8 Year old girl emerge as best female player at chess tournament

 British schoolgirl Bodhana Sivanandan, from Harrow, London, has made waves in the world of chess by achieving a remarkable feat at the European rapid and blitz championship. Despite being only eight years old, Bodhana emerged as the best female player in the chess tournament, beating participants more than 30 years her senior.

Bodhana garnered an impressive score of 8.5 out of 13 against a field of highly skilled grandmasters, international masters, and experts. Out of a total of 555 players, she secured an impressive 73rd position.

Recounting their chess journey, Sivanandan Velayutham, Bodhana’s father, stated that she stumbled upon chess accidentally. Her chess journey started at the age of five during the COVID-19 pandemic, after discovering a chessboard and pieces in a bag given by her father’s friend Intrigued and fascinated, she started exploring the game.

chess tournament

Recognizing her interest, Sivanandan took her to various chess clubs such as the English Chess Federation, where they found warm and supportive individuals who encouraged her passion for chess. This support undoubtedly played a significant role in Bodhana’s success at the European Rapid and blitz championship.

Dominic Lawson, the president of the English Chess Federation, described Bodhana’s performance as “completely remarkable” but not entirely surprising, as she is considered a phenomenon in the chess world. In the rapid round, Bodhana impressively achieved a 5 out of 11 score, demonstrating a performance rating of 2056. However, it was her performance in the 13-round blitz that truly astounded fellow players and spectators.

During her journey in Zagreb, Bodhana defeated her first international master and the England women’s coach, Lorin D’Costa, who is 31 years her senior. In the final round, she achieved a draw against grandmaster Vladislav Nevednichy, a two-time Romanian champion. This feat made Bodhana the youngest player ever to avoid defeat against a grandmaster in a competitive match.

chess tournament

Bodhana’s exceptional performance awarded her the under-12 prize, and she finished as the top English player overall. As per the chess tournament rules, she chose to receive the women’s award due to the one-prize-per-player policy. Her exceptional tournament rating performance reached 2316, placing her at the level of a woman grandmaster.

When questioned about her expectations for the chess tournament, Bodhana expressed her determination to always give her best effort in hopes of achieving victory. She understands that outcomes can be unpredictable, but her passion and perseverance drive her forward.

Looking ahead, Bodhana dreams of becoming a grandmaster, England’s youngest Olympic gold medallist, and eventually winning a world title. As she prepares for the upcoming International Chess Congress in Hastings, East Sussex, on December 28th.

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