An Interview With Hou Yifan

An Interview With Hou Yifan

Nov 25, 2011, 12:30 PM |

Hou Yifan has just retained her Women's World Chess Championship title by beating Humpy Koneru 5½-2½.

The excerpts below are from an interview by A. Karolvich and A.Burtosava at the official match website.

How did you prepare for the match?

It was just normal preparation. First of all I wanted to rest because I've played a lot of tournaments recently. I worked on my openings and did some physical exercises. I like swimming so I went to the pool.

We saw you in a good mood smiling before every game, although the match was very tough. How did you manage to combine such a good mood and concentrating on playing?

You see me smile before the game or after the game, but not during the game – during the game I am concentrating. But at the board I want to be in my natural mood. I also like to smile for journalists when they take pictures because I think it is good for the media.

Did you always have this desire to become world champion?

I believe that every professional player has this goal so if you decide to go this way, you should try your best. It was my goal, but not my final dream.

So what’s your final dream?

I don’t know. I think that maybe you shouldn't have one. If you want something in life and you reach it, what about the rest of your life? So I believe you should have goals and reach them step by step.

What is your next goal?

Now I just want to improve my play, and get a higher rating.

Do you consider yourself a professional?

I've played chess for more than 10 years so in some way it is my profession. But it is not the only thing I am interested in. I agree with Anatoly Karpov who said “Chess is my life, but my life is not only chess”.

Who is your favorite chess player?

Bobby Fischer. I admire his playing style. I also like that when he got the world champion title he was the only one to compete and win over the hegemony of Soviet players.

What do you think about your opponent?

I played with Koneru many times before. She is a strong player and her opening preparation was also very good. I spent a lot of time in the openings. It was just that she was making mistakes in time trouble that decided the match.

Read the full interview here.