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Chess Phenoms Reach New Heights

Chess Phenoms Reach New Heights

Years of training and dedication have paid off for siblings Aradh Kaur ’26 and Hersh Singh ’24, who both recently achieved incredible milestones in their chess careers.

Aradh Kaur ’26 had a problem. Three hours into the championship match of the North American Youth Chess Championships in December, she was trapped in a complicated position and running low on time to calculate her next move. She considered offering her opponent a draw, meaning neither player would win. “But I realized that the worst that could happen would be for me to lose,” she said, “which isn’t that big of a deal because there would be other chances at other tournaments.”

So Kaur made her move, and waited. “I thought my opponent would play her move in a few minutes, but it ended up taking her maybe 15 minutes,” she said. Kaur used the time to strategize, and she developed a plan that ultimately won her the game, the tournament, and the Women International Master (WIM) title—the first woman in the state of Wisconsin to hold the distinction. WIM is the second-highest title a female player can achieve, behind Women Grandmaster.

Kaur is not the only chess prodigy in her family. Her brother, Hersh Singh ’24, took second place in the Pan-American Youth Chess Festival in August and earned the title of FIDE Master—the third-highest title a player can achieve, behind International Master and Grandmaster. He is the first person in the state to attain the FIDE Master (FM) title since 2013. Singh is ranked 140th amongst all active chess players in the U.S., and ranked amongst the top 3,000 players worldwide.

Singh and Kaur, who are naturally quiet and reserved, have excelled at the game of focus and concentration since they were young children. Both have traveled all over the world representing the United States at tournaments, and both have weekly training sessions with Grandmaster-ranked coaches. And while they are both extremely competitive chess players, they’re happy for each other’s success. “I was really happy when Hersh got the FM title in August, because he’d been working for that for awhile,” said Kaur. “But it made me more motivated to try to get a title too.”

  • On Campus
Hersh Singh and Aradh Kaur
Aradh Kaur after winning the North American Chess Championships.

Aradh Kaur '26 is the only woman in the state of Wisconsin to hold the Women International Master title.

Hersh Singh competes in a chess tournament.

Hersh Singh '24 is the first person in Wisconsin to attain the FIDE Master (FM) title since 2013.