British chess ‘phenomenon’ Bodhana Sivanandan, 8, named best female player at European championship | UK News

An eight-year-old British chess prodigy has been named best female player at a European championship after a stunning performance which saw her outrank several grandmasters.

Bodhana Sivanandan astonished the chess world at The European Blitz Chess Championship in Zagreb, Croatia this weekend.

The primary school pupil from Harrow was up against some of the best players in the world.

In her penultimate round, she defeated international master and England women’s coach Lorin D’Costa, who is more than 30 years her senior, before going on to take the first prize for women at the event.

Announcing the result, the European Chess Union said the “super-talented” eight-year-old had achieved an “astonishing result”.

Meanwhile, professional chess player Irina Bulmaga heralded her “unbelievable” performance, saying Miss Sivanandan had taken first prize “ahead of me a bunch of other experienced players”.

“What a phenomenon she is,” she posted on social media.

Miss Sivanandan is considered a star of British chess and is among the best in the world for her age group.

She was invited to Downing Street earlier this year where she showed off her skills to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as he announced a £1m package to support children in disadvantaged areas to learn and play chess.

Pic: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
Ms Sivanandan was invited to Downing Street earlier this year. Pic: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

Miss Sivanandan placed 73rd overall in this weekend’s event, ahead of several grandmasters and other established masters.

She scored 8.5/13 points to win the first prize for women.

A total of 555 players participated in the event, among them 48 grandmasters.

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Pic: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street
The eight-year-old is being celebrated for her ‘unbelievable’ performance. Pic: Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street

English international master and chess commentator, Lawrence Trent, said he had “no doubt” the eight-year-old will become England’s best player.

“Bodhana Sivanandan is one of the greatest talents I’ve witnessed in recent memory,” he wrote on social media.

“The maturity of her play, her sublime touch, it’s truly breathtaking. I have no doubt she will be England’s greatest player and most likely one of the greatest the game has ever seen.”

The English Chess Federation has also offered its congratulations.

“Well done Bodhana. A terrific performance,” the federation wrote on social media.