After winning her third and last Woman Grandmaster (WGM) norm on Sunday in the 8th Riga Technical University (RTU) Open Chess Tournament held in Riga, Latvia, R Vaishali has become India’s latest Woman Grandmaster (WGM). Vaishali is the elder sister of R Praggnanandhaa who became the second youngest GM in the world in June this year.

While Praggnanandhaa became the second youngest GM in the world at Gredine Open in June, Vaishali got her second WGM norm in the same tournament.

“Just like Praggu (Praggnanandhaa), Vaishali too has been extremely hardworking and talented. She went through a rough patch in the last few years but overcame that by working extra hard on her game. I feel Vaishali’s next target should be to become a men’s GM,” Vaishali’s coach RB Ramesh told TOI.

Before entering the chess tournament, Vaishali was part of the Indian Women’s Team which won a gold medal in the blitz category of the Asian Nations Cup held in Hamadan, Iran, earlier this month.

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Ramesh is certain that this achievement will lift up Vaishali’s confidence. “I believe Vaishali’s confidence will definitely go up after getting this title under her belt. If she continues to work this hard, then I am certain no goal will be too far for her,” he said.

When I played my first tournament, I got a prize because I was the youngest player, which sort of aroused my interest for the game.

Vaishali is an U-12 and U-14 world title winner, but she revealed last year that she only took to the game because her parents enrolled her in a chess class. “I used to watch a lot of cartoons when I was six years or so. My parents wanted me to wean away from being glued to the television set and enrolled me in chess and drawing classes,” Vaishali was quoted as saying by Press Trust of India.

“Later, when I played my first tournament, I got a prize because I was the youngest player, which sort of aroused my interest for the game.”

However, R Vaishali’s victory did not come by easy. She struggled a lot since last year to find her form but the Asian Championship boosted her spirit.

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