GM Koneru Humpy scripted yet another historic moment in Indian chess when she clinched a silver - the first ever for any Indian - in the the FIDE World Blitz Chess Championships in Almaty (Kazakhstan).
“This is a truly memorable performance for me as it happens to be my first ever medal in Blitz. What really pleased me was the way I played on the second day after a disappointing first day,” the former World rapid chess champion Humpy informed Sportstar.
For the record, the fourth-seeded Humpy defeated China’s Zhongyi Tan to settle for silver in the 17th and final round to finish with 12.5 points and missed the gold by 0.5 points to Bibisara Balabayeva of Kazakhstan.
“After the dull first day when I could score only five points from nine rounds, frankly speaking I had no expectations on the second day. The focus was on retaining my rating. But, when I started with a win, soon everything fell in place,” she said.
“Yes, beating some of the big names in the final rounds gave me a lot of satisfaction in terms of playing the level of chess which I felt was very high,” 35-year-old Humpy said.
“I always believed my strength is classical format. So, this win is truly special,” she said.
What is the biggest challenge for someone known to be a classical format specialist? “Well, in blitz the opponent’s reputation doesn’t matter. How I perform in such short time control, quickly I react and finish off the contest are the key,” the soft-spoken champion player said.
“It is a fact that we Indians have lesser practice of these blitz games compared to the Europeans and Russians who are used to them in the week-end and other many tournaments. So, they know the art of winning better than us,” Humpy said.
“For me the biggest challenge is to combine different aspects of life - like being a mother of my five-year-old daughter Ahana who started going to school now, and spend time equally on staying in touch with the sport. Never easy of course,” she said.
“I don’t set any goals for myself. I just want to enjoy my chess to be in the right frame of mind, understand when to take a risk in a major tournament. Obviously, not pushing too much,” Humpy said.
What keeps you motivated? “Sometimes you do lose motivation in some events. But at times in prestigious tournaments when you know the country expects a lot from you, that spurs me to think far beyond. I love to keep playing as long as I enjoy the sport,” she signed off.