Bhakti Kulkarni ia a prominent Indian chess player. She is the recipient of the FIDE titles – Woman Grandmaster (WGM) in 2012 and the International Master (IM) in 2019. In 2022, she created history along with her teammates by clinching a bronze medal at a chess Olympiad held in Tamil Nadu for the first time for India women’s chess team.
Bhakti Kulkarni was born on Tuesday, 19 May 1992 (age 30 years; as of 2022) in Goa, India. Her zodiac sign is Taurus. In 2022, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Arts from Mumbai University. According to Bhakti Kulkarni, she was introduced to chess at the age of two and a half years by her father, who was a national-level chess player during his college days. In a conversation with a media house, she remembered her childhood days when her father used to play chess, and she used to learn chess from him while sitting on his lap. She narrated,
I feel I am very fortunate as my skill comes from my dad who was an avid chess player right from his college days. I still remember that I used to sit on his lap while he used to play chess and that is how I learned this logical mind game at 2 ½ years of age.When I turned 4, I started playing tournaments.”
A childhood picture of Bhakti Kulkarni while playing chess
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Pradeep Kulkarni, and her mother’s name is Priya Kulkarni.
Bhakti Kulkarni with her parents
She has two brothers named Ankit Rajpara and Utsav Rajpara.
Brothers of Bhakti Kulkarni
She is not married.
- At the age of six, she won a State Under-7 Championship and got selected for the Nationals in 1998 and stood 3rd in the junior national championships. In 2008, she competed in the National Beat Tournament, which was organised by the Goa Chess Association and won the Best Goan title.
In 2010, she won Asian gold in U-18 in China. She was accompanied by her coach Dronacharya Gokhale.
In 2011, she was the winner of the Asian Junior Chess Championship. She then won the international women’s chess tournament in the Czech Republic — Open Vysočina in 2013. In 2016, she participated in the Asian Chess Women’s Championship and won the same. In 2009 and 2016, she competed for the Indian team in the Women’s Asian Team Chess Championship. She won a bronze medal in 2009 in the individual competition.
In September 2018, she won the 3rd International Master Norm at the Fischer Memorial Chess tournament in Greece.
In 2018, she was the winner of the National Women’s Champion, which was organised by the All India Chess Federation and Rajasthan Chess Association.
In 2019, she defeated M Mahalaxmi in the third round of the Asian Continental Open and Women’s Championships organised in Xingtai, China. In the same year, she won the National Women Senior Chess Championship organised at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu.
In 2019, she won a bronze medal at Commonwealth Championships.
In 2020, Bhakti Kulkarni clinched a gold medal in the Online chess Olympiad.
- In September 2021, Bhakti Kulkarni earned the 2388 FIDE rating.
- On 10 August 2022, Bhakti Kulkarni was a part of the first-ever Indian women’s team to win a bronze medal at an Olympiad organised in Chennai, India. The gold and silver medals in the women’s section were won by Ukraine and Georgia, respectively.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
In 2021, she was honoured with the Loksatta Tarun Tejankit Award by Union Minister of India Prakash Javdekar.
Bhakti Kulkarni upon receiving the Loksatta Tarun Tejankit Award
In 2019, she was felicitated with the Geno Award.
- In a media conversation, once, Bhakti Kulkarni dedicated her success to her coaches. She said,
I cannot think that I could have achieved this success without Gokhale sir and his wife Anupama madam. Anupama madam had won the Asian Women title in 1985 and 1987. I met him when I was 7 years old. He trained me without taking any sort of fees. ”
- Bhakti Kulkarni remains very active on various social media platforms. Over 4k people follow her Instagram account. On Facebook, she has over 2k followers. She often shares her picture and videos on social media.
- Bhakti Kulkarni is a devoted environmental advocate, and she often campaigns to promote tree plantations on social media
- Bhakti Kulkarni is a fitness enthusiast. She regularly practices Pranayam and Meditation to keep her mind and body intact. In a media interview, she talked about her fitness routine. She said,
In this game you need to keep your body fit in order for the mind to be fit. Before the games and tournaments, I indulge in some Pranayam and Meditation to keep the mind fresh.”
- Bhakti Kulkarni is a compassionate animal and bird lover. She has a pet bird named Baby Bulbul. She regularly posts pictures of her pet bird on social media.
- Bhakti Kulkarni often endorses and advertises ethnic women brands on social media.
- Apart from being a chess player, Bhakti Kulkarni is an excellent singer.
- Bhakti likes to do photography, swim, and play table tennis in her leisure time. In a media conversation, she discussed her hobbies and recreational activities. She said,
As I am fortunate to be able to visit other countries because of my game, I carry my camera. I also like to play table tennis, so I like to play post a game of chess during the tournaments and I also like swimming.”