Slovenska šahistka Laura Unuk / Slovenian chess player Laura Unuk

Slovenska šahistka Laura Unuk / Slovenian chess player Laura Unuk


I’m Laura Unuk and I play chess. I started playing when I was seven. My grandfather put a chessboard in front of me and asked if I would play him. I had no idea what chess was. After the introduction, my father enrolled me in a school chess club, and I have been competing regularly since then. Chess is a very psychological game. The mental aspect is the dominant factor, but physical fitness is also important. All world champions have been active athletes. I started with physical training four years ago and it shows. When I started improving my physical shape and established a balance, the results became more consistent. There were no ups and downs, no big losses and big wins. I improved gradually with every win. Chess games can last five or six hours, I even had matches lasting almost six hours. When games are that long, you start making fundamental mistakes which a true chess player should never make. The player who is better prepared mentally and physically as the game drags for more than five hours definitely has an advantage, even if the other player is actually better. Last year I won the world youth chess championship in the girls’ under-18 category, which was exceptional, and which came after I won the under-16 category in 2014. These two titles gave me the motivation to improve, to prove that I can be very good, and perhaps to be an inspiration to young people. I would like to become a grandmaster, and I only need to fulfil one more norm. I hope that I will be able to achieve it in the next two tournaments. The goal for this year is to score points, even in the men’s competitions and internationally. In the long run, I would like to become the women’s world champion at one point, and perhaps, to compete for titles in the men’s category. Men have always underestimated women in chess. They used to say that we are not as psychologically capable, that our nature prevents us from enduring for so long. But we have proven we can beat men, that we can be fierce competition and that they need to be afraid of us. Having won the youth title, I started thinking about becoming a professional chess player, but this would mean a lot of travelling and being away from home. On the other hand, my plan has always been to study, education is exceptionally important. I think that I will study something, but the problem is that still I don’t know what that will be. I could get a chess scholarship, but only in the US. I will make some inquiries and see if this suits me.

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