8-Year-Old British Schoolgirl Wins Best Female Player at European Chess Championships by Beating a Master 30 years Older Than Her

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In the world of chess, where strategy, intellect, and perseverance converge, eight-year-old Bodhana Sivanandan has etched her name in history. Hailing from Harrow in North West London, this British schoolgirl has become a trailblazer by clinching the title of the best female player at the European blitz championship in Zagreb, Croatia.

Bodhana’s chess journey began at the tender age of five, during the pandemic, when she stumbled upon a discarded chessboard in a bin bag. Her curiosity sparked, and with the help of her father and YouTube tutorials, she embarked on a self-taught chess odyssey. Little did she know that this chance encounter would pave the way for her meteoric rise in the world of competitive chess.

Competing against seasoned players at the European blitz championship, Bodhana displayed remarkable prowess. Notably, she defeated England’s women’s coach, Lorin D’Costa, and held her ground against the two-time Romanian champion Vladislav Nevednichy. Her 5/11 result in the rapid round garnered admiration, but it was her stellar performance in the 13-round blitz that left fellow players in awe.

Chess enthusiasts and masters worldwide have hailed Bodhana’s achievements. Lawrence Trent, a chess commentator and international master, predicts that she will become “England’s greatest player and most likely one of the greatest the game has ever seen.” Irina Bulmaga, a Romanian international master, describes Bodhana’s result as “unbelievable” and recognizes her as a phenomenon.

Beyond the chessboard, Bodhana’s dreams reach far and wide. She aspires to become a grandmaster, England’s youngest Olympic gold medallist, and ultimately, to clinch a world title. Her strategic and patient playing style, often described as a “long game,” has captured the attention of chess aficionados and the president of the English Chess Federation, Dominic Lawson.

Bodhana’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion and determination. Her foray into competitive chess, marked by accolades and historic victories, solidifies her status as a prodigy destined for greatness. As she prepares to face her next challenge at the International Chess Congress in Hastings, East Sussex, on December 28, the chess world eagerly awaits the next move of this remarkable young talent.

December 20, 2023

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