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Pune-based IT employee beats Indian chess grandmaster

Before squaring off against the IT professionals, the 2018 Commonwealth chess champion, spared some thoughts for Hindustan Times

pune Updated: Dec 04, 2018 18:09 IST
Pranav Shahaney
Pranav Shahaney
Hindustan Times, Pune
Chess Grandmaster Tania Sachdev while playing with participants during Redbull corporate chess competition at Blueridge IT park, Hinjewadi in Pune.(Milind Saurkar/HT Photo)

The number 8 can, numerically, define Indian grandmaster Tania Sachdev. The New Delhibased chess champ is the 8th woman from the country to achieve grandmaster status. She won her first international title at the age of 8.

Today, however, the 32-year old is a veteran. In the city last week for Red Bull’s ‘Battle of the Queen’ event, she played 10 amateur chess players, simultaneously, at a corporate ‘blitz’ tourney at Hinjewadi.

Before squaring off against the IT professionals, the 2018 Commonwealth chess champion, spared some thoughts for Hindustan Times.


Of the 10 matches Sachdev took part in at the blitz tournament in Hinjewadi, she won eight, drew one and surprisingly, suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Soham Bhoir (left in pic). The Blueridge employee, who only plays the game as a hobby, was overwhelmed by the victory. It’s a great achievement to play with her, let alone win, and I’m still shocked with how it all unfolded,” he said.


To the onlooker, chess appears an extremely serious game, but Sachdev laughed off such claims, stating it’s a lot more lighthearted than what people give it credit for.

“Chess is a solitary game. You’re accountable for every decision you make because for every move the biggest question you have is ‘What is your next move?’ and at every step of the way it is only you that has to come up based on your understanding, your pattern recognition and whatever mental skills you have. Chess and sports in general develops a lot character, and that’s where your confidence comes from. At a very early age you learn about adversities and challenges and how to deal with losing.”


World number one Carlsen’s remarkable world championship victory over the second ranked Fabiano Caruana, after the first 12 classic games were drawn, came down to the rapid format.

Sachdev says, “The final was amazing. In fact, the entire world championship was pretty incredible.They both had a great fight. In the rapid there wasn’t really much of a fight but in the classic it wasn’t clear who the better one was.I loved it. It was very exciting to watch and the whole chess world was waiting for this matchup to happen.”


Pune’s Aakansha Hagawane, an under-16 world champion in 2016 is one of the chess talents to watch out for in the coming years. The daughter of a wholesale vegetable seller, the young girl from the city has been playing the sport for 10 years and has formed a phenomenal rapport with Sachdev.

“I’ve played with her in one of the team championships. She’s a very talented kid with great potential. I really like the way she plays blitz and rapids especially, because she plays fast. She’s tactical and is rapidly improving. It will be interesting to see how she comes up in the next few years.”


Sachdev remains optimistic despite having not set any immediate targets for herself. At the moment she is only looking to become a stronger player and believes that her best days are still ahead of her.She says, “I don’t know where I see myself in the next five years. I’m still working on the game and I want to become a stronger player than I am today. I know that till I’m part of the national team, that’s my priority because it’s really tough to be in the Indian team as it’s such a strong with so many players coming up. I also want to get my third grandmaster norm while continuing to commentate.”

First Published: Dec 04, 2018 15:41 IST