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British Indian girl’s chess triumph

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AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD British Indian schoolgirl made history after being named the “super talented” best female player at a European chess event.

Bodhana Sivanandan, from Harrow in London, won the European Blitz chess championship in Zagreb, Croatia, last month.

During the event, she went head-tohead with some of the best players in the world and defeated an international master to win the 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,” a statement from the European rapid and blitz chess championships said.

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

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Her father, Siva Sivanandan, said his daughter was “trying her best and it has worked in her favour”.

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

Praise for the chess prodigy has since been pouring in on social media, with several leading players highlighting her “unbelievable” performance.

Dominic Lawson, president of the English Chess Federation, termed her achievement “extraordinary” for an eight-year-old.

Lawson commended her mature playing style, describing it as strategic and patient, emphasising her aptitude for the long game.

British International Master and commentator Lawrence Trent praised her as one of the greatest talents he had seen, saying he was confident that she would become England’s best player and possibly one of the game’s all-time greats.

Bodhana, who took up chess at age five during the pandemic, is seeking to become a grandmaster, England’s youngest Olympic gold medalist, and eventually secure a world title.

A few months ago, she was among a group of young chess enthusiasts invited by prime minister Rishi Sunak to 10 Downing Street to mark the government’s £1 million investment package for the game.

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