Who Are The Youngest Chess Grandmasters In History?
The world's youngest chess grandmasters in history.

Who Are The Youngest Chess Grandmasters In History?

IsaacSteincamp
IsaacSteincamp
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36 | Chess Players

As we gear up for Chess.com's first ever Junior Speed Chess Championship (JSCC), many on our staff have had conversations about who the youngest and strongest players are in today's game... which naturally led to a review of who the youngest, and fastest players were to obtain the highest title in chess.

Indeed it seems the game just keeps getting younger and younger! Grandmaster titles are now being achieved at twelve, thirteen, and fourteen years of age. Young talents are able to take advantage of the wealth of information, consistent and regular tournaments, and government supports on a global level. The one thing that remains from the dawn of chess is that to reach the top hard-work is still king.

Top Youngest Grandmasters | Top Women's Youngest Grandmasters

Top 10:


This list from March 20, 2019 showcases the top 36 youngest grandmasters. Sergey Karjakin's record still holds, with a close second with India's newest grandmaster Gukesh Dommaraju. GM Gukesh just missed out on the first place record by seventeen days!

Top 36 Youngest Chess Grandmasters

No. Fed Player Country Age
1 Sergey Karjakin Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2 Gukesh Dommaraju India 12 years, 7 months, 17 days
3 Javokhir Sindarov Uzbekistan 12 years, 10 months, 5 days
4 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu India 12 years, 10 months, 13 days
5 Nodirbek Abdusattorov Uzbekistan 13 years, 1 month, 11 days
6 Parimarjan Negi India 13 years, 4 months, 22 days
7 Magnus Carlsen Norway 13 years, 4 months, 27 days
8 Wei Yi China 13 years, 8 months, 23 days
9 Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
10 Samuel Sevian United States 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
11 Richárd Rapport Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
12 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
13 Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
14 Nihal Sarin India 14 years, 1 month, 1 day
15 Awonder Liang United States 14 years, 1 month, 20 days
16 Wesley So Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
17 Étienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
18 Illya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
19 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months, 6 days
20 Péter Lékó Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
21 Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
22 Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
23 Jeffery Xiong United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
24 Anish Giri Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
25 Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
26 Bogdan-Daniel Deac Romania 14 years, 7 months, 27 days
27 Dariusz Świercz Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
28 Alireza Firouzja Iran 14 years, 8 months, 2 days
29 Aryan Chopra India 14 years, 9 months, 3 days
30 Nguyễn Ngọc Trường Sơn Vietnam 14 years, 9 months, 22 days
31 Kirill Shevchenko Ukraine 14 years, 9 months, 23 days
32 Arjun Erigaisi India 14 years, 11 months, 13 days
33 Daniil Dubov Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
34 Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
35 Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
36 Yu Yangyi China 14 years, 11 months, 23 days

Sergey Karjakin

Sergey Karjakin still holds the record for the youngest grandmaster in chess history at 12 years old and 7 months! Like many children, Karjakin learned chess at the age of five, and just six years later at the age of 11 he was an international master. Karjakin has been World Rapid Champion (2012), and World Blitz Champion (2016). In March 2016 he won the Candidates' Tournament and earned the right to challenge Magnus Carlsen for the World Chess Championship. Though Karjakin lost this match to Carlsen in November 2016, he still has aspirations to challenge the champion in the future.

Karjakin Tata Steel Chess 2018
Karjakin during one of his games at the Tata Steel Chess tournament in January 2018. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Karjakin played one of the best games of his career against Caruana at the 2016 Candidates' Tournament. This fighting, back-and-forth game shows the trademark style of Karjakin.


Gukesh Dommaraju

At the age of 12 years, 7 months, and 17 days, Indian prodigy Gukesh Dommaraju (or Gukesh D.) became the second youngest grandmaster in chess history. He scored his third grandmaster norm at the 17th Delhi International Chess Grandmaster Open in New Delhi, India. Gukesh's talent was spotted by his first and school coach Mr. Bhaskar, who made sure little Gukesh became a FIDE rated player within six months of learning the game!

Gukesh Chess
Gukesh at the 2018 Sitges Festival Chess Tournament. | Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Gukesh played his last game as an International Master, winning this game to earn his final grandmaster norm.


