You’ve triumphed all over the world. What is your most significant achievement? What do you think is your greatest success?
It’s hard to choose one. Winning at the Polish women’s chess championship is not only a prestigious achievement, but it also evokes a special feeling that I’m the best in the country. I managed to achieve this title eight times, and each of these victories is very special for me. Winning the title of grandmaster placed me among the world’s best players, which is a marker of professionalism. I’m the only female player in Poland to win this title. My greatest successes also include Olympic medals which I won as a member of the Polish team in 2002 in Bled (bronze) and 2016 in Baku (silver).
Is there a trophy that you’d still like to win? What is it that you want to achieve now?
Of course. I’ve played at the European Championships, World Championships, in which I managed to place among the best. We have rankings in chess. Currently, I rank around the 20th place in the world. My dream is to get to the first ten. I have plenty of goals that I will fight for. The game of chess requires continuous development, work, and practice. You must prove that, as a player, you still matter, that you move forward and win.
Who taught you how to play?
My father was a very talented, yet unfulfilled, football player. For various reasons, his career didn’t go well, and he always wanted to have a son who’d become a football player. When it turned out he has two daughters, he didn’t know what could he interest us with. But besides football, my dad also plays chess as a hobby. When I was six, he showed me how to play, and I loved it from the beginning. A game of chess, when he was getting home from work, became a ritual for us. Now you can sign up your kids for anything – back then we didn’t have that many options. I quickly caught the chess bug. I won the U-10 Polish chess championship, played at the world championship in this age category, and later took part in the European championship. And so I began this adventure which continues to this day.
What’s the most important thing about chess? What predisposition is necessary?
I think that anyone can learn to play, but on the professional level, hard work is the most significant element. It is a well-known fact that you need talent, a sense for playing games, intuition…
There it is! Feminine intuition!
Yes, I think that men perhaps are better in chess, but they don’t have such a great intuition. I take a look at the position, and I know right away where to put my pieces, what move to make. However, I want to stress that it’s difficult to hope for any results without a great deal of effort put in this profession.
Chess is not recognized as an Olympic discipline, but, just like Olympians, you must practice for many hours a day. Participating in a tournament is an immense psycho-physical effort, do chess players feel as exhausted after a competition as runners do after running a marathon?
Clearly, it is an extremely exhausting experience. The effort which we put into a tournament is sometimes compared to the work of a coal miner. After a tournament, which typically lasts around 11 days, my weight usually goes down 2-3 kilos. The tournament rhythm is eight hours a day of mental work which involves huge stress, concentration, and rivalry. Just like athletes, we compete, participate in tournaments and have a qualifiers system. For instance, during the competition, ten best female players from different parts of Poland compete for nine days. It’s not different from any other sports disciplines.