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Chess prodigy

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Title: Chess prodigy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Samuel Reshevsky, Bu Xiangzhi, Chess, History of chess, Srinath Narayanan
Collection: Chess Players, Chess Terminology, Giftedness
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Chess prodigy

Eleven-year-old Sammy Reshevsky, New York 1922

Chess prodigies are children who can beat experienced adult players and even Masters at chess. Expectations can be high for chess prodigies; while some become World Champions, others show little or no progress in adulthood.

Early chess prodigies were Paul Morphy (1837–1884) and José Raúl Capablanca (1888–1942), both of whom won matches against strong adult opponents at the age of 12, and Samuel Reshevsky (1911–1992), who was giving simultaneous exhibitions at the age of six.[1] Morphy went on to be unofficial World Champion (before the official title existed), Capablanca became World Champion, and Reshevsky—while never attaining the title—was amongst the top few players in the world for many years.

List of youngest grandmasters

One measure of chess prodigies is the age at which they gain the Grandmaster title. Below are players who have held the record for youngest grandmaster. The age listed is the age at which they qualified for the title. This is not equal to the age at which they officially became Grandmasters, because GM titles can only be awarded at FIDE congresses.

Note: all players are listed by their nationality at the time of gaining the title, not their current or later nationality.

Year Player Country Age
1950 David Bronstein  Soviet Union 26 years
1952 Tigran Petrosian  Soviet Union 23 years
1955 Boris Spassky  Soviet Union 18 years
1958 Bobby Fischer  United States 15 years, 6 months, 1 day
1991 Judit Polgár  Hungary 15 years, 4 months, 28 days
1994 Péter Lékó  Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
1997 Étienne Bacrot  France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
1997 Ruslan Ponomariov  Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
1999 Bu Xiangzhi  China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
2002 Sergey Karjakin  Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days

This is a list of the players to become Grandmasters before their 15th birthday:

No. Player Country Age
1. Sergey Karjakin  Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2. Parimarjan Negi  India 13 years, 4 months, 22 days
3. Magnus Carlsen  Norway 13 years, 4 months, 27 days
4. Wei Yi  China 13 years, 8 months, 23 days[2]
5. Bu Xiangzhi  China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
6. Samuel Sevian  United States 13 years, 10 months, 27 days[3]
7. Richárd Rapport  Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days[4]
8. Teimour Radjabov  Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
9. Ruslan Ponomariov  Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
10. Wesley So  Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days[5]
11. Étienne Bacrot  France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
12. Illya Nyzhnyk  Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days[6]
13. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave  France 14 years, 4 months[7]
14. Péter Lékó  Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
15. Jorge Cori  Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days [8]
16. Hou Yifan  China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days[9]
17. Jeffery Xiong  United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days[10]
18. Anish Giri  Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days[11]
19. Yuriy Kuzubov  Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days[12]
20. Dariusz Świercz  Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
21. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son  Vietnam 14 years, 10 months
22. Daniil Dubov  Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days[13]
23. Ray Robson  United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days[14]
24. Fabiano Caruana  Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days[15]

Here are the holders of the record for the youngest ever female to become a grandmaster (not to be confused with the lesser Woman Grandmaster title):

Year Player Country Age
1978 Nona Gaprindashvili  Soviet Union 37 years
1984 Maia Chiburdanidze  Soviet Union 23 years
1991 Susan Polgar  Hungary 21 years
1991 Judit Polgár  Hungary 15 years, 4 months
2002 Humpy Koneru  India 15 years 1 month
2008 Hou Yifan  China 14 years, 6 months[16]


  1. ^ Chessbase: "Chess Prodigies and Mini-Grandmasters"
  2. ^ Wei Yi has become the youngest GM in the world
  3. ^ Youngest-ever American Chess Grandmaster crowned in St. Louis
  4. ^ Richard Rapport Becomes Hungary's Youngest Grandmaster
  5. ^ 14-year-old Filipino is newest grandmaster
  6. ^ - Chess News - GM title for Illya Nyzhnyk in Groningen
  7. ^ French Championship in Chartres
  8. ^ Cori achieved his final GM norm in October 2009, but he crossed the 2500 rating mark during a tournament in January 2010
  9. ^ Hou Yifan – the youngest female grandmaster in history (Chessbase, December 8, 2008) gives 14-6-2, but this cannot be correct because that date (August 29) was the first day of the Women's World Chess Championship 2008. Chessbase appears to have used the first day of the championship, instead of the day she qualified for the final and earned her 3rd norm (September 12).
  10. ^
  11. ^ Anish Giri, 14, makes his final GM norm ChessBase January 31, 2009
  12. ^ Yuriy Kuzubov joins the mini-GM club
  13. ^
  14. ^ Ray Robson is the new youngest GM
  15. ^ Who was the future GM? Fabiano Caruana, Italy's top grandmaster!
  16. ^ WWCC - Nalchik 2008 - and now there are just four!, FIDE web site, September 9, 2008

External links

  • Edward Winter, Chess Prodigies (2005, updated in 2006 and 2007)
  • Chessbase news about young Grandmasters
  • Youngest Chess Player in India Set World Record
  • Smallest Chess Player Chess Tournament Set World Record
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