10-01 2021

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It is all about making the right moves. Each piece has significance. Every act has a consequence. In the end, all the steps count. To know where a path ends, a move leads and a piece shall fall requires an astute understanding of life. And chess is all about that. You’d think such abilities are connected to age. Harika Dronavalli has a different say in the matter.

She was only 13 years old, in 2004, when she became a Woman Grandmaster (WGM). Everyone was surprised. Harika was not. She knew that age has got nothing to do with performance. Her understanding of chess, and life, was sharp from a young age. Her game had only begun.

Leaving her formal education aside, Harika focused on her training. She traveled to over 30-40 countries. The knowledge captured in the books was not enough for her. She learned from life itself. Appearing at championships around the world, she was obsessed with becoming a Grandmaster and World Champion. She did not waver from her goal or invest her time in anything else. At every step along the way, she always had a plan. A goal and a purpose to pursue.

By 2011, she had achieved her goal of becoming a Grandmaster. Only the second Indian woman to achieve that title. She won World u-14, u-18, u-20 titles. She won the National Women championship, Asian Women Championship, Commonwealth women championship 3 times, Asian Games Bronze Medalist, and World women championship bronze medalist three times. She had opened with a fantastic move that had swept the world off its feet. Her meteoric, yet silent, rise in the game is only making her case stronger, her game sharper.

No piece in a game of chess is too small. Age or size is no factor in determining who will win. Even pawns, with the right moves, can become queens. Harika Dronavalli is an example of that