Harika finished third after a heartbreaking defeat to Tan Zhongyi of China in a semi-final tie-breaker in Tehran.
New Delhi: Harika Dronavalli has maintained her impressive form from last year, taking a third successive world championship bronze medal earlier this month, and is now focused on breaking into the top three in the world rankings.
The 26-year-old became world no. 5 last year — her career best ranking — before her maiden win at the Fide women’s Grand Prix Series event in Chengdu, China.
“My aim for the year is to improve my rating and enter the top three. And to achieve it, I have to train constantly. So I try to keep learning. I have a few foreign trainers… depends on who is available. I try to keep myself mentally relaxed,” Harika told this paper on Monday.
Harika finished third after a heartbreaking defeat to Tan Zhongyi of China in a semi-final tie-breaker in Tehran. The Grand Master believes training abroad benefits her, as there are fewer distractions.
“It is easier to focus when you are training abroad. There can be too many distractions while training at home. Friends or relatives call you over or come over. It is easier to train when you are away. I prefer to train abroad as there are fewer distractions,” the Guntur girl, who prefers travelling alone abroad or with her grandmother, said.
Apart from winning successive best women’s player awards in Hungary and Kazakhstan last year, Harika’s path to success has also seen her beat the likes of world no. 1 Hou Yifan of China.
Though she could only claim bronze at the world championships, Harika sounded confident of winning gold in the future.
“This was my third bronze medal at this level and the format was a bit different. I am overall happy with the experience and all the knowledge I acquired.
“It is a nice feeling to play in the knockout format. You try to focus on every game. I try not to be disappointed because I work hard. I am satisfied with what I have achieved, with how dedicated I have been. It is a world championship after all. At least I got a medal,” she added.
Asked how she managed to stretch all her games to tie-breakers at the world championships, she said, “In the beginning it took time to adjust to the different system of time control. I slowly kept on winning all the tie-breaks and kept gaining confidence. In the semi-final, I was motivated. I tried to play at my best and not remember anything else.”