Koneru Humpy is a famous chess player.
She was women’s world rapid chess champion and she became the first Indian woman to win a world title in rapid chess championship.
Koneru Humpy was born on 31 March 1987 in Gudivada, Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh.
Her father, Koneru Ashok used to work as a chemistry lecturer.
He was a former chess player and in 2006, he received Dronacharya Award.
Her mother’s name is Latha Ashok.
Humpy’s elder sister, Chandra Hawsa Koneru played chess until the national level.
Chandra Hawsa Koneru currently works as a Senior Manager in Business Control at Volvo Group Trucks Operations in Bengaluru.
Early love for chess-
Initially, Humpy’s father wanted her to train in tennis and he wanted her to grow up to become a tennis player.
At 6, she started observing her father play chess.
He used to play chess by following the Chess Informant, a book originating in Yugoslavia.
Humpy became curious by observing her father play chess and learnt chess from him.
After a while, her father took Humpy to a city level chess tournament in Vijayawada.
Surprisingly, she won the tournament by defeating the kids who were more experienced and older to her.
Thanks to this win, her father realised Humpy’s passion for chess and decided to train her to make her a professional chess player.
As he knew chess well, he himself started coaching her and she was a quick learner.
He coached Humpy until she got married in 2014.
Hampi to Humpy-
Humpy was initially named as Hampi by her parents but when she started winning chess tournaments, her father renamed her to Humpy.
He did this because chess was dominated by Russian players and the name, Humpy, resembled a Russian name.
Humpy did her schooling from Chalapathi Residential School, Guntur.
From the beginning, she and her father were more focused on chess rather than education.
Initially, Humpy used to practise chess in the evenings after returning from school.
Then, she started taking half-day leaves from school to practice and attend tournaments.
Later, when Humpy started winning some chess tournaments, her father realised that her practise wasn’t sufficient for her.
So, from then on, she mostly stopped attending her school and used to practice for around 8-9 hours per day by staying at home.
Chess over education-
By her tenth grade, Humpy had already won the title of Grandmaster and the World Junior Girls Championship, so she decided to completely focus on becoming a professional chess player and so, she didn’t continue her education after her tenth grade.
Her parents fully supported her decision.
Later, Humpy tried to study for a degree through distance education but she couldn’t continue it due to her hectic schedule.
Humpy’s mother used to borrow school notes from her friends and teachers and used to teach her at home.
In 1995, her father resigned for his job in order to train her full-time as a chess trainer and psychologist.
Even when their family faced financial struggles, he didn’t rejoin his job as he was confident that she would become very successful with his full-time guidance.
During that time, Humpy used to practise for eight hours and he used to accompany her throughout her practise hours.
He constantly motivated her to play well.
By 13, Humpy had won three gold medals in the World Youth Chess Championship.
In 1999, she competed with boys and won the Asian Youth Chess Championship in Ahmedabad.
In the same year, Humpy became Asia’s youngest Woman International Master (WIM).
In 2001, she went on to win the World Junior Girls Championship.
In 2002, Humpy won the title of Grandmaster (GM) and created a world record as the youngest woman ever to achieve the title of Grandmaster and at that time, she was just 15 years old.
Apart from all these, she won in many other tournaments.
In 2019, Humpy became women’s World Rapid champion.
This championship was held in Moscow, Russia.
In 2020, Humpy won Cairns Cup in the United States and she also won a gold medal at Chess Olympiad 2020.
Recognition and awards-
In 2003, Humpy was conferred the Arjuna Award and in 2007, Padma Shri from A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.
On 8 March 2021, she won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2021 Award.
In 2021, Humpy was named as the Sportswoman of the Decade (Individual non-Olympic sports) by the Sportstar magazine.
As of December 2021, Humpy’s Elo rating is 2586.
In July 2009, she scored her career best Elo rating of 2623 and she is the first Indian woman to score this rating.
As of December 2021, Humpy’s World Rank is 270.
In Humpy’s initial days, while she was playing at the junior level, she didn’t receive any financial support from the government and her father had to arrange for all her expenses.
She started receiving support only after her junior level as she continued her winning streak.
Fortunately, Bank of Baroda sponsored Humpy for around 7 years.
She had to once again struggle after this sponsorship ended.
Fortunately, in 2006, Humpy got selected as a HR Executive in ONGC, Hyderabad in sports quota and at that time, she was 19.
From then on, ONGC is supporting her.
As of December 2021, Humpy is posted as Chief Manager at Rajahmundry, Andhra Pradesh.
In August 2014, Humpy got married to Dasari Anvesh, a businessman.
Both her husband and in-laws are fully supportive of her career.
A gap of 2 years-
In 2017, a daughter was born to Humpy and her daughter was named Ahana.
She took a maternity break of two years and during that time, she didn’t play chess at all.
Humpy took a break because she developed some complications in the fifth month of pregnancy and later, to take care of her child.
She resumed playing after this break and in 2019, she became women’s World Rapid champion.
Humpy practises chess through chess software with the help of The Week in Chess website.
And for relaxation, she works out in the gym for an hour daily.
Some interesting facts about Koneru Humpy-
- Humpy’s dream is to become a world champion in classical chess.
- She is very health conscious as she avoids junk food. And a few months prior to major tournaments, she doesn’t consume ice creams and desserts.
- Humpy’s favourite drink is plain water and she stays away from soft drinks.
- Her favourite actors are Suriya, Mahesh Babu and Karthi.
- Humpy’s plan after retirement is to train kids in chess.
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Featured image credit- Seshudak/Wikimedia Commons