Daniil Dubov, grandmaster at fourteen

8/7/2011 – He is currently the second youngest GM in the world (the youngest by a few months is Illya Nyzhnyk). Born April 18, 1996 in Russia, Daniil Dubov became an FM in 2008, an IM in 2010 and a GM on 28 March 2011, at 14 years 11 months and 14 days. This rising Russian star has played with astonishing consistency since he took up competition chess. He has also forced us to update our records list.

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Daniil Dubov, grandmaster at fourteen

By James Satrapa


Daniil Dubov at the Moscow Blitz Championship in August 2010 (he finished ninth out of 20)

Daniil Dubov, once coached by GM Sergey Dolmatov, has recently come under the tutelage of GM Sergey Shipov who describes Dubov’s style as being akin to that of Petrosian. He has an impressive array of age-based competition results under his belt, frequently fighting "above his weight” in a manner reminiscent of Azeri prodigy Teimour Radjabov a decade ago. Starting in 2006 with third place in the U10 Championship of Russia and equal second in the European U10 championship, Dubov displayed his precocious talent at the Moscow U16 Open by placing equal third. In 2007, his results were an even more impressive second at the Moscow U16 and equal fourth in the Moscow U18 Championship. Some more fine results followed with second place in the U12 European Championship in 2008 behind co-leader, the young Bulgarian talent Kiprian Berbatov whom he defeated in their individual encounter, and equal second at the U16 Russian Championship of 2009.

In more open competition, and at the tender age of ten, Dubov played in the Moscow Team Championships of 2006, recording his first win against an international master, Aleksei Kireev. In 2007, he took on the field at the Aeroflot Tournament in the C Division, scoring 6/9. In 2008, Dubov took second place in the international open at Eforie Nord in Romania and equal third at the David Bronstein Memorial Open. His 5/9 at the 2009 Aeroflot Open A2 while still twelve years old won him his first IM norm. His second IM norm followed shortly afterwards when he won the 7th Vanya Somov Memorial World Youth Stars competition ahead of a galaxy of talented young stars including GM Aleksandr Shimanov. He bagged his third IM norm, and the IM title, later in 2009 at the World Chess Tour 4th Grandmaster Tournament when he secured a draw against GM Rufat Bagirov in the last round, after registering his first win against another GM: Rashid Ziatdinov in the third round.

Late 2009 saw 13-year old Dubov playing board 2 for the gold medal winning Russian team at the World U16 Olympiad in Akhisar in Turkey, where he won an individual bronze medal alongside his talented team mates who all won individual medals.

After placing equal fourth in the Moscow Championship of 2010, his 6/9 against a powerful field in the Voronezh Masters 2010, with an even score against six grandmasters (+1 –1 =4) and wins against the rest of his opponents landed him his first GM norm. His second GM norm followed shortly after with a sterling 5/9 result and a TPR of 2699 against nine grandmasters rated between 2621 and 2689 in the 2011 Aeroflot Open . A positive 6/11 result at the 2011 European Individual Championship against opponents that included nine grandmasters, all rated over 2600 brought home his third grandmaster norm.

An expert rapid player at an early age, Dubov won the U10 rapid chess championship of Russia in 2005 and was runner-up in the same event in 2006, in the European U10 rapid chess championship of 2006, and in the European U12 rapid chess championship in 2008. He capped these feats in 2008 by winning the U18 lightning tournament of Moscow.

Dubov’s rating in FIDE’s most recent rating list on July 1st, 2011 is 2501, which means he is now the third ranked U16 player in Russia and the eighth ranked U16 player in the world. He is also the second youngest GM in the world (after the young Ukrainian wizard Illya Nyzhnyk) and the third born in 1996, the others being Nyzhnyk and Hungary’s Richard Rapport.

Here is a game that Dubov won at Aeroflot on his way to his second grandmaster norm. He counters GM Pavel Maletin’s Anti-Moscow Gambit and then repulses his king side attack to produce this brevity:

