Vantika Agrawal is the 11th Indian Woman to become an International Master
On 29th of March 2023, 20-year-old WGM Vantika Agrawal scored her final IM-norm and crossed 2400 at Six Days Budapest Spring GM. Thus, she became the 11th female Indian to achieve the IM title. Vantika has won Gold at Online Olympiad 2020, she became the National Women champion in 2021 among her long list of accolades. The first IM-norm was scored at FIDE Grand Swiss for Women 2021 in Riga, Latvia. Eight and a half months later she secured her second IM-norm at 44th Chess Olympiad 2022 with a stellar performance. As er the April FIDE Rating list, the girl from Delhi is India no.5 and World no.46 among Women. Immediately after becoming an IM, she went to Norway where she has made a fantastic start at Fagernes GM Open 2023. Check out a detailed interview of Vantika and her mother Sangeeta Agrawal conducted by IM Sagar Shah.
Three IM-norms and 2400+ in 16 months
"To tell the truth, the way it started when I came to Vezerkepzo, the first six rounds were not going well. I was in minus 20. My rating was decreasing, even confidence was shaken but then I thought never lose your hope. I just concentrated on my game, decided to start a fresh and forget whatever happened. I just made a comeback in that tournament. I won the last three games and increased some rating there... Then from minus it became plus. The next tournament was even better. I played very well there." - India's latest IM Vantika Agrawal on how she is feeling about earning the coveted title. Vantika is currently pursuing B.Com at SRCC College. She also won Gold for her college team at FIDE Binance Business School Cup 2021.
"I kept on working hard, I didn't stop. Whatever my result was, I just kept on working. Even in tournaments, I never gave up... I think never give up attitude and I keep working hard always. So I think those two have helped me to perform well. " - Vantika on what was the reason behind her doing well.
First IM-norm: FIDE Grand Swiss Women 2021
Vantika Agrawal earned her first IM-norm at FIDE Grand Swiss Women in November 2021. She scored 6.5/11, performed at 2496 and gained 52 Elo rating points. She defeated IM Carolina Lujan (ARG), IM Nataliya Buksa (UKR), drew with GM Pia Cramling (SWE), GM Zhansaya Abdumalik (KAZ), GM Antoaneta Stefanova (BUL), IM Batkhuyag Munguntuul (MGL) and IM Meri Arabidze (GEO). Her sole loss was against FIDE Women's World Cup 2021 winner - GM Alexandra Kosteniuk. She also finished 14th overall at this event.
Vantika - Carolina, Round 7
After a series of mistakes by Black, White finally seized her opportunity 54.f4 Rb6 55.Ra5 f6 56.f3 Rc6 57.Ra3 Rb6 58.f5+ Kg5 59.f4+ Kh6 60.e5 Kg7 61.e6 and the protected passed pawn played a key role in Vantika scoring the victory.
Second IM-norm: 44th Chess Olympiad 2022
After eight and a half months, WGM Vantika Agrawal delivered a top performance at the top board of India 2. She defeated IM Irine Kharisma Sukandar (INA) and drew with GM Nana Dzagnidze (GEO) among the notable ones en route her 7.5/11 score.
Irene - Vantika, Round 3
Position after 18...Bh4
After 16.g4 hxg3 White made an incorrect attempt at recovering the pawn, 17.Ne2. Vantika defended the pawn actively which eventually helped her in scoring the win.
Third IM-norm: Six Days Budapest Spring GM 2023
Vantika started the month of March 2023 with rating of 2367. In the first event - Vezerkepzo GM March 2023, Vantika gained 14.2 Elo rating points. In the second one - Six Days Budapest Spring GM, she gained 26 Elo rating points and secured her final IM-norm too. She defeated IM Shreyas Royal (ENG), drew with GM Novendra Priasmoro (INA), GM Swayams Mishra and GM Zlatko Ilincic (SRB).
Vantika - Shreyas, Round 4
20...Rxb5 completely disintegrates Black's position. 21.Rxb5 Nxb5 22.Nxc4 dxc4 23.Rxc4 a3 24.Ra4 Nd6 25.Rxa3 Qe7 26.Ra7 Rd8 27.h4 White not only gained a pawn but also a substantial positional advantage which she had no trouble converting into a win.
The ten Indian woman who are International Masters - Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi (2001), Koneru Humpy, Harika Dronavalli (2007), Tania Sachdev (2008). Eesha Karavade (2010), Nisha Mohota (2011), Padmini Rout (2015), Bhakti Kulkarni (2019), Soumya Swaminathan (2020) and R Vaishali (2021). Humpy became a GM in 2002 directly when she was a WGM. Since she became a GM from WGM, it also means she has fulfilled all the requirements for an IM too.