Indian-Origin Girl to Make History in England’s Chess Team

Indian-Origin Girl to Make History in England’s Chess Team

Bodhana Sivanandan, a nine-year-old schoolgirl from Harrow, London, of Indian descent, has made history by being the youngest individual to be chosen to represent England internationally in any sport. In September, she will compete in the Chess Olympiad in Budapest, Hungary, with the England Women’s Team. “My dad told me, and I was happy,” she said.

Her manager, Malcolm Pein, of the England chess team, described her as one of the most amazing British chess prodigies. Her father, Siva Sivanandan, an engineering graduate, was astounded by Bodhana’s skill when she started playing with a chess board that a family friend had given her during the pandemic lockdown.

Bodhana was praised as “super talented” after winning the European Blitz Chess Championship in Croatia last December. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak later invited her to 10 Downing Street to celebrate a new GBP 1 million chess initiative. The objectives of this investment are to finance top training, raise awareness of the game, and assist underprivileged children.

The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport has committed GBP 500,000 to the English Chess Federation to help develop elite talent, and the Department for Levelling Up will provide GBP 250,000 to put chess sets in public parks.