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Exclusive Interview with Suzanne Mouradian

Exclusive Interview with Suzanne Mouradian, the new women Champion of Lebanon 2012 for the 6th time!!

Born on the 29th of March 1982 (Yes, without hiding the birth year!!); Suzanne was introduced, with her sister Knarik, to chess through her brother Khatchig, when the later read a chess article, written by Raffi Djigerian, on how to move the chess pieces. And that was enough for them to catch the chess virus (in a positive sense of course). This was in 1994-1995 period.

As members of Homentmen club, and students of Yeghishe Manoukian College, the brother and sisters started to participate in local inter-clubs and inter-schools championships. The benefit for this growing passion was quickly rewarded when Suzanne participated for the first time in the 1995 Lebanese Individual Women championship, and won the prestigious title. Since then, both sisters participated regularly in all national events and championships (including the Men ones), winning a bunch of them, and consequently, representing Lebanon in Arab, Asian, international championships and Olympiads, especially Yerevan Olympiad 1996, Bled Olympiad 2002 and Dresden Olympiad 2008.

In addition to the memorable 1995 year, Suzanne repeated her success in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005 and recently 2012, which make it the 6th time of holding the title.

It is worth mentioning that Suzanne is holding a certificate in CMA (Certified Management Accountant), and a Master’s degree in Financial Economics from the American University of Beirut (AUB).

Charles Kayle: Dear Suzanne, what was your critical chess moment in your life?

Suzanne Mouradian: The year 1995 was very critical and positive when I won the title for the first time. That gave me great push to go forward.

CK: How do you see your participation in the last Women Championship?

SM: After the Dresden Olympiad, I got married to Tony Garabedian. My priorities became my family and work. After managing my working schedule, I found time to take part in this championship. I can say that I see it as comeback to chess scene, after a couple of years’ break, due to responsibilities of life and work.

CK: Any special preparation for the championship?

SM: Not really. I was taking it round by round.

CK: In the first round, you had White against WFM Maya Jalloul. How did you approach the game?

SM: I considered it an important game. I prepared a little for the opening phase. My opponent didn’t play well. She wasted a lot of time moving her queen around, which allowed me to take the initiative and convert it into a win.

CK: Your next opponent was your sister WIM Knarik!

SM: It was a balanced game. In an equal position, I offered a draw. At this stage in the tournament, I preferred to offer a draw, as I already beat Maya in the previous round, which was critical for me. After some thought, Knarik accepted.

CK: Can you, in brief, describe your relation with Knarik?

SM: I play against Knarik as an opponent, regardless of our familial relationship, as each one of us has her own ambitions and personality.

CK: In round 3, you won by forfeit against Farah Kaskas, then in Round 4, you were paired to play WFM Youmna Makhlouf.

SM: For this game, I prepared a little bit. At a certain moment, she played Bg5, and she was surprised by reply (Ne4), which gave me the advantage and I converted it into a win. It was a nice game.

CK: Your last opponent was the young Riham Saleh.

SM: I didn’t have time to prepare, as I arrived to the playing hall immediately from the office. At a certain moment, I made a mistake, which enabled Riham to win a pawn with advantage. At that moment, her lack of experience was shown with her rapid replies, as she thought that the game will be won by itself. This is frequently seen in young players’ games. I maintained my composure, improved my position gradually. At the end, she miscalculated my king’s march, denying her pawn from promotion, and finally she resigned.

CK: Can you describe your relation with the Lebanese Chess Federation?

SM: Few months ago, we had a meeting with the new LCF president Mr. Nabil Badr, in the presence of some members of federation board, and a lot of women players. The meeting was very productive, as a lot of issues were raised, especially the players’ training needs. Training should be provided for the women players on a continuous basis, and not only few weeks ahead of any international event. A lot of suggestions were proposed in order to take the Women events to a higher level.

It is worth mentioning here the importance of the media coverage (which was absent during the championship) and the respect of the chess game, especially for the new generation of players.

Mr. Badr showed great understanding for the discussed issues, and the LCF board will try to improve the situation in all fields.

CK: Your next plan?

SM: I will continue with this momentum and will participate in national events, even in the Men’s tournaments, and prepare for them. Meanwhile, with my current title, I will await the international championships official invitations, and will coordinate with the LCF to be ready to take part in those championships. I regret that I couldn’t participate in the Women team, who will play in the forthcoming World Chess Olympiad 2012; as the tournament date clashes with my work schedule. At this stage, my aim is to build on this momentum and try to strengthen my comeback. I hope that with more training and participations, I would regain my full old strength and why-not even exceed it. The key ingredient will remain balancing life, work and chess!

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