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Bodhana Sivanandan Becomes 3rd Highest Rated 8-Year-Old Chess Player Ever
Bodhana Sivanandan gained more than 90 rating points and is close to achieving the WFM title. Photo: Cambridge International Open.

Bodhana Sivanandan Becomes 3rd Highest Rated 8-Year-Old Chess Player Ever

TarjeiJS
| 36 | Chess.com News

British rising star WCM Bodhana Sivanandan has delivered another extraordinary performance that is likely to catapult her to world number-one among chess players under nine years years of age. The schoolgirl now boasts one of the highest ratings ever recorded for an eight-year-old.

The 2024 Cambridge International Open, which concluded this Saturday, marked yet another success for England's veteran GM Michael Adams, who defended his title from the previous year. The 52-year-old secured a 7/9 score and took the £1,500 ($1,900) first prize on tiebreaks ahead of GM Sergei Tiviakov and IM Martin Haubro

However, once again the spotlight shone on an eight-year-old prodigy from Harrow, London. Sivanandan finished 55th among the 116 participants, notching two wins and five draws with her two losses against opponents rated more than 200 points higher.

One of her triumphs came against another prodigy, nine-year-old CM Supratit Banerjee, the world's second highest rated player under 10.

With a performance rating close to 2200 at some point, the eight-year-old was long in contention for a sensational women's international master norm, but a loss in the eighth round proved too costly.

Nevertheless, her rating performance of 2124 earned her a significant gain of 95 rating points from the event, according to Chess-Results. Coupled with the 93 rating points accumulated from seven games in the 4NCL and the Gonzaga Classic in January, she is now poised to gain nearly 200 points on FIDE's next rating list, according to Chess.com's data.

With a rating of 2086, she will likely head the impressive list of children born in 2015, who all learned the game during the pandemic lockdown. That list is currently topped by Leonid Ivanovic from Serbia, who became the youngest player to beat a grandmaster in a classical game, until that record was broken by almost five months by Indian-born Singaporean Ashwath Kaushik last week.

Another player born that year is Roman Shogdzhiev from Russia, who beat five grandmasters in the World Rapid and Blitz Championship last December, but his rating of 1802 shows that he hasn't been able to play enough classical chess for the rating to catch up with his actual strength.

Top Five Rated Players Born 2015 Or Later (February 2024)

Name Federation Rating
1 Leonid Ivanovic 1985
2 Tomas Andre 1915
3 Bodhana Sivanandan 1898
4 Kushal Jakhria 1897
5 Ashwath Kaushik 1892

For Sivanandan, however, the rating system is gradually catching up. According to Chess.com statistician Tai Pruce-Zimmerman, who maintains a list of the top ratings for any given age, Sivanandan's 2086 rating is the third highest ever for a player before the age of nine. Only FM Faustino Oro (2140) and GM Illya Nyzhnyk (2131) have been higher.

Sivanandan has been making headlines since she stunned the chess world in late October by becoming England's first world youth champion in 25 years. She didn't only take a historic triple crown, winning titles in classical, rapid and blitz, but she also won every single game, scoring an incredible 33/33. 

Her progress continued in the European Blitz Chess Championship in December, where she won the prize for the best woman, beating one IM and one FM on the way to a remarkable rating performance of 2316. She remarked about her passion for chess in an interview last year:

"I love to play chess because it helps me to recognize patterns, focus my attention, and is helping me to learn how to strategize and calculate moves in advance. Also, I like the way the chess pieces move on the board, especially the knight!"

TarjeiJS
Tarjei J. Svensen

I am a chess journalist on Chess.com, the site you are playing on. Hope you enjoy my stories. Let me know if you have any tips on what I should write about!

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