Traps, Tricks & Mistakes: Bodhana’s Case
This post is a collaboration with Mr Andrew Crosby who is an expert in chess gambits.
Andrew usually plays them in his games with great success. In addition, he is an active member of our virtual Chess.com club taking part in our online tournaments and matches..
There is a general consensus that after the success of the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” in the year 2020, chess has experienced a boom worldwide.
There is another trend that surely will increase with this boom. I am referring to the young age at which some players reach the GM title.
The American Bobby Fischer earned the GM title at the age of 15 years, 6 months, and 1 day. Thirty three years had to pass before the Hungarian lady player Judit Polgar broke that record by earning the title at the age of 15 years and 4 months. The GM American Abhimanyu Mishra holds the actual record after earning the title at the age of 12 years, 4 months, and 25 days, in the year 2021.
However it seems that the trend will continue in the coming years. Faustino Oro, a new chess prodigy from Argentina is progressing very fast. At the age of 9 he has been the youngest player ever to score an IM norm. It means that if he makes steady progress it is not unreasonable to expect that he will be the next youngest GM.
Chess prodigies numbers are rising among girl players too. The U18-U8 World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championships took place in Batumi, Georgia from June 5-12th in 2023. Bodhana Sivanandan, an English girl won both championships in the U8 category. But the most astonishing is that she came undefeated, winning all her games in 11 rounds in both formats!
Four months later, from October 16 to 26 the FIDE World Cadets Championship took place in Sharm El Sheikh (Egypt). Bodhana won in her age group and again she came undefeated with a perfect score 11/11!
Undoubtedly hard work is the key to achieve those results. However most fascinating is the way chess attracted Bodhana. That happened when Bodhana was 5 and a half years old and she explains that “… among clothes destinated to charity after Covid, I discovered a chess set and immediately I was fascinated by the pieces”
So, in less than 3 years, Bodhana went from zero to be the world chess champion in blitz, rapid, and classic in the under eight age group. She is aware of her talent and her ambition is to become a GM and England’s youngest Olympiad gold medallist.
Bodhana has a clear approach to chess strategy and it’s worth reading her comments on the following game, extracted from the lovely interview conducted by IM Sagar Shah.
I always find impressive the level of chess mastery that those child prodigies achieve a such a young age. And Bodhana’s case is even more amazing considering what she has achieved in less than 3 years!
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