Whenever we Indians speak of chess, we come up only with one of two names and those are all male-oriented fame. It is quite rare to find a female Chess talent in India, and even if it does, we hardly take notice of it. Chess is one of the most underrated games of India and only a handful of people shone through it and attracted the fame of the media. One of such underrated talent in India is Bhagyashree Sathe Thipsay, and in this article, we are going to narrate why. Let us give you a little hint– she is the first Indian woman to win International Grandmaster Award in Chess.
Early Days of Bhagyashree
Born on 4th August 1961, Bhagyashree had her childhood spent mostly in her hometown, Mumbai. A bright student in school and a curious soul of every other thing, Bhagyashree was intimated by the game, Chess when she was only 12 years old. Daughter of Vasant Sathe, a small businessman of Mumbai first sow the first seed of chess in her when she showed a keen interest in one of her father’s chess game. And the sparkle never went away, ever.
Passion Never Dies
The passion she showed, when she was only 12 years old, never stopped at that point. From her childhood days to her teenage and her adulthood, all her three stages of life have been involved in one undying love– Chess. She started learning chess from her father, and he used to make her play with all her other siblings. But when she started beating her father in chess games, it was the time to step into the outside world. She first competed in famous ‘Annual Sangli Tournament.’ But due to career priority, she was not fully involved in chess at her teens.
However, after crossing the 12th standard limitation, she decided to take chess as her career option and started playing it seriously. In 1979, she went to ‘Madras National Women’s Chess Championship.’ Although this championship had a steady winner for a record ten years, she was defeated by their excellence. She returned to an 8th place. But six years later, she again met with the steady winner of the National Women’s Chess championship and defeated her. After these championships, she played in multiple championships through her career life, and she never missed out her any Olympiad of Chess.
The Moment of Glory – Winning the Grandmaster
From 1985 to 1994, Bhagyashree won ‘Indian Women’s Championship’ for five times (1985, 1986, 1988, 1991 and 1994) and ‘Asian Women’s Championship’ in 1991. And her moment of glory came when she finally won the 28th ‘YMCA National B Women’s Chess Championship’ where she showed steely determination to win the show. And all her lifelong dedication, victories and love for chess has brought her the ‘International Grandmaster Award.’
Not only a Grandmaster winner but she is also a receiver of Padma Shri in 1986 and Arjuna Award 1987. Surprisingly, she is married to another Grandmaster title holder, Praveen Thipsay. Currently, she is working as an officer of IDBI in Mumbai.
Although Mrs. Bhagyashree Thipsay is very polite, she can be a terror whenever in front of the chess boards. From a little girl showing interest in chess to her moment of glory– winning the Grandmaster; the 76 games from 1982 to 2008 have been a rollercoaster journey for her. Mrs Bhagyashree Sathe Thipsay has built a milestone in the field of Women’s chess in India.
Written By: Subharthi Bhattacharya