Padmini Rout looks to book Candidates’ slot via World Cup
Express News Service
CHENNAI: Ace chess player Padmini Rout is pleased as punch on making the cut for the Women’s World Cup in Sochi, Russia. Like the legendary Viswanathan Anand, she prefers to play more over-the-board tournaments than online events.
World Cup is an important event in the chess calendar. The reason being three Candidates’ spots are up for grabs. Having not played any over-the-board tournament for more than a year because of the pandemic, Padmini relishes this opportunity to compete in such a big event and do well. “I am fortunate to qualify for the Women’s World Cup in Sochi. It’s such an important event and part of the World Championship cycle,” said Padmini.
Winning an individual gold on the fifth board for India at the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso, Norway, was one of the highlights of her career. Another notable achievement was winning four consecutive National women’s titles from 2014 to 2017.
“Winning gold at the Asian Women Team Championship was a different experience. Camaraderie in the team was good despite playing at different places and competing online. We were very happy to win something in these difficult times. I personally also did very well,” said the 27-year-old recollecting India’s success last year.
Spending time during the lockdown is a big problem for sportspersons. There are no tournaments and mobility is severely restricted. Many find it difficult to stay motivated. “Staying motivated during lockdown is not easy. I am not a big fan of online chess and don’t play many tournaments. Liking chess makes it easier to work for me. I kept myself occupied with mainly chess training, reading, surfing the net, besides doing some exercise and meditation. I also found new interests in learning languages. Time just flies,” said the Odisha-based player.
After making one GM norm and achieving a peak rating of 2454 in 2015, Padmini had dropped a lot of rating points. Speaking on the slump in form, the former Asian women’s champion said, “I think it’s mainly consistency. I tend to lose 40-50 rating points in one or two tournaments every year and then the remaining year goes into recovering the points. Losing 40-50 points is huge.”
Coaches play an important part in a player’s career. Many have a regular coach, some train with a few former players before a major tournament. “I didn’t have a regular coach earlier but now I am working with some trainers. I have also joined the Pro Chess Training where one can learn from many coaches,” informed Padmini
During the lockdown, many players watch web series to keep themselves engaged. Many of them watched the web series Queen’s Gambit which became very popular. “I watched the web series, Queen’s Gambit, on chess. It was nice and made chess very popular. I like that Beth Harmon becomes the best. Before we achieve something we must imagine it. Many girls can now start to play chess with the aim of becoming the best. I think it will help,” said Padmini.
Players have different methods of unwinding after intense training and Padmini is no different. “I enjoy reading, watching movies (comedy or animation), TV series, and listening to music. Like many chess players, I intend to do streaming in the future.”
Padmini idolises Mikhail Tal and Bobby Fischer and picked out My Life and Games of Mikhail Tal as the book that influenced her most. Like every chess player, she too is looking forward to the World Championship battle between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi. “I think it will be an even fight between Nepomniachtchi and Carlsen. It will be a very interesting match. I am curious to see how Carlsen reinvents himself.” said Padmini.
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