The Top Chess Players in the World

GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda

Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Full name
Jan-Krzysztof Duda
Apr 26, 1998 (age 25)‎
Place of birth
Krakow, Poland



GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda is one of the youngest members of the 2700 club of super grandmasters (reached in 2017), having turned 22 years old in April 2020. The latest in a history of strong GMs from Poland, he plays on as Polish_fighter3000.

Duda won the 2021 FIDE World Cup, earning himself a spot in the 2022 Candidates Tournament, his first.

Early Life And Career (1998-2013)

After learning to play chess at the age of five, Duda’s first FIDE rating list came in October 2006, when he had an 1834 rating at age eight. Two years later, he played in the World Youth Championship and won first place in the under-10 division, earning the title of FIDE master. The result also moved him past the 2000-rating marker.

In 2010 he took a shot at the World Junior Championship for players under age 20 and held his own with a 50-percent score (+4 -4 =5). He also played in the youth under-12 event.

Duda began 2012 with his rating past the 2400 mark and then enjoyed a successful run in youth events, winning Poland’s under-18 and Europe’s under-14 events that year. As a result, he made IM.

Grandmaster (2013-18)

It would not take him long to become a GM. A +3 -2 =5 score at the 2013 European Individual Championship was his final norm. He set a couple “seconds” in the process: the second-youngest GM at the time (Wei Yi) and the second-youngest GM in Polish history (Dariusz Swiercz).

In 2014 Duda showed how strong he could be at fast time controls as well, placing first at the European Rapid Championship and second at the European Blitz. 

The year 2015 was another excellent one at the standard time controls with an outright first at Lake Sevan and a tie for first at the World Junior Championships, and his rating climbed past 2600. By 2017 he had reached a 2700 rating.

Recent Career (2018-present)

The year 2018 was a success for Duda on multiple levels. 

At fast time controls, he finished an easy second at the World Blitz Championship (half a point behind GM Magnus Carlsen and well ahead of third) as well as making the semifinals at the Speed Chess Championship

Nationally, he won the Polish Championship for the first time, scoring 6.5/9 for a full-point victory. 

Jan-Krzystof Duda, 2018
Duda after winning the 2018 Polish Championship. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

And he played perhaps his most exclusive tournament to that point at the eight-player Dortmund Sparkassen with GMs Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri, and Vladimir Kramnik. There he scored 4/7 in a tie for second and was not afraid to try more offbeat openings.

Continuing his arrival in the top echelon the next year, Duda made his first appearance in the top division at Tata Steel (he had played as a “challenger” in 2014). He scored just 5.5/13 in 2019 but managed an even score in his second attempt after being invited again in 2020.


Duda has slowly worked his way up the Polish boards at the Chess Olympiad. He debuted on the third board in 2014, played the second in 2016, and then had the top board in 2018. He is likely to remain there for some time. 

With Duda’s progress up the boards came increasing success for the Polish team, which moved from 15th in 2014 to seventh place in 2016. Poland then finished fourth in 2018, behind perhaps the three strongest chess-playing countries in the world—China, the United States, and Russia.

Championship Cycles

Duda took his first dip into the world championship cycle while still an IM as the 110th seed in the 2013 Chess World Cup, where he lost in the first round to GM Vassily Ivanchuk. He returned to the World Cup four years later, this time as the 36th seed. He again lost to Ivanchuk but this time after reaching the second round. 

His continued development throughout 2017 and 2018 led in 2019 to his most successful championship run yet (as of 2020). He made it to the fourth round of the World Cup and placed fifth in the Grand Prix on the strength of reaching the finals in Hamburg, where he lost to GM Alexander Grischuk.

In 2021, Duda outdid himself with a victory in the World Cup. He toppled Carlsen in tiebreaks in the semifinals before defeating GM Sergey Karjakin in the finals.

That World Cup success earned Duda a spot in the 2022 Candidates Tournament to try to qualify for the world championship. He finished tied for seventh place, but at his young age has an opportunity to play in more. Throughout 2022, Duda also participated in the Champions Chess Tour, where he won the Aimchess Rapid.

Future Outlook

Duda’s career has been marked by consistent improvement rather than any sudden bursts in development. This steadiness has taken him near the top-10 players in the world. Should that regular progress continue, the 2020s should be good to him. Reaching the 2022 Candidates is a clear step forward on that path.

Wherever his ceiling as a chess player ultimately ends, Duda is one of the most exciting young players in the game today. You can read a February 2020 interview with him here.

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