Javokhir Sindarov

When Javokhir Sindarov earned the grandmaster title, he was the first player since Karjakin to reach the title before he turned 13! The Uzbek youngster earned each of his three norms in one year at the 2018 Alekhine Memorial, the FIDE World Junior Championship and the First Saturday Tournament.

Sindarov Javokhir
Sindarov Javokhir making one of the moves of his game at the Chess Olympiad. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Sindarov earned his final grandmaster norm at the First Saturday Tournament in Budapest, Hungary, where he recovered from a first-round loss, going on a 7/8 run in his remaining games.


Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu

At the age of 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days, Indian prodigy Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu became the then second youngest grandmaster in chess history. He scored his third grandmaster norm at the fourth Gredine open in Ortisei, Italy.

Praggnanandhaa first made his name known by winning continental (Asian) championships and two world championship titles. Praggnanandhaa was also the world's youngest international master at 10 years old, a record he still holds.

Praggnanandhaa Chess
Praggnanandhaa at the Sharjah Masters 2017. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Having already earned his final GM norm in the Gredine open, the Indian prodigy beat GM Roeland Pruijssers to finish a record-breaking tournament performance:


Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Abdusattorov's name made headlines first when he defeated two grandmasters at the age of nine, in 2014 at the Tashkent Open. He scored his first GM norm in the 2016 Chigorin Memorial and then went on to achieve his second in Abu Dhabi in August 2017. He is by far the biggest Uzbek talent since Rustam Kasimdzhanov, who won the 2004 FIDE Knockout World Championship in Tripoli.

Abdusattorov Chess
Nodirbek Abdusattorov at the Sharjah Masters 2017. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Abdusattorov earned his final grandmaster norm at the Chigorin Memorial, where he beat both GMs S. P. Sethuraman and Evgeny Levin.


Parimarjan Negi

Now a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Negi earned the grandmaster title back in 2006 when he was just 13 years old. Since he got the title, Negi has won the Arjuna Award (2010) from the Indian government, the Indian and Asian Chess Championships, and was a member of the 2014 bronze medal-winning team at the Olympiad for India.

Negi Parimarjan
Parimarjan Negi in 2014. | Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

Negi's performance in this win against GM Ragger was a fantastic demonstration on how to beat the Caro-Kann, as White's pressure throughout the game was constant.


Magnus Carlsen

Nicknamed the "Mozart of Chess," Magnus Carlsen is in a league of his own. The reigning world champion's rating has skyrocketed past Garry Kasparov’s previous record of 2851 to an unfathomably high 2882. With fierce determination and a palpable will to win, he has dazzled fans with his ability to out-work his opponents and find computer-like moves in his games time after time.

Magnus Carlsen
Magnus Carlsen at the Tata Steel Chess tournament 2019. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

While Carlsen is most known for grinding out wins in near-equal endgames, his most famous game might be his draw against Garry Kasparov, when he was just 13 years old.


Wei Yi

Wei Yi has broken all kinds of rating and age records throughout his lifetime. He is also the 2nd youngest player in history to break the 2600 rating barrier, after John M. Burke. 

Wei's quick progress is apparent, earning both the international master and grandmaster titles in the same year. He was the world’s youngest grandmaster when he earned the title, being only 13 years 8 months and 23 days old.

Wei Yi
Wei Yi at the blitz tournament of the Polihroniade memorial in 2017. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

This game is perhaps Wei Yi's most famous win, as he played with his true attacking style against GM Lazaro Bruzon in the 2015 Danzhou Tournament:


Bu Xiangzhi

Bu Xiangzhi earned his title in 1999, making him the youngest GM in chess history when he broke the record (Karjakin would break the record in 2002). Bu won the Chinese Chess Championship in 2004, and has since represented China in four Olympiads, including the 2018 Olympiad where China won gold.

Bu Xiangzhi
Bu Xiangzhi at the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship 2016 in Doha. | Photo: Peter Doggers/Chess.com.

A well-known talent, Bu made more headlines in 2017 when he eliminated Magnus Carlsen in the World Cup, and then beat the world champion again in the World Rapid Championship later that same year.


Samuel Sevian

Sam Sevian is currently the United States' record holder for youngest ever grandmaster. Sevian's ascent to grandmaster was quick, as he broke American records for youngest expert, national master, and international master along the way. The American has played in prestigious events all over the world, including the U.S. Chess Championships, Tata Steel Chess and the FIDE World Cup.

