He did it: Faustino Oro becomes youngest IM in history

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/30/2024 – Faustino Oro scored 6½/9 points at the “Cerrado IM Barcelona” to become the youngest International Master in the history of chess. The Argentine prodigy gained his third IM norm at 10 years, 8 months and 16 days, thus breaking Abhimanyu Mishra’s record by less than a month. Remarkably, Oro has already surpassed the 2400-rating mark as well, and even gained more rating at the event in Barcelona. | Photo: Federico Marín Bellón / El Mundo

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Record after record

At 10 years, 8 months and 16 days, Faustino Oro became the youngest-ever International Master in the history of chess. The prodigy from Buenos Aires scored 6½/9 points at the “Cerrado IM Barcelona” to break Abhimanyu Mishra’s record (10 years, 9 months and 3 days) by less than a month.

Unlike other players who have broken these kinds of records in the past, Oro did not start playing chess at 4 or 5. It was only by chance that he began trying his hand at online chess during the pandemic in 2020. He was 7 years old then — and, at 8, he was already the highest-rated under-10 player in the world.

Known as the “Messi of chess”, the Argentine — a fan of football club Vélez Sársfield — has been breaking record after record since he began his still short chess career:

  • Became the youngest-ever player to cross the 2200-rating barrier at 9 years, 3 months
  • Became the youngest-ever player to cross the 2300-rating barrier at 9 years, 6 months
  • Became the youngest-ever player to earn an IM norm at 9 years and 11 months by scoring 6½/9 points at the ITT Copa Ciudad de Comodoro Rivadavia
  • Obtained his second IM norm at the 2024 American Continental Championship in Medellín, Colombia (he then had a live rating of 2399)
  • Surpassed the 2400-rating mark in an official FIDE list in July 2024 after scoring 5/9 at the Madrid Chess Festival, where he fell just short of achieving the title
  • Became the youngest-ever International Master in history on 30 June 2024 at 10 years, 8 months and 16 days

In Barcelona, Oro had a dream start, as he kicked off the event with three consecutive wins, including a 51-move victory with white over the highest-rated participant (and the only GM in the lineup) Hipólito Asis. Oro also won in round 6, when he beat FM Alex Villa. Draws in all remaining rounds granted him the 6½ final score which was needed to grab his final IM norm. The Argentine tied for first place with Colombian IM Cristian Hernández.

Remarkably, el pibe de oro (“golden boy”, since oro means gold in Spanish and pibe means boy in Argentine jargon) has a 31-game unbeaten streak in classical chess. The last time he lost a game was in Arpil, when he was defeated by Cuban IM Ernesto Fernández in round 7 of the Menorca Open.

In the first semester of 2024, Oro has collected 17 wins, 30 draws and 9 losses.

Faustino Oro

Faustino with his parents, Alejandro and Romina | Photo: Infobae

As reported by Carlos Ilardo for Infobae, living legend Veselin Topalov had this to say about the Argentine prodigy:

I don’t have much to contribute about Faustino’s record because I haven't really followed his games closely [...] but I can tell you that when I was 10 years old I had a 2100 Elo rating, and he has surpassed 2400. Maybe many people don’t understand it, but that progression is really good, and more important than his winning a bullet game against Magnus Carlsen or a blitz game against Nakamura.

The current Argentine chess champion, Fernando Peralta, said:

In my opinion it is the most important achievement of an Argentine chess player in recent decades. I think it can give a lot of impetus to the development of chess in our country. Moreover, it is the undeniable confirmation that he has the potential to enter the world elite. We must congratulate his family for all the decisions they are taking, as well as his coaches for their excellent work.

Now living in Spain, where his parents intend to create a better environment for his development, the youngster not only has a training schedule of 12 hours per week, but also plays plenty of online chess, as reported by Infobae.

Final standings - Cerrado IM Barcelona

All games - Cerrado IM Barcelona


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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