Historic! Koneru Humpy becomes the first Indian woman to win a medal at World Blitz Chess Championships

PTI, Dec 30, 2022, 8:45 PM IST

Image credit: Twitter / SAI Media

Almaty: Indian ace Koneru Humpy came up with a superb performance after a modest run in the initial phase to claim the silver medal in the women’s section of the FIDE World Blitz Chess Championship here on Friday. She finished strongly, beating Zhongyi Tan, who won the World Rapid title a couple of days ago, in the 17th and final round.

After posting only four wins from the first nine rounds on Thursday and being placed in the mid-40s, the 35-year-old Humpy was in top form on day two of the competition, registering seven impressive wins and drawing with compatriot Dronavalli Harika in the 14th round. She finished on 12.5 points, just half a point behind the winner Bibisara Balabayeva of Kazakhstan.

One of the highlights of Humpy’s performance on the day was a defeat of China’s Zhongyi Tan in the 17th and final round to dent her opponent’s chances of adding to the gold medal in the World Rapid tournament.

Humpy had finished sixth in the Rapid championship which preceded the Blitz competition. She is a former winner of the World Rapid title. ”It was a perfect day for me with 7.5 points out 8 games, fetching the first ever silver medal in the women world Blitz chess championship!” Humpy wrote on Twitter.

Harika, who finished with 10.5 points had to settle for 13th spot while Padmini Rout was 17th. Tania Sachdev ended up 21st and B Savitha Shri, winner of a bronze in the Rapid championship was placed 33rd with 9.5 points in a strong field.

In the Open event, won by world No.1 Magnus Carlsen of Norway with 16 points, no Indian player could manage a top-10 finish.

The experienced P Harikrishna was the best Indian in the Open section, taking a 17th place finish with 13 points with Nihal Sarin a spot behind with an equal number of points. Fast-rising Arjun Erigaisi, the highest seeded Indian here, wound up 42nd after a patchy display which saw him lose games 16, 17 and 18. Compatriot Vidit Santosh Gujrathi’s form was also up and down and he finished a lowly 90th.

Carlsen added the Blitz title to the world rapid title he won on Wednesday. Despite suffering reverses at the hands of Russian players Ian Nepomniatchi in the 15th round and Alexey Sarana, the Norwegian won his games in the 20th and 21st rounds against Aleksandr Shimanov and Uzbekistan’s Nodirbek Abdusattorov to finish a point clear of Hikaru Nakamura (15 points).

Indian players’ performance in World Blitz tournament:

Women: Koneru Humpy 12.5 (2nd place), Harika (10.5, 13th), Padmini Rout (10.5, 17th), Tania Sachdev (10, 21st), B Savitha Shri (9.5, 33rd).

Men: P Harikrishna (13 points, 17th), Nihal Sarin (13, 18th), Arjun Erigaisi (12, 42nd), B Adhiban (12, 49th), V Pranav (11.5, 58th), Aravind Chithambaram (11.5, 60th), Surya Shekhar Ganguly (11, 72nd), Raunak Sadhwani (10.5, 83rd), Vidit S Gujrathi (10.5, 90th), S L Narayanan (10.5, 92nd).

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