Vaishali R becomes India's latest Woman Grandmaster
The sister of R Praggnanandhaa, Vaishali R, became India's latest Woman Grandmaster (WGM) after earning her third and final WGM norm at Riga Technical University Open at Latvia. Praggnanandhaa had stunned the world by becoming the world's second youngest Grandmaster of all time. Vaishali is the highest ranked chess player in India in her age category. Here's more on her extraordinary achievement.
In 2017, Vaishali won the Asia Blitz Chess Championships in Chengdu (China), winning 8 points from 9 games. She was also the second runners-up ahead of 12 Grandmasters in 2017 Chigorin Memorial Blitz in 2017 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Vaishali was only 14 when she had won the 42nd National Women's Championship in Pune. She defeated experienced women Grandmasters to clinch the title.
Aside from World champion, Woman Grandmaster is the highest-ranking chess title achievable for a woman chess player. A player needs to have a FIDE rating of 2,300 or more to achieve this title. The title can also be granted by scoring highly or winning 3 tournaments by defeating WGM title holders. The Grandmaster title is allocated on achieving a FIDE rating of 2500.
Vaishali is the 7th Indian player to ever achieve victories in more than one age-group world chess titles. She achieved this unique landmark after winning the Under-12 World Title in Maribor in 2012 and the Under-14 title at Greece (2015). Other players who belong to this exclusive category are Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli, M Mahalakshmi, Murali Karthikeyan, Divya Deshmukh and Vaishali's brother R Praggnanandhaa.
Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman was India's first WGM, a title she achieved in 2001. She achieved the title in the same year as another champion, Koneru Humpy. Aarthie Ramaswamy, Meenakshi Subbaraman, Swati Ghate, Dronavalli Harika. Tania Sachdev, Mary Ann Gomes, Soumya Swaminathan, Nadig Kruttika, and Padmini Raut are the other WGMs from India.