Celebrations in chess are way different from other disciplines. The players are expected to respect the decorum of the game. Even after an exciting finish, the players just shake hands and leave the tournament hall quietly. However, that wasn’t enough for the 19-year-old GM Vidit Gujrathi after winning bronze at the recent World Junior Championships in Turkey.
“In chess, you just can’t express your emotions.You have to behave like a gentleman. But, after the penultimate round, when I realised that I have won bronze, I just couldn’t hide my feelings and left the tournament hall hurriedly. The moment I reached my room, I started shouting like anything,” Vidit told dna from Nashik.
“My hopes of a podium finish was shattered when I lost the ninth round. I slipped to 15th position, and to come back from that position in such high-level tournament is very difficult. But then I stopped thinking about medals or positions and just concentrated on my game. That worked well as I won the next three games on the trot. That put me again in the contention,” he added.
Vidit had been in similar situations. Making a dramatic turn-around after trailing is not new to him “In Turkey, I started attacking right from the start, which is quite risky. Normally players avoid that in big tournaments. But, that was the best option for me and converted hopeless situations into a victory. This strategy doesn’t suit my normal playing style, but the hard work I did with my coach, GM Evegeny Valdimirov, paid off.
“We had realised that the percentage of my draw games is more than the wins. So, we worked on that and chalked out a different strategy. We also worked on a variety of openings. As a result, I just had three draws in 13 rounds, which is quite an achievement,” he said. Elaborating his point, Vidit said: “In the 11th round, I faced Debashis Das.
After 60 moves, the game was clearly heading to a draw.
But I kept pressing hard and got the desired results as he started making mistakes. ”
Vidit has some important upcoming tournaments including the National Premier in Maharashtra from December 16. ‘‘I am quite aware of the expectations. There is a lot of pressure to win. But I will try to remain calm and continue to enjoy chess. Of course, you feel tired when you are playing continuously. But, I have to cope up with that,” he said.