Rakshitta sets her sights high

For Chennai-based chess player, Rakshitta Ravi, the focus now is to win a gold at the junior World championships.

Rakshitta Ravi with her parents at a felicitation ceremony in Chennai on Friday.   -  M. Vedhan

Rakshitta Ravi wasn’t entirely happy with the bronze medal she won at the World youth (u-14) chess championship in Mumbai recently, as she was very close to bagging the gold.

The Chennai girl was leading till the start of ninth round, but made some avoidable mistakes in two crucial rounds to finish third.

After her unexpected loss to Allahverdiyeva Ayan of Azerbaijan in the ninth round, Rakshitta came under time trouble and drew her 10th and penultimate round to the top seed Divya Deshmukh from winning position. Her 11th and last round victory over Mungunzul Bat-Erdene of Mongolia came a bit late in the day.

“Bronze [medal] is fine. But I could have won the gold because I was leading the tournament [after the end of eighth round],” Rakshitta told The Hindu on Friday, after being felicitated by Velammal Vidyalaya at its School premises here.

Moving on

She has moved on, and her focus now is on the next big tournament at home, which is the World junior (u-20) boys’ and girls’ championships to be held in Chennai in January 2020. “I want to win the gold medal [in Chennai],” she said.

The 14-year-old has her tasks cut out. She is keen to garner two remaining GM norms to become a Woman Grandmaster by the end of 2020, but her ultimate target is to become the women’s world champion.

Rakshitta’s parents — father T. S. Ravi and mother Sai Meera are International Masters — are a great source of support for her. “I think there is no disadvantage. It is very helpful for they [parents] guide me and help me for everything,” Rakshitta said.

In fact, Sai Meera, a Woman International Master herself, quit her job with the Indian Bank to travel and be with her daughter. “Being a chess parent is an advantage. Sometimes it’s very tricky. I understand the game. Overall it is an advantage. I give her the freedom to choose openings. Because I understand the game, it becomes easy for her. Sine we both are passionate about the game, it has been great,” she said.

Help from GMs

The fact that she is being trained by GMs R. B. Ramesh and Vishnu Prasanna has helped her finetune her skills.

Sai Meera felt that her daughter has the ability to do well in the World girls’ u-20 championship and even become the world champion someday.

“…We know it’s a long journey. She is ambitious and wants to become a world champion. She is very brave and in must-win situations, she is confident. If she puts in a little more hard work and is more disciplined, she can become the world champion,” said Meera, while hoping for a top-three finish [for her daughter] in the World juniors u-20 event [in Chennai].