New Delhi: "I wanted to win Gold after two back-to-back Bronze medals," Indian grandmaster Harika Dronavalli told News18.com in an exclusive interview after winning the bronze medal at the World Women's Chess Championship in Tehran.
Harika won her third bronze medal in a row after a heartbreaking defeat against Tan Zhongyi of China in a semi-final tie-breaker.
"This performance was much better than the previous two performances. A sportsperson makes mistakes and learns from those quickly. I did the same way. Last two championships gave me lots of learning and I applied those in the tournament. I am content with my show," Harika said.
Harika has won the bronze medal for the third time. In 2012, Harika had lost the semi-final against Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria while in 2015 she had lost to eventual winner Mariya Muzychuk of Ukraine.
The turning point in the match was the Armageddon or 'sudden death' tie-break.
According to the rules in the Armageddon, the player with whites has 5 minutes to make the move while black has 4 minutes. The player with white has to win to progress while the player with black has to draw to advance.
And, Harinka was playing with white pieces in Armageddon.
"Armageddon was the turning point. I failed to win the toss and my opponent (China's Tan Zhongyi) opted for Black. There were several up and downs in the game. At one juncture, I was almost there and suddenly out. I learnt a lot this time. I will try my best to convert my bronze into other colour (silver or gold)," Harika said.
"The match was nothing less than a roller coaster ride. I fought back and I won. I won my first rapid-fire game pretty quickly and then I was too close to the draw. I guess I lost the momentum after that. I was close to an equal but I had less time and I made the error and lost the game," the youngster said.
"He is a senior and inspiration for all of us. That's so nice of him that he was tweeting and encouraging me. He understands the game well and knows how to handle any situation. I would certainly meet him and speak on my performance," the 26-year-old said.
The three-time bronze medallist at the World Championships, Harika, aims to improve her game and rating in the FIDE rankings.
"My main aim is to improve my game. I want to give my best in the upcoming tournaments and improve my rating," Harika said.
On being asked the reason of Chess not being so popular in the country, Harika said:" Chess is a sport which takes time to understand. It is not like other sports that you go and start playing. You need to understand this game and it takes time. I have seen people who love chess like anything, more than a professional chess player. There is a lack of proper awareness about the game. It needs proper attention and awareness because it is a serious game,""Words should be spread through social networks just like other sports," she signed off.