Bella Igla: “This is my fourth Olympiad, and it is organized better than the previous ones”


The Israeli women team came to the Olympiad trying to prove that they can compete for the top places. Below you can find the press-conference of their captain Vitaly Golod and Bella Igla, who plays on the second board.  

–  What are your goals for the Olympiad?

Vitaly Golod: Two years ago in Dresden we had 12th average rating and finished 9th. InKhanty-Mansiyskweare 22nd, soourgoalistofinish 15thorhigher.

 –  Do you like organization of the event?

V. G.: This is my third Olympiad, so I have some experience. ComparedtoTurinandDresden, Khanty-Mansiyskpreparedmuchbetter. It is not perfect, if you recall traffic jams at the elevators of the “Olympijskaya” hotel, but still much better. The organizers are very kind to all the teams without exception.

 – Vitaly, tell us about your team. Are there any Israeli-born players in it?

V. G.: Masha Klinova plays on the first board, she is a well-known player. She was born in Odessa and returned to her native city recently, but plays for Israel for many years. Bella Igla, who plays on the second board, moved to Israel from Tambov. Ella Pitam plays on the third board. She is from Riga and repatriated in 1991. Olga Vasiliev is originally from Chisinau, she plays on the 4th board. The 15-year-old Marcel Ifroimsky is our reserve player. She was born in Israel, but her parents are also from USSR. She is currently a world champion under-12 and under-14, and a European champion under-14. And I came to Israel from Lvov 15 years ago.

 – Bella, are you a professional chess player?

B. I.: No. I have a degree in Economics and work in a big industrial company in Israel. Chess is my hobby. Right now I am on vacation because of a big religious holiday – Sukkoth. Religious people must eat and sleep under the open sky or tent.

 – But you live in a hotel, don’t you?

B. I.: Yes. I am not very religious to be honest.

 – Did you come here to compete for the medals or just to have a good time?

B. I.: First of all, we came to play and to fight. I rarely play, so I cannot miss such a great opportunity to meet the world’s strongest players. Also I haven’t been to my native country for 12 years, so I am very curious to see it and meet new friends.

 – How do you like it here?

B. I.: This is my fourth Olympiad, and it is organized better than the previous ones. I enjoy speaking my native tongue; I walk and admire astonishingly beautiful nature... We don’t have taiga forest in Israel, you know.

 – Have you heard about the FIDE President initiative to carry out a 1000-board match between Israeli and Palestinian children?

V. G.: No, I didn’t. This is a very interesting idea. If such match takes place, it will be a big achievement for the Middle East.