Person of day   -  28 FEBRUARY 2021

ANNA MUZYCHUK

ANNA MUZYCHUK

Anna Muzychuk was born in Stryi, in the Lvov region in Ukraine. Her parents were chess trainers- they worked at the neighbouring village Uhersko in a local sports school. They introduced Anna to the game and did the same with her younger sister Mariya- the future world champion

Anna Muzychuk won five junior European championships and was a serial winner or prize-winner of juniors’ world championships. At the mere age of 12, Anna became an international master, and two years later, a grandmaster. The women’s Ukrainian championship in 2003 finished with the young talent’s victory, but soon a news story emerged that would shock Ukraine: one of the two most promising female players in the country (the other was Kateryna Lagno) transferred to the Slovenian federation. 

 “At that time, I had a conflict with the Ukrainian federation. I became the national champion at 13 and they made many promises, but fulfilled none of them. Around then, the president of the European Chess Union, a Slovenian named Boris Kutin, invited me to play for his country’s national team, and I accepted.” (A. Muzychuk)

Her new homeland provided comfortable surroundings for her future development. From that moment onwards, the leader of the Slovenian team is a serious competitor to the world’s strongest chess players: she won several prestigious tournaments and her rating approaches the hallmark of elites. Like her sister, Anna was greatly helped by celebrated grandmasters Alexander Beliavsky and Emil Sutovsky.  

In 2007, she came second at the women’s rapid European chess championship and won the European blitz championship. She won the Moscow Open in 2008 and the U21s women’s world championship in 2010. She played at world championships in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015 and she won bronze medals at the European championship and the blitz world championship in 2012. At the Grand Prix in 2011-2012 and 2013-2014, Anna battled for the right to contest the world championship to the very end. She won the European Cup with the “Monaco” super-club. Anna also won the 2014 world blitz championship.

In 2014, Anna Muzychuk decided to return to the Ukrainian federation and immediately won the national championship. Anna became the fourth female chess player in history to attain the 2600 Elo rating.

“This year, on April 28th, I became the world champion and two weeks later, I returned to the Ukrainian national team. April 29th was my father’s birthday- that was my present to him. I have wanted to return for a long time, especially because my sister Mariya plays for Ukraine and we wanted to be together. Furthermore, Viktor Kapustin became the new president of the Ukrainian federation. The situation within the team changed immediately and attitude towards the players improved.” (A. Muzychuk)  

In 2015, the older Muzychuk sister reached the quarter-final of the world championship, where she lost to experienced Swede Pia Cramling. As a member of the Ukrainian team, Anna won bronze at an Olympiad and silver at the European championship.

Mariya Muzychuk had already won the world championship (in Sochi, in 2015) and two years later her sister besieged the Olympus. In December 2016, Anna became the world champion at rapid and blitz chess and between February and March 2017, she played in the knockout championship in Iran. Anna reached the final, where she lost to Tan Zhongyi in a close contest.

“They say that I am a modest and unpretentious person. I play chess for six hours a day, including analysis of various positions with my trainer. I have played chess since the age of two and I don’t remember all the details, but an image has stuck with me, how I walked with my father in the park when I was little and he showed me how all the pieces moved on large concrete slabs that looked like a chess board. And so it began. Today, chess is not my hobby but my profession.

My sister Mariya and I are separated by two years. Those who know us well say that we are very different. She is nimble, while I’m calm. But we have a very good relationship. We train together, we never fight, we just argue a little every now and then. We have faced each other in rapid chess competitions a few times, but I do not want my sister to be my competitor.” (A. Muzychuk)