CHENNAI: Armed with self-belief, hard work and dedication, 14-year-old R Vaishali is set to bag the coveted Woman International Master title. The ninth standard student of Velammal MHSS has moved up the ladder this year, producing a string of notable performances at both the national and the international level.
Gold medals in the U-14 World Youth Championship and the Asian Youth Championship, and a silver in the Commonwealth Chess Championship (in the u-20 category) are Vaishali’s notable achievements this year.Chess runs in her family; her brother Praggnanandhaa is also a U-10 world chess champion. “Initially, Vaishali used to watch chess on TV, and then slowly developed interest for the game. For the last couple of years, she has been competing with a lot of purpose, and her dedication has helped her bring many medals for the country and the state,” said Vaishali’s father Ramesh Babu, who works as a manager in a co-operative bank.
Vaishali believes that hard work and coach RB Ramesh’s inputs played a major role in her conquest of the world U-14 crown. “Regular practice and Ramesh sir’s advice helped me improve my game. So far, I have managed with my style of play without any problem. My strength is creativity, and it comes naturally to me. Openings is one area I need to focus on more,” remarked Vaishali.
She also is of the opinion that her fitness level needs bolstering. “I need to improve my fitness. As you play bigger tournaments against higher-ranked opponents, the games tend to take long time. I have the bad habit of not eating between games. This leaves me tired at times. I need to eat judiciously to develop stamina and I am working on it.”
Vaishali, who will next compete in France in an open tournament, wishes to become a WGM, and then a GM. “My aim is to become a WGM soon and then take it from there. My role model is Abdumalik Zhansaya (Kazakhstan), and my inspiration is our Viswanathan Anand,” she said.
Among the moments in her professional sojourn, the youngster cherishes in particular the National Child Award for Exceptional Achievements that she received from President Pranab Mukherjee last month. She was also awarded the Best Asian Achiever award by the Asian Chess Federation.