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Koneru Humpy: A quest resurrected

The queen is back!

Koneru Humpy’s triumph is the biggest by an Indian woman has ever won in chess.

That makes India one of the few countries that have produced the World rapid chess champions both among men and women. Viswanathan Anand has won it multiple times.

The genial genius from Chennai has also won the more important classical World championship (in which the games are played over much longer duration than the rapid one and thus is more prestigious).

Humpy had come close to becoming the classical World champion in the past, but could not quite finish the job. She saw her rivals becoming stronger, while she had to take a break for a couple of years from competitive chess following childbirth.

Back to her best

If there were doubters who had felt her best might be behind her, she proved them wrong — even before the World rapid championship. She has performed superbly in the first two legs of the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix chess, which is part of the process to identify the challenger for the next World championship.

After winning the opening leg at Skolkovo (Russia) last September, she finished runner-up in Monaco to maintain her lead in the overall Grand Prix points. It was just a few days after the Monaco event the World rapid championship commenced in Moscow.

She also deserved to win a senior World title after claiming just about every championship for various age-groups, beginning with the World Under-10, way back in 1997.

Four years later, she won the World junior championship at 14, when the age-limit was 20. She also became the only the second woman in history, behind Hungarian Judit Polgar, to cross 2600 Elo points.

It had seemed it would only be a question of when, and not if, she wins the World title. But somewhere along the line, the hopes began to fade a bit. In Moscow, they have been resurrected.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 1:47:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/koneru-humpy-a-quest-resurrected/article30427067.ece

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