Interviews Jul 2, 2020 | 6:00 AMby Leon Watson

Quick chat with... Pentala Harikrishna, India's immense talent

With his tasty French Toast repertoire, India's Pentala Harikrishna (2719 FIDE) was the first active super-grandmaster to author a course on Chessable.

The 34-year-old, who now lives in Prague, has since become an ambassador for our friends and is flying the flag for the chess learning platform in its first elite event on chess24, the Chessable Masters.

photo: Niki Riga

As a junior growing up in Andhra Pradesh, Harikrishna was seen as a huge talent and the heir apparent to his country's greatest ever player, Vishy Anand.

At 15, Harikrishna became a grandmaster - India's youngest ever at the time - and then three years later he was World Junior Champion.

Now 34, this solid yet creative player has regularly been knocking on the door of the top 10. In his last tournament, Harikrishna finished second in the World Stars Sharjah Online International.

Is now the time Harikrishna, who has another Chessable course in the pipeline, takes over the mantle? Here is India's number 2 in his own words:

How did you get into chess?

I was watching my grandfather play every day. He felt that I am interested in chess and taught me the rules!

What is your most memorable chess achievement?

Winning the Asian Championship in 2011, before that the World Juniors in 2004 and reaching the top 10 in the world.

What's so great about chess? Why should people get into it and start studying it?

Chess is like an addiction! However much you play blitz or study chess, you always want more! Chess teaches young kids intuition, thinking a step ahead.

Who is your favourite player and why?

Bobby Fischer. His technique is so good that his rivals' defense appears bad!

What is your favourite chess book?

My 60 Memorable Games, by Bobby Fischer.

What is the one piece of advice for improving your chess that you don't hear people passing on enough?

I have no idea!

What do you think is the most overrated piece of advice you hear and why?

Work hard on openings! Many do work hard on openings. Simply they don't understand or remember.

What do you think the biggest issue is in chess at the moment?

I would like to see OTB events soon. Many events will be affected by the economic crisis due to the coronavirus. The end of 2020 is quite crucial for the chess world.

What do you think about the new FIDE administration and is it doing a good job?


Who will take the World Championship of Magnus Carlsen and who is his biggest threat right now?

There are a few young players who are dangerous and pose a big threat. I can't name just one.

Who is going to win the Chessable Masters?

Me ;)

If there was one book you'd like to write about chess, hopefully for Chessable, what would it be?

My journey!  

There's a Banter Blitz session with Harikrishna today at 20:00 CEST, after the Chessable Masters is over, so don't miss the chance to play an Indian legend!

Everyone can watch, but to challenge him you need to be a chess24 premium member. Now’s a great time to Go Premium since if you use the voucher code STUDYCHESS you get 40% off!

See also:

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