The new World Champion's press conference
Anastasia Karlovich: Please welcome Mariya Muzuchuk, who just became the 15th Women's World Champion! Mariya, what do you feel after the last game of the match?
Mariya Muzychuk: Thank you all for your support! I am not sure, because I am still overwhelmed by the game.
– How did the game progress?
– I liked my position in the opening a lot. Natasha started to think already on the move 3. She probably did not expect 3.Nc3. Then she decided to go for a little-known line 5...Bc5 6.Be3 Bb4. I anticipated only the most common 6...Bb6.
– What do you consider to be the critical moments of the game?
– Maybe I should not have played 19.g4. Now I dislike this move, and before it my position was very good.
– Wasn't it too aggressive for someone who only needs a draw?
– Honestly, I wasn't playing for a draw. I did not plan to exchange everything, my plan was to fight. However, later Black created some counterplay, while I was very short on time. I am not sure about 40.Qe3, because I could not see how to proceed after the possible 40...Kf8.
– Was it difficult for you to dare sacrificing a bishop?
– This move is very demanding, but I usually trust my calculation, so I played it.
– Could you also comment why you played 48.Ke4?
– For the same reason – I calculated everything and it was a clear draw.
– So by that time you were playing for a draw?
– I started playing for a draw after 41.Bxf7+.
– You had quite a few very stressful moments over the course of the championship, including the games against Dronavalli and Koneru. How did you manage to recover from stress and still play very good chess in the final?
– Those matches were very tense indeed. However, I always kept fighting and it probably helped me.
– Did you sense before the championship that you have a shot at winning it? Did you bring a dress for the closing ceremony?
– This is actually a very interesting story. It all started with me packing at home. My sister asked: “Are you planning to be there for a long time?” And I said yes. Then she asked: “Are you taking your dress for the opening ceremony?” And I said: “No, I take it for the closing ceremony!”
– What a deep calculation!
– So in fact I was hoping to win the championship even before it started!
– Do you think this victory will affect your life?
– I think it will in a big way. I will play the World Championship match and many other tournaments. I hope it will be easier for me to play after winning such a title.
– You mentioned the match with Hou Yifan. I don't think you had time to really think it over, but how do you estimate your chances? You met Hou Yifan twice, if I am not mistaken.
– Yes, we played some games. I don't remember the exact score, but there were some draws and some wins for her. I hope it will be a close match.
– Were you seriously worried about the outcome at any point during the final match? Did the atmosphere around the match affect the outcome?
– I felt huge pressure during the entire match, until the very last move. I tried not paying attention to cameras, tried to focus on the games. I am very grateful for people who supported me, it was very inspiring.
– Who assisted you in this championship?
– First of all I would like to thank my sister, who helped me with all chess and non-chess issues. Now I realize how big of a problem it would be if she returned home. I am very happy she decided to stay.
Alexander Beliavsky assisted me from home during the championship. I know how hard it is to look for new ideas and new variations every day, so I am very grateful to him. During the final I also received help from Evgeny Miroshnichenko.