Who is The Next Big Thing?

Who is The Next Big Thing?

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Junior players are already competing with the World's Best but there's still a gap between guys like Firouzja and Magnus. In this blog we'll take a look at some of the strongest junior players as well as comparing the top junior players to the top players by age. How good was Magnus when he was 18? Who will be the future faces of chess, and who is the next big thing?

1. Alireza Firouzja 

Tata Steel 7: Alireza Firouzja leads again |

Alireza Firouzja was born on June 18th, 2003 in the country of Iran. He won the Iranian Chess Championship at the age of 12 and he became a grandmaster at the age of 14. Alireza is the most well-known junior player and is competing with the Top GM's in tournaments such as TATA Steel. As of writing, his peak rating is 2749 FIDE! The 17-Year Old Super GM's rating is higher than Magnus's rating when he was 17. In October 2007, the 17-Year-Old Magnus Carlsen was 2714 FIDE. Garry Kasparov only became a GM at 17! Firouzja certainly has bright future ahead of him, although instead of looking at the statistics let's look at some of Firouzja's best games.

A very insane game so far, although Firouzja's opponent is up a piece, black's pieces are sitting silly in the corner not helping in the defense. Try and find the finishing blow that forced Firouzja's opponent to resign!

For those of you interested, here is Firouzja's FIDE Progress Chart where you can see he is climbing up in rating. You can also read more about Firouzja here:

Many of us have our eyes on players like Firouzja, Xiong, Maghsoodloo, etc. Although you should take a look at the younger players who are Under 16.

2. Nihal Sarin

Nihal Sarin was born on July 3th, 2004 in the country of India. His FIDE rating is 2620. Most people didn't know Sarin before but after he won the Junior Speed Chess Championship he is now getting the recognition he deserves! He beat Alexey Sarana in the finals by 11 points! Not even close. 

2020 Junior Speed Chess Championship final bracket

His fellow Indian prodigy (Praggnanandhaa) also participated but lost to Pahram Maghsoodloo a very strong grandmaster from Iran. Nihal slowly squeezes his opponent and eventually when his opponent makes a small inaccuracy he pounces on his chance with his sharp tactical sense. He's an extremely quick and accuarate player and he was able to take out Ian Nepomniachtchi who is currently 2nd in the Canidates tournament.The 16-Year Old prodigy recently won the Gazprom Brilliancy Prize from his game played in the FIDE Online World Cadets and Youth Championship where he took out IM Francesco Sonis. Shall we take a look at the game? 

 You definitely want to keep your eyes on this kid because he might be the next big thing. Now like Firouzja we'll take a look at Nihal's rating chart. What's even more impressive if that all of these online tournaments are very late for him. He had to stay up very late to play other players in different time zones.

Nihal is probably the most famous 16 year old who plays chess, but he's not the highest rated 16 year old. The highest rated 16-Year-Old is Nodirbek Abdusattorov who has a peak rating of 2644 FIDE! Let's get to know him better. 

3. Nodirbek Abdusattorov

Chess: Uzbekistan's Nodirbek Abdusattorov wins LetsUp present MCA GP Blitz 2

Nodirbek Abdusattorov was born on December 1st, 2004 in the country of Uzbekistan. You may have never heard of Nodirbek, his FIDE peak is 2644 and only recently turned 16. He became a grandmaster at 13 and you may have seen him in the Speed Chess Championship where he went head to head with Wesley So. When he was 15 he held a draw against the World Champion. Let's see how he did it

Here's an annotated game where he played Shakhiryar Mamedyarov in the Speed Chess Grand Prix. It's quite cool how he did it. As you can see he's quite a strong player with lots of talent.

And like the other prodigies we have covered, here is Nodirbek's rating progress chart. He recently turned 16 so who knows, maybe he'll become a Super GM soon. 

These 3 players are extremely strong and young but what if we take a look at an even younger generation of players. Such as the youngest International Master in history, Abhimanyu Mishra who's currently trying to become the youngest grandmaster but due to COVID-19 he hasn't had many chances to make his mark. Karjakin became a grandmaster at 12 years and 7 months old. Many of you are older than that! Anyways, I hope you enjoyed this blog. I'm really trying to become a Top Blogger, I only covered 3 players since I didn't want to do too much. If you want me to blog about another subject like the "Most Tactical Chess Players" then make sure to put any feedback or suggestions in the comments below. Who knows? Maybe you'll be like one of these guys one day. Thanks for reading, and Adios!

Just a 13-year-old blogger from San Diego who wants to share my knowledge and opinions on the hot topics in chess. I started playing chess at 7 and I have a peak USCF rating of 2007. Other than chess I enjoy soccer, basketball, geoguessr, cubing, and video editing. 

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