Chess masters from 38 countries, including 37 international grand masters and 33 international masters, gathered July 4-12 to challenge each other at the XXXIV Open Internacional Ajedrez Villa de Benasque. Seventeen-year-old Kazakh chess prospect Dinara Saduakassova, an international women’s grand master, won two cups, taking first place among women and juniors.
Saduakassova is a role model for many high school teens. In addition, by winning international tournaments she helps establish her country as a serious contender in the modern chess world and promotes chess in Kazakhstan.
“When I was five years old,my mother took me and my brother Arsen and my sister Ainur to a chess club,”Saduakassova said. “The game of chess was very respected in our family and cultivated. My first teacher always believed in me and saw my talent and potential.”
What does chess mean to you andwhat other hobbies do you have?
I was lucky as I had a chance to try different [sports] — gymnastics, chess and went to school! Besides chess I have other hobbies. I went to music school, I love music, reading books, swimming and playing tennis. I also like riding a bicycle and photography. Chess is my lifestyle and as an athlete I continue dedicating my life to this sport. Young girls are following my lead. How can this not make me happy!?
Besides her talent in chess,Saduakassovais also a promising musician. At 11, she graduated from music school with honours and also graduated with honours from Zerde, a school for gifted children.
This year, she also published her first book for beginning chess players titled “First Steps in Chess,” where she unveils her experiences in chess to the public and talks about the game. Saduakassova plans to distribute her book free of charge in schools, children’s homes and educational centres.
Who is your favourite chess player and why?
Modern chess players must be versatile. Players need to use different styles. I respect Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov. I would like to use combinations like Mikhail Tal and have the positional sense that Anatoly Karpov has. Chess success depends on the versatility of a person.
When you won the tournament in Spain, what did you feel?
I have participated in such tournaments before. I didn’t have that feeling of euphoria. I am used to winning –it is always great to win and glorify my country. I hope that Kazakhstan willbe more recognisable thanks to my wins.
Why do you think Kazakh chess players are successful?
I am glad that I can contribute something to the history of Kazakh chess. I consider my current achievements as the beginning of my career. The driving factor was always the [desire] for perfection. The goals were quite modest at first. To achieve success, an athlete needs a goal and the desire to realise it. The key factors for success are faith and perseverance and, of course, a dream and the support of those close to you.
How do you manage your time? School, chess, hobbies.
When an athlete advances a the high level of preparations, participates in international tournaments and represents the country, sports becomes more than a hobby. Tome,myworkbecomesconscious. Fameaddsresponsibility. Health and time are expensive resources; therefore, my schedule must be extremely effective. I plan my day, do some things quickly. A human rests when she changes activities. Chess requires certain sacrifices and discipline.
I am pleased that people recognise me. I am thankful to people for the attention and support. I would like to say to my fans: Believe and support our sport!