8-Year-Old British Indian Prodigy Bodhana Sivanandan Makes History At European Blitz Chess

8-Year-Old British Indian Prodigy Bodhana Sivanandan Makes History At European Blitz Chess

Bodhana Sivanandan, from Harrow in north-west London, won the European Blitz Chess Championship in Zagreb, Croatia, over the weekend after she took up chess during the COVID pandemic lockdown.

PTIUpdated: Thursday, December 21, 2023, 12:52 PM IST
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An eight-year-old British Indian schoolgirl has made chess history after being named the "super talented" best female player at a European championship.

Bodhana Sivanandan, from Harrow in north-west London, won the European Blitz Chess Championship in Zagreb, Croatia, over the weekend after a winning streak since she took up chess during the COVID pandemic lockdown.

In the European championship, she went head-to-head with some of the best players in the world and defeated an international master to win her crown.

"Eight-year-old super talented Bodhana Sivanandan (ENG, 1944) made an astonishing result in the Blitz competition. She scored 8.5/13 points to win the first women prize and earn 211.2 blitz ELO points," said the European Rapid and Blitz Chess Championships, which concluded in Croatia on Sunday.

Professionals Laud "Unbelievable" Performance

Praise for the chess prodigy has since been pouring in on social media, with leading professionals highlighting her "unbelievable" performance.

"I always try my best to win, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't," Bodhana told the BBC after her win.

Father Siva Sivanandan said his daughter was "trying her best and it has worked in favour of her".

"She likes chess and she likes travelling. We keep trying and keep going," he said.

Nurturing Future Grandmasters

A few months ago, Sivanandan was among a group of young chess enthusiasts invited by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to 10 Downing Street to mark the government's major new GBP 1 million investment package for the game. The package has since been in place to support children attending schools in disadvantaged areas across England to learn and play chess, improve visibility and availability of the game and fund elite playing.

"I was struggling to support my son with the required chess tournaments and coaching instrumental to his development at such a young and crucial age," said Jitendra Singh, father of another British Indian chess prodigy nine-year-old Shreyas Royal.

"With this grant from the government we will be able to help more kids flourish at the game through the hard-working organisations of the English Chess Federation and chess in schools and communities. I believe that it is also a very beneficial hobby and would love to see more people getting into the game from this monumental announcement," he said.

Government's Strategic Moves

As part of the comprehensive chess support package, the DCMS will invest GBP 500,000 in the English Chess Federation (ECF) over two years. The funds will contribute to the development of elite players, fostering a resurgence of England's reputation on the global chess stage.

Simultaneously, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) will allocate GBP 250,000 to install 100 new chess tables in public parks, aiming to promote community engagement, combat loneliness, and enhance problem-solving skills.

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