Sibling Sensation: International Masters Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa become the first sibling pair to qualify for the Candidates tournaments together

 R Praggnanandhaa (left) and Vaishali, Image Courtesy- Twitter
R Praggnanandhaa (left) and Vaishali, Image Courtesy- Twitter

At the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023, International Master R. Vaishali delivered an exceptional performance by defeating former world champion Grandmaster Tan Zhongyi. This remarkable victory not only secured her a half-point lead at the top of the ladder board but also brought her a step closer to achieving her dream of becoming a grandmaster.

"The Grandmaster title has been a big dream for me since my childhood, and I am getting closer to it,” said Vaishali.

Vaishali’s most recent triumph was a masterclass in how to play against a king positioned in the center of the board, and if she secures a win with the Black pieces on Sunday, November 5, she will secure the title of Grandmaster.

Vaishali’s journey through the Swiss tournament holds more groundbreaking milestones than meets the eye.

Following her sensational display of chess mastery, Vaishali achieved a qualification for the prestigious 2024 FIDE Candidates tournament. This in itself is a huge achievement and a testament to her unparalleled skill and dedication to the game. But what makes it even more spectacular is that she, along with her brother, Grandmaster R Praggnanandhaa, became the first sibling pair to make it to the Candidates tournaments together.

“These are two of the biggest goals of my chess career. I’m trying not to think about it, but, of course, it keeps coming into my head, but I am trying my best to focus on my game," Vaishali confessed in an interview with FIDE's YouTube channel following her impressive victory.

Vaishali’s brother, Grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa, has been making waves in the chess world. He earned his spot in the 2024 FIDE Candidates after a brilliant silver medal-winning performance at the FIDE World Cup in August. Praggnanandhaa became only the second Indian to reach the FIDE World Cup final, and this victory also made him the first Indian to qualify for the Candidates Tournament since 2016.

Praggnanandhaa’s qualification placed him in the esteemed company of chess legends like Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen, making him the third youngest player ever to participate in the Candidates tournament. R. Praggnanandhaa is also the youngest player ever to defeat World Champion Magnus Carlsen.

Vidit Gujrathi's opportunity to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.

In the men’s category at the FIDE Grand Swiss 2023, Grandmaster Vidit Gujrathi currently shares the lead on the leader board with the esteemed Hikaru Nakamura and Andrey Esipenko, each boasting an impressive 7.5 points as they head into the final round.

If Vidit manages to secure his qualification for the 2024 FIDE Candidates, India will have three representatives competing at the highest level of international chess. This would be a remarkable achievement for Indian chess and a testament to the exceptional talent and dedication of its players.

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Edited by Vaishnavi Iyer