12-Year-Old from New Jersey Becomes Youngest Chess Grandmaster Ever, Beating Record By 66 Days

Abhimanyu Mishra has become the youngest chess grandmaster in history, beating a record previously held by Sergey Karjakin of Russia

Abhimanyu Mishra
Photo: Abhimanyu Mishra/Twitter

While he may not even be old enough to drive, Abhimanyu Mishra already has a place in the record books.

This week, Mishra was named the youngest chess grandmaster in history, earning the title at 12 years, 4 months, and 25 days old, the U.S. Chess Federation announced. Mishra was previously named both the youngest master in U.S. history at 9 years and two months as well as the youngest International Master ever at 10 years, nine months, and three days, the Federation noted.

Mishra's latest feat breaks a record previously held by Russia's Sergey Karjakin, who became the world's youngest chess grandmaster 19 years ago, ESPN reported. The title was beaten by a difference of just 66 days.

To become a chess grandmaster, a player needs to reach a 2500 Elo rating. The Elo rating system is a way of measuring a player's results from past rated games, Chess.com explains (Magnus Carlsen, the top-rated chess player in the world, currently has an Elo rating of 2847).

Abhimanyu Mishra
Abhimanyu Mishra/Twitter

In addition to the high rating, a player must achieve three "grandmaster norms," which is a "great tournament performance played against very strong opposition," ChessGoals adds.

Mishra earned his third norm at the Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament when he defeated grandmaster Leon Mendonca in nine rounds, according to CNN. He surpassed the 2500 Elo rating in June.

"Finally checkmated the biggest opponent (ongoing pandemic) which stopped me for 14 months," Mishra wrote on Twitter to celebrate the milestone after the difficult year that was 2020.

"Thanks everybody for all your love and support. Looking forward for World cup," he added.

To help him on his journey, Mishra recently had help from chess legend Garry Kasparov, who helped analyze his games.

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"At his age, to have Garry mentor and go over his games is straight out of a dream for any chess player," Hemant Mishra, Abhimanyu's father, told ESPN. "There was a parent interview as well, and that was perhaps the best day of my life."

Now that their long-sought-after achievement has been reached, Hemant said he'll support whatever his son wants to do next — even if it isn't chess-related.

"Up until now I've been taking the calls, but once he becomes GM, he's free to choose what he wants to do with his life," he told the outlet. "Whether it's the tournaments he plays or if he wants to continue to play chess at all. It'll be his decision."

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