CHENNAI: Woman Grandmaster R Vaishali has been in fine form at the ongoing Asian Online Nations Cup tournament where the Indian women take on Kyrgyzstan in the quarterfinals on Friday.
TN’s Vaishali, elder sister of GM Praggnanandhaa, was instrumental in helping India finish on top in the preliminary stage of the tournament. The 19-year-old scored 6.5 points from 9 rounds on the top board to win an individual gold in the competition.
Apart from Vaishali, the Indian team captain Mary Ann Gomes (5 points) also won gold, while Padmini Rout (7.5 points) settled for silver.
Vaishali has come up with steady performances in the last few months. The FIDE women’s speed chess held in July saw her finish 8th in what was a strong field. Subsequently, Vaishali was part of the Indian team that won gold in the online chess Olympiad a month later. “The experience of playing top players in the last few months has boosted my confidence. The individual gold in this tournament is the result of the hard yards put in by me in recent times. The next target is to help India win the team gold,” Vaishali told TOI.
Vaishali’s coach RB Ramesh feels she has begun to fulfil her potential. “She has been working on all aspects of her game. Vaishali will only get better if she continues to work hard,” he said.
Vaishali believes that having a sibling like Praggu who knows the game inside out has worked to her advantage. While the two practice separately at home, they do take time out to discuss their games. “Praggu is like a sounding board for me and we engage in a few clashes regularly. We always look to learn from each other and I admire his ability to stay calm during crunch situations,” Vaishali said.
Despite a good run of form this year on the online circuit, Vaishali is itching to get back to playing in an over-the-board event. “At the moment, we don’t know when we will play in an over-the-board tournament next. But online events too have its charm and we are enjoying it,” she said.