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David Howell becomes a grandmaster at 16

1/6/2007 – Chess prodigy David Howell has broken Luke McShane's record to become the UK's youngest ever grandmaster. David made his final norm in Stockholm yesterday where he tied for second prize with 7/9 in the traditional Rilton Cup. His age: 16 years and one month. That puts him among the 20 all-time youngest GMs in the world. Picture report.
 

Barden on Chess

Leonard Barden, Saturday January 6, 2007: David Howell became the UK's youngest ever grandmaster in Stockholm yesterday where he tied for second prize with 7/9 in the traditional Rilton Cup. The Sussex 16-year-old already had two of the three required GM results, while his new 2501 world rating completes the requirements. At 16 years one month Howell breaks Luke McShane's UK age record set in 2000 by around six months. Before that our youngest GM was Michael Adams, now the world No. 9, who did it at 17. Howell is among the 20 all-time youngest GMs, though his contemporaries Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin are far ahead and approaching the elite GM 2700 level. See article in Guardian Unlimited.


David Howell at sixteen


Playing in a tournament recently in Yerevan


David with his sister Julia, 13


The family: sister Julia, mother Angeline (originally from Singapore), David, father Martin


In his home town of Seaford, East Sussex


Looking back

February 27, 2002: Can this child beat Vladimir Kramnik?
Wunderkind David Howell from Seaford, East Sussex, is eleven years old. He was taught the moves at the age of five by his father after they had bought a chess set for £1.00 at a jumble sale. Now David is taking on BGN world champion Vladimir Kramnik in one-to-one contest. The event is being staged by Brain Games partner Einstein.

The blitz games, each lasting a maximum of ten minutes (total duration of match – 40 minutes), are an attempt to set a world record. If David draws only one of the games against Kramnik he will go down in history as the youngest person ever to have scored against a reigning World Champion in single combat. David and Vladimir will play for the Einstein Trophy, which will be awarded to David, if he sets a world record.

March 1st, 2002: Kramnik concedes a draw to an 11-year-old
Wunderkind David Howell did actually achieve a world record and scored a draw against BGN world champion Vladimir Kramnik in a one-to-one blitz game, the last in their four-game encounter. The media interest was tremendous – in fact we caught the report on Sky News, where Kramnik said: "It was definitely not a walk-over, I had to concentrate!" He predicts a great future for David. Full article and game.

July 2nd, 2003: One giant step for David Howell
David is a 12-year-old English lad. Although a chess prodigy he was clearly the underdog against his famous opponent: GM Sergey Karjakin from the Ukraine. Mind you Sergey is just 13 himself, but he is the youngest grandmaster in history and the second of FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov. Still, David did not exactly collapse in awe.


David Howell vs Sergey Karjakin at Somerset House in 2003

David Howell made another giant step in his chess career when he comfortably held Sergei Karjakin, the youngest Grandmaster in the world, to a draw in an exhibition match held to launch The Art of Chess exhibition at the Gilbert Collection, Somerset House.

David, the 12-year-old prodigy from Sussex, had already established his credentials earlier in the week by disposing of Grandmaster Jonathan Speelman in a match sponsored by British Land at Regent's Place in Euston, also played on a giant chess set. Full article and game.

October 30th, 2003: David Howell and the Great Helicopter Tour
It's right out of Harry Potter. 12-year-old chess wizz David Howell is taken on a whirlwind helicopter tour of schools in England as part of National Chess week. He's on a mission to show other kids how exciting a good match can be – and why it's not just a game for adults.


Suited up for the adventure – David Howell ready for the first take-off


With mother Angie Howell

About David

David Howell was born in Eastbourne on 14 November 1990 and has been playing chess since the age of five years and eight months, following his father's purchase of a second-hand set at a jumble sale.

In August 1999, David hit the headlines around the globe when he broke the world record for the youngest player to have defeated a Grandmaster in an official game. He has subsequently represented England in many international junior tournaments. In 2005 he became an International Master and achieved his first two GM norms. He is a member of the Ashtead, Crowborough and Hastings Chess Clubs. He also plays for Guildford in the Four Nations Chess League, and for Marseille in the French League.


David Howell at 13, playing International Open of Calvià in November 2004

When he is not playing chess, David enjoys playing football and is an enthusiastic Manchester United supporter. He is currently studying for his French, German and Maths A-levels at Eastbourne College. His favourite music includes the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Foo Fighters. He is a great fan of the Lord of the Rings movies, and he enjoys reading JRR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Philip Pullman and Bernard Cornwell.


David meets Garry: it happened at a book signing in London in October 2003

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