Grateful to Italy for nominating me, says former Asian champion Humpy

Koneru Humpy has jumped to World No. 4 now and is confident about her future assignments which include the European Club championship, Monaco Grand Prix later this year and also the final-leg of Grand Prix in Italy next May.

Humpy says though the ELO rating of the players in the Chinese league is not high, the kind of experiments done on the board is quite challenging.   -  Ch. Vijaya Bhaskar

At 32, Koneru Humpy embarks on yet another journey with the Italian Chess Federation, which has nominated her for the Russian Grand Prix, starting on September 10.

Any country hosting a Grand Prix can nominate a player, and the three-time World championship semifinalist said she is grateful to Italy for picking her under its quota for the Russian event.

“Because I was the only name missing from the top-ranked players for Russia, they might have thought of me and I am grateful to them,” said Humpy, who is balancing being a mother of a two-year-old daughter Ahana and practising on the 64 squares back home in Vijayawada.

Significantly, Humpy has also jumped to World No. 4 now and is confident about her future assignments which include the European Club championship, Monaco Grand Prix later this year and also the final-leg of Grand Prix in Italy next May.

“The Grand Prix series are important, for the top two from this qualify for the Candidates Matches and the winner there will earn the right to be the Challenger for the World championship,” she said.

“I have been training really hard for the last one year and even played in the very demanding Chinese League. I returned only last weekend, remaining unbeaten and picking 12 ELO rating points,” the former Asian champion said.

Challenging experiments

Humpy says though the ELO rating of the players in the Chinese league is not high, the kind of experiments done on the board is quite challenging.

She was runner-up in the 2009-11 Grand Prix series, qualifying as the challenger for the Women’s World championship, and eventually losing to Hou Yufan.

The champion chess player (ELO 2558) — who paved the way for many girls in India to take up chess with her achievements including being a Grandmaster in 2002, winning 2006 Asiad gold — says she is pretty pleased with her preparations.

“I am training hard on my own at home during the day and spending evenings with my daughter,” said Humpy.

“The 15-day gap for the Russian Grand Prix after I returned from China may be short, but should be good enough for me to put up a creditable performance,” she said.

Humpy is not overconfident about her future: “I’m not keeping it big, but will give my best in every event I compete.”