Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Soumya Swaminathan is one of India's top chess players hailing from Kerala who won the World Junior Girls' Championship in 2009 in Puerto Madryn, Argentina edging out on tiebreak score Deysi Cori and Betul Cemre Yildiz.
Before becoming the World Junior champion, Soumya came to the limelight when she won the Commonwealth women's championship in Chennai back in 2012, two years after becoming the Indian women's champion with a score of 8½/11.
In other accomplishments, the 30-year old has won Moscow Open title along with Anastasia Bodnaruk and Alexandra Obolentseva after finishing second on tiebreak in 2016. She also won bronze in the Women's Asian Individual Championship in the same year.
In June 2018, Soumya appeared in news for pulling out of the Asian Team Chess Championship in Iran, due to the compulsory rule of wearing a headscarf in the country. In a Facebook post, she wrote, “I am very sorry to state that I have asked to be excused from the Indian Women’s team for the forthcoming Asian Nations Cup Chess Championship 2018 as I do not wish to be forced to wear a Headscarf or Burkha. I find the Iranian law of compulsory Headscarf to be in direct violation of my basic Human Rights including my right to freedom of expression, and right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.
In an interview to ChessBase India, Soumya has said that when she was a kid, she was active in almost all sports except Chess but a family obsession with the game got her interested. She crossed 2400 for the 1st time in the October 2018 rating list, thereby completing the requirements for becoming the International Master. She also entered the Women's World top 50 for the 1st time in the same list.
Soumya was India's back-to-back junior girls' champion in 2005 and 2006, also winning the title in 2008. The Keralite has represented the country in the Women's World team Championship 2011, 2013 and 2015 and two Chess Olympiads in 2012 and 2016. She has represented India twice at the Women's World Championships in 2010 and 2012.