Awonder Liang Now World's Youngest Grandmaster

Awonder Liang Now World's Youngest Grandmaster

| 62 | Chess Players

FIDE has confirmed Awonder Liang's grandmaster title by written resolution. This makes the 14-year-old American the 10th youngest grandmaster of all time and the youngest in the world today.

Headline photo from the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival by Maria Emelianova.

Liang achieved his three grandmaster norms in the Continental Championship in San Salvador in 2016 and in the Spring Chess Classic in St. Louis and the Chicago Open, both in May of 2017. The official date that Liang earned his title should be May 29, the day the Chicago Open concluded.

Liang's newest record is one of many in his short career. He is the youngest USCF expert ever, was the youngest master ever, was the youngest international master ever, and is the youngest player ever to have defeated an international master and a grandmaster.


At the second Millionaire Chess Open 2015. Photo: Mike Klein.

Recently, Liang also won the U.S. Junior Championship (which FM Mike Klein covered here) and earned his spot at the next U.S. Championship where he will face his fiercest opposition ever, GMs Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, and Fabiano Caruana. Could Liang also be the youngest ever person to defeat a top-10 player?

Despite these accolades, the future remains open for Liang, who refused to commit his life to chess just yet.

"I love chess," he said. "I will keep going for sure. But will I be a full-time chess player for the rest of my life? It is still too young for me to make a decision like that."

Liang Defeats An International Master

At the age of only eight years and 118 days, Liang won this game against IM Daniel Fernandez, himself a former U.S. junior champion.

Liang Defeats A Grandmaster

GM Larry Kaufman was the unfortunate victim of Liang's famous win when the latter was nine years and 111 days old. Kaufman is most famous for his work programming the powerful chess engine Komodo. The game went according to script until a moment of incaution allowed Liang to land a tactic.

Liang Defeats The Author

I had the pleasure of playing Awonder at the 2015 World Open in the first round. Liang was already well-known to me and was favored in the game by hundreds of rating points. It's definitely not the worst game I've have ever played, but I crumpled quickly as Liang brought pressure on my queenside. Liang made only a couple of slight inaccuracies, otherwise selecting nearly all of the computer's best moves.

I was particularly struck by Liang's at-the-board work ethic. I don't believe he left the board once during the game. Throughout he evinced a relentless focus and attention to the board, which is well captured in Emelianova's and Klein's photos.

I made these notes after the tournament.

Youngest Grandmasters in History

No. Fed 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. Richard 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. Awonder Liang United States 14 years, 1 month, 20 days
11. Wesley So Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
12. Etienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
13. Illya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
14. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months, 0 days
15. Peter Leko Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
16. Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
17. Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
18. Jeffery Xiong United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
19. Anish Giri Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
20. Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
21. Bogdan Daniel Deac Romania 14 years, 7 months, 27 days
22. Dariusz Swiercz Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
23. Aryan Chopra India 14 years, 9 months, 3 days
24. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son Vietnam 14 years, 10 months, 0 days
25. Daniil Dubov Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
26. Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
27. Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
28. Yu Yangyi China 14 years, 11 months, 23 days
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