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12-year-old becomes youngest-ever chess grandmaster, breaking Sergey Karjakin’s 19-year record

Abhimanyu Mishra earns chess’ top title at age of 12 years, four months and 25 days.
Chess pieces
Image: Steve Buissinne/Pixabay

A 12-year-old chess prodigy from New Jersey has become the youngest grandmaster in the history of the game.

Abhimanyu Mishra earned the third GM norm - a formal signifier of top performance in the competitive chess scene - required to achieve the game’s most prestigious title on June 30th, having defeated 15-year-old grandmaster Leon Luke Mendonca at the Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament in Budapest, Hungary. Mishra had previously earned the two other GM norms required in April and May. (Thanks, Chess.com.)

Mishra exceeded the other requirement needed for a grandmaster title earlier in June by earning a 2500 Elo rating - a shifting number based on the player’s estimated skill level. A GM norm requires a performance of over 2600 across nine rounds of chess. (Of course, those looking to reach that level should check out our guides on how to play chess here at Dicebreaker).

Mishra’s specific age of 12 years, four months and 25 days makes him the youngest-ever chess grandmaster, beating previous record-holder Sergey Karjakin who earned the title at the age of 12 years and seven months in 2002. The Russian GM went on to challenge Magnus Carlsen at the 2016 World Championships, but was unsuccessful in besting the Norwegian pro, who has been World Champion since 2013. (Carlsen became a grandmaster aged 13 years, four months and 27 days.)

It’s not the first time that Mishra has made chess history. At the age of just 10 years, nine months and three days, he became the youngest-ever US chess master back in 2019. According to Chess.com, only five players have attained the title of grandmaster before turning 13.

“Finally checkmated the biggest opponent (ongoing pandemic ) which stopped me for 14 months. Thanks everybody for all your love and support,” Mishra tweeted following the achievement. “Looking forward for World cup.”


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Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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