Dubai: Grandmaster Koneru Humpy feels there is a lot of scope for female athletes to continue pursuing their sport even after attaining motherhood as she is looking forward to taking part in the first league-styled Global Chess League to be held from June 21 to July 2 in Dubai.
“I have a lot of things to do at home. I have a five-year-old daughter who keeps me busy,” said the 36-year-old 2019 FIDE Rapid Chess champion. “There are a lot of mothers who are being successful in their sporting careers now. I am proud to see that I have been able to manage both,” she said.
Humpy, who is the youngest female chess player to become a Grandmaster, will be looking to leave an indelible mark once again by playing in the GCL
“It’s quite an interesting one to have a league with mixed teams of men, women and junior players. Apart from that, having a corporate like Tech Mahindra will definitely have a bigger impact in the chess world. This is one of the bigger reasons for us to take part in this event. This league will be inspiration for organisers all over the world,” said Humpy, who was accorded the Arjuna Award in 2003, winner of the Padma Shri, and the 2021 BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year, said.
Rapid chess format
A joint venture between Tech Mahindra and FIDE, the Global Chess League will witness six teams competing in a minimum of 10 matches each in a double round-robin format competing in the rapid chess format.
“It’s quite an interesting one to have a league with mixed teams of men, women and junior players. This league will be inspiration for organisers all over the world,” Humpy said.
“Chess is changing now, and the organisers are trying to make it more spectacular to attract more audience. We also enjoy shorter time formats in a fun way, which will be more entertaining for the audience.”
Plenty of Grandmasters
Humpy, who won the World Rapid Chess Championship in 2020 started her career when she was just six years old after being introduced to the sport by her father. The 36-year-old won her first medal, becoming the national chess champion in the Under-10 category in 1997. The two-time Asian Games Gold-medallist stunned the world when she earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 15 years in 2002, becoming the then youngest player to achieve the title.
With a current world ranking of 204 and Classical Elo rating of 2586, the Andhra Pradesh star is regarded as one of the top players from India.
“I started when I was six years old. As a player, I can testify that chess is constantly being evolved in India. We have plenty of Grandmasters now from the country and we are the fastest growing country in chess at the time,” Humpy said.
Lot of patience
Giving a brief insight into what it takes to succeed in chess, Humpy added: “Chess requires lot of practice and physical fitness. You need stamina to be at your best to perform. It takes a lot of time. It also requires a lot of material to read that we have to go through. Training for chess is a never-ending story.”
Humpy wishes to see a similar rise for women players in the sport of chess. “The growth of women’s chess players in India is quite low as compared to men’s growth. There are a lot of youngsters in Men’s circuit, but there are quite a few in Women’s Chess. For the population and talent we have, the number is quite less and we can improve upon that,” she signed off.