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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. 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
5. Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
6. Samuel Sevian United States 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
7. Richárd Rapport Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
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
11. Étienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
12. Illya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
13. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months
14. Péter Lékó Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
15. Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
16. Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
17. Jeffery Xiong United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
18. Anish Giri Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
19. Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
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
23. Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
24. Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
25. Yu Yangyi China 14 years, 11 months, 23 days

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
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