Russian 15-year-old Aleksandra Goryachkina is the rising star of women’s chess, but in a recent interview she explained why she still prefers to compete against women rather than men.
Goryachkina recently won the Under 20 World Championship (see our full profile here!) and is now competing in the adult Women’s Russian Championship. Despite outclassing her rivals in most events she plays she still doesn’t feel quite ready to make the leap to competing against men.
explained why in an interview with Eteri Kublashvili for the Russian
Chess Federation website:
Who do you prefer to play against: adults or your contemporaries, men or women?
I prefer to play against women. Against men it’s harder to compete because they both play better and are better prepared. If you get a bad position they definitely won’t let it slip. But in women’s chess everything is possible. I once played a piece down and made a draw. In the final of the Russia Cup in a game against Kovanova I had an extra rook but it still ended in a draw. Against my contemporaries it’s not so simple because I always have to play only for a win, as a draw will mean losing rating points.
It seems Goryachkina might not have much choice in the matter, though! She recently took part in the U19 Russian Boys Championship, and explained why:
Of course I’d have played the girls event, but they didn’t allow me. They said that “you play too well for them”.
Who didn’t allow you?
The grandmaster in charge of Russian chess undoubtedly had a point, though – Goryachkina finished 2nd after losing the decisive game against the eventual winner.