Aleksandra Goryachkina: “It is easier for me to play when my daddy’s around”

The youngest participant of the World Blitz Championship, one of the rising stars of Russian chess Aleksandra Goryachkina tells about her tournament progress.

– Aleksandra, you are just 15. How do you feel playing with much more experienced opponents?

– I am used to playing against more experienced opponents, as I do it for many years. By the age of 12 I won everything in junior chess and moved on to women’s chess.

– Are you on the same level with older players?

– I can’t say that. Everything depends on rating and experience. Of course I accumulate some knowledge, but my opponents at this championship know a lot more, so it’s quite hard for me.

– Are you friends with your opponents?

– Chess players are rarely on friendly terms, if they play on the same level. Junior trainers always say it, too. In junior chess I didn’t communicate with any of my rivals, and only when I surpassed them, we started building some relations. Chess is a very competitive sport, and I cannot understand how one can be friends with her rival.

– Are you comfortable in Khanty-Mansiysk? What can you say about the weather? Nobody expected snow in April!

– The tournaments in Khanty-Mansiysk are always well-organized, and I feel comfortable. I am from Salekhard, so I am not disturbed by the weather. Despite snow and wind I feel warm here.

– How did the first tournament go? Do you still have energy for the blitz?

– The first two days were disastrous, sometimes I lost three games in a row. On the last day I improved my score and finished at 50%, which is mediocre, but more or less okay. I still have energy for the blitz, I just need to make my moves quicker.

– Your father came to Khanty-Mansiysk with you. Is it important for you to have him here?

– He is of a great help! The first two days he lived in another hotel, and it was harder for me to choke up my losses without him, so I asked him to stay. When daddy is around, it is a lot easier for me to play. We discuss my mood and positions between the games. My daddy is a chess trainer in Salekhard.

– Do you need inspiration to play?

– No, I can do without it. I just come and know that I should play. I love chess, although it is almost my job now. I have no idea, what I would be doing without chess. If there was no chess in my life, it would be empty, and I have no idea how to fill the void.

– What will you do after the championship?

– I’ll go home and study for the school. I am in 9th grade how, but have almost no time to study. The teachers understand my situation, but every year it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up with other students. I don’t look any further and didn’t make any plans. However, I would like to compete for the World Champion title in the knockout tournament later this year.