An Indian women’s chess team has brought back a glorious first for the country — India’s first ever silver medal. The team, which competed in the prestigious FIDE World Women’s Team Championship at Sitges, Spain, recently, was led by Hyderabad’s Harika Dronavalli and included Vaishali, Tania Sachdev, Mary Ann Gomes and Bhakti Kulkarni. The Indian team had lost to Russia in the summit clash of the event, considered the Olympiad of team events in chess.
And Harika, who reached Hyderabad on Tuesday morning, emphasises that the silver medal has been a great start to the team especially since the pandemic. “It was an emotional moment to achieve one of my long-awaited dreams of winning a team medal in the Olympiad of team events in chess,” says the Grandmaster.
“This is one of the most memorable wins. It’s a fantastic team effort. This win will further encourage youngsters to take up chess, which will also give a great boost to the sport,” says Harika, who’s a three-time bronze-medal winner in the Women’s World Chess Championships.
The Indian contingent after winning the silver medal in Spain
Awaiting a proper celebration
Harika was the only woman in the tournament to play all eleven games. “So naturally I am tired,” she adds with a hard-to-hide satisfied smile. “All of us went to the tournament thinking we’d give our best but nothing beats the joy of winning a medal.” Despite the enormity of the historic win, the team has not had much time to celebrate it as they had to take part in the closing ceremony. “We were exhausted from all the pressure. But later that night we went to an Indian restaurant for dinner,” she adds.