After a long wait, Pentyala Harikrishna broke the 2700-rating barrier in February. He is the third Indian after world champion Viswanathan Anand and Krishnan Sasikiran to accomplish this feat. “I was looking to break 2700 barrier for many years. I came close few years ago but my rating dropped. Getting to 2700 at a strong event like Tata Steel is a big moment for me,’’ said the 26-year-old Harikrishna, who has an Elo rating of 2705 and is ranked 44th in the world.
On his future
I have to achieve a lot more. There are now 47 2700-rated players in the world. I’m aiming to reach the top 20. I will be taking part in the round-robin tournament next month which has 2700 players. I’m hoping to do well. It will be a new challenge for me.
On touching 2700
Reaching 2700 is a big achievement. However, it is important to be consistent. A lot depends on your form and if you play well, your rating goes up and if you don’t you will slip in the rankings. I have to work hard.
On his game
I have to prepare new strategies. I will be competing with the top players in the world and therefore it is important to be mentally strong. The games and the competitions will become tougher.
On coming from a small village in Krishna district of AP to becoming a top player
When I started my career, I took the game as a recreation and fun. But it soon became a passion for me. After a few years, I became attached to the game and decided to become a professional player. I’m happy about my achievements. It also encourages me to perform better in bigger tournaments.
On the Anand effect
Every Indian player looks to Anand for inspiration. His game and the way he reached the top is amazing. When he grew up as a player, there were not many tournaments as there are events in India now. He managed to do it single-handedly and that is great.
On the possibility of breaking into top 10
In order to reach the top 10, I have to gain another 35 to 40 points. I need to perform consistently in at least six to seven tournaments in the next seven months. I have to chose the right tournaments to play against good players.
On this year’s targets
Improving my rating further will be one of my top goals this year.
On having a base in Europe
I have no plans as of now. I would prefer to stay for longer periods in Europe as it gives my opportunities to play in more big tournaments.