Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni Lives Asian Chess Dream in South Korea
PANAJI: Woman Grandmaster Bhakti Kulkarni pinched herself hard and when it pained, she realized all of what she was witnessing was true. The mild-mannered Goan chess star had just realized her dream of winning a medal and as she shared the podium with Chinese duo of former world champion Hou Yifan (2595) and former World junior girls champion Zhao Xue (2565), she seemed like the odd one out.
After all, Bhakti's third place stopped former world woman champion Zhu Chen (2494) from making it an all Chinese podium finish at the Asian Indoor Games at Incheon in South Korea on Wednesday. "It was like a dream come true. It was too wonderful to be true," Bhakti said after her stupendous achievement.Just a day earlier, Bhakti had realized another of her dream when she was drawn to meet former world woman champion Hou Yifan (2595) of China. "I could feel the pressure when I was playing Hou Yifan. But I fought well to keep it level only to lose a pawn in time trouble," said Bhakti. Hou won the game on 48th move and finished as the eventual champion.
Once the championship was over, Bhakti could spend more time with the former world champion and gold medalist. "Hou Yifan knows English well and she was talking freely with me," said Bhakti.
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