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SportChessThis silver medal is a big achievement: Humpy

This silver medal is a big achievement: Humpy

Published: 5th Oct 2021 1:11 am

Hyderabad: Even as the Indian team celebrated their first-ever podium finish with a silver medal in the Fide World chess championship in Sitges, Spain, far away in Vijayawada, India’s top player Grandmaster Koneru Humpy had to stay back for no fault of her. She became a victim of circumstances as she was denied a Spanish visa because she had taken Covaxin. The Spanish embassy cleared other players who took Covishield but Humpy was forced to miss the big event as she did not get the green signal.

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Nevertheless, Humpy, who felt bad as she was not part of the contingent, congratulated the Indian team for winning the silver. “This silver medal is a big achievement,’’ said Humpy while talking to Telangana Today.

On her missing the big event

Thanks to Covid-19 restrictions I had to miss this event because I took Covaxin. Getting a Spanish visa was a big problem for me. The Spanish embassy did not accept any applications for those who took Covaxin. I had to skip one more event prior to the World Championship. I was supposed to take part in the European Club Cup. Although they had given me a visa I had to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Practically it is difficult to go there, stay for 14 days in quarantine and play a tournament ahead. My replacement Padmini Rout, who also had Covaxin, was also not given the visa. She too, like me, was unfortunate to miss the world championship. The All India Chess Federation (AICF) did try but it was in vain.

On India’s show in Spain

We have improved a lot and today if we have won a silver medal it is because of a strong performance. In team tournaments, it is important to score in the lower board as the top board will be mainly to neutralize in many phases of the tournament. But scoring should be on the lower board. This Indian team was successful as in every match one of the players used to shine, Tanya, Vaishali, Bhakti Kulkrani, Mary Gomes did their bit. Harika played very well and sustained on the top board. I think this is a fantastic performance.
On the format

If I am not wrong, it is the first time we won a silver medal in a World Championship. But the format was entirely different. Earlier we used to have a classical format and with a round robin, it was much stronger. But this time it was in a rapid format. One more difference, countries like China did not participate. That also favoured us a bit. But one should give credit to the team. The team was in good form and that helped to win silver.

On her future tournaments

I need to wait till the Covaxin gets approved and there are no other solutions. European unions have not recognized it. It is not my problem alone and many players have suffered too.

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