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Mighty siblings, making the 'right move' in chess

India's Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa became the first sibling duo ever to qualify for the FIDE Candidates in the same edition.

Indian chess player R Praggananandhaa and Vaishali (Source: Chessbase India)

Indian chess players R Praggananandhaa (left) and R Vaishali (right). (Photo credit: Chessbase India)


Deepanshu Jain

Published: 11 Nov 2023 11:57 AM GMT

The brother-sister duo of R Vaishali and R Praggnanandhaa has become the talk of the hour due to their recent upsurge in international chess events. Recently, they have become the first sibling duo ever to qualify for a single edition of FIDE Candidates, scheduled to be held in Toronto in 2024.

This mighty duo from Chennai started playing chess only to distract themselves from television, as their father would suggest. The youngsters have now transformed themselves into outright professionals in the international circuit.

Along with Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa, Vidit Gujrathi also qualified for the Candidates tournament, making it three Indians qualifying for the prestigious tournament for the first time. An elated Viswanathan Anand heaped praise on the trio.

As Vaishali and Praggnanandhaa have found themselves at the centre of Indian chess, The Bridge takes a look at famous siblings who have made the 'right move' in chess.

The Chennai duo

World no.14 Praggnanandhaa is just 18 but already achieved a lot, including a silver medal at the FIDE World Cup this year in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he became the world's youngest player ever to reach the World Cup final. He also became the second Indian after legendary Anand to reach the final in the marquee tournament.

22-year-old Vaishali became the champion of FIDE Women's Grand Swiss 2023 held in the Isle of Man, Switzerland, last week by not losing a single game and scoring 8.5 out of 11. She became the first Indian woman to qualify for the Women's Candidates Tournament, also scheduled for 2024 in Toronto.

What is interesting about Praggnanandhaa and Vaishali is that they are the first sibling duo in the history of chess to qualify for the Candidates in the same edition.

Polgar sisters

The most famous siblings in chess are the Hungarian Polgar sisters.

Judit Polgar went on to become the highest-rated women's chess player of all time. She was the world no. 1 from January 1989 until her retirement on 13 August 2014. She is the only female chess player to ever defeat Magnus Carlsen.

Susan Polgar, the oldest of the three, was Women's World Chess Champion from 1996 to 1999. She became the third woman to be awarded the title of Grandmaster by FIDE. She also won eleven medals at the Women's Chess Olympiad.

Sofia is the middle sibling. She has played for Hungary in four Chess Olympiads, winning two team gold medals, one team silver, three individual golds, and one individual bronze.

Byrne brothers

Donald Byrne was an American university professor and chess player. He was at one time the second highest-rated player in the USA. Donald was also on the wrong side of “the game of the century” against Bobby Fischer.

His brother Robert Byrne was a chess player and also a chess author. He won the US Championship in 1972 and was only the fourth American to qualify for the Candidates Tournament.

Van Foreest sibling trio

Jorden Van Foreest is currently the second-ranked Dutch chess player. He also was crowned the Dutch Chess Champion in 2016.

His brother Lucas Van Foreest was also crowned as the Dutch Chess Champion, in 2019.

Matchteld Van Foreest, who won the Dutch Girls' U10 Championship at the age of 6, is the sister of Lucas and Jordan.

The Muzychuks of Ukraine

Muzychuk sisters are one of the most renowned sibling pairs in contemporary chess. Both Anna Muzychuk and Mariya Muzychuk are currently in the top 10 of the world women's classic ranking. Mariya Muzychuk is a former world champion. She won that title in 2015.

In 2017, her sister Anna shone through the World Championship and finished as runner-up, losing to Tan Zhongyi of China.

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