|Chess prodigies are children who play chess so well that they are able to beat Masters and even Grandmasters, often at a very young age. Chess is one of the few sports where children can compete with adults on equal ground; it is thus one of the few skills in which true child prodigies exist. The chess world always looks with big expectations to these prodigies. Some of them have become World Champions, others have failed to make progress in their adulthood.|
Recently, there has been a tendency for chess players to gain the International Grandmaster title earlier and earlier in their lives. One possible reason for this is that the number of grandmasters on the whole has increased. Another is that more young children compete in national and international chess tournaments.
In 2002, twelve-year-old Ukrainian Sergey Karjakin became the youngest Grandmaster ever. He is the latest of a long line of chess prodigies that have been awarded this title.
List of youngest grandmasters
This is a list of the ten youngest players to become Grandmasters. The age listed is the age on which they received their third and final Grandmaster norm. This is not equal to the age at which they officially became Grandmasters, because GM titles can only be awarded at FIDE congresses.
- Sergey Karjakin 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
- Magnus Carlsen 13 years, 3 months, 27 days
- Bu Xiangzhi 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
- Teimour Radjabov 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
- Ruslan Ponomariov 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
- Etienne Bacrot 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
- Péter Lékó 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
- Hikaru Nakamura 15 years, 2 months, 19 days
- Koneru Humpy 15 years, 4 months, 28 days
- Judit Polgar 15 years, 4 months, 28 days
- Bobby Fischer 15 years, 6 months, 1 day
List of chess prodigies
In alphabetical order:
- Michael Adams became an International Master at 15 and a grandmaster at 17
- Etienne Bacrot
- José Raúl Capablanca, 1888-1942, learned chess at the age of four, beat his country"s chess champion in a match when he was 13, and eventually became world champion.
- Magnus Carlsen became the world"s youngest GM in April 2004 (the second youngest in the history of the game)
- Bobby Fischer became US Champion at the age of 15 and went on to become world champion.
- Kateryna Lahno
- Koneru Humpy is said to be the youngest female Grandmaster ever, but this is debated
- Gata Kamsky had an Elo rating of 2650 at the age of 16
- Sergey Karjakin, at the age of 12 years and 7 months he became the youngest grandmaster ever. He was the official second (helper) of fellow Ukrainian Ruslan Ponomariov, during the 2002 FIDE Worldchampionship.
- Garry Kasparov became an International Grandmaster at 17 and went on to become the youngest ever World Chess Champion.
- Joel Lautier
- Péter Lékó was once the world"s youngest ever Grandmaster
- Luke McShane won the World Under-10 Championship at the age of eight
- Paul Morphy, 1837-1884 who at the age of twelve beat Johann Löwenthal 3-0. (See page on Paul Morphy)
- Hikaru Nakamura became a GM at 15 and US chess champion at 16
- Judit Polgar
- Ruslan Ponomariov, the FIDE World Champion during 2002–2004
- Teimour Radjabov, became the youngest GM at the age of 14 years, until Karjakin broke his record.
- Samuel Reshevsky, a Polish boy, learned the rules at the age of 4, and gave simultaneous exhibitions at the age of six.
- Nigel Short finished joint-first in the British Championship at the age of 14
- Aston Taminsyah won world school chess U-8 Championship at 7+
- Murugan Thiruchelvam
- Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son was world champion under ten in 2000
- Josh Waitzkin
- Peter Winston
See also: list of chess players, list of chess world championship matches.
Paul Muljadi devised a simple metric, CQ, to show the rate of improvement of a chess prodigy:
- CQ = ELO/Age
where CQ is the Chess Quotient, ELO is the ELO rating, and Age is the age of a player. For example, when Karjakin became the youngest Grandmaster (ELO about 2500) ever, his CQ was about 199.