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We Need to Perform Collectively to Earn Medal at Chess Olympiad: Dronavalli Harika

IANS

Last Updated: July 27, 2022, 22:51 IST

Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram), India

Indian chess star Dronavalli Harika (Twitter)

Indian chess star Dronavalli Harika (Twitter)

Dronavalli Harika is in the process of setting the national record of continuous successive Olympiad appearances since she made her debut in 2004

Star chess player Dronavalli Harika is optimistic about India’s chances but said the top-seeded women’s team will have to put up a collective effort to win medals at the 44th Chess Olympiad, beginning on Thursday.

The 31-year old has been the backbone of the Indian women’s team at the Olympiad for the last 18 years.

Playing her eighth Olympiad in a row, she is in the process of setting the national record of continuous successive Olympiad appearances since she made her debut in 2004.

“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," Harika was quoted as saying in a release.

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Harika, who is in the advanced stages of pregnancy, said she is still in the best possible shape mentally and is determined to give her best.

“Off the 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," she said.

“I am very happy with the Team composition and I am sure that we will be aspiring to perform above our capacity."

The combination of Koneru Humpy on the top board and Harika on the second board for the top-seeded India ‘A’ team can be quite intimidating for the opponents and eases the pressure on the lower boards.

Aware of the challenges lying ahead of the team, Harika named Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, USA and Kazakhstan amongst the teams to watch out for during the event.

“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 in all aspects of chess," she said.

India’s best effort has been a fourth place in 2012 Olympiad in Turkey where Harika secured an individual silver medal on the second board.

The Olympiad will be held from July 28 to August 10.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the event at a ceremony on Thursday in the presence of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin and others.

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first published:July 27, 2022, 22:49 IST
last updated:July 27, 2022, 22:51 IST