Can you guess who this (future) grandmaster is?

10/11/2007 – Here's another teaser from our early-pictures scrapbook: who is the child in this photo? He was a bit of a boy prodigy, who was often seen playing in the New York City area. Today he is a strong grandmaster, living in Europe, where he is the top player in his country. He has an incredibly insightful style of annotating games. We provide you with a few more or less helpful clues.

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Who is this grandmaster?

Can you guess who the cute young child in the photo is? Once again we provide you with some clues:

  • He was born in a country which is not that of his parents, i.e. he was "born abroad".

  • He started playing chess at an early age and showed great talent for the game, gaining the FM, IM and GM titles earlier than most of his compatriots.

  • In his early career he was often to be seen in the New York City area, where he was friends with Pal Benko and Susan Polgar.

  • Today he lives in Europe, but does not spent much time in his native country, although he is part of its chess federation and represents it.

  • He remains a strong GM, rated around 2600, the strongest player in his native country.

  • In the last weeks or months he played successfully in an international tournament, proving that age does not matter in chess.

  • To our delight he sends us deeply annotated games that provide valuable insight into the thought processes of a player of his calibre.

Sampler

To give you an impression of his style of annotation here is a snippet from a game we recently received. The full version of this and a second beautifully annotated game will be published here in a few days. In the following position our grandmaster, who had white, had just played the exchange 14...Nb4xBd3 15.Pc2xNd3. He writes:

In my preparation before the game I assessed this position as favourable for White due to Black's insecure king and White's rapid development. I can only wonder what I was thinking. After Black's next move it is clear he will have few problems with his king, while White will sorely miss his light-squared bishop. 15...b6! Now I suddenly realised that only Black could have an advantage here. I will have very serious problems with my d3-pawn after ...Ba6 and ...Qg6. For whatever reason I had only considered 15...c5?, which is clearly bad due to 16.b4! b6 (16...cxb4 17.Nb3 b6 18.a3 with initiative) 17.Nb3 Qg6 18.bxc5 Ba6 19.Rf3 bxc5 20.Bxf4+/-.

So can you guess who this grandmaster is? As you probably know by now we are quite sneaky with the hints we provide. Naturally they are all true, but sometimes a wee bit misleading. We will reveal the identity of our GM friend, together with a biography and the two annotated games, this weekend.


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