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Hope my achievement motivates others: Mary

Calcutta: Mary Ann Gomes is the new Woman Grandmaster-elect from Bengal.

The WGM title will be ratified by Fide in its next list. But the 18-year-old — only the second from Bengal (after Nisha Mohota) to get the WGM title and younger than her predecessor — is not over excited. Rather she’s focused towards her next aim: to capture her first IM norm.

“It’s high time the girls’ chess in Bengal picks up now. Compared to other states, it’s a little difficult for a girl to do well in chess here. There are no sponsors... But I hope my achievement will motivate others,” Mary Ann told The Telegraph after her arrival from Mumbai on Sunday.

She was felicitated by the state federation and presented with a cake after her train reached Howrah Station. “The train was late by two-and-half hours and I never expected such a grand welcome … I’m overwhelmed. Now, I’m anxious to see my family as I was away for more than a month,” she added.

A little unlucky for not having got her first IM norm in the Asian Junior meet, where she retained her title and earned her third and final WGM norm, Mary’s next target is the Parsvnath International Open Chess Tournament to be held in New Delhi from January 12-20.

Her final score (8.5 points from nine rounds) in Mumbai was sufficient to fetch her the first IM norm, but the walkover in the first round spoilt her chance.

“A good performance at the Parsvnath Open can get me my first IM norm and I’m focused on that now,” the class XI student of St. Jude’s High School said. In fact, a real good performance at the New Delhi meet can earn her first GM norm also. But she’s not in a hurry. She prefers to go “one step at a time”.

A product of The Telegraph Schools’ championship, Mary Ann started her career in 1998 with the national under-9 championship. But her first claim to fame came in 2004 when she won her first WIM norm following her triumph in the National B championship. The following year she confirmed her WIM title after winning the Asian under-16 title.

She joined the Dibyendu Barua Chess Academy in 2005. Her career graph since then has been on an upward curve. Last year she went on to clinch her first WGM norm after finishing runner up in the National Women’s A and the second norm after she clinched the Asian Junior girls title.

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