Padmini Rout

Happy with her results
December 04 2015

Padmini Rout recently emerged champion in the Women’s Premier Chess Championships in Kolkata where the top women players of the country participated.
In fact, starting as the defending champion, Padmini overcame early hiccups to defend
her crown like a true ‘Queen’. The Orissa lass talks candidly to Sakyasen Mittra. Excerpts…

So how has 2015 been?
I would say it has been a pretty decent year for me. I got my 1st Grandmaster norm in January, also became an International Master (IM). Did well in quite a few Blitz and Rapids. Till now I have played in 12 events… I would say the results have been satisfactory.

Usually sportspersons have goals and targets every year. Did you set any goals for yourself in the beginning of 2015?
Yes, I do… I usually write them on a piece of paper. Well my main goal in 2015 was to become a GM. That hasn’t happened yet. So it will again be my main goal in 2016.

How far are you from becoming a Grandmaster?
My present Elo rating is 2,437 points. One needs around 2,500 to become a GM, but I know that these last 70 points approximately will be the toughest. Also I need to get two more GM norms. It is difficult, but not impossible for me to achieve the feat next year. But then I have to play in strong tournaments and win against stronger opponents. Losing against lower-rated opponents will affect my chances.

Who are you training with right now?
Look as of now, I am training on my own. But then, I am realising that I need to have specialised coaching. It really helps. There have been a few tournaments in the last couple of years where I have missed the title by may be half-a-point or one point. Proper coaching could have helped me in winning the events. But then employing a Grandmaster coach is also pretty expensive. However, if I want to pursue my chess ambitions, I will definitely need to have one in the near future.

You did not start well in the Kolkata tournament and yet ended up winning event. Can you explain the process you went through?
Yes, I suffered a third-round loss and that was a bit irritating. I was trying to play ‘good’ chess and that was hampering my performances as I was running into time trouble. I missed out on a few winning opportunities because of time constraints.

Then how did you recover?
Well Grandmaster Surya Sekhar Ganguly (formerly Viswanathan Anand’s second) helped. He told me to play tactical chess and forget everything else. That advice went a long way in improving my performances. I got back my rhythm and was able to win the event.
But then in the last round I lost against a weaker-ranked player. It took away all the Elo points I had accrued in the previous rounds. I shouldn’t have lost that match. But then that bug of ‘good chess and winning at all cost’ again hit me.

As a senior player in Orissa, who according to you are the promising players?
Well… Saina Salonika definitely. The way she has been performing in her age category in various world meets is very impressive indeed. If she continues in the same vein, I am sure she will become a Grandmaster very soon.

Which was your toughest match in 2015?
I don’t know if I can call the match ‘tough’ as I lost without a fight. Playing against P Harikrishna was an experience. I simply had no chance against him. It seemed he just ran over me.


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