P. Harikrishna: My focus is the World Cup scheduled in July

Chess grandmaster Harikrishna, who will be playing in his eighth World Cup, believes the pandemic is the real test of character.

Nadezda Stojanovic sharing a few thoughts on chess with her husband and GM P. Harikrishna at their home in Prague.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

GM P. Harikrishna, who is known for making the best moves against the toughest of opponents on the 64 squares, is enjoying being ‘cornered’ back home in Prague by a new member in his family, Maya – his three-month-old daughter.

“It has been a fabulous time no doubt. Obviously, chess took a backseat for the last few months as we (he and his wife and former Serbian chess player Nadezda Stojanovic) are busy taking care of our new family member,” Harikrishna told Sportstar on Tuesday.

“Well, the last event I competed was the Tata Steel and I was happy with my performance having drawn my games against the likes of Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana. So essentially, my focus will be the next World Cup scheduled in Sochi (Russia) this July,” said the former World junior champion. “As things stand, it is still on and hope so.”

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“It is not that I was completely away from the sport because of the family commitments but real, serious practice will begin very soon as like anyone I have to be ready as and when the competitive circuit begins hopefully with the pandemic fading away,” the 35-year-old added.

“Obviously, life has been really tough as there is complete lockdown again here (Prague). But, again inevitable. There are positives too like being with the family. Luckily, since Nadezda is a chess player it is handy though I prefer to have on-board training with my seconds, especially ahead of the World Cup.

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“There are more benefits training and competing on the boards,” he said.

Harikrishna, who will be playing in his eighth World Cup, believes the pandemic is the real test of character. “Whoever stays mentally tough, understands the ground reality better and continues to be focussed on what he has to do will play better chess,” he said.

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