Q & A with GM Harika

Q & A with GM Harika Welcome to the Q&A show at 8cross8, India’s chess online store. I

Q & A with GM Harika

Welcome to the Q&A show at 8cross8, India’s chess online store. I am Niranjan and this series is an attempt to have lively conversations about life on & off the chess board!

Today, we have Dronavalli Harika, Arjuna Awardee and three-time world women bronze medalist with us today. Apart from being a chess champion, she is an avid traveler, occasional reader and a lover of spicy Indian food! Let’s start our conversation with Harika!


Niranjan:  Let’s make a move with a question. Describe your chess self in three words!

Harika: Dreamer, Believer and Achiever.


N: How are your chess pieces doing?

H: Everything is in the right place 🙂


N:  Now, let’s talk about your recent events.  Can you sum up your last event?

H: My last event was World team championship. I think this is the best result as a team, not in the sense of ranking, but the direct encounter results with the top ranked teams.


N: When and how did you start chess?

H: My father taught me chess and I vaguely remember that we used to see games from a newspaper column. Later on due to family friends, i started playing tournaments just for fun and my results didn’t let me stop 🙂


N: Is there a chess player you wish to play? (Alive or dead)

H: Kramnik Vladimir


N: Is there a tournament you wish never ended?

H: Asian Indoor games 2007 as it has been brilliant in every way.


N: How have awards impacted your life?

H: Awards just motivate and encourage me to work harder.


N: A chess player you wish were alive:

A- Bobby Fischer


N: A short game you can never forget:

H: Rene Letelier Martner vs Fischer, 1960


Letelier Martner,Rene – Fischer,Robert James [E70]

Leipzig ol (Men) qual-D Leipzig (8), 24.10.1960


N: Which is your next event?

H – Abu Dhabi International Open


N: Do you have plans of training players in the future?

HDefinitely not in the near future. But when my playing career comes to an end, I will certainly open an academy and try to help players to reach their goals.


N: How important is the dress code for chess players in today’s world?

H- Well, I think it is not very important but, the basic dress code which we have now is fine.


N: What are some of your chess habits?

H- One of my habits is to follow new chess books and games.


N: What is your way of handling losses during an event?

H- To write down my thoughts and to motivate myself to start fresh again.


N: How do you celebrate your wins?

H: I just share my happiness with family and friends. I also pamper myself for a couple of days.


N: Favorite chess opening:

H- Reti


N: What are some of the chess accessories you own?

H: Not much. I just have a checks shirt and a chess pieces bed sheet.


N:  A chess book you would recommend to a beginner?

H – My system by Nimzowitsch


N: Three favorite non-chess books excludingThe secret & The Chimp Paradox

H: Open by Andre Agassi, A shot at history by Abhinav Bindra and Tinkles


N:  Favorite time control?

H- Blitz, 3+2


N:  Favorite chess quote:

H–  I am convinced, the way one plays chess always reflects the player’s personality. If something defines his character, then it will also define his way of playing. – Vladimir Kramnik


N: Have you had a tragicomedy in an endgame recently?

HI cannot recollect one, but I feel the Knight vs Bishop ending which I couldn’t convert smoothly is bit of a tragicomedy. (classical game against Tan Zhong Yi in world championship semifinals)


N: What is your secret behind staying happy most of the time?

HI just try to stay positive as much as I can.


N: If Panda were a chess piece, how would it move?

H- It would stay at one place and wouldn’t move at all 🙂


N: What would be the title of your autobiography if you ever wrote one?

H- Well, I don’t know. Maybe, ‘The belief of my life’.


N: That was a lot of chit-chat! There is a special addition to the interview. Let’s get to the board now

White to Play

N: What is so special about this position?

H- Every move is forced until mate.

White to Play


H- Kxe1,  h3,  h8N, takes c5 pawn and then c4 pawn and Na5

Can you win with white? ☺

White to Play

N: Can you elaborate on how you decided on a move in this position?

H  I felt all my other pieces are in perfect squares and black can’t do much than waiting, so I got time to regroup my knight to a better square.


Harika,Dronavalli (2528) – Hou Yifan (2649) [A10]
chess.com IoM Masters Douglas ENG (7.13), 07.10.2016


And I hope it was fun and worth your time!

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About Niranjan Navalgund

Niranjan Navalgund is a young chess professional who derives great pleasure in learning about life through the game of chess. He is a former National U-17 chess champion, Commonwealth U-18 Silver Medalist and the author of 'The Lively Library & An Unlikely Romance'. Unusual stories excite him. He hopes to visit the Panda Zoo, someday.

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