WCM Bodhana Sivanandan Takes Over The Chess World

ChessKid star Bodhana Sivanandan shocked the chess world at the European Blitz Championship recently, winning the prize for the best woman player in the tournament at only eight years old!

Bodhana is the reigning under-8 girls champion of the world, and she's only been playing chess for three years, starting during the pandemic. She's also won the rapid and the blitz versions of the under-8 title, making her a 'triple crown' champion (someone who is the champion in every single time control).

FunMasterMike caught up with Bodhana in an exclusive interview to ask her some questions about how she originally got into chess, as well as her recent experiences. Check out the video below:

Bodhana started her chess career by doing puzzles on websites including ChessKid, where she first learned how to move some of the pieces. Solving puzzles is still her favorite way to practice chess today!

Only three years later, her performance at the European Blitz Championship now has the whole chess world talking about her. In this tournament, she played against titled players like FMs and IMs, and even drew against a grandmaster (the highest possible chess title).

Keep in mind that Bodhana is playing adults who have been playing chess for almost their entire lives. Her dream of being a professional chess player representing the nation of England is looking like a real possibility!

Check out her game against GM Vladislav Nevednichy here, where she played her favorite opening as Black, the Caro-Kann Defense:


Bodhana stayed cool and composed during the game, but was she nervous playing a grandmaster? "Not really, because I didn't know he was a grandmaster."

It probably also helps that this is not Bodhana's first time being the center of attention: she was previously on stage in London at the 2023 ChessFest, where she played an exhibition match in front of thousands of people.

Bodhana Sivanandan and FM Mike Klein at ChessFest 2023.

Left: Bodhana playing live on stage in Trafalgar Square, with her game on the screen. Right: FunMasterMike and Bodhana!

So what's it like being eight years old and playing against a bunch of stern-looking adults?

"I think I'm just a chess player amongst other chess players." 

A big congratulations to Bodhana from the team at ChessKid. We're looking forward to seeing all of your successes to come!