Humpy looking forward to Olympiad challenge

India’s Koneru Humpy is all set for her comeback after being away from the game for 15 months.

Koneru Humpy’s presence will make India a strong contender in the women’s event at the Olympiad.   -  Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

Koneru Humpy, India’s most accomplished female chess player, is all set for her comeback after being away from the game for 15 months.

“I have now started working on my game after such a long time and will be playing in a tournament shortly,” she told Sportstar over phone from her residence at Vijayawada on Sunday.

Humpy is also looking forward to playing in the Chess Olympiad to be held from September 23 at Batumi, Georgia; it will be her first since 2006. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) had on Saturday decided to include her in the Indian team, despite her recent, prolonged inactivity.

It has to be said that it is one of the best moves the AICF has made in recent times. Not just because it took note of the fact that Humpy had stayed away from the chessboard for a long period because of childbirth. But more importantly, because it decided to move ahead and chose not to dwell on the past.

Thaw in relations

The AICF and Humpy haven’t had the smoothest of relations over the years. The relation had deteriorated so much that the federation had once asked the world governing body FIDE to take action against her.

It is good for Indian chess that both Humpy and the AICF have finally let bygones be bygones. Her presence will make India a strong contender in the women’s event at the Olympiad.

With Viswanathan Anand also returning to the Olympiad after 12 long years, the Indian men will be among the best teams at Batumi. This, in fact, will be the strongest contingent ever from India at the Chess Olympiad, the biennial team event. “I think it is great that Anand is playing at the Olympiad,” said Humpy. “I had followed his campaign at the World rapid and blitz championships at Riyadh. Winning a World title at 48 is an amazing feat.”