Mary Ann Gomes looks to seize the opportunity | Chess News


KOLKATA: It’s a race against time for Mary Ann Gomes. An unexpected call last week from the All India Chess Federation (AICF) prompted the Kolkata girl to rush to pack her bags for her first over-the-board tournament in over a year and a half.
In a strange turn of events, Mary Ann has replaced top Indian player Grandmaster Koneru Humpy in the Indian team for the Fide Women’s World Chess Championship to be held in Sitges, Spain from September 26 to October 3. Humpy decided to step down after it was learned that she will have to undergo a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in Spain since she took the Covaxin vaccine (and not Covishield, as European countries prefer). Since first-choice replacement Padmini Rout had also taken on Covaxin, the call has come to the next highest-rated player, Mary Ann.
“Yes, it was an unexpected and pleasant call,” Mary Ann told TOI on Wednesday, a day before she left the country. “You see, it’s not that I’m unprepared since I’ve played a lot of games online and regularly attend training classes. But yes, it’s true that over the board tournaments are different, but I can’t wait to be there, ”she said.
More than practice, it was the procedural formalities that kept Mary Ann busy. “I have to get a negative Covid report and erase some additional papers you need to enter Spain. But I think these standards are the new normal now, ”she said.
Twelve teams, split into two groups of six each, will compete in the championship phase with the top four teams from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals. The female Grandmaster has already had virtual team meetings with other teammates GM Dronavalli Harika, female GM R. Vaishali, International Master Tania Sachdev and WGM Bhakti Kulkarni. team suit, ”she said.
The 31-year-old, who previously represented India in the team championship and won an individual bronze medal in the Kazakhstan event in 2013, is optimistic about a good show. “We have a good team. And more importantly, some of them (Harika, Tania and Vaishali) recently played the Olympiad online as well. So I feel like I have to live up to the high standards set by them, ”she noted.


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