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Indian chess siblings become first brother and sister duo to earn grandmaster title

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Chess player Vaishali Rameshbabu followed in the family tradition by becoming a grandmaster on Friday.

Vaishali, 22, became only the third woman in India to earn the title, but she is not the first in her family to achieve such a feat.

Her brother, Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, became one of the youngest grandmasters in history in 2018 at the age of 12. Together, the siblings have now become the first brother and sister duo to become grandmasters, according to

“Becoming a [grandmaster] has been my goal since I started playing chess,” Vaishali told after earning the title at the IV El Llobregat Open in Spain.

“I was so close to it so I was really excited but also I had some pressure […] I’m very happy I finally managed to complete the title.”

Becoming a grandmaster is not easy and takes time. To achieve the title, players must win three norm tournaments – competitions which themselves must meet certain criteria – and surpass an International Chess Federation (FIDE) rating of 2500.

Vaishali had already won three norm tournaments and eventually crossed the 2500 rating with her second-round win in Spain last week.

Vaishali’s brother, one of the best players in the world, said he always knew his older sister would one day accomplish the feat.

“I felt long back that she has GM strength for a long time already,” he told the FIDE last month as his sister approached the rankings points needed.

“I’m happy to see that she’s finally getting to where she belongs.”

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