Goa Carbon Limited Brand Ambassador and Woman Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni has been selected in the Indian chess team for Asian Indoor Games to be held in Incheon, Korea this year.
Bhakti had been the gold medallist in Asian Junior Blitz, Commonwealth Junior and National Women Team Championships in the year 2012-13. With these solid performances to back her, the Goan star was an automatic choice for the Indian contingent.
According to Bhakti, she has received a mail from All India Chess Federation (AICF) stating that Indian Olympic Association President Mr VK Malhotra has asked AICF to select men and women teams for this prestigious event. Other disciplines taking part will be billiards, swimming and kabaddi.
It is rare to see IOA picking up chess teams as part of their delegation as chess is not an Olympic sport. Last time chess was part of Doha Asiad, 2006 and it had contributed 2 gold medals out of India’s ten.
The 20-year-old reigning Asian Junior Girls’ Blitz champion from Margao while talking to this daily informed that the Asian Indoor Games will be held from June 29 to July 6.
“I have to work hard because the games will be played in Rapid (25 minutes each) and Blitz (3 minutes each) format; and those too within a span of 5-6 days”, Bhakti said.
“I have to undergo special trainings to adjust to these formats. Moreover, my fitness will be of paramount importance,” she said further.
Blitz chess (3 minutes or 5 minutes only to each player) has been Bhakti’s forte. Two years ago she had won Highland International Open Blitz Tournament in Czech Republic with an amazing score of 12 points out of 13 rounds. Though out of form in classical chess, Bhakti became the first ever Asian Junior Girls’ Blitz Champion at Tashkent in 2012. “I recovered my form after that victory in Tashkent,” said Bhakti who loves playing faster modes
Meanwhile, the Goa Chess Association has hailed Bhakti’s selection. GCA secretary, Mr Arvind Mhamal has congratulated Bhakti for the latest honour while treasurer Mr Bandekar has offered his whole hearted support to Goa’s first Woman Grandmaster. [NT]