Monika Socko winner in Tromso
I'm very glad to introduce to you today the women's chess star - Monika Socko!
A.K.: Dear Monika! Congratulations on your impressive victory in Tromso! What are your impressions of Tromso and the tournament?
Monika Socko: Tromso is a lovely city surrounded by mountains and sea. It is located near the Arctic circle, but the weather was really nice during the tournament!
I have really nice memories from Tromso. Not only because of my result but also because of many nice activities I had, like excursions, fishing trips etc.
A.K.: What is the best game of yours in the tournament? Can you comment a small fragment of any of your games of Tromso?
Monika: I would say the game against GM Turner was the best. I played Sicilian as black, sacrificed a pawn and got a strong initiative.
A.K.: You came to Tromso with your husband and your son, how did you manage to prepare, play and take care of your family?
Monika: My son is a very quiet child (as opposed to my daughters), so he was not a problem during my preparation.
A.K.: I noticed that your son was also playing in Tromso, do you want to see your children as professional chess players in the future?
Monika: We'd like them to play chess of course, but the choice of being professionals is theirs.
A.K.: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What is your date of birth?
Monika: March 24, 1978
A.K.: Where were you born?
Monika: Warsaw (Poland)
A.K.: Where do you live now?
Monika: During my childhood I lived in Rybnik - a town on the south of Poland, but now we all live in a small village near Warsaw.
A.K: How did you start playing chess?
Monika: My father wanted to teach his son football, but he has 2 daughters so he teached them to play chess.
A.K.: Who was your first coach and with whom you are working right now?
Monika: It was my father, of course. Then I worked with IM Matlak, and now mostly I'm working together with my husband.
A.K.: What are your main achievements in chess?
Monika: Gold medal in the European Team Championship in 2005, bronze medal in the Olympiad in Bled in 2002. I also won the European Club Cup twice with the Monaco team. Individually I was 3 times champion of Poland. I won a strong closed tournament in Baku 2007. My win in Tromso is also a great success.
A.K.: What is your peak rating?
Monika: My best rating was 2505 a year ago, and I hope to have a better one soon.
A.K.: Do you consider yourself a professional chess player?
Monika: Yes. I'm not doing anything else, but I must say that taking care of my family and home is really a full time job also.
A.K.: I've always admired you and your energy. You have a big family and still play chess very successfully. Can you tell us a little bit about your family and share the secret about how do you manage to be a mom, a wife and a strong chess player?
Monika: We have 3 lovely children (Weronika 9, Szymon 7 and Julia 3). There is really a lot to do with them, so we don't have much time to work on chess at home, but we try to spend every free moment on chess. I treat tournaments like a holiday from the work in the house, so maybe this is the reason of my recent success... :)
A.K.: Do you believe in the future of women’s chess? And what do you think we need to do in order to make chess more popular?
Monika: Yes, I think women's chess has a future. My daughter plays in junior tournaments and I can see many young girls playing chess. This is good. The only problem is the insufficient number of good women tournaments, but I think it is changing slowly.
A.K.: What is the best chess country in the world?
Monika: Russia. But there is a strong opponent - China.
A.K.: What is the best organized women’s tournament you took part in?
Monika: This was closed tournament in Baku in 2007. I wish I could play there again!
A.K.: What is your dream in chess?
Monika: To win the last game in the World Championship.
A.K.: What is your favorite chess piece?
Monika: The pawn. It has a future!
A.K.: What is your favorite place in the world?
Monika: Rio de Janeiro
A.K.: What is your favorite kind of food?
Monika: I really like soups. The best is Polish "Zurek"
A.K.: What are your plans for this year? In what tournaments are you planning to play?
Monika: I will play the Polish club championship, and then the European Club Cup and the European Team Championship.
A.K.: Thank you very much, Monika! I'm very grateful to you for this wonderful interview! Good luck in your future tournaments and all the best to you and your family!
Posted by: Alexandra Kosteniuk
Women's World Chess Champion