Indian chess personage Dronavalli Harika wants to secure a medal and is willing to give her best efforts at the 44th Chess Olympiad which commenced from Thursday onwards in Mamallapuram, Chennai and the first edition of the biennial chess tournament to be taking place in India.
A Padmashree awardee, Harika has been a pioneer behind the Indian women’s team at the Olympiad for nearly two decades and this year’s edition marks her eighth consecutive appearance at the tournament.
So far, India marked its best performance at the Chess Olympiad back in 2012 in Turkey when Harika clinched an individual silver on the second board. This time, the 31-year-old wants her squad to perform above their capacities and has mentally prepared herself to give her best on the board.
“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,” said Harika, who is currently in the advanced stages of pregnancy, “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 composition and I am sure that we will be aspiring to perform above our capacity.”
“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 on all aspects of chess. I have mentally willed to give my best,” she added. [H/T ANI]
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