After each game of the FIDE Grand Pix in Ulaanbaatar all the participants visit the press conferences and answer the questions of journalists.
Hou Yifan (China) – Tatiana Kosintseva (Russia). 1\2 – 1\2
There was Bauer Variation in the game. After a long positioning struggle in the middlegame appeared a very risky situation. White had lost pawn and gave the winning chance to Black. But having time-trouble, Black lost the chances to the advantage. The game finished by draw in Endgame.
Hou: This game developed very unclearly, especially in the middlegame. I lost the Pawn in Endgame, so she had more chances. However she lost a pawn and the game ended. Occasionally, both of us got into trouble.
Tatiana: Any moment White started to play unsuccessfully, and I’ve received the initiative. White had a well-placed Bishop as a compensation for a pawn. I don’t know if it was enough – it is necessary to analyze. I think I could strengthen the game somewhere.
Q: How did you do in previous stages of Grand Prix, what is your current situation and what perspectives do you expect?
Hou: I participated in 3 previous tournaments and achieved 3rd place.
Tatiana: This is my 3rd tournament as well. I always strived to show good play and results as well. This tournament has just begun and we will see the development of this tournament.
Q: What do you think about Ulaanbaatar and the opening ceremony?
Hou: I am here for the first time. The air is fresh, people kind and it is a very nice place. During the opening ceremony we saw traditional performance.
Tatiana: I am here for the first time and did not get yet opportunity to be acquainted with the city. I hope to see more during days off. The opening ceremony was magnificent and beautiful and everyone was giving attention to us.
Yildiz Betul Cemre (Turkey) – Zhao Xue (China). 0-1
Playing Sicilian defense, White avoided main lines. Black tried to use it to slowly turn the tide to its advantage. Though White, being caught in a desperate situation, put up a strong resistance, Black seemed not to give them any chance. Only the big mistake 51…Qc2?? could lead them to defeat – but at the moment White resigned.
Betul: It was a very difficult match, especially for my defense.
Xue: I played some bad moves in the opening. I think in the Middlegame I had some chances bud I didn’t play well and played very quickly when Betul had time troubles. In the last position I made very big mistake – I took a Rook. It could lead to defeat. I feel I lucky today - anyway, for me it is a good beginning.
What expectations do you have of the tournament?
Betul: It is a very difficult tournament. I hope to achieve Grandmaster norm.
Xue: I did not play good in the last three tournaments achieving only the 3rd and 5th places, so I want to improve my play.
Q: This is the 5th tournament of the Grand Prix series, please describe your participation previous tournaments.
Betul: I participated in 3 tournaments.
Xue: I, too, participated three times, gaining 4th, 3rd and 10th places.
Marie Sebag (France) – Xu Yuhua (China). 1\2 – 1\2
French Tarrasch system has been played in the game. After an exchange of Queens White have received small advantage at the expense of pawn preponderance on the queenside and two-bishop advantage. After the minor exchange bishops-of-opposite-color ending has appeared; the game has come to a draw.
Sebag: Position was even. Maybe I could play 14.Kg4 in the opening and have a small adventange. But in any case, I tried my best. If I succeeded it is hard to say.
Xu: I began well, but in the middle of the game I developed some problems and there was some kind of misunderstanding. I cannot promise that all my games will be good but I will fight my best.
Q: What is your impression about Ulaanbaatar?
Sebag: I got a very good impression about the city, people are nice.
Xu: This is my first time in this country, I like it.
Maia Chiburdanidze (Georgia) – Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Mongolia). 1-0
Slav Defense was handled in the game Maia Chiburdanidze (Georgia) – Batkhuyag Munguntuul (Mongolia). White have exchanged, Black have easily equalized and have received healthy piece formation. Further, having overestimated the position, Black have given the chance to the opponent to regain the initiative.
Maia: I have obtained worst position, but have equalized it. But my opponent went on to play for a win even when she was worse. She did everything to lose this game.
Munguntuul: It was very complicated situation when my pawns were doubled. Besides I did wrong move by knight. I should have won a Pawn in another way. White had a compensation of two-bishops pair. It was necessary to play for a drawn by repetition of Bc2-Bd3.
Q: What can you tell about your playing in previous Grand prix stages?
Maia: It’s my 3rd tournament. Previous two series were not successful – I occupied 9th place.
Munguntuul This is my 3rd tournament as well. In Nanjing I was 8 and in Nalchik I finished at 6th place.
Q: What will you expect from this tournament?
Maia:I just play with my pleasure
Munguntuul I hope to play decent
Humpy Koneru ( India) – Shen Yang (China) 1-0
Having chosen Slav defense, White gained some advantage at the beginning. During the middlegame, Black committed a wrong pawn maneuver and the White achieved an advantage thanking to advanced queen-pawn.
Koneru: I thing at the opening I had an advantage.
I played this game well, difficult question if Black had good counterplay. Position was very complicated, I lost a lot of time there. Soon exchanges followed and at the end I had overadvantage.
Shen: Nevertheless, I think that we played with parity. In the beginning, playing with white figures, everything seemed OK, but then we exchanged Bishops the situation turned against me.
Zhu Chen - Stefanova. 1\2 – 1\2.
The popular variation of Slav Defense was chosen in the game.
Both opponents played cautiously with an intention to reach a position game.
Antoaneta: It was a difficult game for me. I thought that there was no problems in the opening. It was not easy, the beginning was normal but in Middlegame there were some mistakes, and I was forced to make amendments and eventually at some point I fought for a draw, maybe for the good.
Chen: I agree with her. After the opening White were better, the 40th move was important. It does not mean I could win, but the draw is OK.
Q: You played together many times and you know each other well. How many wins and losses you had while playing with each other?
Antoaneta: I do not know how many times we played together and…yes, we know each other well. We played since 1998 or something like that, I do not know exactly. I remember playing in Holland.
Q: What are your expectations from the tournament?
Antoaneta: This tournament is very strong like all the Grand Prix tournaments. I hope that I will play some good games, but I cannot speak about any particular result, I just hope that I will play good chess.
Chen: It is too early to say about the result of this tournament. Maybe after 3 or 4 rounds we can say who is in really in good shape.
Q: We all know that both of you are former World champions. What is the difference and similarities playing in World championship and in Grand Prix?
Antoaneta: Obviously it is different. I believe both systems have advantages and disadvantages. If I get ousted in a knock-out system I will not complain though I prefer it and think that it is fair. On the other hand, round robin system has its advantages and I think that spectators enjoy this system.
Chen: I like both systems.
Q: When both of you became World champions, obviously you were strong. Comparing to those times, do you feel stronger?
Antoaneta: Though I am feeling better now, at present, more and more strong players are appearing and competition is getting stronger.
Chen: You know I have two girls and for obvious reasons I stopped playing chess too much and, well, this is a part of life and it is nice.
Q: Please would you tell about your past Grand Prix experience?
Antoaneta: I did badly in Istanbul and Yermuk was better with the 5th place.
Chen: I did bad in Nanjing and better at the second try.