India's prodigious Grandmaster Krishnan Sasikiran hopes to cross, by the end of 2008, his previous best of 2700 ELO rating that earned him the 21st rank in the world last year.
Sasikiran, who is here to play in the third Kolkata Open Chess Tournament, said his choice of venue was to keep him in competition chess before the Olympiad.
"I have not played competitive chess for some time now and I decided to come to this meet as the standard was high and I will get some good competition. It is important to keep playing if you want to improve," said the top seed.
In the January 2007 FIDE (the International Chess Federation) rating list, Sasikiran was ranked number 21 in the world with an ELO rating of 2700. He became only the second chess player from India after Viswanathan Anand to reach ELO rating of 2700.
"I will try to better the 2700 mark by the end of this year. That is my target," said Sasikiran.
He heads for the French league next before joining Anand and P. Harikrishna to form the Indian team for the Chess Olympiad.
Sasikiran hopes that the Chess Federation will hold a 15-20 day camp before the Olympiad to help the players prepare better.
"I think there would be a camp. Then we can practice together," the Arjuna Award winner said.
"This is a good tournament. But being an open tournament with Swiss League format a lot depends on which board you are playing. It is like gambling, you can't predict what will happen," said Sasikiran.
"I will take one game at a time and hope to make it to the final."
Asked about the chess scenario in the country, he said: "It is quite good. There are a lot of youngsters who can make it big. But we need more competitive tournaments to have them ready for the big matches.
"We need some closed tournaments, which would be very beneficial for the younger crop of players. Players will be able to cross the 2500 barrier if they get some good competitive tournaments here in the country."
Asked what kind of chess he preferred, he said, "For me it's the classical format. I am the older type."