GM Harika Dronavalli, India (ELO 2515)

Photo: David Llada

30-year-old IGM Harika Dronavalli is one of two Indian players on the women’s top 10 rating list (Humpy Koneru is the other).

She showed great talent early on and in 2002, at the age of 11, she won the Asian U-18 Girls Chess Championship. In 2004, she won the U-14 World Junior Girls, and in 2008, she won the World Junior Girls Chess Championship. She became a grandmaster in 2011.

Dronavalli has finished third in the Women’s World Championship three times. She played the TePe Sigeman Chess tournament in 2017, where she finished in 5th place.

10 quick questions:

1) How many years have you played chess professionally?
It’s been exactly 21 years since i first started my international tournament.

2) At what age did you learn how to play chess?
When I was 7 years old.

3) Who taught you how to play chess?
My dad taught me the basics of chess.

4) What was your first big tournament success (tournament win or similar)?
My first success was National u-9 title when i was 8 and first international success was silver medal in U-10 world championship.

5) Do you sometimes also participate in other sports/games? If so, which and at what level?
I play badminton for fitness everyday.

6) Do you have any family members or relatives that also play chess? If so, who and at what level?
My dad played at University level and my sister player at state level.

7) What would you be doing today, if you did not play chess professionally?
I cannot imagine myself doing anything else than playing chess.

8) What is your main strength as a chess player?
My intuition.

9) Do you have any superstitions when you sit down at the chess board before a tournament game?
Not superstition but i have a certain way of adjusting pieces before the game. I adjust pieces in the same pattern since more than 10 years or even more.

10) What do you hope to achieve in the 2021 TePe Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament?
I am going to start the tournament as last seed so my main goal will be to play some good quality chess and cause some upsets 🙂