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Talk of the Universe: Ganguly in conversation with Humpy

by Shahid Ahmed - 28/07/2020

Koneru Humpy is the current World no.2 among Women. She won the FIDE World Rapid Championship last year in December. Earlier this year she won the second edition of Cairns Cup. Apart from the usual chess tournament interviews, we don't get to hear much from Humpy. Surya Sekhar Ganguly continues to bring in various top players from the chess universe and he manages to unravel the side of the players we haven't seen, the stories we haven't heard. In the two-part Live interview, Ganguly discusses Humpy's first step into chess, her initial years, her father playing a key role in her chess career, how she handled criticism, her triumph, comeback after two years of break and much more. Photo: Surya's youtube channel.

The Story of the Humble Humpy

Humpy won the FIDE Skolkovo GP in December 2019 before winning her maiden World Rapid title to end the year on a high note. Earlier this year she won Cairns Cup in February and climbed to the no.2 spot among the Women in World Ranking, but where did Humpy's journey begin? What caused her to pick up, who inspired her - all these questions and many more are revealed in these two part series of In Conversation with Humpy by Surya Sekhar Ganguly. Humpy's off-tournament interviews are absolutely rare and these two episodes are a must-watch for all chess lovers in the universe.

Humpy was the last Indian to win a major tournament Cairns Cup before Covid-19 cancelled/delayed all otb events | Photo: Saint Louis Chess Club

"Just like a normal homemaker. I am looking after Ahana. When she goes for a sleep then I get some time to work on chess. When there is something important, I look at chess a little bit more." was Humpy's response when she was asked about how she is spending her lockdown days.

Humpy won her first ever first prize in Fancy Dress competition dressed as Bengali girl

"I had a very different story. When I played State Champions, I never qualified for the National Championships in my first attempt"

Humpy winning her championships = National Under-10 in Mumbai and World Under-10 in France 1997

"I saw him seeing chess games from the Informator. That's when I started getting attracted to the game"

- Humpy on her childhood and how she got into chess.

Informator used to be the only resource for top players' games and updates before the internet era took over | Photo: Amazon India

"I was always looking for the number 1 spot since my childhood"

- Humpy on what keeps her going.

Humpy being felicitated by then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu after winning Gold in World Junior 2001

"My father taught me that a few rules, one of them was not to agree for short draws. Win, loss or draw, whatever happens, that should happen on the board, not before the game or after the opening. This has a very strong influence on me."

Humpy receiving her awards from former President of India Late A P J Abdul Kalam - Padma Shri 2007 (left) and Arjuna Award 2003 (right)

Humpy with her father Koneru Ashok

"From the year 2012, I started working on my own"

FIDE Women's World Championship Match - Humpy vs Hou Yifan

Humpy won FIDE Skolkovo GP in December 2019 | Photo: FIDE

Humpy won FIDE World Rapid 2019 Women's | Photo: FIDE

Humpy got married to Anvesh in 2014

Humpy with her husband Anvesh and daughter Ahana

Humpy Classics

Here are the positions which were discussed in Episode 11

Humpy - Karpov, Cap d'Agde 2006

Black to play

Humpy - Miroshnichenko, Abu Dhabi 2007

Black to play

Humpy - Krasenkow, Wijk aan Zee 2008

White to play

Humpy - Kashlinskaya, Skolkovo 2019

White to play

Humpy - Berkes, Cochin 2004

White to play

Pia Cramling - Humpy, Istanbul 2009

Black to play

Zhao Xue - Humpy, Tehran 2016

White to play

Humpy - Zoltan Nemeth, Budapest 2005

White to play

Wu Shaobin - Humpy, Kuala Lumpur 2005

White to play

Replay the games

Episode 11

In Conversation with - Episode 11: Koneru Humpy  'Symbol of strength and grace' | Video: Surya Sekhar Ganguly

Humpy answers

In the second part, Humpy answered a lot of questions asked by the audience. Humpy talked about India having only two women who are GMs, her experience after winning her first international open, her favorite chess players, how she dealt with criticism and much more.

Annageldy - Humpy, Hyderabad 2005

White to play

Lazaro - Humpy, Esbjerg 2003

Black to play

Humpy - Ushenina, World Teams 2011

White to play

Humpy - Timman, Czech Republic 2009

White to play

Caruana - Humpy, Merida 2008

White to play

Humpy - Vachier-Lagrave, Cap d'Agde 2006

White to play

Wojtaszek - Humpy, Lausanne 2006

White to play

Ju Wenjun - Humpy, Jermuk 2012

Black to play

Sara Khadem - Humpy, Monaco 2015

Black to play

Humpy - Galliamova, Sochi 2015

White to play

Replay the games

Episode 12

In Conversation with Episode 12: Koneru Humpy - 'Ask Humpy'  | Video: Surya Sekhar Ganguly


Surya Sekhar Ganguly's youtube channel