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Rediff.com  » Sports » Vaishali becomes GM: Title awarded after long wait

Vaishali becomes GM: Title awarded after long wait

Source: PTI
May 01, 2024 17:41 IST
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Happy that the title is finally out: R Vaishali on officially becoming GM

R Vaishali

Photograph: Kind Courtesy chessvaishali/X

A Grandmaster much before the title was officially bestowed on her by FIDE recently, Indian chess player R Vaishali has revealed that there was a time she was unsure of being able to achieve the feat but managed to pull through owing to a good support structure.

Vaishali completed the requisite 2500 ELO points Llobregat Open tournament in Spain to become only the third Indian woman after Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli to become a GM.

However, the title was officially given to her only recently following the FIDE Council meeting during the Candidates Tournament in Toronto last month.

"After completing the (Women's GM) title, I knew it would be changed to GM someday. I did not think about the title so much," she told PTI in an interview.

"Yeah, it took some time to get it official, but I'm happy that the title is finally out. I was okay with it (the delay)," she added.

The 22-year-old is basking in the glory of her solid performance in the Candidates tournament, where she won five consecutive games to finish joint second.

She became a Woman Grandmaster in 2018 after completing her final norm during the Riga Technical University Open in Riga, Latvia.

Having had to wait six years to finally earn the GM tag, Vaishali said she became a bit unsure of the GM tag after her ratings stagnated due to lack of competition during the COVID 19 pandemic.

"In between, I could not play any tournament for two years due to the (COVID-19) pandemic. But, I was working throughout, trying to improve my game. I completed my International Master (IM) cycle post-pandemic (in 2021)," she recalled.

"Although I was improving my game slowly, my rating became stagnant. There were some low moments when I felt I might not get the title, but people believed in me and helped me to attain it," she said.

Vaishali is the elder sister of R Praggnanandhaa, the 18-year-old who has been making waves for quite a while. Together, they became the first brother-sister duo to qualify for Candidates' event this year.

Talking about her relationship with Praggnanandhaa, Vaishali stated, "We talk a lot about our games, which is natural since we have been playing together since our childhood.

"He helps me a lot with my game. It's great to have such a strong player at home with whom I can discuss more about the game at any time."

When asked about the support she and her brother get from their parents, Vaishali described them as their "biggest strength".

"Our parents are the biggest strength for both of us. My mother accompanies us to our tournaments on most of the occasions. She takes care of almost everything, and we just keep focusing on our game," she revealed.

"Our father takes care of things like logistics, planning and finances. In fact, both of them take care of most of our needs, which indeed helps us focus more on our game. Really grateful to them."

Away from chess, Vaishali is currently pursuing the PG Diploma course in Human Resource Management.

However, she has no qualms admitting that she has no academic aspirations and is focussed on professional chess with this month's Women's Masters in Norway being her next assignment.

"I am in the final year of my Human Resource Management course after having completed my B.Com. But, I don't have any academic aspirations. I just want to complete this PG and focus on playing chess full-time and professionally."

"I will be playing the Women Masters in Norway at the end of this month. It's an exciting event as I would be competing in a new format especially the time control, besides a couple of other tournaments as well," concluded Vaishali. 

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