Chess player Harika on a high after double delight

Hyderabad : Grand Master Harika Dronavalli is on a high after winning the best woman player award in the Eurasian Blitz Tournament in Kazakhstan over the weekend.

The India No.2 player picked up a cash prize of $2,500 and 60 ELO points to regain her position in the top 10 after a successful campaign that ended in Almaty on Sunday night.

Harika had won the best woman prize at the Zalakaros International Chess Festival in Hungary in the previous week to jump to World No.9 in the classical rankings list.

“I am really delighted to win these two awards back-to-back,” an exultant Harika said in a release on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old’s win is particularly impressive as the Blitz tournament saw an elite field, including World No.1 Hou Yifan of China.

In fact, she was tied with Yifan with 12.5 points at the end of the tournament and ended up victorious in the tie-breaker.

“It was a great opportunity for me,” said Harika. “Many top players were there as it was an open tournament and this has done wonders to my confidence.

“My first game was against (Boris) Gelfand. I was very nervous. Even though I lost I was in a very good position. That gave me the confidence in the rest of the tournament.”

In the course of the tournament, she beat Russia’s GM Boris Savchenko who is rated 2706 in the Blitz chess. “I was really happy with this win,” Harika said.