The only Mongolian player of the 5th FIDE Women Grand Prix, International Master Batkhuyag Munguntuul gave an interview to press-center of the tournament.
Munguntuul: I began to play in my childhood; my father taught me, my sister and brother. When I was 15, I became International Master and last year I grew up to International Master in men’s category.
Q: You had been living in Russia for many years. How did it come?
Munguntuul: In 2000 my father went to work in an international institute in Moscow and our family moved there. I finished from secondary school and began to study in Russian State Social University, which graduated this year and returned home.
Q: Which profession did you obtain in RSSU?
Munguntuul: Social work, training and pedagogics.
Q: Whom do you work with?
Munguntuul: In Moscow I trained with IM Vladimir Vulfson, and before the stage of Grand Prix GM Yury Yakovich came here to help me.
Q: What do you like to do beside chess?
Munguntuul: I like to read books, play table tennis, take long walks, I run sometimes. I tried to do fitness but it did not work out.
Q: What kind of books do you read?
Munguntuul: Various. During this tournament I am reading Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables”. I like detective stories. I like three volume novel Ants, and also Empire of Angels of French writer Berner. I also prefer science fiction.
Q: Do you visit cinemas and theaters?
Munguntuul: Sometimes I go to cinema but haven’t been to theaters for a long period, for about last 2 years. I came back to Mongolia recently and now I feel like I am on vacation and anyway I will go back to Moscow soon.
Q: Comparing to Moscow, Ulaanbaatar is a small city. What style of life do you prefer - big metropolis or small town life?
Munguntuul: I would say I rather like small town life. There is no need to travel far. But last 2 years I lived in Moscow and I would not say life there was difficult. I was never in hurry neither in Moscow nor in Mongolia.
Q: Do you have many chess friends?
Munguntuul: Most of my friends are not chess players. Here and in Moscow, Mongols and Russians, school and university friends.
Q: Do you like shopping?
Munguntuul: Not so much. Of course, when I walk I go to shops.
Q: How do you spend your money?
Munguntuul: When I lived in Moscow, I did not even know where the money was going. Moscow is an expensive city, so I spent money mostly for food and outings with my friends and shops of course.
Q: What chess schools or styles do you prefer? You have mentioned Smyslov during a press conference…
Munguntuul: I studied games of Smyslov. Also I like style of Judith Polgar and Garry Kasparov.
Q: Do you remember your first prize?
Munguntuul: Yes, it was national championship and I took the second place. I was 6 then and it was my first tournament. I was small and shy, so father accompanied me when I went on stage.
Q: What do you want to achieve in chess?
Munguntuul: Right now I try to become stronger. I want to become Grandmaster in men’s category.
Q: What motivation do you have in chess? Women rarely agree to draw - what drives you when you play till the end?
Munguntuul: Never thought of giving up. Even when there is no chance for a win I try to prevail.
Q: What do you prefer: training or playing?
Munguntuul: To play. I study every day and sometimes it is boring.
Q: How do you feel, when you are playing at your homeland? There is a proverb “At home even walls help”…
Munguntuul: I just try to concentrate on my play and think of nothing else. Of course it is pleasant that fans support me, but on the other hand it does distract me; I try to play better and sometimes commit mistakes. So far I am not playing well and with so many people rooting for me I feel responsibility which is also a burden. Maybe in another place I would have played better.
Here I would like to express my gratitude to my main sponsor – Monnis company, which have paid for my training session. I also signed a sponsorship contract for one year with Oyu Tolgoi company and Khan bank.
Q: When you have children, do you want them to play chess?
Munguntuul: Of course I will teach them how to play. But I would not like them to become professional players with mom playing alongside. It happens often: when parents are professional players they do not want their children to repeat their lives.
Thank you for the interview!