In a groundbreaking achievement for Indian chess, Vaishali Rameshbabu has earned the prestigious title of Grandmaster, making her the third female Grandmaster in India. This accomplishment, however, goes beyond individual success. Vaishali, at 22, and her younger brother, chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, have etched their names in history as the first-ever Grandmaster siblings.
Vaishali’s Remarkable Journey
Vaishali’s journey to the Grandmaster title has been nothing short of remarkable. While her younger brother, Praggnanandhaa, garnered much attention for becoming the second-youngest Grandmaster in 2018, Vaishali has steadily carved her own path in the world of chess. At 15, she achieved the title of Woman International Master, followed by Woman Grandmaster at 17, and International Master at 20.
Vaishali is not only a trailblazer in her family but has also put an end to India’s 12-year wait for a female Grandmaster. Her achievement places her among the elite ranks of Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli, making significant strides for women in Indian chess.
Chess runs deep in the Praggnanandhaa family. Their mother, Nagalaxmi, introduced them to the game when she decided they were spending too much time in front of the television. Vaishali, being the elder sibling by four years, set the stage for her brother’s rise in the chess world. Now, as Grandmaster siblings, they have brought unparalleled glory to Indian chess.
The Coach’s Perspective
Last month, the siblings’ coach, RB Ramesh, shed light on their playing styles. “You can say initially, they both had a similar style and it evolved slightly in different directions. Both are very hardworking. They don’t have much interest beyond chess, so they are very committed and dedicated to chess,” he explained. “Both spend a lot of hours on a daily basis working on chess, both didn’t go to school from a young age, practicing almost single-mindedly on chess.”
As Vaishali steps into the limelight, the Grandmaster siblings have opened new chapters in the history of chess. Their dedication, commitment, and love for the game have not only brought personal success but have become a source of inspiration for aspiring chess players, especially young girls, across India.