British Tamil girl wins first prize at European Rapid and Blitz chess Championship

An eight-year-old British schoolgirl “phenomenon” won the women’s first prize in the Blitz category at this year’s European Rapid and Blitz Chess Championship in Zagreb, Croatia.

The “super talented” – as the competition described her – Bodhana Sivanandan scored 8.5/13 points in the 13-round Blitz competition, which attracted 555 players, including 48 grandmasters (GM) and 50 international masters (IM), according to, to claim the women’s first prize on Saturday in the Croatian capital.

Sivanandan beat one IM and one FIDE Master (FM), reported, noting that she finished in 73rd place overall with 8.5 points and scored a rating performance of 2316, ahead of several GMs and masters.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Sivanandan said, “I always try my best to win; sometimes, it happens and, sometimes, it doesn’t.

“I was very proud of myself when I got top girl in the European Blitz.”

In the penultimate round, she beat international master and England’s women’s coach Lorin D’Costa, who, at 39, is more than 10 years her senior.

Sivanandan’s performance caught the attention of many elite players, including Romanian IM Irina Bulmaga, who called her a “phenomenon.”

“Unbelievable result by 8 yo girl- Bodhana, who held a draw in the last round of the European Blitz Championship to score 8,5p/ 13, winning the 1st prize among women ahead of me and a bunch of other experienced players! What a phenomenon she is!” Bulmaga wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Meanwhile, the English Chess Federation congratulated Sivanandan, writing on X: “Well done Bodhana. A terrific performance.”


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