[Event "Aeroflot Open"] [Site "Moscow RUS"] [Date "2011.02.09"] [Round "2"] [White "Pavel Maletin"] [Black "Daniil Dubov"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D44"] [WhiteElo "2621"] [BlackElo "2459"] [PlyCount "52"] [EventDate "2011.02.08"] 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 dxc4 7. e4 g5 8. Bg3 b5 9. Be2 Bg7 10. e5 Nh5 11. a4 a6 12. Ne4 O-O 13. Qc2 c5 14. Nfxg5 hxg5 15. Bxh5 Nc6 16. Nd6 Nxd4 17. Qe4 Qa5+ 18. Kf1 Rb8 {[#]} 19. Kg1 $2 (19. h4 {was essential.}) 19... c3 $5 (19... Nf5 {wins.}) 20. h4 $2 (20. bxc3 Qxc3 {was unappetising but essential, e.g.:} 21. Rd1 Nf5 22. axb5 axb5 {and White's position may be defensible as Black's passed pawns look stronger than they actually are.}) 20... cxb2 21. Rb1 Nf5 22. hxg5 Qxa4 23. g6 {Desperation - White is completely lost.} Nxd6 24. gxf7+ Nxf7 25. Qg6 Nh8 26. Qd3 Qc4 {White gives up - Black wins easily with his extra piece and his passed pawns.} 0-1

Three GM norms

When City Fed Event Rc
Req.
Pts
No.
g
m
f
r
ur
pf
frn
06.2010 Voronezh RUS Voronezh 2010 Masters open 2487
6
6
9
6
1
0
9
0
6
3
08.2011 Moscow RUS Aeroflot open 2011 A 2656
4
5
9
9
0
0
9
0
7
2
03-04.2011 Aix les Bains FRA 12th European Indv Champ 2564
6
6
11
9
1
0
11
0
2
9

Daniil Dubov's third GM norm was acquired during the 2011 European Individual Championship that started on 22 March 2011 and finished on 2 April 2011. His rating as on 1 March 2011 was 2489 and on 1 May 2011 it was 2505, which was the first time his rating crossed 2500. The GM norm required six points for the EIC. Dubov achieved his requisite six points in his round ten win against GM Kurnosov, which was played on 1 April 2011 (he lost round 11 on 2 April). Therefore Dubov became a GM on 1 April 2011 at the age of 14 years 11 months 14 days.

Ratings information: FIDE

James Satrapa has worked and lived in every State and Territory of his native island, Australia. When he found himself in one place long enough to indulge his passion for chess, he keenly participated in club and State championship chess. After he started losing to young players whose feet didn't reach the floor from their chairs he retired to the more leisurely labours of Internet-based chess playing and occasional commentary.

James now lives with his family and works in the national capital, Canberra, as a consultant in risk management.


Youngest grandmasters in history

No.
 Player
Nat.
years
mths
days
born
GM
FIDE
 Sergey Karjakin
UKR
12
7
0
1990
2002
 Parimarjan Negi
IND
13
4
22
1993
2006
 Magnus Carlsen
NOR
13
4
27
1990
2004
 Bu Xiangzhi
CHN
13
10
13
1985
1999
 Richard Rapport
HUN
13
11
15
1996
2010
 Teimour Radjabov
AZE
14
0
14
1987
2001
 Ruslan Ponomariov 
UKR
14
0
17
1983
1997
 Wesley So
PHI
14
1
28
1993
2007
 Etienne Bacrot
FRA
14
2
0
1983
1997
10 
 Jorge Cori
PER
14
2
0
1995
2009
11 
 Illya Nyzhnyk
UKR
14
3
2
1996
2010
12 
 Maxime Vachier-Lagrave
FRA
14
4
0
1990
2005
13 
 Peter Leko
HUN
14
4
22
1979
1994
14 
 Hou Yifan
CHN
14
6
2
1994
2008
15 
 Anish Giri
RUS
14
7
2
1994
2009
16 
 Yuri Kuzubov
UKR
14
7
12
1990
2004
17 
 Dariusz Swiercz
POL
14
7
29
1994
2009
18
 Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son 
VIE
14
10
0
1990
2004
19
 Daniil Dubov
RUS
14
11
14
1996
2011
20
 Ray Robson
USA
14
11
16
1994
2009
21
 Fabiano Caruana
ITA
14
11
20
1992
2007
22
 Samvel Ter-Sahakyan
ARM
14
11
?
1993
2008
23
 Andrei Volokitin
UKR
15
0
22
1986
2001
24
 Yangyi Yu
CHN
15
0
23
1994
2009
25
 Koneru Humpy
IND
15
1
27
1987
2002
26
 Hikaru Nakamura
USA
15
2
19
1987
2003
27
 Pentala Harikrishna
IND
15
3
5
1986
2001
28
 Le Quang Liem
VIE
15
3
17
1991
2006
29
 Yaroslav Zherebukh
UKR
15
3
?
1993
2008
30
 Judit Polgar
HUN
15
4
28
1976
1991
31
 Alejandro Ramirez
CRI
15
5
14
1988
2003
32
 Arkadij Naiditsch
GER
15
5
?
1985
2001
33
 Bobby Fischer
USA
15
6
1
1943
1958
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