Interview With Dronavalli Harika
“It would have been great to have 2 Indian and 2 Chinese players in semifinals.”
Anastasia Karlovich- What did you expect from the World Championship?
Dronavalli Harika- To tell you the truth I didn’t expect anything because before the championship I had a very busy schedule. I had to play Olympiad then Asian games for India on the top board. For three months I was not at home, either I was playing in the tournaments or had training camps. So I didn’t have much time to work specially for the World Championship. I came here without any preparation, so I was just working 3-4 hours before the game and used to come and play. I was lucky not to play with the strongest opponents. It could be Alina Danielian but not Tatyana Shadrina, Pia Cramling instead of Maria Muzychuk or Aleksandra Kosteniuk instead of Ruan Lufei.
A.K- Did you have somebody who was helping you during the tournament?
D.H- I didn`t expect anything from this tournament, so there was no point to bring any second. But till the second round I had a friend with me – Meenakshi Subbaraman. She helped me a lot - I didn`t need to do any work. For example she was cooking for me here. We had a rice cooker because I don’t eat meat at all.
A.K- Was it difficult to play with your compatriot in the first round?
D.H- Yes it’s more difficult than to play with somebody unknown. Also she has 2230 elo now but two years ago she had almost 2400, so she is quiet strong. In the first game I felt tired and made a draw but decided to brace myself and won the second game.
A.K- How was the second match? It seemed you had won it quite easily?
D.H- Yes I won both games. During the rest day after the first match I was preparing a new line for 7 hours. It happened in the game so it was easy for me to play and I won. The second game went good too. I was playing with white pieces for a draw. In one moment she played badly and lost again.
A.K- The third match was really nervous and was decided in Armageddon…
D.H- I was almost winning the classic game with white against Maria Muzychuk but I missed the victory. In the knockout tournaments one game decides a lot. So it’s a pity I missed a good chance in the first game. I was playing black the second one and made a draw. I won the first rapid game and it usually means better chances for me to win the match. Consequently I was very disappointed with myself because I gave the chance to equalize the score in the second game. I also lost the first blitz game, so before the second blitz game I was thinking “I can not do like this, it’s my last chance now. I should do my best here.” So I tried really hard. I had an experience in Armageddon before and decided to choose black pieces. So I’ve got the worse position because of one stupid move in the opening. I was not paying much attention to the time, I was just playing the position. Suddenly I saw there were only 2 seconds on her clock. Then I just played quickly…
A.K- I`ve noticed that before the second blitz game and Armageddon you didn`t leave your board as usually other players do. You were sitting in the same pose and looked very concentrated. What were you thinking about during that time?
D.H- I was trying to motivate myself, thinking that it’s my last chance to win and I have to do it, I should try my best. It worked out with Muzychuk but not with Ruan Lufei.
A.K- What happened with Chinese player?
D.H- In the fourth round I felt a bit tired after the tie-break. I decided to play something unknown for her, something she wasn’t expecting from me and I’ve got very comfortable position. I was clearly winning. If I have 2500 rating I should win such positions! If I would have won that game I’m sure I would be in semi-finals. It would have been great to have 2 Indian and 2 Chinese players in the semifinals. It’s a pity I didn’t finish that match in a classical time because it seems Ruan Lufei plays very strong in tie-breaks. She won all of them.
A.K- Are you satisfied with your general result here?
D.H- Yes I’m satisfied but also I’m a little bit upset. After coming so far, playing those tie-breaks it could have been a little bit better. Anyway I have many years to play and hope one day I`ll win the World Championship. I also want to become a GM and already have 2 norms.