Wisconsin teen is first in state to earn Women International Master chess title

Siblings at University School of Milwaukee win international chess tournaments

Aradh Kaur at the North American Youth Chess Champs Mexico City. (Photo courtesy University School of Milwaukee)

A Milwaukee area teen has been making all the right moves.

Aradh Kaur, 16, is the first female in Wisconsin to be awarded the Women International Master chess title. The University School of Milwaukee sophomore finished first at the North American Youth Chess Championships in Mexico City last month. 

Kaur’s goal was to finish in second or even third place. That would have gotten her a Women Fide Master, or WFM, title — the third-highest female title in chess.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“Going into the tournament, I was so focused on trying to get the WFM title that I didn’t even consider coming in first place,” she said.

As a result, she was more comfortable taking some risks in her strategy.

During the three- hour match, Kaur said she was running out of time and considered offering her opponent a draw. 

But instead, she relaxed. She pretended the championship was a regular match, and developed a plan that ultimately won the game. 

Hersh Singh, Jind Kaur and Aradh Kaur, are all students at University School of Milwaukee who excel at the game of chess. This is an undated family photo when the children were younger at a chess tournament. Photo courtesy University School of Milwaukee

When Kaur’s grandfather, Sujan Singh, would visit her and her older brother, Hersh Singh, from India, he’d teach them to play chess — starting when she was 5-years-old. 

The siblings were good and soon began playing in tournaments. Eventually, Kaur’s younger siblings began playing chess, too. 

“I like it because even though you’re playing the same game, it’s different every time, because no matter how many games you play, it’s always going to end up being a different position,” Kaur said. 

Kaur now practices under two coaches, both Grandmasters. One is based in Hungary and the other in India. She said she’ll continue to work to improve her skills and hopefully compete for the grandmaster title. 

Meanwhile, her brother also earned a  prestigious chess title earlier this school year, coming in second place in the under 18 open section of the North American Youth Chess Championships. 

University School of Milwaukee spokesperson Pamela Seiler said having two chess champions at the school is a great opportunity to show the wide range of interests children can pursue and ways they can challenge themselves. 

“For kids that may not be interested in sports, or theater, there are other options available,’ Seiler said.