Interview with Alexandra Kosteniuk
“We are all human, no robots.”
Anastasia Karlovich- What happened in the last match?
Alexandra Kosteniuk- In the second game with classic control I had a great position, but I almost managed to lose it. And in the rapid, I played unsuccessfully with white, and with black I stayed good, even won. I saw the winning option, but decided to play more solid, and eventually lost.
Karlovich- What is the reason that at the decisive moment the nerves do not stand the pressure?
Kosteniuk- It is difficult to say at once. Everything must be analyzed in a relaxed atmosphere. I do not think that immediately after the defeat the reasons that I will find for that would be fair. It is necessary to take some time, to analyze the games to come to some more or less correct conclusion. So I will work on my mistakes.
Karlovich- Who supported you during the tournament, did you have second with you?
Kosteniuk- I had supporters. Im`m grateful for people who helped me but I would not like to speak a lot about it. Any way It would be good to have the seconds at the tournament. When I became World Champion in Nalchik I didn`t have a second during the tournament.
Karlovich- This championship is dominated by Chinese players. What is the reason for that, in your opinion?
Kosteniuk- I think they work on chess in a correct way. In Russia, we all start to do some work just before the tournament, or during the tournament. And their work is organized correctly. They come here with coaches, each player with her own, and it happens not once, but at every important event. There are, of course, unsuccessful tournaments or successful, but in the end, I believe that properly organized work leads to positive results. Yes, here they play very well.
Karlovich- Do Chinese players have some benefits in psychological condition?
Kosteniuk- I read a lot that they do not have nerves, they play like machines. In fact, everyone is nervous. All of us, and Chinese or Indian players are not exceptional. We are all human, no robots. The question is how to cope with these emotions and nerves, make the tension not end up in a destruction of the position, but rather in mobilization of forces.
Being nervous is not the main thing. I still stress that, in my opinion, the main thing is how to organize the working process. To show a series of results - both in individual and team competitions, - the players should be cared of the whole year round. You can blame the nerves to say that they are so lucky - they win losing positions. But I always thought that the luck follows the strongest, or it comes to those that deserve it more at this moment. One must make conclusions, and if you want to achieve good results – work is the answer.
Karlovich- Who of the remaining players can win the event?
Kosteniuk- It is clear that Hou Yifan and Koneru are in a very good shape, but they meet in the semi-finals. Let's see, in fact, whatever is said about the knock-out championships, no such event has been ever won by someone who one could not initially name among the favourites. Of course, I'll be supporting my friend Elya Skripchenko. She plays for 9 days now without stop, catching all the tie-breaks. Her next opponent - Zhao Xue – had more chances to rest.
Karlovich- It is known that you're going to continue to be active in playing chess. All possible titles have already been won, where do you find the motivation to move forward?
Kosteniuk- It's a shame to leave. I tried to leave, because it is very difficult, reaching the top, losing stimulus, to continue playing and continue to fight through all those unpleasant moments that are always present in the career of a chess player. But I realized I want to continue playing. I gave it a thought, I have climbed very high, reached a fairly good level of play, put a lot of work in my chess, so why just drop everything? So yes, I will play for at least next two years. Although chess always requires sacrifice, in my case it is to spend less time with family...
Karlovich- Is there any particular goal for the next two years?
Kosteniuk- To play stronger. I lost rating recently, went below 2500 for the first time in many years. So for now I can take a goal to return to top-5 in the World. A couple of years ago, 2500 was top-5, now it is probably not even top 15. I will try to get to my level of playing in 2008, when I was in good shape and the results followed.