Padmini Owes Gold to Change in Preparation
By Sanatan Pani
Published: 18th August 2014 06:00 AM
Last Updated: 18th August 2014 03:11 AM

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha’s Padmini Rout made the country proud by becoming the first Indian woman to win an individual gold in the Chess Olympiad. The 20-year-old was superb on the fifth board in the 41st edition of the meet.

Making her debut in the event, Padmini was the youngest as well as reserve member of the five-member team, which finished tenth among 136 countries. The WGM scored 7.5 points from eight games and finished with a performance rating of 2584. She spoke to TNIE on her return home on Sunday. Excerpts:

Rating this success

This is the biggest achievement of my career. I have won five Asian gold and one world bronze medals, but all in age-group categories. Chess Olympiad is like Davis Cup and winning a prize on debut is a dream come true. I didn’t expect this at the start of the competition.

Her preparations for the Olympiad

I couldn’t devote enough time to preparation and didn’t take coaching from any GM. It was solo preparation. What I did extra was a week-long practice with (fellow WGM) Mary Ann Gomes at my home. A change in the preparation method helped a lot. I learned it in Vietnam earlier this year.

Her off-the-board experience in Norway

It was nice and rare. Some of the players found it difficult to sleep because it is always day in Norway. On occasions, they woke up too early, fearing they might get late for competition. I had no problem adjusting. Food was okay and I relished the chicken salad. On one off-day, I spent time with Hungarian legend Judit Polgar.

On whether she has silenced her critics

People had started questioning my form. They also doubted my ability to achieve international success. But my close friends and family members had faith in me.

Her future plans

The immediate goal is to become an International Master by reaching 2400 in Elo ratings. The next one is to become a Grandmaster.


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