Australian Prodigy Rheyansh Annapureddy Wins The U8 Asian Championship
Rheyansh Annapureddy became Australia's first Asian title winner since 1988.

Australian Prodigy Rheyansh Annapureddy Wins The U8 Asian Championship

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Over the last decade, interest in chess across Asia has been steadily growing and some Asian countries, namely India, China, Uzbekistan, and Iran, have been responsible for the development of numerous prodigies. American GM Abimanyu Mishra stole global headlines in 2021 at the age of 12 when he became the youngest player to claim the grandmaster title and it was just a matter of time until the always-competitive players of Australia stepped up to the mark.

The top junior list is littered with Asian-based players. Photo:

Last week Australian chess players celebrated the emergence of a superstar as 8-year-old Rheyansh Annapureddy returned home after winning the U8 Asian Youth Chess Championship, held in Bali, with a commanding score of 7.5/9. The result was no fluke and it followed a string of exceptional results including 10th place at the FIDE U8 World Cadet Championships and 1st place in the ChessKid online tournament for youth in July. Annapureddy was actually unlucky not to win the world U8 championships in September after being struck by sickness while leading with a few rounds to go.

Annapureddy atop the podium in Bali. Photo: Nagi Annapureddy.

Annapureddy assesses his own playing style as positional and likes to "squeeze" his opponent's. He has shared one of his favorite games which was the all-important final-round victory with black en route to the U8 Asian title.

With a 1682 FIDE rating as of October, Annapureddy's unprecedented rise has seen him ascend to the #6 spot for his age category in the world, a remarkable achievement for a country that does not consider chess a sport!

Since current Australian #1 GM Anton Smirnov was a youngster, such a positioning at this age has not been seen in Australia. Photo:

Hoping to get the word out there about Annapureddy's phenomenal achievements, I linked up with the star's supportive parents to do an interview with the first Asian champion from Australia since 1988 (when Shane Hill won the U20 championship in Dubai). Annapureddy spoke candidly about his recent performances and chess journey so far and although he carries modesty and maturity beyond his years, he believes that his work ethic can help him achieve his ultimate goal of one day ascertaining the world championship title, and hopefully defeating GM Magnus Carlsen on the way there.

I have been extremely careful not to use the word "talent" when referring to Annapureddy's chess ability as although the eight-year-old is blessed with an extraordinary memory, Annapureddy's five to six hours a day of chess study and absolute dedication to his craft is in my eyes, the real reason for his success.

Rheyansh alongside the rest of the Australian contingent who traveled to Bali for the Asian Youth Chess Championships.

In any success story such as this, it is always important to acknowledge the hardworking people behind the scenes that have assisted Annapureddy in his journey so far and the Annapureddy family wanted to thank the following people...

Coaches: Kavi Samrat, IM CRG Krishna, and IM Ravi Teja 

Mentor: Sajid Shirawala - Sajid has helped Annapureddy all the way with his game, clearing his doubts and motivating him during tournaments.

Organizational Assistance: Tony Davis

Chess Clubs/Organisers: Melbourne Chess Club, Hobsons Bay Chess Club, Wyndham Chess Club 

The Australian chess community is very much looking forward to seeing Annapureddy continue to make waves and his participation in the upcoming Oceania Championships and Australian Junior Chess Championships will be watched with keen interest.

For those that have other extraordinary chess stories (or otherwise), feel free to send me a message on!