No set goals, only positive chess, says Soumya

As Soumya Swaminathan made her last move on the chessboard against him, one that ensured a draw against Dutch Grandmaster Sergei Tiviakov, she felt the ultimate prize in the Commonwealth Chess Championship in Chennai was within her grasp.

Swaminathan, crowned the women's champion at the event last week says playing positive chess helped her to her prize. "Before the tournament, I just cleared my mind. I told myself to trust my instincts when I was at the board and I am glad it paid off," the 23-year-old Women's Grandmaster says.

Swaminathan who became Junior World Champion in 2009 says that she does not want to put pressure on herself by setting herself definite goals.

"I don't believe in thinking about just improving my ranking. If I play good, positive chess I am sure my ranking will move up. Right now I want to play as much chess as I can," says the city-based girl who became a Grandmaster in 2008 after a rapid climb up the Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) rankings.

Daughter of a former bank manager, Swaminathan who lives in Kothrud is now in Kolkata playing another chess tournament. She says she took up chess after watching her brother and late mother play at home. "It looked very interesting. Moving all those little pieces on the board. I played my first game of chess when I was seven and I have just followed my heart since then. It also helped that my brother Srinivas (a former national-level chess player) was keen on chess. Also the very first tournament I played, I ended up winning it and that was a great incentive," she says. Swaminathan has already been two-time world youth girls champion and had also won the India National junior title in 2006.

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