Chess queen Divya Deshmukh became Nagpur’s first Women International Master

Chess queen Divya Deshmukh

NAGPUR: A fortnight after the city produced its second and Maharashtra’s youngest chess International Master (IM) in Raunak Sadhwani, Nagpur’s little chess queen Divya Deshmukh became Women International Master (WIM) in Mumbai on Sunday.

The 12-year-old and two-time World Cadet Chess Champion cleared her third and final WIM norm during the ten-round 11th Mumbai’s Mayor Cup chess tournament to become city’s first WIM.

In the eight-day meet that attracted a participation of 216 players from 18 countries, Divya gave a performance rating of 2359 Elo points to earn the title. With a rating of 2138, she started as a 74th seed and after collecting six points, she finished the international rating tournament at the 45th position.

Though she achieved her target of becoming a WIM in just five months, Divya missed a rare double delight in Mumbai. Having suffered a defeat in the 10th and final round against FM Nitish Belurkar, Divya missed her first Women Grand Master (WGM) norm. Had she won the final round, Divya could have cleared her IM norm too in addition to becoming the WIM.

For starters, Divya cleared her maiden WIM norm in January while achieved her second high in March at Vietnam and touched the requisite 2200 Elo rating in April this year.

“Like IM Raunak Sadhwani, Divya is also very talented player. Both are genius and well backed by parents and good coaches. Divya will not only become WGM or IM or Grandmaster, I am expecting her to become Women World Champion in future,” said city’s first IM Anup Deshmukh, after he too recorded a fine finish by collecting seven points in the Mayor’s Cup.Arbiter Swapnil Bansod said, “These are great days for Nagpur chess. After Raunak, now Divya has brought laurels to the city. Divya has a very long way to go, since 2012 she has been beating higher rated players.”

Divya started her Mayor’s Cup campaign with a draw when she held seed No 20 and IM Harsha Bharathakoti before posting three victories on the trot. On her way, Divya surprised IM and 22nd seeded P Karthikeyan, who has an Elo rating of 2456, and higher rated Saravana Krishnan (2359). With five wins including three upsets, couple of draws and three defeats Divya collected six points to finish the meet at a creditable 45th position. She also earned a 109.6 international rating points.

In July, the World Chess Federation (Fide) will issue certificates to all the new title holders.

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