Next in our series we bring to you an interview with Harika Dronavalli, who has just won the Women’s Grand Prix at China. A very consistent and passionate Chess player, she is an inspiration for all of us. We are grateful to her for giving us her time, amidst her preparations for the next tournament.
Rucha Pujari: Congratulations Harika on your recent Grand Prix victory. Amazing performance! Can you share with us how you prepared for this tournament? What was your aim before you entered the field?
Harika: Thank you. I didn’t do any special preparation specially for the tournament, but in general I continuously work on chess. I aimed to win the tournament but I didn’t think about it much during the event.
RP: What were the crucial stages for you during the tournament? How do you handle these situations and pressure during important games?
Harika: Game against Humpy (Koneru) was the most crucial one and it changed the whole tournament scenario. But most important one was the last game. I try to stay positive and focused during crucial situations but I should admit it’s very difficult.
RP: There have been discussions going on about the Women’s World Championship cycle – how do you look at the current format and what are your views?
Harika: Current cycle is a bit complicated for the spectators and may be a bit unfair for the player who wins the World Championship Match. But personally for me it doesn’t make difference. I just try to concentrate on chess and try to prove in every opportunity that is given.
RP: You are one of the only two women in India to have become a Grand master. How was your journey, and can you share with us some of the defining moments of your career?
Harika: If I look back at the journey, it feels so beautiful now but I had my ups and downs like for everyone. I tried to learn from the failures and never gave up on my goals. Most memorable ones are when I won my first National title, World youth title, Commonwealth titles, Asian Women title, World Juniors title, Asian Games medal, World online championship and of course the most precious Bronze medals in the world championship. Above all the most special one was when I received the Arjuna award, the prestigious sports award in the country.
RP: What does Harika like to do besides Chess? 🙂
Spending time with family & best friends, watch movies & serials, cooking, reading books.
RP: Next question is on behalf of all Chess players. How do you work on Chess? How much importance do you give to other factors like diet, fitness and psychology?
All the other factors are very important and I try to work on chess and fitness everyday.
RP: A lot of people are following your games. They want to know where you are playing next.
Chinese league, Olympiad, Grandprix and World Blitz Rapid championships.
RP: What would be your piece of advice to aspiring players?
Believe yourself. Aim high and don’t give up on your dreams at any given situation.
RP: Do you have a favorite movie?
Harika: Chak de (India)
RP: Summer or winter?
Harika: Summer, Anyday 🙂
RP: The book you are currently reading is…?
Harika: Total Recall
RP: If you were to be a chess piece, which would you want to be and why?
Harika: Queen because very powerful and most important.