BHAKTI BEST INDIAN PERFORMER IN GREECE
Goa Carbon Ltd Brand Ambassador and Asian Junior Girls Blitz Chess Champion, Bhakti Kulkarni emerged as the ‘best Indian performer’ at the World Junior Chess Championships, which were held in Athens (Greece) from August 1 to 16.
In a communiqué to The Navhind Times, Bhakti while conveying her sentiments said: “I am happy to inform you that my performance proved to be the best in the recently concluded World Junior Chess Championships in Athens (Greece).”
Bhakti said she ranked 11th at the event which was the best among both Indian boys and girls.
“I increased 37 International rating points with this performance and stood ahead of Ivana Furtado (29th) and National Junior Girls’ Champion Pon N Krithika (37th),” Bhakti added.
“I played most of the top players in the top ten and all of my games were shown live on internet,” Bhakti disclosed, adding: “This year I made a hat-trick as far as winning gold medals at the Asian level.”
In fact, Bhakti won the gold medal at the Asian Under-18 Girls Championship in Beijing, China in 2010 and followed up with yet another gold at the Asian Under-20 Girls Championships in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 2011. In 2012, the Margao-based chess star once again proved her mettle winning gold in the Asian Under-20 Girls Blitz Chess Championships held at Tashkent,Uzbekistan.
Bhakti said she was grateful to Goa Carbon Ltd for being her sponsor and thanked Dempo Group chairman Mr Shrinivas V Dempo for recognising her talent and getting her on board as the ambassador.
Bhakti is currently the Asian Junior Girls Blitz Chess Champion is also the International Woman Grand Master(Elect).
Bhakti has undoubtedly been the real star in Goan chess as her performances speak volumes of her abilities.
Asked when she decided to become a chess player, Bhakti replied: “When someone asks me when I decided to be a chess player, I just smile to myself. I know that as a five year old, how could I have decided anything? It was purely an accident and perseverance of my parents.”
Bhakti further continued: “My father Pradip Kulkarni taught me basic moves and directly fielded me in a local tournament. I was just five year old at that time. I lost many games but won some consolation prize. My father is a real chess lover- perhaps he loves chess more than I do.”
Bhakti credits her father for spotting her early chess talent. “When he spotted that I can win few games without any book knowledge, he started imparting me whatever he had learned in his college days,” Bhakti proudly reminds.
“It was another accident when I met Dronacharya Raghunandan Gokhale during National Under 9 Girls Championships at Ahmedabad in 2000. Gokhale sir played a few games with me and readily agreed to my father’s request to coach me,” Bhakti said while recalling her first association with coach Gokhale.
When asked to narrate the turning point of her chess career, Bhakti added: “I was improving fast and then came a turning point in my career. I won the Goa State Men’s Championship at the age of ten. And I repeated this feat again in the next two years. It must be a world record for a pre-teen girl winning hat-trick of State Men’s Championships in any sport.”
“Gold medals in National Junior, Asian Youth, Commonwealth, World Schools followed but my quest was for International titles like International Woman Master, Women Grand master etc. I used to think that it was a distant dream as I could not afford to go and play in open tournaments abroad,” said Bhakti about how she aimed higher and higher.
“However, one day I got a call from Mr Shrinivas Dempo’s office. I was pleasantly surprised when Mr Dempo told me that he was impressed with my performances and offered financial help. I could not believe my eyes. I was holding a cheque of `5 lakh in my hand,” the shy lass continued.
“Since then I decided not to let down Mr Dempo, Goa Carbon Limited and my fellow Goans. I started working hard on my game,” Bhakti maintained.
“I had new spring in my feet. A person is required to score three norms to become a Master. However I went on scoring 7 norms to grab IWM title. Then my father decided to send me to Europe for trying for higher norms. Many thought that it was too early for me to try for Woman Grand Master title. But Gokhale sir had full confidence in me and rest is history,” summed up Bhakti, not before reminding that she endured many ups and down in her career. “Thanks to Mr Dempo’s assurance of sponsorship, I can now take long range decisions. Gokhale sir has advised me that I should try to increase my level of play by adopting new techniques and not to be disappointed by short
Bhakti also said that the prestigious Dilip Sardesai Award which she won last year from the state government has in fact motivated her to produce better performances both in India and aboard.