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Rohini Khadilkar

Rohini Khadilkar, Luzern 1982
Native name Marathi: रोहिणी खाडिलकर
Born 1963
Nationality Indian

Rohini Khadilkar (born April 1, 1963, in Mumbai) is a Woman International Master in chess. She has won the Indian Chess Championship five times and the Asian Chess Championship twice. She was the recipient of the Arjuna Award in 1980.


Women's competitions

Khadilkar became National Women's Chess in 1976 at the age of 13 and was the first to win that championship in three consecutive years. She has held the title on five occasions:

In 1981, Khadilkar also became the Asian Women's Chess Championship when the competition was held at Hyderabad. She was unbeaten in that competition and scored 11.5 out of a possible 12 points. In the same year, she became an International Chess Master and in November 1983 she again won the Asian Women's title when the competition was held at Kualalumpur, Malaysia.

Khadilkar secured a FIDE of 2215.

Men's competitions

Khadilkar became the first female to compete in the Indian Men's Championship when she participated in 1976. Her involvement in a male competition caused a furore that necessitated a successful appeal to the High Court and caused the World Chess Federation president, Max Euwe, to rule that women cannot be barred from national and international championships. She beat three state champions - Gaurang Mehta of Gujarat, Abdul Jabbar of Maharashtra and A. K. Ghosh of West Bengal - in the competition.

Other competitions

The Khaldikar sisters at Valletta, Chess Olympiad 1980

Khadilkar participated in the Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires (1978), Valletta (1980), Lucerne (1982), Thessaloniki (1984), at Dubai (1986), Thessaloniki (1988), and in Novi Sad (1990). She has been a captain in that competition.

Khadilkar won the Zonal Championships twice, in Dubai and Malaysia, and became the World No.8 player. She was also the first Asian player to beat a chess computer, in London in 1989.

On one occasion, she played 113 opponents simultaneously, winning 111 of the games and drawing two.

Chess Ambassador

Rohini has travelled abroad to represent India on 56 occasions, visiting numerous countries. On each occasion, she was sponsored by the Government of India as an Chess Ambassador. Her visits included trips to the then-Communist countries of Poland, USSR and Yugoslavia, which were encouraged by Indira Gandhi, the prime minister at that time.

Newspaper career

In 1993, Rohini retired from chess and enrolled as a student at the Printing Technology Institute. She came first in her cohort, earning a Gold Medal, and was given Printing Diploma by Agfa-Gevaert.

Rohini became the first female editor of an evening newspaper in Maharashtra. She is the assistant editor of Navakal and has been editor of Sandhyakal since 16 December 1998.


In 1977, Rohini won the Chhatrapati Award for outstanding performance in chess. Subsequently, she has been awarded India's highest honour in sports, the Arjuna award. She has also been declared Maharashtra Kanya for her chess exploits.