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Chess | Koneru Humpy on the difficulties of training in the times of COVID-19 lockdown

The Candidates tournament notwithstanding, chess too is badly affected as Europe has been the hub of the activity with many Indians featuring in the leagues there, especially in Spain.

March 23, 2020 10:48 pm | Updated 10:48 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Catch-22:  It is a 24x7 job for Humpy and husband  Anvesh Dasari when it comes to taking care of their  young daughter Ahana.

Catch-22: It is a 24x7 job for Humpy and husband Anvesh Dasari when it comes to taking care of their young daughter Ahana.

Given that chess is an indoor sport, the Candidates tournament is on in Russia even though sporting events around the world have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, contrary to general belief, not all chess players, confined indoors, can continue working on their game on the computer.

Ask World rapid champion Koneru Humpy, for instance. “You cannot afford any sort of distractions when training. And, this is different. A lockdown where everyone is forced to stay at home. Since I have to take care of my 30-month-old Ahana, it is not easy to spare time for chess,” she told The Hindu from Vijayawada. “Our normal daily schedule meant dropping her at my parents’ home and carry on the training. Now, since she cannot go out due to precautionary measures, it is a 24x7 job for Anvesh Dasari [her husband] and me,” she said.

Uncertainty

“Though this is not the first time I have had to take such a long break (the last one being when she was pregnant), this is different. There is uncertainty with what’s is happening around the world and in our country,” the 32-year-old Humpy said.

The Candidates tournament notwithstanding, chess too is badly affected as Europe has been the hub of the activity with many Indians featuring in the leagues there, especially in Spain.

With Italy being the worst-hit, Humpy is not sure if the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix Series scheduled there in May will be held.

“Though there is no official communication, given the grim scenario, it seems unlikely that it will be on,” the World No. 2 said.

The other major events lined up for her are the Olympiad in August in Moscow and the World knock-out championship for women in Belarus in September.

“About these two events we can be optimistic as things might improve by then given the measures being taken by the Governments here and elsewhere.” Humpy appealed to every citizen to be responsible and follow the guidelines of maintaining social distancing.

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