In a rare achievement in the world of chess, Vaishali Rameshbabu, the elder sister of renowned child prodigy Pragganandhaa, became India’s 84th Grandmaster on Saturday defeating Turkish FM Tamer Tarik Selbes in the Ellobregat Open in Spain. This is the first time a sister-brother duo has achieved this.
Pragganandhaa, who is also a Grandmaster, had in August clashed with World number one Magnus Carlsen of Norway in the final of the FIDE World Cup.
Vaishali becomes India's 3rd woman Grandmaster
The 22-year old Vaishali, who is four years older to her celebrity champion brother, is only India’s third woman Grandmaster and the first from Tamil Nadu to win the title. This achievement comes 12 years after Harika Dronavalli became India’s second woman to win the Grandmaster title. Hailing from a middle class family, both had begun their chess careers in Chennai.
She has already qualified to the Women’s Candidates 2024 and has ended the year with a Grandmaster title.
Incidentally, a decade ago as a 12-year-old Vaishali had defeated Carlsen in a simultaneous exhibition match conducted as part of the World Chess Championship promotion. On that occasion, Carlsen had played against 20 select players including Vaishali.
CM Stalin hails Vaishali
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin hailed Vaishali saying alongside her brother, she had created history as the first sister-brother duo to qualify for the Candidates tournament. “Adding to the glory, you are now the first-ever Grandmaster siblings. We’re immensely proud of your achievements, and your remarkable journey is an inspiration to aspiring chess enthusiasts and a testament to women’s empowerment in our state,” he said on X.