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Chess game: Talents are getting younger and younger

Photo: Eduardo Lopez / Addictive Stock / IMAGO

The super talents are getting younger and younger: Ashwath Kaushik from Singapore, who is only eight years old, defeated a chess grandmaster for the first time - and thus set a world record.

Kaushik surprisingly won his game against 37-year-old Polish grandmaster Jacek Stopa in the fourth round of the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in Switzerland on Sunday. The specialist portal chess.com writes that at the age of eight years, six months and eleven days, Kaushik is the youngest chess player to ever defeat a grandmaster in classical chess.

"It was really exciting and great," chess.com quotes Ashwath Kaushik: "I was proud of my game and how I played, especially because I was worse at one point, but managed to come back."

One record follows the next

The old record was from January and only lasted a month. Leonid Ivanovic from Serbia won his game against the 59-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster Milko Popchev, making him the first eight-year-old to defeat a grandmaster in a classical game. However, he is five months older than Kaushik.

The 19-year-old Vincent Keymer, the best German chess player, is also in the top 10 of the youngest grandmaster defeaters. In 2015, at the age of ten, he beat the Russian grandmaster Alexandr Karpatchev.

Who is Ashwath Kaushik?

The new record holder Ashwath Kaushik was born in India but now lives with his family in Singapore. His father Kaushik Sriram wrote after the record on X about one of the proudest moments of his life.

Ashwath started learning chess online and with his grandparents when he was four years old, the father told chess.com. In 2022, Ashwath, then six years old, became rapid chess world champion in the under-eights age group. "Until then, we didn't know exactly how he would perform on a global level," said his father. At the end of 2023 he celebrated his son on X for the successes of the past year, including two draws against grandmasters.

Kevin Goh Wei Ming, head of the Singapore Chess Association, is one of Kaushik's coaches. On

According to chess.com, the eight-year-old trains up to seven hours a day. However, Goh said Kaushik's family is not putting any pressure on the boy: "We are proud of Ashwath, but we also don't set any goals for him and let him grow at his own pace. The fact that he set this world record is just a bonus.«

The Singaporean newspaper “The Straits Times” reported on Ashwath Kaushik’s extraordinary talent last year. At that time, the boy said that his great role model was the former world champion Mikhail Tal, who was also called the “Magician of Riga” because of his spectacular games. What he liked about Tal was that he played so aggressively, said Ashwath Kaushik.

When asked by the newspaper if he wanted to continue competing, Kaushik replied: "Yes, until I become world champion."