It's been a little over a year since Guntur girl Harika Dronavalli rose to World No 5 ranking in October last year. Despite some impressive performances, things haven't exactly gone her way since winning the World Championship bronze medal in March this year and her ranking dipped to 11. The chess champ is unperturbed though, and believes that the day she will realise her dream of becoming World No 1 is not very far away.
In fact, since taking up the sport as a seven-year-old, Harika's life story has been about raising the bar constantly as she moved from one landmark to another. "I never, ever had any doubts in my mind that I will not be able to become Grandmaster or World Champion. It was like I was waiting for the day my dreams will come true. My goal is to become world no 1 and I'm doing everything needed to get there," says the 26-year-old as she settles down for a chat. In a heart-to-heart with Hyderabad Times, the Guntur girl talks about her game plan, both for chess and life.
AP is emerging as the new chess capital of India. While you, Koneru Humpy, Pentala Harikrishna and Lalith Babu are making waves in the senior circuit,13-year-old Jishitha is rocking in the juniors league internationally. What's the secret?
Yes, a lot of people ask me how come Vijayawada produces so many world class chess players. But honestly speaking, I can't pin point exactly what the reason behind this phenomenon is. I think it has got something to do with the kind of support and encouragement the game receives there. But it sure feels great to have so many fellow grandmasters like Humpy, Hari and Lalith for company. we keep running into each other when playing tournaments abroad and we all share a healthy rapport and keep each other on our toes.