Confidence leads to success in chess
Vietnamese Women’s Grandmaster (WGM) Võ Thị Kim Phụng, 24, has etched her name in the Asian Continental Chess Championships in China and Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship in the Philippines.
With the second title of the year, Phụng will be the Asian representative at the World Cup. Thanh Nga talks to her.
You have won the gold medal in the women’s standard chess category of the Asian Continental Chess Championships in China. How do you feel?
I was very happy because it was an unexpected result. I was No 8 seed in the tournament and I did not set any medal targets. I only thought that I would try my best to not have any regrets.
However, I bagged 7.5 points to lead the ranking table after nine rounds. Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan and Ramesh Babu Vaishali of India were the runners-up with seven and 6.5 points, respectively.
I am the second Vietnamese female master who has triumphed in the continental championship after WGM Hoàng Thanh Trang, who won it 17 years ago and is now playing for Hungary.
This Asian medal is the most important and valuable medal in my career.
How did you come to chess sport?
I was born in Huế. I began to learn chess in primary school as it was one of the official subjects. Coach Trương Minh Tuấn and his wife trained me and I was then selected for the talented chess team of the province of Thừa Thiên-Huế.
Tuấn and his wife were the first persons who transferred the passion and enthusiasm about chess to me.
What are the difficulties and advantages in training and competing in chess? I am very confident and comfortable during the tournament so I think that is my biggest asset. However, since I have not had any chances to perform at international events I do not have much experience.
Can you tell me about your achievements?
I won the Asian Youth Invitational Chess Championship twice in 2010 and 2013.
I also won a gold medal at the ASEAN Chess Championship’s U-20 class in 2012. A year later, I took the title at the Asian U-20 Championship.
This year, I won a gold medal at the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship, bronze medal at the HDBank Cup International Open Chess tournament and recently another gold medal at the Asian Continental Chess Championships, as you are aware.
The gold medal at the Asian Zone 3.3 Chess Championship helped you to earn a berth to compete in the Chess World Cup in 2018 as a representative of Zone 3.3. You have been the only Vietnamese women player to have the right to compete in the World Cup up to now. What do you think of this?
I was really surprised by this result because I only set a target of honing my skills and adding more Elo ratings via the championship. The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in competitor-versus-competitor games such as chess.
I was lucky in this tournament as my teammate Hoàng Thị Bảo Trâm had two draws in the last rounds so I enjoyed the chance to take the lead. Trâm was at the sixth spot.
When you participate in an event, what do you often do to keep up your spirits for each game?
I always try to have the most comfortable psychology. I do not set a high target and I often listen to music and watch funny movies.
Do you have any advice for junior players who love playing chess?
You should be confident and make every effort. Success will come if you do not give up your passion. Besides, you should have a comfortable psychology for a better performance.
Chess players are said to be uncommunicative and dry. How about you?
Yes, chess players are often quiet. But I talk too much. Maybe, I am the most talkative person in my team.
Besides the time for chess, what do you like to do?
I like travelling, chatting with friends, watching films, and listening to music.
What is your next goal?
I am now a member of Bắc Giang Province chess team but I am training at the National Sports Training Centre in HCM City. I will aim to raise my Elo rating from 2349 to 2400 and gain the title of International Master of men. — VNS