Saloni Sapale is a Woman International Master from Pune, India. Saloni is also an author for The Chess Journal.
Born and brought up in the city of Pune in India, Saloni was introduced to the game of chess by her father at the age of 7. Seeing her interest in it, her parents enrolled her for chess classes immediately! After learning for just 3-4 months, she won her first tournament in the under 7 girls category; and then there was no looking back!
Saloni played many state and national level events till the age of 14, however she hadn’t taken up chess professionally yet. With a modest rating in the range of 1600s, her first international event was the World Amateurs’ Women’s Open tournament in 2014 where she surprised everyone and finished 2nd. That is when she decided to work on the game even more seriously and improve her skills.
Her big break happened in the year 2015 where she won silver medals in the World Schools Championship and the Asian Schools Championship and she also won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Chess Championship within a span of 3 months. She got a major boost, not just in her confidence but also in her rating – she jumped from 1700s to the early 2000s! She also won gold and silver medals in some national events between 2015 and 2016.
In 2017, with some great performances, she scored her first two Woman International Master norms and also crossed the rating requirement for Woman Grandmaster – her FIDE rating pumped up to 2308! At this point, she was India no.1, Asia No.4 and World No.9 in the under 18 girls category. She was also consistently a part of the top 100 junior girls of the world list released by FIDE between 2017 and 2019.
Saloni achieved the title of Woman International Master by earning her final norm in 2018. She aims to complete the Woman Grandmaster title very soon.
Currently Working On
Currently, Saloni is also working as a chess coach and helping young talents get better at the game. She believes that this is her way of giving back to the game that gave her so much!
Apart from Chess, she is a graduate in Psychology and aims to become a Sport Psychologist and earn a PhD in that field. She aspires to help athletes become mentally strong and assist them in reaching peak performance.
She is passionate about traveling, meeting new people and exploring different cuisines. She has a strong appreciation for all art-related stuff and she herself paints and sketches as well!