Viktoriia Kirchei: not afraid to lose

Her play was a real sensation in this tournament. So much so that some of the players thought quite seriously that Viktoriia Kirchei (14) was cheating. That’s why all the four players who qualified for the semi-finals in the open were scanned and searched before yesterday’s game. Viktoriia and her father Sergey understand this. The scan didn’t produce anything incriminating, and they are glad the problem was solved in this way.

Viktoriia is a hard-working girl, and English is one of the next things she is going to work on. She understands it but doesn’t speak any. ‘Yes, we understood the measures taken by the arbiters,’ her father Sergey says. ‘Viktoriia’s results here were very surprising – also for us. Normally she has difficulty to get a good position after the opening – especially in youth tournaments where everybody is preparing for each other. In this tournament they didn’t prepare for her, and besides she has also made progress with her openings. We think that there was also an element of psychology. Viktoriia is not afraid of losing against the players here.’ Whereas the opposite seemed to be the case with her opponents. Even several international masters went astray against her.

Since three days Viktoriia has a nasty cold, and she and her father also had a long journey from Moscow to here, flying via Helsinki. ‘I liked my game in the semi-final [with Javokhir Sindarov],’ she said, looking back (translated by her father). ‘I missed a nice victory there but my play was good and I was satisfied. My loss was maybe due to time shortage. About today’s game [with Jan Werle] I am not satisfied. I couldn’t get a good position from the opening.’ She works 4 to 5 hours a day on chess and her coaches are grandmasters Sergey Dolmatov, with whom she mainly solves chess problems, and Nikolai Chadaev. In the European Youth Championships she ended 5th after a final-round loss to the eventual champion: ‘The pressure became too much.’

Because of the language barrier Viktoriia was hard to approach during the tournament, but in the presence of her father she opens up and smiles a lot. She is very ambitious as a chess player. Her next event is the European rapid and blitz Championships in Tallinn, end of November. Her goal? To become a World Champion. Does she think she has a chance? ‘Certainly!’