This season of the FIDE Chess Grand Prix is certainly dominated by one player: Humpy Koneru. It is time for us to take a closer look at the Indian grandmaster.
Early successes at Youth World Championships
Humpy Koneru was born March 31st 1987 in Gudivada, a place close to Vijayawada in India. Originally, her name was Hampi Koneru, but her parents decided to rename the little girl. Humpy learned chess at only five years old with her father K. Ashok as her coach. He actually gave up his job as a chemistry teacher to be able to support his daughter without distraction. In her teenage years, Humpy Koneru was extremely successful. She won the Youth World Championship for girls in the category U10 in Cannes 1997 and U12 in Oropesa del Mar 1998. Two years later, she won the U14 category in the exact same city. In 2001, the Indian became Youth World Champion in the U20 category in Athens at only 14 years! Also, she triumphed at the British Championships 2000 and 2002, at which chess players from the Commonwealth compete.
Grandmaster title of men at 15 years
When Humpy Koneru was honored with the grandmaster title of women in 2001, she was 14 years old. Only one year later, the FIDE World Chess Federation awarded the 15 year-old Indian with the grandmaster title of the men’s division. At the World Championship in 2004, the 17 year-old teenager competed until semi-finals, but dropped out then. Furthermore, she obtained the North-Ural-Cup in 2005 after she had defeated the World Champion Antoaneta Stefanova in Krasnoturjinsk. Again, she made it to the semi-finals of the Women’s World Championship in 2008 in the Russian city Nalchik, but her opponent Hou Yifan secured the victory after tie-break.
Victress at FIDE Women’s Grand Prix 2011 / 2012
Humpy Koneru celebrated successes especially at the FIDE Women’s Grand Prix. In March 2009 in Istanbul, she was able to decide the contest to her favor at 8.5 points out of 11 rounds. In overall standings of the 2011 / 2012 series, Koneru came off 2nd behind the Chinese World Champion Yifan Hou. If the Chinese hadn’t unexpectedly lost her title to the Ukrainian Anna Ushenina in 2012, Humpy Koneru would have been the challenger at the – very boring – Chess World Championship 2013. Currently, the Indian ranks 3rd in the women’s worldwide rankings at an Elo of 2607.
written by Michael, translated by Birthe