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 31 years; as of 2023) 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. Bhakti Kulkarni said,
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.”
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
Bhakti Kulkarni’s father’s name is Pradeep Kulkarni, and her mother’s name is Priya Kulkarni.
She has two brothers named Ankit Rajpara and Utsav Rajpara.
Bhakti Kulkarni is not married.
In 1998, Bhakti Kulkarni participated in the State Under-7 Championship when she was six years old and got selected for the national chess championships where she attained the third position. She participated in the National Beat Tournament organised by the Goa Chess Association in 2008 and clinched the Best Goan title. In 2009, she participated in the Indian team in the Women’s Asian Team Chess Championship and won a bronze medal in an individual event. Bhakti Kulkarni participated in the Asian championships organised in China in 2010 and won a gold medal in the U-18 category. During these championships, her coach Dronacharya Gokhale travelled with her to China.
In 2011, Bhakti Kulkarni competed in the Asian Junior Chess Championship and won the same. Thereafter, she participated in the international women’s chess tournament organised in the Czech Republic — Open Vysočina and won the same in 2013. In 2016, she was the winner of the Asian Chess Women’s Championship. In the same year, Bhakti Kulkarni competed in the Women’s Asian Team Chess Championship in the team event.
In September 2018, Bhakti Kulkarni participated in the Fischer Memorial Chess tournament in Greece and clinched the 3rd International Master Norm.
In the same year, Bhakti Kulkarni earned in the National Women’s Champion title during the national tournaments organised by the All India Chess Federation and Rajasthan Chess Association.
In 2019, Bhakti Kulkarni participated in the Asian Continental Open and Women’s Championships organised in Xingtai, China, where she defeated her opponent M Mahalaxmi in the third round and won the championships. She then competed in the National Women Senior Chess Championship organised at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu. and won the same.
In the same year, Bhakti Kulkarni was the winner of a bronze medal at Chess Commonwealth Championships.
In 2020, Bhakti Kulkarni participated in an Online chess Olympiad and won a gold medal.
In September 2021, Bhakti Kulkarni was ranked 2388 by the International Chess Federation (FIDE). On 10 August 2022, Bhakti Kulkarni and her teammates became the first-ever Indian women’s team who won a bronze medal at a Chess Olympiad organised in Chennai, India. Ukraine and Georgia clinched the gold and silver medals, respectively, in the women’s section.
In 2021, Bhakti Kulkarni was honoured with the Loksatta Tarun Tejankit Award by Union Minister of India Prakash Javdekar.
In 2019, Bhakti Kulkarni was felicitated with the Geno Award.
- According to Bhakti Kulkarni, she dedicates her success to her coaches. In a media interview, she disclosed that her coach Raghunandan Gokhale began giving her chess training when she was seven years old, and he did not demand any sort of fees from her in return. 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 often participates in many tree plantation drives and posts her pictures on social media. She is an avid environmental advocate.
- Bhakti Kulkarni is a fitness enthusiast. In a media conversation, she narrated that she regularly practices pranayam and meditation to enhance her concentration power. In the same discussion, she added that these practices kept her mind fresh before her chess tournaments. Bhakti Kulkarni 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 an avid bird lover. The name of her pet bird is Baby Bulbul. She frequently shares pictures of her pet bird on various social media platforms.
- Bhakti Kulkarni regularly advertises ethnical women’s apparel brands on various social media platforms.
- According to Bhakti Kulkarni, she likes singing and often sings at home to kill boredom.
- In a media interview, Bhakti narrated that she liked doing photography, swimming, and playing table tennis in her leisure time. She added in the same discussion that she was fortunate to explore other countries during her chess tournaments. 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.”