Koneru Humpy: More comfortable playing online after speed chess

The World No. 2 entered the final of the fourth and final Grand Prix leg and finished seventh overall.

New tricks: K. Humpy scored a major win over World No. 1 Hou Yifan, which she says is probably her best performance in online chess.

When FIDE invited Koneru Humpy for the Women’s Speed Chess Championship last month, she didn’t immediately say yes. Blitz and bullet chess aren't exactly her cup of tea. Neither is playing online. She eventually did say yes, though. A month later, she is happy she did.

World No. 2 entered the final of the fourth and final Grand Prix leg and finished seventh overall. Even more importantly, the whole month-long tournament made her a lot more comfortable in playing both online and bullet chess.

“Yes, I became more confident as the event progressed and I was glad that I could reach the final in the last leg,” Humpy told Sportstar over the phone from Vijayawada. “It was disappointing to lose a close final match to Alexandra Kosteniuk, who is so experienced in this format.”

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She reached the final after stunning the World No. 1 and her nemesis, Hou Yifan, in the semifinal. “That was probably my best-ever performance in online chess,” she said. “I have an inferior score against her in classical chess and she had been in great form when I beat her.”

The speed chess not only helped Humpy become a better player but made her richer by $3000. “I think FIDE is doing a great thing by conducting all these online tournaments during the lockdown and getting top players to compete,” she said. “It is good to see so many events are being held online and chess getting the media attention.”

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She reckons it would take her a few months to play a competitive game sitting in front of a board. “Chess has resumed in Europe, but I don’t think the Indians would be in hurry to board planes,” she said. “So it’s going to be online chess for us for a while.”

Even Chess Olympiad is going online. “That will be my next event (in August),” she said. “I am looking forward to it. And we have quite a strong team too, with players like Viswanathan Anand, Vidit Gujrathi and P. Harikrishna.”

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