Women World Champion Mariya Muzychuk visits Europchess

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GM Mariya Muzychuk, Frank Hoffmeister

Women World Champion Mariya Muzychuk visits Europchess

An evening to remember

At the margins of a conference and a simul organised by a Spanish Member of the European Parliament on 7 March (where our youngster Mark Ouaki stayed in the game until the ending), GM Mariya Muzychuk paid a visit to Europchess in the evening. After being welcomed by Club President Frank Hoffmeister, she spoke about her chess career and women chess politics. She observed that her decision not to defend her rapid and blitz titles at the cost of being forced to wear a veil was a matter of principle. Other participants accepted that condition, also considering the relatively high prize funds. She found that separate woman tournaments are important to get more women into high-level chess. However, it would also be important to be invited to strong ‘general’ tournaments to further improve. For a player with 2500 ELO playing a women-only tournament is hardly an occasion to meet stronger opponents. In terms of public interest, she opined that probably Judit Polgar is still the most attractive player despite her retirement. If she was to come back, that would be appreciated and even a match between the Muzychuk sisters and the Polgar sisters could be thought of. The current world champion You Hifan is a very strong player, but does not get the same public attention in the West. Mariya Muzychuk was also impressed by the activities of Europchess and the annual simultaneous exhibitions with strong grandmasters. In her final words she expressed her interest to come back to Brussels and our club when the occasion arises.

Afterwards, her manager, IM Enrique Llobell took on the task to participate in what a grandmaster once called the strongest office blitz tournament in Europe, with the participation of several strong club members. Enrique impressed with a clean score, inter alia beating Timothy Binham, Frank Hoffmeister and Martin Müller. With a 7/7 he would have deserved a good price, but as tournament Jesper Abrahamsen noted, we had not prepared for this, given the very short notice in which the entire event was set up. Instead, we publicly extend our warm congratulations to IM Llobell and GM Muzychuk to have allowed for a friendly evening among chess friends from Europe.

interesting discussions

Jesper Abrahamsen, IM Enrique Llobell

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