9-year-old chess prodigy from Karnataka wins PM Bal Puraskar

Charvi currently hold the 1,915 rank at Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) -- the world chess federation in the Under-11 category.
Charvi Anilkumar with her parents
Charvi Anilkumar with her parents

BENGALURU: At the tender age of nine, Charvi Anilkumar has been making all the right moves in chess. With over five gold medals and one silver, the young girl from Bengaluru was conferred the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar by President Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi on January 22. The chess prodigy was also the world champion in the Under-8 category at the World Cadets Chess Championship in Georgia.

Charvi currently holds the 1,915 ranks at Federation Internationale des Echecs (FIDE) -- the world chess federation in the Under-11 category. She also bagged the title of world number one in the female category, under the title Woman Candidate Master (WCM).

Speaking to TNIE, Charvi’s father Anil Kumar, a software engineer in the city, said his daughter started playing chess at the age of five. Her mother was also a software engineer who left her job to provide full-time support to Charvi and her chess career. Kumar added that both of them come from humble backgrounds and are proud of their daughter’s remarkable achievements.

“When she was at daycare, she learnt about the game from older children and eventually forced us to buy her a chess board. My wife and I didn’t know anything about chess, we used to learn from Youtube tutorials and teach her. Later, we enrolled her in a coaching centre run by B S Shivananda at the Karnataka Chess Academy,” Kumar said.

Charvi’s first official win came six months after her official training, bagging the Karnataka State School Chess Championship. Subsequently, she also won the National Chess Championship and Asian School Chess Tournament.

So far, Charvi has inked her name at the World Cadet Championship-2022, the Asian Youth Chess Championship in Indonesia and the Commonwealth Youth Chess Championship in Sri Lanka in October 2022. Currently, the chess prodigy is training with RB Ramesh, who also mentors chess grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa. “We travel to Chennai every month for a week where she trains with Ramesh. Charvi also gets coached by Mishra Swayams (India’s 62nd grandmaster) virtually regularly,” Charvi’s father added.

The nine-year-old is studying at Capitol Public School at Hegde Nagar in Bengaluru and said her next goal is to secure the World Cadet Master title for women and also become a grandmaster. Apart from indulging in the game of kings and queens, Charvis is also interested in badminton and swimming.

On Tuesday, Charvi met Prime Minister Narendra Modi after winning the Bal Puraskar ahead of the Republic Day celebrations where she is an invitee.

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