On Monday, as India’s top woman chess player, world No. 2 Koneru Humpy, was decimating Dana Aketayeva of Kazakhstan to win the country’s first gold in Doha, there was a feeling that her mom, sitting in the quiet, absolutely pin-drop silent room, was under greater pressure than her ward.
“When I watch her play, I feel the pressure more than her,” said Latha. “But it’s a great feeling watching your child play so well.”
The said ‘child’, indeed, played exceptionally well on Monday. In the morning, she beat Irine Kharisma Sukandar of Indonesia in the seventh round and then Mahri Geldyyeva of Turkmenistan in the eighth, moving on with renewed vigour.
“The match against the Indonesian girl was very easy for me,” said the Vijayawada girl who, at 19, really seems to have mastered her emotions and added Anatoly Karpov’s scalp to her collection recently.
“Beating Karpov gave me the enthusiasm to give it my all for the Asian Games gold. Since this is the first time that chess has been introduced at the Games, I have trained very hard as this is a completely different format,” she said. “There were some tough competitions, like the one against the Qatari world No. 1, but I am happy I overcame all odds,” Humpy added.
Humpy, though, is upset that little is being done for the game back home. “It’s OK for me because I have the support of the ONGC but what about those who don’t have sponsorship?” she asked.