Some Lesser Known Facts About R Vaishali
- R. Vaishali is an Indian chess player. She holds the FIDE titles of International Master (IM) and Woman Grandmaster (WGM). The noted Indian Chess Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa is her younger brother.
- In 2012, R Vaishali won the Under-12 Girls’ World Youth Chess Championship organised in Maribor, Slovenia.
- R Vaishali’s initial training in chess began under the guidance of coach S Thiyagarajan.
- In 2014, R Vaishali along with her brother started practising chess with Grandmaster R.B. Ramesh.
- In 2015, R Vaishali was the winner of the Under-14 Girls’ World Youth Chess Championship, and during the same championships, her brother, Praggnanandhaa, also won the World U-10 title.
- In her childhood, R Vaishali used to watch a lot of television. To distract her from watching the television, her parents decided to put her in chess and drawing coaching. In an interview with a media house, she narrated that once, she clinched the youngest participant prize in chess, which motivated her to carry on the game throughout her life. R Vaishali said,
When I was 6 or 7 years old, I used to watch a lot of TV, so my parents decided to put me in chess and drawing classes near our home. Then, I just went for a tournament and got the youngest participant prize in my first event.”
- In 2013, when R Vaishali was 12 years old, she competed with Magnus Carlsen, who arrived in India for a customary check of the arrangements and decided to play against twenty junior players from India. She defeated Magnus Carlsen in a chess match, which was a moment of shock for him.
- R Vaishali earned the Woman International Master (WIM) title in 2016. Upon winning this title, she was ranked in the second position in India and twelfth in the world in the U16-player category.
- On 12 August 2018, R Vaishali participated in the Riga Technical University Open chess tournament in Riga, Latvia and won the Woman Grandmaster (WGM) title. In the same year, she was chosen as the Best woman player at Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival.
- According to her parents, R Vaishali’s school and college administration helped her a lot during her chess competition tournaments. Reportedly, before clearing the twelfth standard examinations, her college offered her admission into a graduation course.
- In 2020, R Vaishali competed in an Online Olympiad in a team event and won a gold medal. This was the first time when an Indian team won a gold medal in an online Olympiad.
- Her father was affected by polio in his childhood. In a media conversation, R Vaishali stated that her father could not accompany her during her foreign tours but he looked after the arrangements including travel tickets, accommodation etc.
- In her leisure time, R Vaishali likes listening to music, playing badminton with her brother Prag and cycling.
- In 2021, R Vaishali earned the International Master (IM) title.
- According to R Vaishali, her brother is a Chess Grandmaster who always guides her during her tournaments. In 2021, in a conversation with a media house, she stated that he often clarified her chess doubt by making it easy for her. R Vaishali said,
My brother, he’s 15 years old and is a Grandmaster. He is a huge-huge support for me. In terms of chess, he will clarify whatever doubts that I have and make it very easy (for me). Of course, we fight a lot but when we work on chess its always interesting and I get to learn a lot.”
- In 2022, R Vaishali competed in the 8th Fischer Memorial and won her second Grandmaster norm by scoring 7.0/9. In the same year, she competed in the FIDE Women’s Speed Chess Championship and defeated Bibisara Assaubayeva, a Women’s World Blitz Chess Champion, in the 16th round. During the quarterfinals of the same championships, R Vaishali was in the team of Harika Dronavalli, a renowned Indian chess player. On 10 August 2022, R Vaishali was a part of the first-ever Indian women’s team to win a bronze medal at an Olympiad organised in Tamil Nadu, India. Ukraine and Georgia clinched the gold and silver medals, respectively in the women’s section.
- Apart from her training from coach Ramesh, R Vaishali is also part of the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy, which trains and aids budding chess players in India. Being a part of this academy, she often receives guidance from the Grandmasters Artur Yusupov, Sandipan Chanda, and Grzegorz Gajewski, who are associated with this academy. Viswanathan Anand is the founder of this academy. Once, R Vaishali disclosed in a media interview that when she was in her second standard, Anand visited her school at an annual day function and that was the time when she saw him for the first time. She remembered,
My inspiration has always been Anand sir. I remember in 1st or 2nd standard there was this thing where they used to invite sports champions for annual days in our school. It was the first time I saw him, and I didn’t know that I would get to train with him later.”