Elisabeth Paetz: Khanty-Mansiysk becomes a real chess capital of women’s chess

Elisabeth Paehtz is Germany’s strongest female player.
She was born on 8 January 1985 and learnt chess from her father Thomas, himself a Grandmaster, and became the youngest ever German women’s chess champion in 1999. Three years later she won the World Youth Championship (U-18) and became World Junior Champion (U-20) in 2005, gaining the IM title.
How is it going? What are your impressions?
- The first win is very pleasant of course. But the tournament is very long, and still we are on the very beginning. 15-games schedule is a little bit crazy for me, I wonder who did such schedule, but we shouldn’t complain now, we can make it only after the finish.
- Maybe you will manage win this tournament and there is no reason to complain at all?
-It’s not connected with my result. I think I’m quite lucky because I didn’t play Grand Prix before, but for those who played Grand Prix last week it will be very difficult.
- What can you say about the first game against Olga Girya? Was it very tough or not?
- The first game is always one of the most difficult, but I had a good position after the opening, somehow Olga sacrificed but in the strange way, therefore I got some advantage and managed to hold it till the end.
- How does it feel for you to play here in the Chess Academy in Khanty-Mansiysk?
- I was in Khanty-Mansiysk once in 2010 during the World Chess Olympiad. Honestly, I like Russia, but I don’t like using Russian airways, it was really a big challenge for me to reach the city. I was playing in Krasnoturinsk before and I thought that city is the center of women’s chess, but now I can see that Khanty-Mansiysk becomes a real chess capital of women’s chess of Russia, they have a lot of chess tournaments, good sponsors, and also the venues are very nice. I like Moscow or Saint-Petersburg much more as cities, but from the chess point of view Khanty-Mansiysk is on the top all over Russia!