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Erdogmus Becomes World's Youngest Grandmaster At 12
12-year-old Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus from Turkey is set to become the world's youngest grandmaster. Photo: Angelika Valkova/GRENKE Chess.

Erdogmus Becomes World's Youngest Grandmaster At 12

TarjeiJS
| 35 | Chess.com News

12-year-old Turkish chess sensation IM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus is the new youngest grandmaster in the world and the fourth youngest to achieve the title in history. He earned his third grandmaster norm in Germany on Monday and his title is pending approval from FIDE. Erdogmus is also on the verge of breaking a 35-year-old rating record.

GM Hans Niemann convincingly won the GRENKE Chess Open, but a 12-year-old prodigy stole the show and proved that he is one of the biggest prospects in the chess world at the moment.

Erodogmus finished 20th in the tournament, scoring 7 points from the nine rounds. He won six games, drew twice, and lost only once, to world number-nine, GM Arjun Erigaisi.

With a gain of 13 rating points, Erdogmus has an unofficial rating of 2553. He is closing in on GM Judit Polgar's legendary 2555 rating as a 12-year-old in 1989, the highest ever for a player under the age of 13. The Turkish prodigy could potentially exceed the milestone next week as he competes in the Menorca Open, which began on the Spanish island on Tuesday.

More importantly, he secured his third and final grandmaster norm, which means he is set to become Turkey's 16th grandmaster. In a comment provided to Chess.com, his father said: “Yagiz has a hobby that he really likes. He is just enjoying it and is not focusing on the rest that much."

Yagiz has a hobby that he really likes. He is just enjoying it and is not focusing on the rest that much.

At 12 years, nine months, and 29 days, Erdogmus will be the world's youngest grandmaster, the fourth youngest in history, and only the sixth to achieve the title before his 13th birthday. Coincidentally, he faced the youngest one, GM Abhimanyu Mishra, in round five in Germany. The game was drawn in 25 moves.

Ukrainian GM Ihor Samunenkov was previously the youngest grandmaster in the world at 14, while 13-year-old U.S star IM Andy Woodward fulfilled all requirements for the title in February.

Only three players in chess history have achieved the title at a younger age.

The 10 youngest grandmasters in history:

No. Fed Player Age Title year
1 Abhimanyu Mishra 12 years, 4 months, 25 days 2021
2 Sergey Karjakin 12 years, 7 months, 0 days 2002
3 Gukesh Dommaraju 12 years, 7 months, 17 days 2019
4 Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus 12 years, 9 months, 29 days* 2024
5 Javokhir Sindarov 12 years, 10 months, 5 days 2019
6 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu 12 years, 10 months, 13 days 2018
7 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 13 years, 1 month, 11 days 2018
8 Parimarjan Negi 13 years, 4 months, 22 days 2006
9 Magnus Carlsen 13 years, 4 months, 27 days 2004
10 Wei Yi 13 years, 8 months, 23 days 2013

Recent research conducted by Chess.com, concluded that grandmasters are achieving their titles at an earlier age than ever. In "The Pandemic Effect," former world championship challenger GM Peter Leko said about the trend:

The technology is developing. All the online access, and during the pandemic we saw this [chess] boom that heavily contributed. The ones who started to play chess suddenly now have so much information.

The ones who started to play chess suddenly now have so much information.

—Peter Leko

While the average age for players achieving the most prestigious title in chess was 30 between 1975-1979, it dropped to 22.8 between 2020 and 2024. The average age for a new GM was 32.8 in 1977. More then four decades later, in 2021, the average age is down to a record low of 20.9.

Erdogmus will contribute to the average dropping down even further. His three grandmaster norms were secured within the last four months. The first one came in the Chessable Sunway Sitges Chess Festival in December, breaking the 2500 rating barrier for the first time. He followed up by dominating the Jeddah Youth Chess Festival less than two months later, scoring his second norm on the way.

In Germany, Erdogmus only needed a draw in the final round against FM Marian Can Nothnagel (2381) to clinch the title, but instead he capitalized on a mistake on move 21 to win the game.

The 12-year-old was also close to securing a draw against the new world number-nine Erigaisi, as the organizers captured on tape in this video.

Erdogmus has been hailed as an exceptional talent for years, and like many other prodigies, he saw a remarkable rise when returning to competitive play after the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021. In just a little over a year, his rating skyrocketed from 1955 to 2456. Shortly after, he earned his IM title to become Turkey's youngest international master ever.

In 2022, he dominated the ChessKid Youth Chess Championship. FM Mike 'FunMaster' Klein, Head of ChessKid Content & Scholatic Growth, commented:

Yagiz was the most dominant player in the history of the event when he won in 2022. Even Magnus Carlsen never went through the SCC with so few losses. I also found him and his family to be quite humble. I really liked that they didn't feel the need to chase the all-time record and just let Yagiz earn it in his own time.

Erdogmus is backed by several of Turkey's top players, such as GM Mert Erdogdu and GM Baris Esen. Another key helper, is super-GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, with Erdogdu commenting to Chess.com:

"Lately you can feel Mamedyarov's incredible touch in his preparation. I believe everybody contributes to his advancement in their unique way."

Erdogdu describes his talented student as an "unbelievable worker" with a very high emotional intelligence. "That most likely helps him to understand his opponents during his games," he added.

Asked about his biggest strengths, he said:

"He is the best tactician I have seen in my life and I don't think he is second to anybody in that regard. He also has a very good feeling for dynamic positions. One inaccuracy and he is there to punish you."

He also went into details about the training program:

"We are working pretty much any time that we are free. On weekdays, he usually goes to school and after he returns we start and work till 11-12 p.m. Weekends are more tense as we both are usually free and work harder. We have been doing many middlegame exercises together, but nowadays we are mainly concentrating on openings. Of course, we do not forget the endgames but he knows what he needs to know in most of them. I must confess that it is very difficult to prepare lessons for him, as he can solve the most difficult exercises with relative ease."

TarjeiJS
Tarjei J. Svensen

I am a chess journalist on Chess.com, the site you are playing on. Hope you enjoy my stories. Let me know if you have any tips on what I should write about!

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