Ukranian chess player Kateryna Lahno’s Indian wish list can make you see red.
Ukranian chess superstar and the youngest woman world Grandmaster in the game, Kateryna Lahno, is very clear about how her sojourn in India is going to be. “I know that India is the land of snakes and I wish to see one before I leave. Also, I want to enjoy an elephant ride and watch a Bollywood movie. Can you believe it, I haven’t seen one Hindi film till now!”
Elephants, snakes… Kateryna’s cliched take on India is enough to send Indians in a spin. But then, the girl is sound on everything else that you discuss with her. Chess, for instance. She is the brightest rising star in the sport and has Vishwanathan Anand’s word for it.
“I was playing once and had no clue that Anand was watching me. After the game got over, he came to me and said that ‘you are a very promising player’. Oh, I was so overjoyed by that compliment!” In fact, she is so dedicated to the game that she is not even celebrating Christmas this year.
“I have a big game coming up on December 25 and I am concentrating only on it. So, no time for celebrations this year,” she says with a smile.
Now that she will be turning 18 this December, what about romance in her life? “I am painfully shy,” she reveals, adding, “When I am free, I either play chess with my father Alexander and brother Igor, or else go out for a walk with my pet dog. In fact, I wish I could be in India for my birthday. But I cannot extend my stay here. Otherwise I would have gone ahead and watched that Bollywood movie on my birthday!”