Interview with the World junior champion Abhijeet Gupta

exclusive for Chessdom.com

Gupta

Congratulations for the title! How does it feel to be the new World Junior Champion?

Thank you very much! It feels great to be a World Junior Champion and it was my first world medal so I feel even more proud.

The way to the top was not easy, after round 8 you had 5,0. Tell us about the magic of your last 5 consecutive wins?

At that time I was not even thinking of coming into the top 10. I just tried to remain focused to the end and it finally paid off.

What was the most difficult game of the competition?

I would say the loss against GM Safarli was quiet difficult psychologically. First I had clear advantage and then I misjudged one line and landed in a clear mess. It was little bit difficult to remain on track after such kind of loss but I tried to be disciplined and it worked.

And which game did you like the most?

The penultimate game against IM Braun was beautiful because I took the risk to play in a line where he had lost 2 days ago, but in the end it was me who was better prepared.

What was the key to victory? You talent, your coach, the rise of chess in India?

I would say it was a bit of everything. Chess in India is on a boom and our federation is doing is a great job for it. And of course my coach helped a great deal not only during this tournament, but in general as well… I would let other people judge my talent:)

Where is your next competition?

I wil be playing Common Wealth which is in Nagpur, India in September after that Hoogevens and then I have a close tournament in Portugal.

Thank you for the interview and one more time congratulations for the title!

Thank you!

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A little after the Chessdom interview with Gupta a detailed report with commentary from the Indian GM was published in sports.indiatimes.com.

New Delhi, August 18

Joining the ranks of Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna makes him delighted, but 18-year-old junior world chess champion Abhijeet Gupta says his dream was to replicate the feat at the senior level.

Gupta, who recently became the third Indian-ever to win the championship, said he wanted to become World Chess champion like compatriot Anand.

“I want my rankings in the top 100 by next January for which 50-60 points more are needed. I will work hard and focus more on my games,” Gupta said.

“Some events like Commonwealth championship at Nagpur in September, Netherlands in October and Portugal in November will help me achieve that,” he added.

GM Abhijeet Gupta outwitted UK’s David Howell in final round to win the world junior title and join the ranks of Viswanathan Anand and P Harikrishna to became the third Indian ever to win it. Anand had won it in 1987 and Harikrishna in 2004.

Gupta, who idolises Anand, said “the World Champion had shown the way for others from small towns and they look up to him when they feel dejected after failing to get other’s support”.

“I also like Norwegian teenager Magnus Carlsen for his success that he has received. He is also my hero whom I look up to,” said Gupta, who hails from Bhilwara of Rajasthan.

“One should always keep the momentum ticking. But problems crop up to the people who hail from the small town,” said the BPCL employee.

“Corporates role is very important in the individual games. In 2002, I was very much depressed after I kept on losing matches. I had no sponsors but the support of my family helped me regain my faith,” Gupta said.

It was only during that time he realised the importance of money and patience.

About the dominance of erstwhile Soviet Union in the sport, he said, “it has come down. Now the players from various countries including India are coming. But Russians could not be ignored as out of the 700 Grandmasters, the Eurasian country has about 170 representatives”.

“The role of foreign couches are important for Indians as we have some limitations. But they (foreign coaches) are too costly, only to be hired at particular time,” said Gupta, who will sit for his first year exams next year.

Interview with Natalya Pogonina

Pogonina speaks about North Urals Cup

After an exciting game of Pogonina and Cramling, the press-attache of the tournament WIM Anna Burtasova managed to talk to the only Russian participant and to find out her opinion about her own play, impact of the day-off on the mood and competition in friendship.

Natalya, today you had a very perspective position.

It turned aside from the key course. Probably Pia wanted to play tight after the defeat. At some moment I played very actively (е5) and got the opportunity to sacrifice pawns. Pia somehow lost the thread of the game and I got the advantage. Her position looked doubtfully; I mean weak Pawns, opened King etc. At some moment I thought I could win.

How do you feel after the day-off?

On the one hand everybody waits for the day-off as the possibility to have some rest, on the other hand the rhythm is changing and it may even bother. It is difficult to say what impact had the day-off on me, as I could play better today.

On the conference you were the only to say that you wanted to win the tournament.

I just said what everybody thinks but does not say aloud for some reasons. Of course every participant wants to win. We must be honest. Despite the fact that I had the lowest rating here, I think about victory.

north urals cup stefanova

Pogonina and Stefanova in Krasnoturinsk

How do you spend your free time in Krasnoturinsk?

I play dices. It is a favourite game of many chess players. It helps to abstract from the tournament, to have some fun.

You know most of your opponents. Does the competition influence personal relationships?

As for me, it has no impact. When you play with somebody, it’s one thing, how you contact apart from games, it is another thing. Even if I lose to somebody it doesn’t mean that I will ignore this person in the evening.

What are your chess plans?

I will play in the team in the national league of Montenegro. Then I will take part in the intellectual games in China.

Certainly other participants of the “North Urals Cup” will be there too.

Of course, all of them are the world strongest chess players.

How do you estimate your play in the tournament till this moment?

I am balancing but have some strength reserve. I struggle till the last minute and use all chances even in bad positions. The fact that I haven’t played for 3 months probably affects me. I finished the faculty of law in the university. But I think my play is improving.

More interviews from North Urals Cup

Interview with Vladimir Georgiev

Interview with Xu Yuhua