Determined Dronavalli Harika eyes medal at the 44th Chess Olympiad

31-year-old Dronavalli Harika will be playing her eighth successive Chess Olympiad. (Pic credit: AICF).
31-year-old Dronavalli Harika will be playing her eighth successive Chess Olympiad. (Pic credit: AICF).

Star Indian chess player Dronavalli Harika is raring to go all out and give her best shot at winning a medal at the Chess Olympiad.

The 44th Chess Olympiad will get underway on Thursday in Mamallapurm, Chennai.

The 31-year-old has been the backbone of the Indian women’s team at the Olympiad for the last 18 years. Playing her eighth Olympiad in a row, Harika is in the process of setting a national record of consecutive Olympiad appearances since making her debut in 2004.

Harika said about the upcoming challenge:

“I am optimistic about our chances but don’t want to put any pressure on ourselves. Of course, we are the top seeds on paper but at the end of the day, it matters on how we perform collectively.”

Pregnant in the advanced stages, Harika said she is still in the best possible shape mentally and is determined to give her best.

“Off board, I have tried to keep myself in the best shape possible and chess-wise, have kept up my practice and played in some online chess events till last week to stay in touch. I am very happy with the team's composition and I am sure that we will be aspiring to perform above our capacity.”

The combination of Koneru Humpy on the top board and Harika on the second board offers an almost insurmountable barrier for their opponents and eases the pressure on the lower boards.

The perception of chess has changed for the positive in India: Dronavalli Harika

Dronavalli Harika considers the upcoming Chess Olympiad a golden opportunity for India. She believes it can further boost the prospects of the sport in the country.

“All of us are intent on performing well so that sponsors get motivated to host more and more prestigious tournaments in India. The perception of chess has changed for the positive in India and hosting this Olympiad will have a big impact in all aspects of chess.”

India’s best effort came in the 2012 Olympiad in Turkey where they finished fourth. That's where Harika secured an individual silver medal on the second board.

Dronavalli Harika is one of the most decorated Indian players, having won numerous medals in age categories and in open categories. She is a Padmashree awardee and one of the most solid and consistent players on the Indian chess scene. This time too, she promises:

“I have mentally willed to give my best.”

India is hosting the prestigious event for the first-time ever and it will continue until August 10.

Quick Links

Edited by Akshay Saraswat
App download animated image Get the free App now