Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Role Model: Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan , a role model for budding chess players
Published: Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011, 11:50 IST
By Ashish Phadnis | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Soumya Swaminathan has checkmated many in her 21 years. A three-time national junior (under-19) chess champion, Soumya became a world junior champion in March 2009 and Woman Grandmaster in the same year.

In fact, when she bagged the world junior title, she became only the third Indian girl after Grandmaster Koneru Humpy and Woman Grandmaster, Dronavalli Harika, to achieve the rare feat.

Last week, Soumya won the senior national title in Bhubaneshwar and has become a role model for budding chess players in the city.

Presently, sitting pretty with an ELO rating of 2353, she is considered he fifth strongest woman chess playerin the country.

However, Soumya has a big appetite. The DES Law College student is already gunning for the Men’s International Master (IM) title. Having completed the basic norms, she is working towards a 2400 ELO rating. Born in Palakkad, Kerala, in 1989, Soumya grew up in Aurangabad and now resides in Pune. Sadly, she had to bear the tragic loss of her mother in an accident at a very young age.

However, the brave girl has continued to win laurels in chess despite the loss of a parent.

Soumya, who is under a scholarship with the Indian Oil Corporation, has seen her ELO ranking rise from 2140 to 2315 in a very short time. Soumya, who hopes to get a foreign coach soon, wants to become a world champion. “It is a long path ahead,” she says.

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