• Thursday, July 25, 2024

Sport

Bodhana Sivanandan, 9, joins England chess team

Bodhana Sivanandan gained recognition as England’s first world youth champion in 25 years in 2022, winning titles in classical, rapid, and blitz competitions. (Photo credit: X/@FIDE_chess)

By: Vivek Mishra

BODHANA SIVANANDAN, a nine-year-old chess prodigy from London, will become the youngest player to represent England in any sport.

She will join the England women’s team at the Chess Olympiad in Budapest this September.

Her father, Sivanandan Velayutham, according to The Times, shared that Bodhana was unaware of the news while watching chess videos after school on Tuesday. “I normally don’t tell her about a tournament until a day or two before we have to pack our bags, but this one is different as there is lots to prepare,” he said. “We are very happy and glad with her selection.”

Bodhana said, “I’m so pleased to be picked for England. It’s a great honour and I’m looking forward to being part of a team.”

She is significantly younger than her teammates, including 23-year-old Lan Yao, and others in their thirties and forties, the newspaper reported.

Read: Austria coach rues team’s Euro exit after 1-2 loss vs Turkey

Bodhana gained recognition as England’s first world youth champion in 25 years in 2022, winning titles in classical, rapid, and blitz competitions.

She was also the best female player at the European blitz championship in Zagreb and the youngest player to avoid defeat against a grandmaster in a competitive game.

Bodhana, who lives in northwest London, started playing chess at age five during the pandemic, The Times reported.

She will join other young players at ChessFest in London on Sunday, an event expected to draw over 15,000 people. The festival, organised by the charity Chess in Schools and Communities, brings together enthusiasts and grandmasters for a day of games.

Joining her at ChessFest will be Shreyas Royal, 15, who is close to becoming England’s youngest grandmaster, the newspaper reported.

Also attending are the world’s number one under-9 player, Ethan Pang, and Supratit Banerjee, 10, the world number two in his age group.

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