Former World rapid champion K. Humpy produced a superlative performance to claim India’s first-ever silver medal from the World blitz chess championship that concluded in Almaty, Kazakhstan, on Friday.
In the 17-round women’s section, fourth seed Humpy started with two straight losses on Thursday but bounced back to aggregate 12.5 points, including 8.5 points from the last nine rounds. That half-point she dropped her way to a strong finish was to compatriot D. Harika.
In fact, it could have been a gold medal for Humpy had Harika beaten eventual champion local favourite Bibisara Assaubayeva (13 points). In the final round, Harika lost to Bibisara while Humpy defeated China’s Tan Zhongyi, who won the World rapid title on Wednesday.
Humpy’s runner-up performance was the only silver lining from this year’s blitz event. In the rapid category, 15-year-old B. Savitha Shri gave India a surprise bronze on Wednesday.
On a day when World No 1 Magnus Carlsen once again became the only one to hold all three world titles - in classical, rapid and blitz time-formats - after scoring 16 points from 21 rounds of blitz, Indians in the Open section did not have much to cheer about.