Margaret Murphy is the President of the US Virgin Islands Chess Federation and member of the Appeals Committee for the FIDE Women’s World Championship in Sochi.
In the first part of the interview she shared her impressions about the championship, the venue, the visit of Russian Prime Minister, and involvement of women in FIDE.
Goran Urosevic: Margaret, you are here in Sochi as a member of the Appeals Committee of the Women’s World Chess Championship. What are your impressions of the organization, championship and the venue?
Margaret Murphy: I think all is perfect. They did an excellent job. I think the Russian Chess Federation should be highly commended for all the conditions and hospitality. Sochi is an absolutely beautiful place. I particularly like the idea of having women as arbiters and in the Appeals Committee. I am sure the players are happy with the conditions as well.
Goran Urosevic: I saw that you have had time to explore the resort and surroundings of the hotel in the mornings. What are the nice things that you have seen?
Margaret Murphy: Everything! We have been up to the mountains, we have been to the tea house, we have been to the sea. We have tried a lot of delicious food. We have been to almost all of the districts, we are out almost every day. It is so beautiful here. I saw the Olympics on TV, but it’s so much better here in person.
Goran Urosevic: What do you think about the initiative of the Russian Chess Federation to use this infrastructure to host the chess tournaments?
Margaret Murphy: I think this is an excellent idea. The facilities are fantastic, I think everybody is happy with it. They should use it for as many events as they can.
Goran Urosevic: Is Sochi empty like they say on CNN?
Margaret Murphy: No, no, it is very beautiful here. I speak to my friends on Facebook, who also have the wrong idea. But I spoke to them and explained that it’s normal life here.
It’s my fourth trip to Russia. My first time was in 1994, I have been all over Russia already. I have been to Moscow, to Elista, to Siberia, and Sochi is just another beautiful section of Russia and Russia is a beautiful country.
Goran Urosevic: You mentioned that to your mind it is good idea to have women as arbiters and members of the Appeals Committee. Can you explain this?
Margaret Murphy: Women understand women. I think this is the point. Seriously we need to have more women involved in high chess activity. We don’t have enough women. I think FIDE is working in the right direction these years. I have been involved into chess work for more than 20 years. And nowadays there is a big change. There are women in different commissions, as arbiters, etc, Years ago you could rarely see women as arbiters. So, we have made a big change. I think FIDE is moving in the right direction as far as women are concerned.
Goran Urosevic: How do you evaluate the work of the FIDE Women’s Commission?
Margaret Murphy: It’s excellent. These women work very hard and are very dedicated. I personally do what I can to help them. I encourage girls, when I teach the girls in the classes on Saturdays. I speak to girls and their mothers and this is very successful. I also teach the boys, I don’t leave them out. But I encourage the girls to come. I do girls’ things more than boys’. I try to encourage them explaining that they have to compete with boys all the time.
Goran Urosevic: The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid a visit to our championship in Sochi. What do you think about his visit?
Margaret Murphy: I think he is a very nice gentleman. I was very surprised when he came. I think it is excellent that the Government is supporting the event in such a big way. He came here, he took time to speak to the girls, with the Appeals Committee. We were all enjoying his company. He is a very nice man.
Goran Urosevic: We will make a break. This is the first part of our conversation, thank you.