Inside Scoop on the World's Youngest Grandmaster
GM Abhimanyu Mishra in his war room Photo by Dylan Quercia

Inside Scoop on the World's Youngest Grandmaster

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In every generation, there are talented chess players who will carry the torch for American Chess and pass on the legacy of Paul Morphy, Frank Marshall, and Robert James Fischer. These talents come along rarely. But, the access to information and the ability to become gods among apes, has propelled one talent on the road to legendary status faster than any US player in generations. His name is Grandmaster Abhimanyu Mishra whose family graciously opened their doors to film interviews for our new documentary, The United States of Chess (SHAMELESS PLUG TO OUR SPONSOR 1000GM!)

There is a wonderful legacy of the youngest Grandmaster title being broken. Fischer stunned the world when he became a GM at age 15. Judit Polgar shattered the glass ceiling when she broke Fischer’s record. Magnus broke it and then Karjakin held the record for over 19 years. Then came Mishra at 12 years 4 months and 25 days battling through the worst pandemic in 100 years to accomplish this feat. 

Let me be clear. At this moment Fabiano Caruana is the reigning king of American chess. He has the 3rd highest rating in chess history. Let that sink in for a moment. Carlsen said that in classical “he has every right to call himself the best player in the world” I was there and saw Carlsen say this live. But, if you look at the list of juniors, Mishra is unquestionably the top for his age. 

"It's a hologram!" GM Abhimanyu Mishra

Getting an inside look at Mishra in his home in New Jersey, I was struck by how balanced his family is. There is a lot of unfair critique swirling that Abhi is being pushed too hard by his parents. But, his father, manager, and second Hemant Mishra said something that will silence all critics. He said that it would be impossible for Abhi to progress this rapidly without his passion and love for the game. 

Abhimanyu and Hemant Mishra showing off their chess books.

It’s not just the passion but the work ethic and willingness to sacrifice that makes Abhi unique. When Hemant and Abhi traveled to Europe in the summer of 2021 to play norm events, Hemant dropped 35 pounds in order to stay healthy and fit. They were striving for the record in front of a backdrop of absolute tragedy. Hemant and Swati Mishra are Indian immigrants who came to find the U.S. dream but they keep close ties to their family in India. If you don’t know, there was an absolutely terrible COVID surge that ravaged the countryside killing hundreds of thousands with 400,000 new cases being reported in late April of 2021. Their family was not immune. But, personal tragedy and the fear of death itself did not stop Hemant and Abhi from going to Europe. They bought one-way tickets and the rest is history. 

Ridhima and Abhi - Inspired by her older brother, Ridhima is ready to follow in his footsteps!

Enjoy this final game that Abhi won to get the GM title: winning with Black on demand:

Brian C Glover, Abhimanyu Mishra, and Swati Mishra from left to right.

This was a short glimpse into our new documentary, The United States of Chess. We are capturing incredible footage of the American chess scene. It should take another year to get it out to the general public but stay tuned here for sneak peaks and fun little glimpses into the process! Oh and one last personal note, I am proud to portray the Mishra story in my film due to my family history of being Italian immigrants. Just like the Mishra’s my forebears came over seeking opportunity and here I am making films!

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