Saturday, April 19, 2008

Koneru Humpy : Chess Player profile

Humpy Koneru (born 31 March 1987 in Gudivada, Andhra Pradesh) is a chess grandmaster from India. Her October 2007 FIDE Elo rating was 2606, placing her at number two in the world for women (behind Judit Polgar), breaking the record of 2577 set by Susan Polgar for the second-highest ranked female player in Chess history and becoming the second female player ever, after Judit Polgar, to cross the 2600 elo mark.

Humpy was originally named Hampi by her parents but her father later changed it to Humpy, a more Russian-sounding name. She writes her family name (Koneru) before her given name.

Humpy holds the record for the youngest woman ever to become a grandmaster (not merely a Woman Grandmaster), which she achieved in 15 years, 1 month, 27 days, beating Judit Polgar's previous record by 3 months.

In 2001 she won the World Junior Girls Chess Championship. In 2006 she participated in the Women's World Chess Championship, but was eliminated in the second round.

Humpy's Achievements:

  • World under-14 championship, 2001, Castellan, Spain.
  • Asia's youngest International Woman Master, 1999.
  • India's youngest Woman GM, 2001.
  • World junior championship, 2001, Athens.
  • In 2002, Koneru Humpy become the first woman chess player from India to receive the Men's Grandmaster title.
  • At 15 years, one month and 27 days, Koneru also became the world's youngest Women Grandmaster to achieve full Grandmaster status, beating the record of her idol Judith Polgar, who achieved the feat at 15 years, four months and 27 days.
  • As of July, 2006, Humpy is world number 2 in women's rankings with an Elo score of 2545.

June 1st, 2002


By V Krishnaswamy, New Delhi


Only technical and bureaucratic details remain between Humpy and a decade-old landmark set by Judit Polgar, which crumbled last week. In some ways that landmark, which had bestowed upon Judit the honour of being the youngest woman to complete a Grandmaster title in men's section, was quite appropriately overtaken in the Polgar homeland, in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, where Judit lives.

Taking over that mantle is Koneru Humpy, a shy teenager from India's little-known district of Gudivada near Vijaywada, in Andhra Pradesh. At the Elekes memorial 12-round tournament, Humpy earned her third and final GM norm with a score of 7.5 out in the first 11 rounds. The average rating of her opponents in the first 11 rounds was 2437. On the day Humpy achieved her third Men's GM Norm, she was exactly, 15 years, 1 Month, and 27 days, which bettered Judit Polgar's record of 15 years, 4 months and 27 days.

Chess players, more than other commoners in life, know how technical hurdles are sometimes more difficult to surmount than on-board problems. The latest to discover this could be India's teenaged chess star.

Technical details and bureaucracy are two phrases purists love to hate. And with enough reason. Even as Humpy was re-writing the record books, there were enough critics pointing out to her current rating of 2486. This young holder of four world title in various age categories, is now being stymied by those who claim that she still has one more requirement to complete before being conferred the GM title – that of getting her Elo rating to 2500, which is one of the stipulations of a GM title being conferred upon a player.

Analysts agree that the next rating list, which will be released in July 2002, will see her breach that mark, too. But now the debate is whether she should right away be considered the youngest woman to become a GM in men's section, or should we wait till the FIDE confirms her rating as 2500-plus. The next rating list is due out on July 1, 2002 and the one after that on October 1, 2002. The question is now, in case Koneru Humpy falls a little short, and is say on 2495 or 2498, on July 1, 2002, will she be disallowed the record. If that is the case, that will really be a pity.

As things stand, if Koneru Humpy's rating is 2500 or over before August 26, 2002 the record is hers.

Humpy's third and final GM norm with 7.5 points from the first 11 rounds of the 12-round tournament. The average rating of the tournament was 2437, and it is expected she will gain some vital Elo points.

In the next few days Humpy is also due to play another GM level tournament in June itself and hopefully that event as well as the Elekes memorial where she won her final GM norm will lift her above 2500 and set to rest all debates.

Pictures from the Koneru Humpy album: as a child top left with her father, on a plane to
the under 10 world championship, at the boys' under 14, with the World Junior Trophy

in 2001, After winning the World U14 in Dortmund (bottom centre and right).



SOON AFTER a daughter was born to Koneru Ashok and Latha on March 31, 1987, the father decided his daughter was special. The young one was named Hampi, derived from the word "Champion". Sometime later, Ashok changed that to Humpy, because he felt that sounded a little Russian (!) and his daughter would be a champion in that sport. How true.

A fast and attacking player, Humpy has often dominated the events she has won in India. A good positional player, she has a good finish and she rarely misses a winning ending.

But what is even more outstanding is that she possesses a record at world championships, which even Anand does not have. She is the first, and so far the only, Indian to win four World Championships, having picked a title each in Under-10, Under-12 and Under-14 and the World Juniors (Under-20) age groups. In between she also won a silver medal in Under-12 section.

Born in 1987, Humpy took to chess at the age of six in 1993. Coached by her father, Ashok Koneru, she picked up the finer points in very little time and won the first tournament she played at Vijayawada in 1994. More followed in the next few years.

Humpy in 1997 won her first world title the U-10 World title in Cannes. To that she added the World U-12 title in Oropesa del Mar in Spain in October-November 1998, when the curly haired Andhra girl notched up nine wins, one loss and one draw. The lone draw came against teammate Tania Sachdeva, who finished third. In 1999 Humpy missed out on what would have become an unique record. Starting out as the defending champion in the Under-12 section, she finished second behind Georgian Nana Dzagnidze.

In 1999, Humpy showed her fondness for Ahmedabad as a venue, where she created history, by becoming the first Indian woman player to win a National Boys title. She won the Under 14 Boys title in the National Children Chess Championship for the year 2000 at the Karnavati Club.

Interestingly, in 1998 in December, Humpy had won the Asian sub junior boys (under-12) title at the same venue. That was the first time a girl had won an international boys event since Judit Polgar of Hungary had done that in 1989. A year later in 2000, she paid back Georgian Dzagnidze in the same coin and beat her to the title in the World Under-14 title in Spain.