Interview with Tania Sachdev

International Master and Woman Grandmaster from India

Tania Sachdev is a young International Master and Woman Grandmaster from India. She studied English Literature with Political Science and Psychology at the Delhi University and graduated in 2008. She was Asian U14, Junior and Senior Champion, and won the national Indian Women Championship in 2006 and 2007, also being a runner up in 2008. She is also holding bronze medal from the World U12 Championship.

After being asked about her career status, Tania commented: “I am currently playing chess full time. I would like to try my hand at presenting programmes on the television at some later time. My forthcoming events are the Asian Zonals and Women’s World Team Championship and the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam. These are all events where I would be representing India.”

She also kindly agreed to answer more questions in an interview for Chessdom.com.

Chessdom: This year you were very active in tournaments in Asia and Europe. How do you evaluate your results?

Tania Sachdev: I have played five tournaments in Europe so far this year. Gibraltar was not so good for me but Pfalz, Montcada and San Sebastian were good. I gained some rating points in these tournaments. I have just been awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award which is a high honour and recognition given to a Sportsperson for consistence performance over the last three years. The Award is given by the President of India.

Chessdom: You were Asia Chess Champion in 2008. What are your ambitions in the future?

Tania Sachdev: Yes I did win the Asian women’s championship and this was a very precious title for me. I have one GM norm and would like to complete my title as soon as I can. I look forward for a medal for the Indian team at the chess Olympiad and that would be a dream come true.

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Tania Sachdev during the 2008 Women World Championship

Chessdom: How do you see the current situation in the chess world?

Tania Sachdev: Well lots is happening around the world in chess, good playing opportunities. Women’s chess seems to be gaining with more women’s closed events being organised. But i just hope that the format for the men world championship gets clarified as we get to see such high level chess in the cycle tournaments but there is always confusion and its forever changing! But besides that, I think chess is gaining a lot of popularity over the world.

Chessdom: As one of the top female players, do you have enough opportunities to play in high rated competitions?

Tania Sachdev: As a woman player I wish more closed women events were organised with a good prize fund. The tournament at San Sebastian, which was an all women closed event, was quite interesting with excellent arrangements. Well I do play in strong open events but there is not much opportunity to play in strong closed events.

Chessdom: Are you familiar with activities of the FIDE Commission for Women’s Chess? What are the main challenges for female players? Do you have any suggestions on how to improve the position of women in chess?

Tania Sachdev: Yes, I am aware of the FIDE commission for Women’s chess and the good suggestions put forward by Alexandra Kosteniuk in her May 7th 2009 letter. Allocation of a budget for organising specialised women tournaments in the form of closed and open events with proper coverage and good publicity. The prize fund of women tournaments at Zonal, Continental and World level should be increased. Even in open tournaments the 1st prize in women section is very small. It is for this reason that very few women players participate and take up chess seriously.

Chessdom: Indian national teams are already very strong. When do you expect to challenge the world’s leading nations for Olympiad medals?

Tania Sachdev: Yes, we have a strong Men’s team and a good Women’s team. I hope our teams can win a medal in the next Olympiad.

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Tania Sachdev at the Kaupthing Open

Chessdom: What has got you attracted to chess and how would you best define your playing style?

Tania Sachdev: Chess has always been very fascinating for me. I think when you play chess it opens up so many other facets of your personality which one is not aware of. Logical thought process while handling a position in chess and dealing with a complicated situation in real life is so comparable. The ability to accept and deal with good and bad situation on the board and in your day to day life. Above all the interaction with so many people from different countries and visiting beautiful cities all over the world. I just love it all.

Well there was a time when I loved to play very aggressive and would be very bored in a positional setup. Now it seems to have reversed. I enjoy positional games and interesting endings. I think I am now more positional.

Chessdom: Who are you working with and how do you prepare for competitions?

Tania Sachdev: I am working currently with IM Vishal Sareen and with GM Ubilava sometimes. Well before a competition I work with my Indian trainer on seeing games and positions. With my GM trainer I work on specific openings and whatever I feel is my problem area.

Chessdom: Can you single out your most memorable game?

Tania Sachdev: There are many good games which one has played in the past but I always feel my most memorable one has still to come.