Indian-origin American Abhimanyu Mishra has become the youngest-ever chess Grandmaster in the world. At 12 years, four months and 25 days, he surpassed the ever-standing record held by Sergey Karjakin, who was 12 years and seven months old when he bagged the title. Three years ago, India’s R Praggnanandhaa had almost surpassed him, but missed the opportunity by a whisker.
Abhimanyu never gave up on his dream
When Abhimanyu became the world’s youngest International Master last year, he still chose to chase his dream and he achieved the feat at the Vezerkepzo GM Mix in Budapest, a tournament organised just to give him one final shot at the title, as several chess players stayed back due to travel restrictions amid COVID-19 virus.
Since April, Abhimanyu has been in the Hungarian capital, completely focusing on for the record. He had attained the first and second GM norms in April and May, but the third had seemed a bit difficult with time catching up and fewer tournaments in the horizon.
One of his coaches, GM Magesh Chandran, said that-
“We don’t interact on a regular basis, but I keep a regular tab on him, follow each of his games and sometimes chip in with some advice whenever he is here. The sooner the better it would be for him and us. Once he comes back, we hope to catch up.”
How Abhimanyu started playing Chess?
Abhimanyu was just 2.5 years old when his father Hemant, who is posted in a data management sector, introduced him to chess. By five, he was already defeating his father and competing in local tournaments, where he started defeating players as old as his father.
Another coach Arun Prasad opens about another incident. He said that-
“He was just nine when he was pitted against a veteran 70-year-old opponent. He beat him in no time. I thought I was watching history in the making. I soon realised he’s not normal – in a great way. He remembers everything he sees. He remembers moves from games in 2014 and 2015. His mind absorbs everything.”
Abhimanyu’s hard-work paid off
Abhimanyu’s fame and popularity began to spread and he started travelling when he was as young as seven years old, the age at which he became the youngest national champion before becoming the youngest National Master in the US at the age of nine.
Without corporate sponsorships, his family had to spend a lot which ultimately bought a lot of stress on their pockets. His father Hemant said that-
“Whatever people spend on college tuition, we have already invested that in chess.”
He has a gofund page, where they have raised close to US $16,000 for their trip to Hungary.
Young master on the win
Surprisingly, Abhimanyu is not just breaking records and accumulating ELO points at a rapid pace, but beating seasoned Grandmaster en route. At Charlotte Springs in the US in March, he defeated Vladimir Belous, rated 2521, in just amazing 19 moves. In the first tournament in Budapest, he outplayed top seed Vojtech Plat in convincing fashion, playing an all-out attacking game.
Abhimanyu’s mother’s overwhelmed emotions
Abhimanyu’s mother, Swati Sharma who is in New Jersey amid the pandemic said that-
“Abhimanyu has worked hard all these years for this. He and his father have been in Budapest for the last three months as Abhimanyu wanted to compete in the chess circuit there to earn the remaining GM norms and becoming the youngest GM in the world is the result of his passion.”
Adding further to it she said that-
“It has been tough for the family as my husband and Abhimanyu are mostly travelling while I stay with my younger daughter, but this reward is bigger than anything.”
Some information about Abhimanyu
Abhimanyu’s spring idol is swimmer Michael Phelps (his hero in chess is Garry Kasparov), he also wants to acquire a black belt in karate when he grows older, and he plays a lot of video games (Brawl Stars is his favourite) with friends. But as of now, his eyes are firmly trained on his victory game and he is aiming high for it.
5 Young Grandmasters, Abhimanyu being the youngest amongst them
Abhimanyu is in an elite grandmaster’s group. Of the five previous youngest Grandmasters-
Tigran Petrosian (23)
Boris Spassky (18)
Bobby Fischer (15)
Judit Polgar (15)
All but Karjakin went on to become world champions, which indicates that the 12-year-old’s journey has just begun, and the youngest GM record is just one of the milestone in his path.