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8th round press conference
Wednesday, 05 May 2010
040510_yildiz-pc.jpgHaving succeeded in the 8th round of the tournament, Betul Yildiz, Lilit Mkrtchian and Nana Dzagnidze came to the press conference fairly elated. Two out of the three players had quite a good command of the Russian language, and Lilit’s Russian was just perfect. Nana, though, occasionally had to switch over to English. The first to speak was Yildiz:

- The Sicilian defense was used today, and after the opening I gained a good position with passed pawns on a3 and b2 squares and fine chances to win, - said Betul. - But at some point I made a rook exchange, I shouldn’t have done that. A pretty equal endgame ensued and ended with a draw.
Lilit Mkrtchian: - I had an extremely intense game today, and I must say I haven’t really recovered from the stress yet. I rarely use the Sicilian defence but it was this very opening that my coach and I decided I should employ this time. The game turned out very difficult. I made a mistake at some moment. I can’t tell you exactly when that happened. I haven’t quite figured it out yet, this must be analysed in detail. I only realized that my position had suddenly turned for the worse. Being under time pressure, though, both of us running out of time, I managed to complicate the game. That, apparently, my opponent wasn’t psychologically prepared for. Gradually my position improved, she made a series of bad moves, and so eventually I won.
Nana Dzagnidze: - This was the first time in my life I ever played Ragozin’s variant with the queen on c2. I’m not sure that moving it over to f5 was the right thing to do. I think she could have moved her rook to c5, and I would have problems with the queen. She made a mistake by playing 17…d4. Probably she didn’t notice that I could move my queen to h3 and then to h4. Under time pressure I had a better position – I had a bishop available and played on both flanks. Although my opponent offered a solid struggle, I played on and won in the end. I think it’s my best game at the tournament so far.

040510_mkrtchian-pc.jpg- Nana has just said that her today’s game is the best one she’s played at this tournament. What about the other girls, which of your games would seem the best for you?
Lilit Mkrtchian: - Frankly to say, I don’t know. There were too many mistakes in each game. I can’t say which one is the best. I hope my best game in Nalchik has yet to be played.
Nana Dzagnidze: - As for me, I think of my game today as the best just because my opponent played so well. She’s an eminent player, currently third in rating, and it was great to succeed in a game against her.

- Do you think that, with the introduction of Grand Prix, you have more chances to reach the champion’s title?
Lilit Mkrtchian: - No doubt about that. Everybody’s chances have greatly improved.
Nana Dzagnidze: - I think women’s Grand Prix is a good idea. There only used to be men’s Grands Prix in the past, women weren’t paid much attention to. Things have changed now.
Betul Yildiz: - This tournament is more valuable to me in a sense that I can improve my chess by playing against stronger opponents.

040510_pc.jpg- And now a traditional question: How do you evaluate the organization level of the tournament, the choice of the place. How were you affected by the act of terrorism that took place in Nalchik the other day?
Betul Yildiz: -This is my first visit to Nalchik and Russia in general. I like it here very much. As for terrorism, we’ve got that problem as well in my country. Besides, the security is good here. I think everything’s all right, as far as the organization is concerned.
Lilit Mkrtchian: - I actually was in Nalchik two years ago, taking part in the world championship, so this particular visit wasn’t a surprise. I liked it then, and I like it now. I played really well that first time, though. All in all, I left really impressed. I’m not playing quite as well now but the impressions I get are still as good. Sure, a terrible thing happened on Saturday. We were all shocked when we heard the news in the morning. I only hope God won’t let such things happen again.

Nana Dzagnidze: - It all depends on the way I play: if I play well, then I have the warmest memories of the place of the tournament. If not, I have no memories at all. But still it must be said that everything’s well-organized , and we feel that we’re taken good care of. And nature is simply fantastic! Especially the Blue Lakes. It reminds me of Georgia.
Betul Yildiz: - And it reminds me of Turkey: the wild nature, the culture and food.
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