India has so far failed to produce a worthy male successor to World Champion Viswanathan Anand, but Humpy Koneru has come very close to giving the country a monopoly on world chess titles. Her father was a chess player himself and decided to give up his university job to coach his 8-year-old daughter. Success soon followed, with Humpy going on to win the World Girls Under 10, 12, 14 and 20 Championships. By the age of 14 in January 2002 she was ranked no. 3 among women at 2539, and later that year she broke Judit Polgar’s record for the youngest woman ever to become a grandmaster.
Humpy also followed in Polgar’s footsteps as a 20-year-old, when she became only the second female player to cross 2600 on the rating list. Her peak rating since then has been 2623. The one disappointment of Humpy’s career so far is that she’s failed to claim the Women’s World Championship. She came closest in 2008 when she lost a semifinal to Hou Yifan, and in 2011 when she lost a 10-game final match to the same opponent. She hasn’t let that discourage her, however, and is on course for another chance after scoring two victories out of two tournaments in the 2013/14 Grand Prix series.
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