Sindarov Likely Becomes 'New' 2nd-Youngest GM In History
GM-elect Javokhir Sindarov, who is a menace with his chess pieces. Photo by Maria Emelianova /

Sindarov Likely Becomes 'New' 2nd-Youngest GM In History

| 67 | Chess Event Coverage

It took 16 years after Sergey Karjakin became a grandmaster at 12 years old for another person to earn the highest title in chess before turning 13.

But now, four months after Indian prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa became the second 12-year-old in history to become a grandmaster, a third pre-teen GM has likely appeared. Although not official, IM Javokhir Sindarov of Tashkent, Uzbekistan seems to have earned his third and final norm at the most recent edition of the First Saturday Tournament in Budapest ( has scrutinized the three events in question and cannot find any obvious reason FIDE would not accept the norm applications).

Sindarov, born in 2005, is less than two years older than the iPhone.

At the monthly event in Hungary, which is surely responsible for more norms than any other series in the world, Sindarov lost in round one but then scored an impressive 7.0/8 in his remaining games to tie for first. He needed pretty much every one of those points for his 2619 performance rating.

Javokhir Sindarov

From left to right: Grandfather (and first coach!) Dr. Kamil Sindarov, FM Manush Shah, IM Javokhir Sindarov, IO Laszlo Nagy (organizer of First Saturday events). Photo courtesy Laszlo Nagy. 

Sindarov was ranked second out of the 10 players, but importantly for the title, he began the event with exactly a 2500 rating, the minimum required for GM (he also picked up 13 more points in the effort).

The nine-round event ran from October 6-16. Since Sindarov was born December 8, 2005, that makes him 12 years, 10 months, and eight days old when fulfilling his final requirement for GM. That is exactly five days earlier than Praggnanandhaa was able to do it.

Sindarov's norms all came within a torrid four-month span, but Karjakin's record is still safe.

Youngest Grandmasters Of All Time

No. Player Country Age
1 Sergey Karjakin Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2 Javokhir Sindarov Uzbekistan 12 years, 10 months, 8 days
3 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu India 12 years, 10 months, 13 days
4 Nodirbek Abdusattorov Uzbekistan 13 years, 1 month, 11 days
5 Parimarjan Negi India 13 years, 4 months, 22 days
6 Magnus Carlsen Norway 13 years, 4 months, 27 days
7 Wei Yi China 13 years, 8 months, 23 days
8 Bu Xiangzhi China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
9 Samuel Sevian United States 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
10 Richárd Rapport Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
11 Teimour Radjabov Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
12 Ruslan Ponomariov Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
13 Nihal Sarin India 14 years, 1 month, 1 day
14 Awonder Liang United States 14 years, 1 month, 20 days
15 Wesley So Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
16 Étienne Bacrot France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
17 Illya Nyzhnyk Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
18 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave France 14 years, 4 months, 6 days
19 Péter Lékó Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
20 Jorge Cori Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
21 Hou Yifan China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
22 Jeffery Xiong United States 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
23 Anish Giri Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
24 Yuriy Kuzubov Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
25 Bogdan-Daniel Deac Romania 14 years, 7 months, 27 days
26 Dariusz Świercz Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
27 Alireza Firouzja Iran 14 years, 8 months, 2 days
28 Aryan Chopra India 14 years, 9 months, 3 days
29 Nguyễn Ngọc Trường Sơn Vietnam 14 years, 9 months, 22 days
30 Kirill Shevchenko Ukraine 14 years, 9 months, 23 days
31 Arjun Erigaisi India 14 years, 11 months, 13 days
32 Daniil Dubov Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
33 Ray Robson United States 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
34 Fabiano Caruana Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
35 Yu Yangyi China 14 years, 11 months, 23 days

Sindarov was not dismayed after starting with a loss. Instead he won this crazy game as Black where pretty much every one of his pieces was placed en prise at some point. It also set up a theme for his tournament: pawns > pieces for the Uzbek wunderkind.

He went a perfect 3-0 against the trio of GMs in the field. Funnily enough, Sindarov won two of them as Black, and in both he preferred collections of pawns instead of pieces.

Here's round four:

And here's round six, another GM scalp as Black in less than 30 moves:

This third norm combines with two earlier norms. Sindarov's first came at the Alekhine Memorial in June of this year. Then at the end of the summer, Sindarov got his second at the FIDE World Junior Championship (where his rating also jumped from 2484 to 2500 exactly). Although his TPR there was below 2600, it was an 11-round event, and if you take his results from rounds 1-9, he did play the minimum number of GMs from enough federations and his score of 6.0/9 equated to a 2616 TPR, above the 2600 threshold needed for a norm.


Javokhir getting a supportive tap on his head from the Uzbek Chess Federation 1st vice-president Husan Turdialiev. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

His title is not official until conferred by FIDE, but assuming it is, the date of final norm is used for purposes of record-keeping. The future seems bright for Uzbekistan. If you can believe it, Sindarov is not even the highest-rated sub-15-year-old in his own country! Fellow countryman GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov is just barely 14 himself and creeping toward 2600.

FM Mike Klein

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Mike Klein began playing chess at the age of four in Charlotte, NC. In 1986, he lost to Josh Waitzkin at the National Championship featured in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer." A year later, Mike became the youngest member of the very first All-America Chess Team, and was on the team a total of eight times. In 1988, he won the K-3 National Championship, and eventually became North Carolina's youngest-ever master. In 1996, he won clear first for under-2250 players in the top section of the World Open. Mike has taught chess full-time for a dozen years in New York City and Charlotte, with his students and teams winning many national championships. He now works at as a Senior Journalist and at as the Chief Chess Officer. In 2012, 2015, and 2018, he was awarded Chess Journalist of the Year by the Chess Journalists of America. He has also previously won other awards from the CJA such as Best Tournament Report, and also several writing awards for mainstream newspapers. His chess writing and personal travels have now brought him to more than 85 countries.

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