Nagpur’s child prodigy and chess queen Divya Deshmukh has gone on to become the world’s no. 1 chess player in the under-14 girls’ section. With the announcement of this new feat coming in on Tuesday, Deshmukh has now become second player from India to reign the number one spot.
With an Elo rating of 2432, Divya is also the No. 5 in the junior (U-20) category and the only India to be amongst the top 10. Furthermore, she is the No. 3 amongst the Indian women. The first two spots are ruled by 31-year-old Koneru Humpy (2549 Elo) and 28-year-old Harika Dronavalli (2492 Elo).
While speaking to TOI, Divya said, “I had not expected both to happen so fast. I just hope I can maintain the rating and also go on to become No.1 as soon as possible. This isn’t the limit for me.”
Talking about Divya’s achievement, Humpy said that the former has been climbing the rating ladder fast and that she has done “pretty well in the last three months”. “This is a very good sign for the country. After me, I think Divya is the only women player to have achieved this feat,” she added.
In 2018 the two-time world cadet chess champion Divya, went on to become city’s first Women International Master (WIM). She had started the year with an Elo of 2168 and gained 264 in mere three months.
Divya scored her first IM norm just after she had her maiden win in the open women category at the AICF International Round Robin tournament. She had missed the IM norm during the Aeroflot Open 2019 but made it up by clearing her second WGM norm. With that, her Elo marked up to 2,400.
Consistency and a stellar performance is what set Divya soaring way past her much elder peers such as Soumya Swaminathan (2402), Tania Sachdev (2397), Eesha Karavade (2370), Padmini Rout (2364), R Vaishali (2353), Bhakti Kulkarni (2350) and Vijayalakshmi Subbaraman (2342) among others.
The first Indian to make it past the 2,400 mark was 14-year-old Koneru Humpy who achieved this feat in October 2001. Humpy was the youngest player to bag the accomplishment. In a span of one year, she became World’s youngest GM by surpassing Judit Polgar's earlier feat in just three months. Eventually, China’s Hou Yifan broke her record in 2008.
“It is a sign of fast improvement and her learning is in the right direction,” commented Humpy when quizzed about Divya making it to the 2400 Elo mark.
“Crossing 2400 is very good as it also helps in getting the IM title. Otherwise, crossing the rating becomes more difficult than clearing norms,” said Divya.
Humpy, who praised the Divya on her achievement, also threw in a word of caution in the same breath. “Divya’s tough fight starts from here as her opponents will be more alert. She needs to work a lot to maintain the rating and should only think on how to improve further,” she said.
“I think maintaining the rating can be little tough and increasing it will be really difficult now. My initial aim is to become an IM and then as usual the GM title. But improving my game is my priority,” said Divya.
A recent awardee of Maharashtra’s youngest Shiv Chhatrapati award, Divya is presently at the 21st Dubai Open as the 39th seed. She is accompanied by Raunak Sadhwani, another talented chess player from the city.
Information source: timesofindia
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