Chess player Harika Dronavalli has achieved a rare feat to earn the Grandmaster title. She is the second Indian woman after GM Koneru Humpy to attain this top-most honour.
The Andhra Pradesh player grabbed the final norm following her fine performance at the 1st Hangzhou Women Grandmaster Chess Tournament in China on Saturday. Harika pocketed a total of 5.5 points, following seven draws and two wins, to finish at a commendable third position. Top 10 women players competed in this round robin event.
Harika had held double norms for GM title and already had bagged the titles of Woman Grandmaster and International Master previously. So, in a way, this feat is a natural progression.
Harika said, “It’s been a dream come true for me. I have been working hard to achieve this for the past few years and was confident getting into this tournament.
“I am naturally very happy. I am looking forward to the future tournaments and will continue working hard to be the world No 1. Also, I would like to thank Lakshya and Flame for lending me support when needed the most. I am happy that I have reposed their faith in me.”
Harika is one of the four chess players currently supported by Lakshya. Before setting out for the tournament, she had been at the Flame Campus in Pune to undergo special training at the chess camp by legendary GM Vladimirov.
GM Vladimirov commented, “I congratulate Harika on this special achievement. There was never a doubt in my mind about her capability. I am sure she will continue this form and bring more laurels.”
GM Abhijit Kunte, the mentor for the chess vertical at Lakshya, said, “Harika has been in great form, following her fine performances at the Asian Individual Chess Championships and the South African Open. We were expecting a good result at this tournament too and are very pleased with her performance.”
A resident of Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Harika had received the Arjuna Award for her excellence in the year 2007, following which she proved her calibre by winning the girls title at the World Junior Chess Championship held in Turkey in 2008.
She had recently won a gold medal at the Asian Individual Woman Chess Championship and silver in the women’s category at the Commonwealth Championship held in South Africa this year.