R Praggnanandhaa & Vaishali Make History As Sibling Grandmasters

Siblings R Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali have etched their names in the game's history by becoming the first brother-sister pair to achieve the coveted title of Grandmaster.

Nikita Gupta
Updated On
New Update
R Praggnanandhaa vaishali rameshbabu.jpeg

Image Credits: The Hindu

In a historic moment for the chess world, the dynamic sibling duo, R Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali have etched their names in chess history by becoming the first brother-sister pair to achieve the esteemed title of Grandmaster. This exceptional feat unfolded when Vaishali secured her Grandmaster status, marking her as India's 3rd woman Grandmaster after surpassing the 2500 FIDE ratings at the IV El Llobregat Open in Spain.


R. Praggnanandhaa had already secured his Grandmaster title in 2018 at the age of 12, setting a record as the second-youngest Grandmaster in history. Vaishali's accomplishment adds a unique chapter to their family's legacy in the world of chess.

The Journey to Grandmaster Glory

Vaishali, at 22, showcased her prowess by defeating Turkish FM Tamer Tarik Selbes in the second round, propelling her FIDE ratings beyond the 2500 mark. Her stellar performance in the tournament, marked by two consecutive wins, cements her status as a formidable force in the chess arena. This achievement makes her the third woman from India to attain the Grandmaster title, joining the ranks of Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli.

Pioneers for India

On November 6, Batkhuyag Munguntuul found herself in a situation where she needed to push for a win against the frontrunner, Vaishali, for two specific reasons. One reason was to achieve a grandmaster norm, and the other was to enhance her chances of qualifying for the candidates. On the other hand, for Vaishali, a draw would be sufficient to secure a triumph in the tournament.


According to FIDE, it was quite unexpected to observe Vaishali opting for a sharp opening line. She took a surprising approach by playing 7...h6, followed by...g5. This unexpected move paid off when her opponent, White, made a significant error shortly afterwards.

Black continued her play naturally, centralising her knight and utilising the semi-open files on the kingside for her rooks. By move 20, she had established a comfortable advantage. Vaishali made a major mistake with 27...Rf7?! and, after the natural 28.axb5 axb5, Rameshbabu found herself on the defensive.

Fortunately for her, after White made inroads along the a-file, Black defended with...Rc8. Munguntuul began to repeat moves with Ra8-a7, and Black responded with...Rc8-c7.

White could have continued the game with Rea2 but instead chose to claim a draw. With this draw, Vaishali emerged as the winner of the FIDE Grand Swiss competition.

Siblings Rule The Chess World


Earlier this year, R Praggnanandhaa, Vaishali's brother, had qualified for the FIDE Candidates event.

The brother and sister achieved a historic feat by becoming the first sibling pair to qualify for the prestigious tournament. This tournament holds the key to determining the contenders for the reigning world champions in both the men's and women's categories.

Remarkably, for the first time, both candidate events will be co-hosted simultaneously in Toronto from April 3 to 25. Praggnanandhaa earned his spot with an impressive performance in the World Cup in August, while Vaishali secured her place by defeating China's Tan Zhongyi in the second-to-last round of the ongoing Grand Swiss event on the Isle of Man.

chess R Vaishali R Praggnanandhaa FIDE