break runs smoothly for you, it just makes you so happy.
– Is this your biggest success in the World Championships?
– Strangely, yes, Three times I played in the World Championships and each time was knocked out in the second round. So I am happy to advance and actually want to stay. I like it here.
– For how long do you want to stay? Permanently?
– At least until December (laughs)!
– Irina, who helps you and supports you during the tournament?
– I have many supporters – my family, my friends. When I return to the hotel, I receive many emails from friends. And I am very grateful for their support.
– Thank you, and please stay here as long as possible.
– Thank you.
Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar