Anastasia: Who is supporting you here?
Anna Muzychuk: «I play every game until the very end ».
Anastasia: Anna, it is your first time in Grand Prix Tournaments. What do you think about the idea of such competitions itself?
Anna: I did not qualify in the previous series, at that time players were qualified by average rating and it was calculated several Rating Lists before the first Grand Prix tournament, and I had one point less than Xu Yuhua that was a pity for me of course. This time I did not face such problems and obviously I am very glad to participate in such tournaments. I am happy that FIDE decided to continue the series. These competitions are strong and interesting and the fact that women chess players have more tournaments of such a level is a very nice. The calendar is very busy: the next stage of Grand Prix Series starts in China in less than a month, and after the majority of participants will play in the European Club Championship followed by the third stage of Grand Prix. There are a lot of tournaments in the calendar and on the other hand it is always the case and it is very difficult to adjust all the Grand Prix stages to the schedule of each of us.
Anna: First of all it is my family. My parents also play chess, they work as coaches and understand my games from the professional point of view. Of course they follow my games at the tournaments. My biggest fan in the family is my grandfather. He learned how to analyze games in the computer, to follow them online and did not miss a single online transmission of my games even on the day of his birthday.
My sister is also a Grandmaster and of course she supports me, sometimes she even helps me psychologically before the games by saying, for example, “Go and win!” (laughing). Ok, I play better than her so far, but, nevertheless, Masha always helps me if I need to analyze or check something. My father also joins them and their help is very important for me.
Anastasia: Do you have some kind of competition between you and your sister, when you play in the same tournaments?
Anna: There is nothing of the kind from my side, but Masha in her interviews always says that she wants to play better than me.
Anastasia: Does it offend you somehow?
Anna: There is nothing to be offended about. If she plays better it will prove that she has worked a lot and thus deserves it and I did not work enough…
Anastasia: Anna, you participate in women’s as well as in men’s tournaments, where is it easier for you to play?
Anna: There is a difference but I cannot explain it. I am more accustomed to play with girls. However, I managed to show good results in the men’s round robin tournaments (Wejk-an-Zee, Antwerpen). The average rating of players in the men’s tournaments where I participated was higher, but anyway, when you play in such events you learn and struggle. I do not feel a big difference, because I play every game until the very end, I don’t have many drawn short games, I cannot even recall on the last time when I had one.
Anastasia: You live in Ukraine and play for Slovenia; do you have a desire to change the federation back for Ukraine?
Anna: If the terms were good, I would have thought about it, I live in Ukraine and I did not change my nationality. However, there is one advantage about the fact that I am the member of the Slovenian Chess Federation: I play on the first board in the national team and I always face strong opponents at such events as Olympiad or European Club Championships. The Chess Federation of Slovenia always covers official tournaments and I never have any problems with that, while in Ukraine there might be financial difficulties. Certainly, in order to improve professionally in chess one needs a good coach and they demand much as far as honorariums are concerned and this is a more complicated issue.
Anastasia: What do you do besides chess? Where do you study?
Anna: I study at the University of physical training in Lvov, I finished my 4th year, and before this tournament I passed my examinations of Master’s Degree.
Anastasia: Do you manage to combine chess of such a high level with your studies?
Anna: I had many opportunities when I was entering the university, but if I chose another profession, it would have been very hard for me to combine everything. In my institute they understand the situation and accept the fact that I travel a lot and the only requirement is to pass exams and tests.
Anastasia: Playing chess and traveling are very much connected. Do you like traveling and where would you like to live?
Anna: I was born in Lvov and this is my native town. Today most of the time I live 70 km from Lvov and travel a lot, but I would love to stay in my home town.
Anastasia: Vassily Ivanchuk also prefers to live in Lvov …
Anna: Yes, we love our city! (Laughing) It is very beautiful and I like walking around it. Of course I like other cities like Venice, Monte Carlo and Paris.
Anastasia: Are you also a patriot of Ukrainian cuisine?
Anna: I have a very good attitude towards it; my grandmother cooks such meals as vareniki, potato pancakes, cheese cakes, etc. very well. I also like Italian cuisine.
Anastasia: Do you like reading and do you have a favorite book?
Anna: I read a lot of chess literature and also literature required in my studies. I like reading small stories that teach us something. One of my favorite writers is Paulo Coelho.
Anastasia: What kind of music do you listen to?
Anna: I do not have a favorite singer or group. It depends on my mood. For example, during the European Championship I used to listen to Vivaldi, this kind of music influenced me in a good way and I managed to gain “my” +4. It happens when I listen to one and the same song during a tournament and then give it up for years.