Samuel Sevian
Samuel Sevian at the Isle of Man Chess.com in 2018. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Sevian has shown his ability to beat famous grandmasters for much of his career. Here's his win against Alexei Shirov back in 2016: 

Check out who the brightest stars are that received our invites to this year's JSCC, sponsored by ChessKid.com, and look for more information on this event coming out soon!

Top 6 Youngest Female Chess Grandmasters

Only six female players have successfully broken the grandmaster barrier before turning twenty.

No. Fed Player Country Year Age GM Date
1 Hou Yifan China 2009 14 years, 5 months 2008-08-15
4 Humpy Koneru India 2002 15 years, 1 month 2002-05-28
3 Judit Polgar Hungary 1992 15 years, 4 months 1991-12-21
4 Kateryna Lagno Russia 2007 16 years, 7 months 2006-08-01
5 Aleksandra Goryachkina Russia 1984 19 years, 5 months 2018-02-28
4 Lei Tingjie China 1978 19 years, 8 months 2016-12-11


Hou Yifan

Four-time women's world chess champion Hou Yifan also holds the record for the fastest any female player has reached the GM title, at just 14 years and 5 months. The Chinese grandmaster is the third woman to ever break the top 100 live rating list, behind GMs Maia Chiburdanidze and Judit Polgar. 

Hou Yifan
Hou Yifan at the 2017 Chess.com Isle of Man Tournament. | Photo: Maria Emelianova|Chess.com.

Hou has played in many elite invitational events, including the Tata Steel Chess tournament where she beat GM Anish Giri with the Black pieces:


Humpy Koneru

When Humpy Koneru made the grandmaster title in 2002, she broke the record for fastest woman to reach the GM title at just 15 years and 1 month. In 2011, the Indian grandmaster was the challenger for the women's world championship title, where she lost to Hou Yifan. Over fifteen years later, Koneru is still one of the best female players in the world. 

Humpy Koneru
Humpy Koneru at the 2013 Woman Fide Grand Prix in Tashkent. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

One of Koneru's best wins came against Peruvian grandmaster Julio Granda Zuniga, where the final position is a worthy Puzzle Rush tactic!


Judit Polgar

Judit Polgar is the only female player to have ever broken 2700 and is the strongest women's chess player of all-time. Polgar is now retired, but has beaten players like Magnus Carlsen, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, and many others.

Judit Polgar
Judit Polgar doing live commentary during the 2018 world chess championship. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

There is no game in Judit Polgar's career that is more famous than her victory over Garry Kasparov in 2002.


Kateryna Lagno

Currently the fourth best female chess player in the world, Kateryna Lagno has broken records on her way to the top of competitive women’s chess. Lagno won the European women's championship in both 2005 and 2008, and played in the 2018 women's world championship against Ju Wenjun. The grandmaster is now set to compete in the inaugural 2019 Women's Speed Chess Championship.

Kateryna Lagno
Kateryna Lagno at the European Team Chess Championship 2017. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Here's a crushing win of Lagno's against former women's world champion Alexandra Kosteniuk:


Aleksandra Goryachkina

Grandmaster Aleksandra Goryachkina has taken the chess world by storm. At just 20 years old, the Russian grandmaster has already broken the top 10 women's list. In 2015, she won the Russian women's championship superfinal. The Russian grandmaster repeated the feat in 2017.

Aleksandra Goryachkina
Aleksandra Goryachkina at the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad in Georgia. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

While perhaps not her toughest opponent, Goryachkina showed how dangerous she can be in this display against the Stonewall Dutch:


Lei Tingjie

Lei Tingjie is one of the strongest female players in China. Lei has participated in a myriad of team events for China that have resulted in gold medals: the Asian Nations Cup (2016), the Batumi Olympiad (2018) and the World Team Championship (2019).

Tingjie Lei
Lei Tingjie at the 2018 Batumi Chess Olympiad in Georgia. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Here's a game Lei won in the 2017 World Rapid Championships with Black, a complete positional masterclass from start to finish!


Now, it's your turn...

Do you think that these records will be broken with the new computer-powered generations?

 Please, let us know in the comments section.