Vaishali Rameshbabu earns final Grandmaster Norm at Qatar Masters 2023 – The Indian Express

Qatar Masters 2023 witnessed a momentous occasion as Vaishali Rameshbabu, the talented 22-year-old and sister of R Praggnanandhaa. She secured her third and final Grandmaster (GM) norm. Despite losing her final round game against the renowned GM Gregory Kaidanov, Vaishali’s remarkable performance throughout the tournament ensured her place as the best women’s player at the prestigious event.
As the game concluded, a wave of congratulations poured in for Vaishali. GM Kaidanov himself extended his heartfelt praise for the young talent, recognising her achievement in acquiring the final GM norm. Vaishali’s mother, Nagalakshmi, stood by her side, radiating with pride as her daughter signed autographs, relishing the memorable moment, just like she does when Praggnanandhaa is playing.
With the confirmation of her GM norm, Vaishali now holds the title of GM-elect, further solidifying her position as one of India’s brightest chess prospects. Currently boasting a live rating of 2467.7, she stands a mere 32.3 Elo points away from becoming India’s third female Grandmaster, following in the footsteps of Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli.
India’s last female Grandmaster was crowned in 2011 when Harika achieved the prestigious title. Prior to her, Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman also earned three GM norms, but unfortunately fell short of reaching the 2500 rating mark. Now, after a gap of twelve years, Indian chess enthusiasts fervently anticipate the possibility of Vaishali becoming the newest addition to the nation’s elite roster of female chess Grandmasters.
Vaishali’s journey in chess has intertwined with that of her brother Praggnanandhaa. The two have consistently achieved parallel success, earning matching medals in various competitions, such as the double Bronze in the Olympiad and double Silver in the Asian Games.
Vaishali was introduced to chess by her father, Rameshbabu, who himself was an avid chess player. Recognising his daughter’s potential, he put her for chess coaching from the age of five. She quickly progressed, winning several state and national-level tournaments in her age category.
As she continued to excel, Vaishali’s talent caught the attention of renowned chess coach, Prasanna Rao. Rao took her under his wing and became her mentor. Under his guidance, Vaishali’s skills flourished, and she started to participate in international tournaments.
In 2015, Vaishali made her mark on the international chess scene by winning the Asian Youth Chess Championships in the under-14 girls’ category. It was also during this time that she received the title of International Master (IM).
She may have taken right years to go from an International Master to getting her third GM norm, but just like her brother, she’s could well rewrite the history books.
Anil DiasAnil Dias is a Principal Correspondent at The Indian Express. He twe… read more


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