Runa Mukherjee Parikh (Ahmedabad)
When not reading Harry Potter stories, Ahmedabad-based Hanya Shah (11) prefers to practise chess moves. Both pastimes have proved useful. Recently (November), this class VI pupil of the city’s CBSE-affiliated Apple Global School, hit national headlines when she won bronze at the Commonwealth Chess Championships staged in Kalutara (Sri Lanka). To her great delight, she received her medal from prime minister Dinesh Gunavardena of our neighbour island republic. Even at this young age Hanya is routinely winning medals and encomiums. Last October, she bagged silver and bronze in the blitz and classic categories of the Asian Youth Chess Championships held in Bali; in September, she was adjudged eighth at the World Cadets Chess Championship in Batumi, Georgia; in May she won gold, silver and bronze at the Western Asian Chess Tournament in the Maldives where she was also conferred the
Women Candidate Master (WCM) title by FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs) — the governing body of international chess tournaments. The second eldest daughter of Rajesh Shah, a businessman, and homemaker Jaini Shah, Hanya took to this mind game at age seven, watching her father play. Soon he began to play with her on Sunday afternoons. Quick on the uptake in 2018, she won a bronze medal at the District U-7 Girls championship followed by a silver in the Gujarat State U-7 Girls championship. Inspired by the style and technique of Vidit Gujrathi — India’s second ranked player after Viswanathan Anand — Hanya took to chess in earnest when locked at home during the two pandemic years. In 2021, she won a gold medal at the online Western Asian Youth Chess Championship. That very year, she represented Team India A at the online Asian Schools Chess Championship and won a bronze in the National Chess Championship in the U-9 category. Though totally committed to attaining GM (grand master) status, Hanya adeptly balances academic study and chess practice. “I am currently preparing for the upcoming Inter-School National Chess Championship in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. However, my sights are also set on the national, Asian and World championships in my age category, and acquiring a GM title. Finding a sponsor for my foreign trips is also top priority,” she says. Wind beneath your wings!
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