Zeynab Mammadyarova: “I won despite playing with caution”

A member of the Azerbaijan women’s first team competing in the 42nd Chess Olympiad, Zeynab Mammadyarova, defeated her opponent Corina-Isabela Peptan from Romania on the top board in the fourth round.

Having won her second game in a row and third in this Olympiad, Zeynab Mammadyarova commented on her performance in a press conference. “My opponents yesterday and today were high-rated players. Both Poland and Romania are strong teams. Our captain told me to play with maximum caution and take no chances. A draw would have been an acceptable result against both of these teams. I am very pleased that this victory contributed to the team success. Every half a point matters a lot for the team. My opponent in the match against Mexico was lower rated than me. Although the game was heading to a draw, I risked and eventually lost. This half a point may cost us dearly later on.”

The woman grandmaster said her father Hamid Mammadyarov played a huge role in her performance. “My father is there with us at most of the competitions. He is here at the Olympiad as well. He instructs us before each game. His presence brings all of us good luck.”

Mammadyarova said she had been involved only in a few tournaments in the past year. “Due to my political activity, I rarely participate in tournaments these days. I am involved in this Olympiad because of the patriotic feelings, and so far we are doing quite well. I do hope that we can perform with the same energy for the rest of the tournament. Our chess players usually perform better than their ratings. I hope that this will be the case again this time. I think we can aim for top five.”

Zeynab Mammadyarova emphasized that tournaments held in Azerbaijan certainly require a more responsible approach. “In 2002, I won the European youth championship in Baku. In 2003, I won a bronze medal in the world championship in Nakhchivan, while my brother Shahriyar won a gold medal there. But playing on home soil is a bit more difficult from a psychological standpoint because of the additional pressure. We try to realize the responsibility and do our best to play well,” she said.