STAR interview: Martha Fierro
I'm glad to introduce another woman chess star - Martha Fierro from Ecuador. Martha was introduced to the game of chess only at the age of 13, nevertheless she's collected many awards. She's been her country's chess leader since 1992 and has been successfully representing Ecuador at the Chess Olympiads playing on the first board. In October 2008 Martha, together with her partner Carlos Matamoros won a sensational Gold Medal in the Blitz pair competition in the World Mind Sports Games in Beijing, winning in the final match against India. In March 2009 Martha was appointed the Secretary for the FIDE Commission for Women's Chess. I'm looking forward to working with Martha and hope that together we'll do many wonderful things for promoting women's chess in the world!
1. What is your place and date of birth?
Rhode Island, USA, September 6, 1977.
2. How did you start playing chess?
When I was 13 my father taught me to play chess.
3. What are your main achievements in chess?
I have won 5 times the Junior Pan American Championship, 2 times silver medalist at the Chess Olympiad (playing first board), my titles of WGM and IM , Gold Medalist in the World Mind Sport Games and have been the top rated women in Ecuador since 1992.
4. What is your peak rating?
5. Do you consider yourself a professional chess player?
6. How often do you study chess? How many hours a day?
Everyday, depends of my schedule, because I also do a lot of coaching to many top junior and women players but I try at least 2 hours per day.
7. Do you have a chess trainer or you study chess by yourself?
I mostly study by myself, but in some occasions I do study with a chess trainer.
8. What do you study most: openings, middle game or endgames?
Middle games and endgames.
9. Do you prefer to play chess with men or with women?
I really don't have a preference in this case, for me it's the same.
10. Why do you think men are stronger than women in chess?
Because they are many more men playing and maybe there hasn't been a plan to increase and attract more women into chess.
11. When did you feel happiest about being a chess player? Why?
When I represented my country for the first time in an International Tournament.
12. If you had not become a chess player what career would you have chosen?
I would probably work in TV and radio production, this is what I studied at University.
13. How many brothers and sisters are there in your family?
I have one younger sister and an elder brother.
14. What is your favorite non-chess book?
I like to read Paulo Coelho.
15. Whom do you consider the best chess player in history?
I really like Kasparov' style and games and in my opinion he has been the best.
16. What is the best game you have ever played?
Very difficult question, because I am very critic with my games, I do have a few games that I have liked how I played but don't know my best game.
17. What do you like doing besides playing chess?
I coach a few talented young players and the top Italian women players. Apart from chess I love reading, listening to music and watching movies.
18. Do you believe in the future of women’s chess?
Yes, I believe that, with a right planning and motivation for women players we could increase the number and very important to organize more women events.
19. What is the best chess country in the world?
I think it is Spain, there are so many good tournaments and the conditions are good.
20. What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?
Apart from the Olympiads , World Youth and Pan Americans, I have just played 2 women tournaments so I cant really respond.
21. What is your dream in chess?
To become a GM.
22. What is your favorite chess piece?
I like the Bishop.
23. What is your favorite place in the world?
24. What is your favorite kind of food?
I love trying new and exotic food, but in general my favorite is Italian food.
25. What are your future plans for this year?
I am preparing for the the 2nd tournament of the Grand Prix circle and I have planned a few open tournaments.
26. Is chess popular in your country - Ecuador? Do you have any support from the government or your chess federation?
Chess has become very popular in the media, apart from football, is the other sport that gets a full front page in the sports section. After winning the gold medal at the WMSG (World Mind Sports Games) and silver medal at the last chess Olympiad I have received personal congratulations from the President of the Republic. Seems this new government will be an important supporter for chess.
Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing for the Federation, they dont work to improve chess in the country and all the top players are against the way the federation acts.
27. How is it to play chess for Ecuador?
I am very proud and happy to represent Ecuador. When I am in a tournament the media follows my result daily and I receive many emails from (Ecuadorians) non chess players supporting me each round.
28. What do you think we should do in order to make women’s chess more attractive to the media?
I think we should organize more women tournaments and invite the media, also I think is a nice idea to organize simuls around the world (given by a woman). Start talking more about women players. I think in general women chess could be more attractive for the media, specially because the draw statistic is lower than in the men's competition.
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