||Born: 31 March 1987, Gudivada, India
FIDE Title: GM
FIDE ID: 5008123
Rating: 2613 (Jun 2014)
Peak rating: 2623 (Jul 2011)
World rank (women): 3
Success is in our hands but we all need a bit of guidance to choose the right path. This is usually where parents come in, giving us roots to grow and wings to fly...
The “once upon a time” happy and successful chess story, began when Koneru Ashok discovered the tremendous chess potential of his daughter. To fulfill and support Humpy's aspirations, her father gave up his university job and dedicated his life for the sake and happiness of his child. Perhaps his daughter's name was predestined, as “Hampi” derives from the word “champion” and, indeed, soon enough, the family efforts paid off. Humpy is now enjoying the laurels of celebrity.
Next to Anand, India has yet another reason to be proud: Humpy's name became well known even beyond the world of chess. Some went to extensive lengths trying to find out the secret recipe for success by thoroughly investigating Humpy's Indian ...horoscope! It seems that, indeed, destiny is ready to lend a helping hand, as the astrological report states “Koneru Humpy would do well in almost any capacity where decisions have to be made” It means her father played the smartest move, since chess is one big process of decision making. Moreover: “Koneru Humpy is likely to accumulate wealth and position” (celebrities are always under people's radars) - it doesn't sound like a coincidence anymore, not when Humpy paved her way to fame with an endless number of medals, trophies, prestigious awards and recognitions.
But the thorny road to celebrity does require more than lucky stars...the hard working and GM-in-the-make player proved in several World Youth Championships that she deserves nothing less than pure gold: Humpy won the U10, U12, U14 and U20 categories and by the age of 14 she was already ranked 3rd in the women list.
Furthermore, she became the second woman player to exceed the 2600 quota, after Judit Polgar, whose record as the youngest woman ever to become a GM has been mercilessly broken by the talented Indian girl.
Koneru Humpy enjoys not only playing against her women colleagues but also challenging men players' egos. In 2009 she tied 1st - 4th with Areschchenko, Panchanathan and Miroshnichenko in the Mumbai Mayor Cup. Perhaps, we could share with the readers a small “secret” of Humpy's way of maintaining composure after a win or a loss alike: “I like Chetan Bhagat novels and listing to Film Songs (Indian Melodies).”
The question remains whether she will climb the ladder, surpassing Polgar's rating or Hou Yifan's. Although Humpy lost to Hou Yifan twice on her way to claim the Women World Champion title (2008 and 2011), she has another chance now, as she is currently leading the FIDE Women GP 2013-2014 series. The Indian GM won Dilijan and Tashkent 2013, Lopota GP being the third one from the series that she plays, which might bring her closer to the World title.
A small example of Humpy's strength (Koneru Humpy – Monika Socko, Ankara WGP, 2012):
White to play
We would recommend our chess enthusiasts to carefully check this game, it has a lot of valuable study material! Humpy played exceptionally well, in a very energetic manner, which is even more praiseworthy given the fact it was the crucial final round, where many psychological factors spread their tentacles.
But if we have to choose a particular move, that might be here, where she played:
17. g4! More or less all the moves that India's number one woman player performed were the most accurate ones; under the storm of white pawns' marches, (e4-e5-e6-g4-f5 and then d6-d7...) Black couldn't hold the position together and resigned right before the time control.