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Faustino Oro Edges Closer To Historic IM Title At 10
Faustino Oro is edging closer to securing the IM title with his second norm in Colombia. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

Faustino Oro Edges Closer To Historic IM Title At 10

TarjeiJS
| 38 | Chess.com News

At just 10 years old, Argentinian chess prodigy FM Faustino Oro is making significant strides towards achieving the international master (IM) title. On Friday, Oro secured his second norm, edging closer to becoming one of the youngest to ever achieve the title.

The 10-year-old continues his rise toward the top and made a significant step towards achieving the IM title in the Continental American Championship in Medellin, Colombia, an event that ends on June 2.

After two draws against grandmasters, followed by three straight draws against international masters, Oro is currently on an undefeated 6.5 points and in 22nd place. Nine out of 11 rounds have been completed.

He easily held a draw to clinch the norm in round nine, while his win in round three against an FM was much more brutal.

That draw means that Oro has fulfilled the requirements for an international master norm. It's the second for the 10-year-old, after he became the youngest in history to achieve an IM norm at the age of nine in October last year. A few months earlier he had also become the youngest to achieve a classical rating of 2300.

One needs at least three such performances to complete the title, in addition to achieving a rating of at least 2400. With a rating gain of 28 points, based on the performance in his first nine games, he is currently just 20 points shy of that mark. A good performance in the remaining two games would bring him even closer to that.

The prodigy last caught the spotlight at the end of April when he beat none other than world number-one Magnus Carlsen on Chess.com. Just a few weeks after that, Oro also sensationally finished on the podium in Titled Tuesday, outperforming the world's top three GMs Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, and Hikaru Nakamura. As FaustiChess, he currently boasts a blitz rating of 2956.

Oro, dubbed "the Messi of Chess" by the Argentinian press, recently moved with his family to Badalona, Spain to focus on the chess career. Last week Argentinian newspaper InfoBae revealed that a group of anonymous businessmen, along with the Argentinian Chess Federation, have launched what is described as an unprecedented plan to back the family financially.

The project, called "On The Way To The Chess Elite," would provide the prodigy with a team of five coaches, in addition to coverage of hotel and travel expenses for the family to accompany him to chess tournaments.

"The selection of Faustino was an exclusive decision made by the sponsors; they pointed him out, either because he stands out from the rest or because of his media exposure. The reality is that they told us, 'how much is needed to support Faustino?'" Mario Petrucci, the President of the Argentinian Chess Federation, told InfoBae.

Oro seated at the latest World Rapid & Blitz World Championships. Photo: Maria Emelianova/Chess.com.

One of the grandmasters working with Oro is GM Tomas Sosa, who told Chess.com: "As Fausti's coach I am obviously very happy, but not surprised, since his chess is growing week by week. Based on the games I have seen him play in the Continental Championship, I would say that his level is 2500."

"He has been training very hard in the last few months, and seems to enjoy it a lot. That is a very positive thing! I hope he continues like this. Those of us who are close to him know that he is a very special boy, and not only because of his talent in chess, but because of who he is as a person," Sosa said.

Those of us who are close to him know that he is a very special boy, and not only because of his talent in chess, but because of who he is as a person

—GM Tomas Sosa on Faustino Oro

Only a select few have ever achieved the IM title before the age of 11. The youngest of them is GM Abhimanyu Mishra, who achieved the feat at 10 years, 9 months and 3 days in 2019, 17 days earlier than GM Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu.

Oro is currently 10 years and 7 months, which means that he has another two months to break that record. His next opportunity is at the Madrid Chess Festival, which takes place June 10-15.

Chess.com met with Faustino earlier this year, where he shared his goal to reach the very top and become a world champion.

"It’s an effort, you always have to make an effort in any sport. You strive a little more each day, and you can reach your goal, obviously. Nothing is impossible in life," he said.

It’s an effort, you always have to make an effort in any sport. You strive a little more each day, and you can reach your goal, obviously. Nothing is impossible in life.
—Faustino Oro

Nevertheless, Alejandro Oro, Faustino's father, has previously told Chess.com that they do not put any pressure on him, and that the most important is to improve his level.

"We, as parents, are very proud, but we don't chase records. If they come, they are welcome, but Fausti's goal is to reach the elite of chess, and for that, you don't necessarily have to set records."

TarjeiJS
Tarjei J. Svensen

Tarjei Svensen is a Norwegian chess journalist who worked for some of the country's biggest media outlets and appeared on several national TV broadcasts. Between 2015 and 2019, he ran his chess website mattogpatt.no, covering chess news in Norwegian and partly in English.

In 2020, he was hired by Chess24 to cover chess news, eventually moving to Chess.com as a full-time chess journalist in 2023. He is also known for his extensive coverage of chess news on his X/Twitter account.

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