Chess has its first ever Grandmaster brother-sister pair in history

Vaishali Rameshbabu has joined her brother Praggnanandhaa as the only pair of siblings to achieve the title of Grandmaster in chess. This unique feat came as she surpassed 2500 ELO rating during the 2023 IV Elllobregat Open. She also became the third female Grandmaster from India, after Koneru Humpy and Harika Dronavalli. Her brother Praggnanandhaa was already a Grandmaster in 2018, when at the age of 12, he became the second youngest in the world to be so.

The siblings are from Chennai and train at the Bloom Chess Academy. They are supported by their parents, Ramesh Babu and Nagalakshmi, who have sacrificed a lot for their children’s chess careers. Praggnanandha has been a guiding light for his sister, encouraging her to aim for the Candidates and giving her tips and advice. They are both inspired by the legendary Viswanathan Anand, who is also from Chennai and has been the World Chess Champion five times.

KnowALLedge Plus:

>Both the siblings have also made it for the Candidates tournament, the qualifying event for the World championship match.

>Among her recent laurels in Indian soil include the individual bronze in the Chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram in 2022. She played a key role in India winning the bronze medals in the same women’s event. She followed it up with a superb win for the blitz title at the Tata Steel Chess India tournament in Kolkata.

>One of their earliest international wins came in 2012, when Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa won the nationals and qualified for the Asian youth championships in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. Despite the family struggling to put together their travel expenses, both returned champions – Vaishali in the under-12 girls, and Praggnanandhaa in the under-8 boys.

>Praggnanandhaa is only the second Indian after Viswanathan Anand to make a World Cup final and qualify for the Candidates tournament. He is also the only other Indian apart from Anand to have defeated Magnus Carlsen, that too multiple times.

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