“You should be ready to spend many sleepless nights.”
Anastasiya Karlovich: What do you think about your current situation in the tournament? And what do you think about Grand Prix in general?
Martha Fierro: Well, for the moment I have a normal situation in the tournament. I lost 2 games, so before I stood much better but actually I still feel I have energy and I am in a good mood. I was showing different results in the previous tournaments of Grand Prix. I scored well in the first one and then I played badly in Jermuk. I was playing good in Nanjin - I was always getting good positions but somehow I was losing them in 1-2 moves. I was becoming completely blind there. I think it was a great idea of FIDE to arrange this Grand Prix. First of all they give women a chance to be professionals. Women have some strong tournaments now; they get some prizes and also a chance to play with the world champion. The conditions are very good in all those tournaments and it’s very motivating for women to work on chess (continue studying and preparing) and try to keep their rating high or increase it looking forward to participation in Grand Prix.
A.K.: We know you not only as a chess player but also as an organizer and as a secretary of the Commission for women’s chess. What are your other activities? And how can you combine all of them? M.F.: First of all I love chess and not only playing, I also do a lot of couching – I teach some top Italian women players and little Italian girls. I also work in women’s commission as you’ve mentioned before and I try to improve conditions for women in chess all around the World. I`m also part of Accademia Internazionale di scacchi together with Roberto Mogranzini and other people. We are collaborating with almost all the tournaments in Italy. We have an experience how to organize chess tournaments so we help in many things such as inviting players, working with media and others. We are also the main organizers of some events in Italy, for example we are going to organize a nice tournament in mountains Forni di Sopra on 12-18 of June with a free stage with GM and IMs for all the participants. To be honest these activities take a lot of time and if you organize a tournament you should be ready to spend many sleepless nights. But when I participate in one of such tournaments as Grand Prix I’m trying to be completely out of all other activities. Even my students know it’s not a good idea to bother me during such events.
A.K.: What is easier for you: to play with men or women? Is there any difference?
M.F.: To be honest when I play against women it differs from playing against men. When playing against women I have a feeling that they want to beat me and as a reaction I also want to beat them. But I don’t feel the same aggressiveness when I play against men. Even the statistics of women’s tournaments show that there are less draws comparing to men’s events. I must say I feel more stressed when I play in women’s tournaments because it’s like they really go after you (smiles). I play more relaxed with men. The only thing which bothers me and makes me feel uncomfortable is when I play against little kids. I think sometimes: how can this little boy beat me? They do because they even have better rating sometimes!
A.K.: There is a research that shows that men play more aggressively against more attractive women. Have you ever felt that?
M.F.: Very interesting statistic but men seem to play contrary with me, they do not seem to try crushing me but trying to make a draw! I never felt it but maybe because I’ve never thought about it. I’m going to check my games again and find out who played more aggressive and therefore thought that I was attractive (smiles)!
A.K.: What do you do besides chess? How do you relax after the games?
M.F.: I like reading and I always bring books with me. I like to watch movies but it`s better for me not to watch horror movies. Once during the tournament I watched a horror movie and I could not sleep the whole night, I had to open the light in my room. I like to watch TV because it makes me relaxed after the game and I’m happy there is an Italian channel here. I also like to go to spa. The first days I was used to go running and visiting spa after but only spa remains now. I think I have to start running again because it also relaxes me after the game and I sleep well after.
A.K.: Who supports you during the tournament? What inspires you to play better, to have a motivation?
M.F.:I have some people who prepare me and help me. My boyfriend is an international master and he helps me with preparation sometimes. I also study chess with GM Oleg Korneev and he gives me a lot of confidence and always finds some correct words to make me feel that I can beat everybody. During my previous Grand Prix I was sending some information to Ecuador and many newspapers were publishing it. So I was getting many emails with supporting wishes from people I’ve never met before. Many people support me and follow my results and write me some wishes. Federation of Ecuador publishes my results as well.This support is very important. But I’m trying not to pay an attention to that during the tournament because I’m getting over motivated; I get too much responsibility. I’m not a favorite of this tournament, so I have to play my best chess only. But in general this support inspires me and I’ll read everything after the tournament!
A.K.: Do you pay any attention to what people think about your games?
M.F.: I feel bad when I lose like a beginner: if I’m completely crushed in the opening for example. I have pupils and when I play I have to show them some level of chess. If I lose such a game as with Maia Chiburdnidze I don’t feel upset. I’m not getting upset when I lose in general, only if I lose very stupidly. It can make me really stressed. I don’t care so much what people think about my games, the most important for me is to feel that I played ok.