Youngest Chess Players

“A child is a beam of sunlight from the Infinite and Eternal, with possibilities of virtue and vice, but as yet unstained.” 

- Lyman Abbott, American Congregationalist minister

In modern world, a child faces umpteen number of possibilities to learn and grab whatever the concepts are taught to them keenly and easily. Earlier, kids were not quite aware of the fields and areas that could be explored by them with consistency, determination and hard work but today, there are hardly any fields that are untouched by children so early on, in which they have not excelled.

One of the notable testimonies of this is the by children who are prominent at playing chess at international level. It is really surprising that wherein the earlier times, only mature and grownups were capable of becoming Grand Masters and achieving renowned titles, with the passage of time, children as young as at the age of twelve or thirteen are ready to claim the Grand Master title and not only this, they are meeting every existing criteria which is needed for this.

The support from the government at the global level, consistent availability of information and regularly organized tournaments are playing the key role in boosting the confidence of young kids when it comes to playing chess and participating in events that are organized at the international level.

Some of the world’s youngest players

1. Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin, like many other famous chess players, began learning chess at the age of roughly five or six and succeeded in becoming an International Master at the age of just eleven. He has tasted victory as World Rapid Champion in the year 2012 and as World Blitz Champion in the year 2016. He flamboyantly holds the record of the youngest Grand Master in the chess history at the age of just 12 years and 7 months. One of his pivotal aims is to challenge Magnus Carlen in the World Chess Championship and win against him.

2. Gukesh Dommaraju

Chess prodigy, belonging to India, Gukesh Dommaraju became the second youngest Grand Master after Sergey Karjakin by losing by just 17 days. Gukesh started his champion victories as early as at the age of 9, he won the Asian School Chess championships.  Gukesh’s school coach recognized his talent and ensured his entry into FIDE chess challenge, and motivated to become a FIDE rated player within six months of him joining the training.


3. Javokhir Sindarov


At the time of earning the Grand Master title, Javokhir Sindarov was the first layer since Karjakin to grab the title before turning 13 years old. This excellent chess youngster belongs to Uzbek. He earned his final Grand master norm, needed to bag the Grand Master title at the First Saturday Tournament in Budapest, Hungary. The first two norms were, however, completed at Alekhine Memorial and the FIDE World Junior Championship. All three norms were completed in one year itself and the year was 2018.

4. Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

Indian chess prodigy, Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu, firstly got famous by winning continental (Asian) championships and then two world championship titles. He became the world’s youngest International Master when he was just 10 years old. This remarkable record is held by him even today. He scored his third and last Grand Master norm at the fourth Gredine open in Ortisei, Italy.


5. Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Nodirbek Abdusattorov became famous for the first time and secured a place for himself in the headlines when he defeated two Grand Masters at Tashkent Open in the year 2014, when he was just nine years old. He is another chess prodigy who belongs to Uzbek. He earned his first and third Grand Master norm at Chigorin Memorial and the second norm in Abu Dhabi in the year 2017.

6. Parimarjan Negi

Currently pursuing PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Parimarjan Negi became the Grand Master at the age of just 13 years in the year 2006. Even after earning the proud title globally, Negi has been awarded with Arjuna Award by the Government of India in the year 2010 and has also successfully won the Indian and Asian chess championships.


7. Magnus Carlsen


During 2019, Nihal Sarin achieved the prestigious Grand Master title at the age of just 14. At the time, Nihal Sarin was only the fourth youngest player to achieve this. Hailing from Kerala, this young champion won the Gold Medal as part of the Indian team in the 2020 FIDE Chess Olympiad held online. Nihal started learning chess by the age of 6 taking classes weekly once or twice. Nihal has a promising long career ahead.

8. Wei Yi

In a league of his own, Magnus Carlsen has been given the nick name of “Mozart of Chess”and is popularly known throughout the world. He is the reigning world champion of the present times with an unfathomably high skyrocketed record of 2882. His consistency in displaying talented and well thought moves during various games has always left the audience and the chess experts awestruck and earned him much praises and fame globally. When researched about the most famous game played by him, we get to know about his game against Garry Kasparov which he could turn into a draw at the age of just 13 years.


9. Raunak Sadhwani

Raunak Sadhwani

Raunak Sadhwani is the 4th youngest Grand Master of India. He bagged the title of Grand Master even before he turned 13 years old. He secured his third Grand Master norm in FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss in the year 2019. He holds the record of not losing a single game against some of the best players of the world.

10. Bu Xiangzhi

Bu Xiangzhi earned the title of Grand Master in the year 1999 and was the youngest player to do so until when Karjakin broke the record in 2002. Xiangzhi has won the Chinese Chess Championship in the year 2004. Apart from this, he has impressively represented China in four Olympiads, the latest being the one held in the year 2018 wherein China won Gold.


Concluding, these master minds of chess have proven that age is not a factor if one strives to achieve a certain goal. At very young age, these incredible champions have all succeeded in securing a place for them in the world of chess which has fetched them both name and fame!

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