Alexandra Kosteniuk: "It is too early to think about gold"

The 6th round of the women competition saw a clash between the leaders – Russia and Ukraine. Tatiana Kosintseva lost to Kateryna Lahno on the 1st board, however, her sister Nadezhda managed to defend a difficult position against Natalia Zhukova, while Alexandra Kosteniuk defeated Anna Ushenina, and Alisa Galliamova recorded a win for Russia by beating Maria Muzychuk.

– It was a difficult match for your team – a loss on the 1st board and a bad position on the second... – This is Olympiad, and every match is difficult. Everybody fights till the end, and there are no easy games. Starting from the 3rd round, we constantly play against our direct opponents – Georgia, China, and now Ukraine. The tension is extremely high. Today we started poorly, but then got lucky.

– Tell us about your game.
– I didn't get any advantage in the opening, and the game was progressing towards a draw. However, my opponent got nervous in the time trouble and committed a couple of mistakes. On the 40th move she lost a pawn, and I easily converted the advantage.

– Did you also follow the games of your teammates?
– Of course! We are one team!

– Why did Tatiana Kosintseva lose with White?
– My game was very complicated, so I didn't have time to analyze the situation on the 1st board seriously. The game on the 2nd board was very entertaining and ended in a fighting draw.

– I felt it could also end badly for the Russian team...
 – Having an advantage is one thing, winning a game is another. Today we won more, so we deserved it.

– After signing the score sheet you immediately turned to Alisa Galliamova's game...
– Of course. Her position was winning, however nobody gives you a victory unless the opponent resigns or you give a mate. You have to be completely focused, especially at the Olympiad. Sometimes people make horrible blunders... I was very nervous.

Galliamova was very nervous too. Is this because of the responsibility?

– Well, she looked confident to me and played very logically. She had a decisive material advantage and more time on the clock. I had no doubt that Alisa wins the match for us.

– Do you have a feeling that you will win?
– No, no! We shouldn't even talk about it. Tomorrow is a new fight, and it won't be easier than today.