International RSSU Chess Cup

Moscow Open 2020

Russian Chess Cup 2020 Stage

January 23 – February 3


Chess is my favourite hobby

January 28, 2020
Chess is my favourite hobby

Every year Moscow Open festival hosts more that 1000 chess players, for many of them participation in the tournament has become traditional. Juergen Mueller has been working as an arbiter at our festival for 11 years now, and we decided to ask several questions to our guest from Germany.

- Hello, Juergen! Please tell us about the beginning of your work at the festival Moscow Open.
- It was an interesting story! (laughing). It was 2009. I had been reading different articles about your festival for about five years, and asked the chess players from Russia that I knew, how I could participate in it as an arbiter. I was advised to contact Alexander Kostyev (a director of the festival in those years – editor’s notes), and he invited me to come to Moscow. I remember that I was given a room to stay but I had to get there on my own. This is how I got to Moscow Open for the first time. It was awkward, back then I did not speak Russian at all (laughing). Of course, now I cannot say that I speak perfect Russian but I understand it. 

- What tournaments of the festival did you judge during these years?
- When I first came to Moscow Open, I was a line arbiter in Tournament A (currently National Cup stage – editor’s note), there were a lot of participants that is why I got a hall with table numbers 101 and further. Later on I was an arbiter of the female round tournaments of student Grandmasters, and in the last five years I have been exclusively working on the tables of the main tournament.

- How long have you been working as an arbiter?
- I have been working at the tournaments for a long time. My first arbiter experience was at the age of 14. In 2002 I became a FIDE arbiter, and an International arbiter – in 2009. By the way, I obtained my last point of an International Arbiter at your festival.

- What attracts you in Moscow Open to come to Moscow again and again?
- Of course, I like it very much here. In Russia, and in particular, at Moscow Open the chess players are very disciplined. In Germany things are much worse with this.

- Is chess your main occupation?
- In fact, chess is my hobby. My main profession is an IT manager. I think you know that many Russian female players participate in the Bundesleague for the team of my club, and some of them after visiting my home, were quite surprised that I am not a chess professional. 

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- Tell us about your chess club and chess life in your town?
- I have been coordinating a chess club in a small town of Bad Königshofen with a population of around five thousand people for about twenty years.  Many people there like chess, and, as I’ve already mentioned, every year we send a female team of the club to the Schachbundesliga. Many female chess players from Russia play for our club, and twice we took the first prize, including   in 2019.  By the way, my friend Anatoli Karpov visited my club in 2014 and opened a brunch of his chess school with about 25 students studying there. Every year in May-June we organize a tournament “Crazy chess” in Bad Königshofen.  Titled chess players come to visit us for four days, and we conduct unusual tournaments: blitz in the swimming pool, Swedish chess, Fischer chess and others. I think there is no other place in the world when they run such funny chess competitions (laughing). 

- What are you planning to do in Moscow these days? Maybe you have a favourite place in our city?
- In fact, I have a very tight schedule. I have planned a lot of meetings including the ones with the girls from my team – Valentina Gunina and Olga Girya.  And of course in Moscow I walk in the Red Sqauer, VSNKh, sometimes I pop into the Central Chess Player House to play blitz. 

- Thank you for our conversation! We will be happy to see you again at Moscow Open.


Questions were asked by Eldar Mukhametov and Alina Bivol