Grand Master is achievable and I’m working on it: Himal | sports | Hindustan Times
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Grand Master is achievable and I’m working on it: Himal

Gusain, who achieved his International Master (IM) norm in 2017, already has achieved one GM norm.

sports Updated: Jun 05, 2018 13:08 IST
Ashutosh Sharma
Ashutosh Sharma
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Himal Gusain,Grand Master,Gusain
Himal Gusain during a rapid chess meet in Jalandhar.(Pardeep Pandit/HT)

These days Himal Gusain, 25, is a man on a mission in chase of Grand Master (GM) norm. Gusain, who achieved his International Master (IM) norm in 2017, already has achieved one GM norm. He missed his second by a whisker in the 26th Kavala International Open in Greece where he finished fourth in July last year.

“It was almost in my grasp, but I missed it. Now, I am planning to get back to the drawing board and start preparing again. It (GM) will take time as I have been playing a lot and haven’t had time for analysis. I dropped a few ELO rating points also,” Gusain said.

Himal needs 2500 rating points or more and three norms for becoming a GM. Right now, he has 2384 rating points with his highest being 2461 in June 2017.

Early start

It was during summer vacations in Dehradun when a nine-year-old got his first lessons in chess from his maternal grandfather.

“I was hooked, upon my return my teacher in St Xavier’s School, Sector 44, included me in the team for the ICSE inter-school chess meet. That was my first outing,” Gusain recalls, who was been crowned Chandigarh chess championship on numerous occasions.

Career highlights ts
  • Earned International Master Title in August, 2017
  • Secured a GM norm at Chigorin Memorial Tournament in St. Petersburg, Russia (2016)
  • Winner of Delhi Chess Association Open FIDE Rated Chess Tournament (2017)
  • Winner of Mineral FIDE Open Rating Chess Tournament (2015)
  • Winner of Chandigarh Chess Championship, eight times from 2007 to 2015
  • Won Chandigarh Chess Championship at the age of 13

Gusain’s father Pushpender is an engineer by profession, while his mother Hema is a teacher.

An avid Chelsea and Liverpool fan, Gusain just completed his MA Economics from GGD SD College, Sector 32.

“I noticed that I had become predictable for my opponents. They were coming prepared for me and had lost my element of surprise. I need to come up with a new game plan. Right now, I am thinking on working on my own and see how well I can improve on strategies,” said Gusain, who was the first from city to become an IM.

Gusain has trained with GM Abhijit Kunte in Pune at his academy way back in 2012.

“It will take a few good outings and I think it can be achieved. I have to once again become fluid in my calculations and work on my openings. Better time management is also something that I need to work on,” said Gusain, soon after playing in a Rapid Chess meet in Jalandhar.

Stress busters

An avid football fan, Gusain is eagerly waiting for the Russia World Cup to start. “Chess can sometimes be tough mentally so its either football or movies that come to my rescue for a change. I haven’t tried any mental training exercises or meditation but will start in near future,” Gusain said, who favours E4 King Pawn opening.

Although a IM norm has been the highlight of his career, Gusain thinks of his outing as a U-18 in world chess meet in Brazil as something he cherishes.

“It was first time that I played with the world’s best and something that I will cherish. Getting IM is also a high point. I think GM is achievable in near future and I am working on it,” a confident Gusain said.