Person of day   -  12 JANUARY 2024



Harika Dronavalli was born in the Indian province of Guntur. The young girl began to play chess after hearing about Vishy Anand’s success on TV. Initially, her parents treated her efforts with caution, since it was an unusual occupation for a girl, but they later began to devote all their efforts to Harika, who became a real star.

The young Indian won the junior world championship three times and dominated in female Commonwealth championships, which were of relative difficulty. In 2008, in an intense competition with Mariya Muzychuk, Harika Dronavalli became the world U20s junior champion, for which she was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in her homeland, which is given to winners of sporting competitions by the Indian Ministry of Sport. 

In interviews Harika has often noted that, aside from Anand, her heroes are Judit Polgar and Vladimir Kramnik. She considers Polgar the finest female chess player in history and she values Kramnik for his spectacular debuts and mastery at positioning.

In 2004, she played for the Indian team, with which she won five medals at Asian championships and became the best on her board at world championships and Olympiads. In 2010, she finished 3rd at the Asian Games. Harika Dronavalli became second among male Indian grandmasters after Humpy Koneru.

In each recent women’s world championships, Harika Dronavalli fought for the crown. In 2010, she progressed to the quarter-finals, where she lost to Ruan Lufei. Two years later, she advanced to the semi-finals, but could not overcome Antoaneta Stefanova. Finally, in 2014, the Indian grandmaster broke into the top four, but lost to Mariya Muzychuk. Harika was the world Internet-blitz champion in 2015.

Demonstrating strong results on a consistent basis, charming Harika has many supporters at home, who see her as a potential world champion. At the world team championship in 2015, thanks to the efforts of Humpy Koneru (who returned to the team after a prolonged conflict with the Indian chess federation) and Harika Dronavalli, the Indian team came fourth, losing by a single point to the Chinese.