Faith and Victory: The Compass of Oleiny Linares

When Oleini Linares Napoles joined the youth team in Havana with 15 calendars over two decades ago, he didn’t have a good year in terms of results. The coach who then led the team told her that she had little ability in chess and a special interest in sports. After this conversation, he was fired for poor performance. She traveled more than 800 kilometers separating the country’s capital from her province of Santiago de Cuba and spoke to her mother, Fe Victoria, who advised her: “Miha, if you think you have talent, please make time for chess, otherwise you will focus on something else.”

He thought and began to train. The following year, she placed second in a national youth competition. Approximately twenty-four months later, she won the Cuban Cup in this category. The folk methodologist of that time assured that this title was the best answer to people who claimed that Oleiny did not have great abilities.

Linares states rebellious youth that in the life of an athlete, not everything is so rosy and he, taking this opportunity, suggests young athletes not to stop at the first obstacle that comes their way, because the main thing is to be able to cope with pitfalls. She believes that such stories can help people believe in their dreams and fill them with energy. It will always be worth it.

See if the coach was wrong about the fact that the woman Santiago has little talent, that today, in her almost 40 years, she can boast of four world Olympics (Dresden-2008, Khanty-Mansiysk-2010, Istanbul-2012 and Baku-2016) and 20 participations. in the national final with six podiums (four crowns, one subtitle and one bronze), according to the data proposed Jr Specialist Osmani Pedraza.

If in a pinch she was forced to keep only one of her four scepters, then for various reasons she would keep the scepter of 2016 for herself. Just on the day when a somewhat atypical publication began, with a competition of 15 chess players – usually fewer of them – his mother died. After many months of preparation for this or that tournament, life paid him back in the worst possible way, taking away one of his closest ones and the one most responsible for not giving up chess.

Shocking news for her, an only child, perhaps at that time she had two options. Give up the championship or accept it for the sole purpose of putting on the crown. The first saves a lot of logic; secondly, keep a lot of courage and a lot of soul. He decided on this and, between tears and memories of Fe Victoria, he added points until he scored ten and rested on the center of the pedestal.

Seven years later, last February, he won his fourth gold medal. He says his strategy was to play game after game and try to score in every match. Before the last round, the leader, Lisandra Ordaz from Pinar del Rio, was only half a unit away from her, so it was a little difficult to predict a victory. The ideal combination was formed by Oleiny, who won, while Lisandra lost, and in the “final photo finish”, as she defines it, took over the fair.

– Are you one of those who experience or see some positive side in losing?

– Defeats are always painful, some hurt more, some less. It depends on several factors. I usually learn from failure. Every time I play a game, I analyze it because I know I missed something. The Grand Master said that you learn more from one defeat than from five victories.

— A woman like you, kuaA three-time national champion and member of the Cuban World Olympic team, have you ever felt frustrated or tempted to quit?

“Sometimes there are ups and downs in life. It’s impossible to stay on top all the time, young players emerge full of aspirations and desire to win, the competition is tough, and sport makes you not to be careless. I am a mother of two daughters, I have a granddaughter, and I had moments when I devoted time to other matters. Obviously, this affects the fact that you do not always have stable performance. I never thought about it … although yes, in 2018 I thought about leaving the sport, but, thank God, I didn’t follow some practical advice.

Which player have you always admired?

– Hungarian Judit Polgar. When I first started playing chess, she was a star figure. She was a versatile and impressive player who managed to get into Top ten world. In his last Olympics, he played for the Hungarian national team only against boys. Of the Cubans, grandmaster Vivian Ramon made me take up this sport, she is a very good chess player. It was impossible for me to beat him with my knowledge from my youth.

— Chess is a sport that requires frequent tournaments. It is not always possible for the Cuban Discipline Federation to bear the costs of holding competitions abroad; so many times they come out of your pockets…

“This is really a sport that constantly requires us to be in harmony with what is happening in the world. To us, the Cuban football players, they are doubly demanding. Sometimes we play with multiple conditions and not everyone has a good internet connection. In other cases, we have to pay for our tickets to many tournaments, but we do not always have the financial means for this.

— They say that the world of chess is not always sexist. Even the Ukrainian grandmaster Anna Muzychuk was convinced of this more than once. You who have visited more than ten countries, what do you think about it?

— I’ve been to 13 countries, but I don’t consider chess to be something macho. What I have been able to appreciate is that this is a doorway for the development of women. In the countries that I have visited, I have noticed that this is a sport that allows people, regardless of culture, to have something in common that unites us. FIDE has an excellent vision for the development of women.

– What would you say to those people who do not appreciate chess or do not dare to start playing it?

“People who don’t appreciate chess don’t know what wealth the game brings. It helps you to concentrate, to be disciplined in your ways of thinking. It’s a demanding sport, even if they see a person sitting, playing for five hours, the chess player is known to put in a lot of effort in the game. It may be ignorance to believe that this is a simple sport. I know people who have been playing chess for over 20 years and have not reached sportsmanship. It’s a discipline with many life benefits, it helps prevent Alzheimer’s, and it’s great exercise for the elderly.

– Come up with something that your subscribers do not know or know little about, and publish it.

— Perhaps my subscribers are little aware that I am a simple, sociable and accessible person. A woman who loves chess, with good career results. Just someone with a talent who could develop it.

You will turn 40 in June. What do you think is left with you?

– There is something that I have not yet managed to achieve – this is participation in the World Cup. I have many debts with me. I already qualified once, but I couldn’t play. At almost 40 years old, I’m still at full capacity. Pia Cramling from Sweden, who is almost 60 years old, became a gold medalist on the first board at the last Olympiad, so I think I still have a chance.

— Finally, since you are talking about Pia and her gold metal in Chennai 2022; 15 years ago at the World Olympiad in Dresden you won a silver medal on the fourth board.

– I have great memories of this Olympics, not only because of the silver medal. It was my first tournament outside of Cuba, representing the four letters of my country, I faced the best players in the world and had a lot of responsibility at the fourth table. I went undefeated, so I think the team’s strategy of putting me on the board worked well. I came to that Olympics without a computer, I didn’t have one, and I managed to prepare thanks to Enrique, the director of the Youth Club in Santiago de Cuba.

“I taught there ten to twelve hours a day. My theory was that if those with computers worked four hours, then I would study more than twice. This was also part of this event. I still have the sweaters I wore in Dresden, very fond memories. Until the last round, I fought for gold, but I really liked this silver, I won it as a beginner.

Soon Linares will take part in the women’s continental championship, which will be held in Havana. Photo: provided by interviewees

Source: Juventud Rebelde


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