I have decided to do some interviews on this site as well. Why? There are several reasons behind this idea. Many chess players are curious about stories of successful chess players, about their training routine or philosophy related to chess. We love to hear these stories also from aspiring chess players and we are hungry to implement something from their success to our chess lives.
The first interview is here right now! Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome miss Claudia Munoz, 16 years old Woman Candidate Master from Texas!
She is definitely one of those chess players described above. She is also an owner of one of the best chess sites www.claudiamunoz.com and takes care of a great chess Twitter account. I am happy that Claudia agreed to do this interview and I hope you will enjoy it!
Please, introduce yourself to readers of elo2000.com. How long do you play chess, what do you like at chess, your biggest success…
I am 16-year old Woman Candidate Master Claudia Munoz from Wichita Falls, Texas. I have been playing chess for 10 years, since I was 6 years old. I am currently rated 2048 in my Federation. I won my Woman Candidate Master title when I was 9 years old at the 2007 North American Youth Chess Championship. I have also represented the U.S. in 3 Pan American Youth Chess Championships and 2 World Youth Chess Championships. I like chess because it is a platform for me to talk about social issues and to share God’s blessing. I also like chess because I like to travel. My biggest success has been our website, www.claudiamunoz.com which has approximately 60,000 visitors a month.
When you were 12 years old girl you managed to increase your rating by 300 points in 100 days. It is something many chess players would like to achieve. What was your training schedule and what was your main focus in trainings the most at that time?
We have always focused on studying more than play, what I learned I would show it during online play so when I was 12-years old I had the biggest desire to play in the World Youth Chess Championship. To achieve this my rating had to be high enough in my federation, so the studying stopped and I literally played one tournament a week for about 3 months and my rating simply jumped. In other words, there is a time to study and work on preparation and then there is a time to play, when it is time to play – go for it!
And what is your training at this time?
Right now, my coach and I train after school for an hour and a half during the week, and a few hours on Saturday. We divide our time into sections so we could devote our time to specific areas of chess, like endgame and tactics.
Do you have any coach at this time? And how did you describe the ideal chess coach? What attributes should he/she have?
My father, Abed Munoz, is my coach, no he is not a master nor does he have a FIDE Title. He has been my coach since I was 6 years old. I have tried different great coaches in the past but he is special. He knows my style of play. He understands how to coach me and works with me so I can also teach myself because he says one day he will not be able to be by my side. The ideal coach is a coach who not only teaches his student about chess but understands them. They should not force an opening or defense on a player but should work with them to find the best one. They should also teach their students how to teach themselves and not just how to move. There has to be an understanding behind every concept.
You participated in the World Youth Chess Championship in the United Arab Emirates a few weeks ago. How did you like the tournament? Are you satisfied with your result and the level of your play?
I really enjoyed the tournament. There was some disorganization at the beginning but everyone treated us great. I am not satisfied with my result because I will always push myself to do better, but I really applaud my opponents because I learned a lot from every single game I played.
Can we try a few short questions? ;) 1.d4 or 1.e4?
White or black pieces?
Tactical of positional play?
Do you prefer to study openings or endings?
Favourite chess male and female player?
My favorite male chess player was Paul Morphy, and my favorite female chess player is Judith Polgar.
Favourite chess book?
My favorite chess books are the Encyclopedias of Chess Openings. It is a must have in every chess library.
When we will see you in the U.S. Women’s Championship?
Very soon. I plan to qualify before my 18th birthday. I am 16 years old now.
Your dream is to become the first Grandmaster among Hispanic Women in the U.S. How close are you to fulfill this dream? Where do you see opportunities to improve your game to make your dream come true?
I am closer to my dream than before but I still have long ways to go. To get closer to becoming a Grandmaster, I would need to improve my FIDE rating, and change my title from Woman Candidate Master to Woman Fide Master and so on. I have ways to go but I am determined to accomplish it.
You run a great chess site www.claudiamunoz.com. Please, tell us something more about it? Is there any team behind this site or everything is managed by you only?
My website, www.claudiamunoz.com, is a website that is dedicated not only to promote chess but to spotlight young and upcoming chess players. The Munoz Family is the team behind the website. My father and I are the administrators. My mother is our photographer, and my sister as well as my father and I are writers.
Please, would you leave a message to reader of elo2000.com?
Support elo2000.com because those of us who are bloggers, we do it for the love of the game. Elo2000.com is such a site. Also to all of its readers, follow your dreams, never give up even if this game gets hard, and have fun! God bless!
Thank you very much for your time and your answers, Claudia!