Harika Dronavalli wins best women’s player award at Eurasian Blitz Tournament in Kazakhstan
Grand Master Harika Dronavalli added another feather to her cap by winning the best women’s player award in the Eurasian Blitz Tournament in Kazakhstan that concluded on Sunday night.
The India number two player picked up a cash prize of USD 2500 and 60 ELO points to regain her position in the top 10. Harika had won the best woman’s prize at the Zalakaros International Chess Festival in Hungary last week to jump to world number 9 in the classical rankings list.
“I am really delighted to win these two awards back to back,” an exultant Harika said.
The 25-year-old’s win is particularly impressive as the Blitz tournament saw an elite field, including world number one Hou Yifan of China.
In fact, she was tied with Yifan with 12.5 points at the end of the tournament and ended up victorious in the tie-breaker.
“It was a great opportunity for me,” said Harika. “Many top players were there as it was an open tournament and this has done wonders to my confidence.”
Harika revealed that she got the invitation for the tournament at the last minute. “Luckily, I was already in Europe. I got all the visa work and ticketing from there itself.”
“My first game was against (Boris) Gelfand. I was very nervous. Even though I lost I was in a very good position. That gave me the confidence in the rest of the tournament.”
She beat Russia’s GM Boris Savchenko in the course of the tournament who is rated 2706 in the Blitz chess. “I was really happy with this win,” Harika said.