How Koneru Humpy keeps her dreams alive

Humpy feels that being joint-winners with Russia in the online Olympiad team gold in 2020 was one of the most memorable moments in her career.

World rapid chess champion Koneru Humpy, her husband Dasari Anvesh and daughter Ahana at her residence in Vijayawada.   -  K.V.S. GIRI

World rapid chess champion, Koneru Humpy, feels one of the better ways to beat the pandemic which has thrown the competitive circuit out of gears, is to work on her opening repertoire in pursuit of her another dream - to win the World championship in classical format.

“I need to have a wider opening repertoire and really working hard on that. Nowadays I am preparing on my own with my father-cum-coach (Koneru Ashok) being more of a mentor, giving invaluable inputs,” said 34-year-old Humpy in an exclusive chat with Sportstar.

“The pandemic is obviously so unexpected and changed the whole scenario. It is certainly disappointing not to be engaged in on-board battles in chess,” the champion chess player from Vijayawada, who recently won the ‘Sportswoman of the Decade’ (individual non-Olympic sports) honour at the Sportstar Aces awards, said.

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“Definitely, would have loved to compete in more tournaments after winning the 2019 World rapid championship. I was in the kind of form that would have fetched a few more titles. If you remember, I had won the Cairns Cup in the US after that world title,” she added.

Humpy feels that being joint-winners with Russia in the online Olympiad team gold in 2020 was one of the most memorable moments in her career.

When asked about her career at present, she said,"Basically I am not thinking about winning a tournament. I just want to enjoy the game. For many years, there were expectations that I would win the World championship. In that perspective, the tag of being a World champion is something which I also definitely cherish."

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What is the biggest challenge? “Well, remembering all the novelties which I prepare before a major event. It is really demanding which also means that I need to spend more time in the preparations." She doesn’t believe the only technological advances in sport will take a player too far but insists that any player should have original skills on the 64 squares.

“There is a great future for Indian chess. But, we miss not having a chance to play in Super GM tournaments at home. Hopefully, the AICF plans of starting the League should do a world of good to the Indians. For it makes the players more professional,” Humpy concluded.