Gulnar Mammadova: “One always aims for top three”

The Azerbaijan women’s first team competing in the 42nd Chess Olympiad tied its match with Georgia 2:2 in the sixth round. Gulnar Mammadova playing on the third board won her game against Nino Batsiashvili. Gulnar Mammadova shares her impressions of the game with the press service of the Baku Chess Olympiad.

- You defeated Nino Batsiashvili in the sixth round of the Olympiad. Did you play with her before?

- We have played five times before, so this was our sixth game. I won three times and my today’s opponent beat me once. This time I got the upper hand again, so I am very pleased with myself. However, I have to say that my opponent is a very strong player.

- Does it mean that the personal score with Nino Batsiashvili being in your favor gave you a psychological advantage?

- We can say that. Besides, my opponent won her first five games in the Olympiad, and I thought that she should lose the sixth. This gave me confidence.

- Batsiashvili is 170 rating points higher than you. Is this why you decided to attack more?

- The position was equal out of the opening. But then things got more complicated and I managed to gain the initiative. I also took advantage of my opponent getting into time trouble.

- At what stage in the game did you think you might win?

- After moves 50-55. It didn’t look very clear until then.

- You probably thought that it would be a draw until your teammate Zeinab Mamedjarova lost her game on the first board...

- My goal has been a victory from the very outset, but a draw could have been acceptable. My opponent is a strong player, so a draw wouldn’t be too bad a result. But after Zeinab’s defeat, I had to play for a victory.

- How would you rate your performance in the Olympiad so far?

- I have four points after five games. I won three games and drew two. So far I am quite pleased.

- Your team is in sixth place after six rounds and trails only by a point from the leaders. This is a surprise for many. Is it possible to aim for medals already?

- Our initial goal was to finish in top 10 but, just like any sportsmen, we play every game to win. One always aims for a podium finish. I think that if we play well in the next two or three rounds, we can think of medals.

- Who are the favorites to win the championship title?

- Ukraine, Russia and China.