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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Chess mate

Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest to be GM, is in an eclectic company. But there is no correlation between age and success

By: Editorial |
Updated: July 2, 2021 7:57:52 am
While his parents told this newspaper that a karate black belt and video games might be the next recreational goals, the well-rounded childhood might well get reclaimed.

Abhimanyu Mishra became the youngest Grand Master in chess history on Wednesday. The 12 years, four months, 25 days-old Abhimanyu, created history at Budapest by bettering the prodigy-mark of Russian Sergey Karjakin, who had been 12 years seven months getting there in 2002. Most interestingly, the New Jersey-resident became the first of American “youngest in the world” sash bearers since Bobby Fischer in 1958. Chess, never too far from the geopolitics of the day, can fancy an uptick in American interest on the back of this massively driven pre-teen, given the generous mentoring of Garry Kasparov. Once Abhimanyu starts conquering bigger boards, American billionaires can be expected to queue up with funds.

While his parents told this newspaper that a karate black belt and video games might be the next recreational goals, the well-rounded childhood might well get reclaimed. While the Mishras will give their elder son complete freedom to choose if he wants to continue on the check-path at all, seeds of passion have been adequately sown as he sets his sights on becoming World Champion.

The current chess champion-breed with Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri and Hikaru Nakamura are an eclectic bunch with varied interests. And Abhimanyu born 20 years later, might well wear this crown lightly — though his aggressive openings and attacking games are already compared to Fischer’s. Karjakin is yet to be world champion though he was the youngest and only human to beat a computer, “Deep Junior”, back at a meet in Bilbao. And Carlsen was 13 years and six months when he trapped down the GM title, so the correlation between youngest and winningest isn’t an axiom. But there’s no doubting that the American boy starts his life in a fishbowl now as his game gets dissected and pored over for perennial signs of greatness.

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