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

The Youngest Chess Grandmasters In History‎

IsaacSteincamp
IsaacSteincamp
|
50 | Chess Players

The game of chess 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 October 22, 2019 showcases the top 37 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 37 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 Raunak Sadhwani India 13 years, 9 months, 28 days
10 Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
11 Samuel Sevian United States 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
12 Richárd Rapport Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
13 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
14 Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
15 Nihal Sarin India 14 years, 1 month, 1 day
16 Awonder Liang United States 14 years, 1 month, 20 days
17 Wesley So Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
18 Etienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
19 Illya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
20 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months, 6 days
21 Peter Leko Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
22 Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
23 Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
24 Jeffery Xiong United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
25 Anish Giri Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
26 Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
27 Bogdan-Daniel Deac Romania 14 years, 7 months, 27 days
28 Dariusz Swiercz Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
29 Alireza Firouzja Iran 14 years, 8 months, 2 days
30 Aryan Chopra India 14 years, 9 months, 3 days
31 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son Vietnam 14 years, 9 months, 22 days
32 Kirill Shevchenko Ukraine 14 years, 9 months, 23 days
33 Arjun Erigaisi India 14 years, 11 months, 13 days
34 Daniil Dubov Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
35 Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
36 Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
37 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:

Raunak Sadhwani

Raunak Sadhwani is currently India's fourth youngest ever grandmaster. At the time of writing (October 2019) the prodigy hasn't turned 13 yet, but he did recently secure his GM title!

While also getting is Elo over 2500, Sadhwani scored his third grandmaster norm in the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss in October 2019 in Isle of Man.

Raunak Sadhwani. | Photo: John Saunders.

Sadhwani ended up scoring 50 percent in a strong field. His opponents were GMs Sanan Sjugirov, Sergey Karjakin, Surya Ganguly, Ivan Saric, Pavel Eljanov, Peter Leko, Gabriel Sargissian, Markus Ragger, Alexander Motylev, Bassem Amin and Maksim Chigaev.

Here's how he defeated former European Champion Alexander Motylev:


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.



Top 6 Youngest Female Chess Grandmasters

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

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

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