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4th round press conference
Friday, 30 April 2010
The cascade of victories in the 4th round of women’s Grand Prix in Nalchik has given the journalists an opportunity to talk to three triumphant chess players at one stroke. The first to share impressions of her confrontation with Zhao Xue was Lilit Mkrtchian.

- Today the game was interesting from the very start, - the Armenian player said. – In the opening I chose the option of giving up a pawn to gain initiative and take control of the center. I think this step came as a total surprise for my opponent, she took a long time thinking. The position was very complicated – lots of options on both sides. We both considered for a long time, and I couldn’t find the optimal variant. Then the position on the board equalized again but it seems fatigue finally told on my opponent when time trouble came, and she made a blunder.

Nana Dzagnidze: - I guess I was well-prepared for the opening. I think I played right. After I moved my knight to b5 instead of a4, the position became unclear. My opponent played well for some time but, having a time trouble, made a mistake by going 32…Rd1 instead of 32…Rd7 which left me with a spare pawn and a technically won position.

Hou Yifan: -The position after the opening was unclear, and I guess I had a certain advantage. During the time trouble my opponent made a big mistake by going 24.e4, and I won a piece.

- How do you usually prepare for a game? Any special ritual?
 Hou Yifan: - Over here I don’t spend too much time getting prepared for games. Mostly I just walk and breathe the fresh air which is simply fantastic here.

290410_pc-web.jpgDzagnidze: - I need to sleep a little before rounds, at least for 10-15 minutes.

Šœkrtchian: - I don’t like long preparations either. The most important thing is a clear mind. I have a little bit of theory before each game and then I walk and relax like Yifan. I love it here, this is a great place. Reminds me of our Jermuk where the next leg of Grand Prix is going to be held, by the way.

- Lilit, did you really study along with Levon Aronian, the Nalchik Grand Prix winner?
- Yes, I did. We were on the same course. Levon, as a gifted player, studied on a free schedule but studied really well.

- Do you think Levon will ever be the world champion?

- All the Armenians hope he will!
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