Being male and growing up aged 9 playing chess, I didn’t pay too much attention to girls in chess. After all, when you go to your first tournaments, it is the thrill and challenge to play our royal game that we are concerned with. You also start to make your chess friends, often randomly at these competitions.
It might be that one of my first tournaments I played, the British Junior Chess Championships in Norwich in 1994, where I played 4 girls in 7 rounds (losing most of these games) that I subconsciously just assumed girls were commonplace in chess.
It was also at this tournament that my father pointed out a little girl who was holding 4 trophies she had won at the championships during the closing ceremony. She could barely hold them all at the same time. ‘Look’ he said to me, ‘they’ve come from India to play here, and she’s won all the titles she could have won’. Her name was Tania Sachdev. You will study her in this book.