Chess stalwart Koneru Humpy sets the record straight — after becoming a mother in 2017 —went against China’s Lei Tingjie in a highly-anticipated battle to win the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship crown in Moscow, Russia. The Grandmaster made a stunning comeback after taking a two-year sabbatical from 2016 to 2018. The couple, Humpy and Dasari Anvesh got married in 2014. She gave birth to daughter Ahana (who is now two years old).  Humpy said, “I played my last tournament in 2016 and now Ahana is 13 months old. I think now I can start travelling again for chess events,” Humpy had earlier told Chessbase.in sharing about the two-year maternity sabbatical she had taken. “When I started my first game on Day 3, I did not imagine I would be at the top. My hope was to reach top three. I didn’t expect to play the tie-break games,” said 32-year-old Humpy after making a stunning comeback on Saturday. While, before Ahana, the brilliant moves she played on were fought with Horses, Camels, Elephants, the Soldiers, the King and the Queen, later she was juggling motherhood and trying to find a way back to the black-and-white basics.

After Vishwanathan Anand who won this title in the open section in 2017, Humpy is only the second Indian to win the rapid gold in the current format

Humpy, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, secured podium finishes in the first two editions of the women’s Grand Prix at Skolkovo, Russia and Monaco, and showcased brilliance by winning women’s world rapid crown in Moscow on Saturday night.

Key Takeaways:

  • Indian Grandmaster Koneru Humpy claimed the World Women’s Rapid Chess Championship title in Moscow, Russia. She won the dramatic game against Lei Tingjie of China
  • The 32-year-old made a stunning comeback after taking a two-year sabbatical from 2016 to 2018 after she became a mother
  • Starting at the thirteenth seat, Humpy scored nine points in all to match Tingjie and Ekaterina Atalik of Turkey

Humpy is Asia’s youngest International Woman Master, 1999, had her last memorable performance at last year’s World Chess Olympiad. In 2002, at the age of 15, she became the youngest woman ever to achieve the title of a Grandmaster. According to The Indian Express, Humpy won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship title and has taken home a whooping $40,000 prize money at the Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex in Moscow.

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Started playing chess at the age of five, under the guidance of her father, Ashok Koneru, a former chess player, Humpy has the girls’ Under-10 (1997), Under-12 (1998) and Under-14 (1999) World Championships titles in her kitty. Her father Ashok, a professor, sacrificed his job to help his daughter fulfil her dreams. At 12, she got the International Master title and at 15, she earned the title of grandmaster and has never looked back, Hindustan Times reports. In 2018, she returned to competitive Chess. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Arjuna Award and Padma Shri award as well.

The rock star now aims to bag a Classical World Championship.

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