Second GM norm for Abhimanyu

by Sagar Shah
5/11/2021 – 12-year-old Abhimanyu Mishra scored his 2nd GM norm at the First Saturday GM Round Robin May 2021 with a round to spare. This is the second consecutive event in which Abhimanyu has scored a GM norm, with a dominating 2700+ performance. He is now just 29 Elo points and one GM norm away from becoming the world's youngest grandmaster. Abhi has annotated his eighth round game for us, and will play against ChessBase Premium Members tomorrow.

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Karjakin's record for the youngest GM stands since 2002 at the age of 12 years and 7 months. Abhimanyu has time until 5th of September! Will he manage to break it?

The 12-year-old is on fire at the First Saturday GM norm May event in Budapest, Hungary. He won his 8th round encounter, and with 7.0/8, he scored his 2nd GM norm with a round to spare (here's the current cross table). Not only that, the lad also performed at an Elo of 2703, gaining 24 rating points. Abhimanyu's live rating is now 2471. The boy has time until 5th of September (just under four months) to break Sergey Karjakin's youngest GM record. He needs one last GM norm and 29 Elo points.

Abhimanyu with his father Hemant in Budapest yesterday

Abhimanyu's eighth round victory analyzed by the boy

Immediately after finishing the game, Abhimanyu came back to his room, freshened up and annotated this game for the readers of ChessBase. Enjoy the youngster's analysis:


Abhimanyu will next play at the GM Round Robin Invitational in Hungary from the 13th of May 2021. But before that he will appear on ChessBase India's livestream to play against the Premium Members of ChessBase Account.

But even without a Premium Account you can watch the broadcast – and gain an impression of this remarkable young chess talent. 

He has a good chess teacher...

Breaking: here the final ranking after nine rounds. Abhi won his last game, beating top seed GM Vojtech Plat (who finished third). The boy ended the tournament with a total of 8.0/9 – just two draws, three full points ahead of everyone else. His rating performance was 2739, and with that he has gained 30.5 Elo points.

Hang on to your hat, Magnus! 

Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest chess news outlet in the country.
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Leavenfish Leavenfish 5/14/2021 02:47
You "throw enough money after something, you are bound to get some traction" For his sake, lets hope the kid breaks the record. I would be interested to know how much money was spent on Sergey Karjakin's attempt...
Arminio12 Arminio12 5/12/2021 06:40
To mraamayya & Frederic:

Thanks for your valuable explanations. They have clarified the matter quite a bit.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 5/12/2021 10:54
Congratulations to Abhminanyu! He needs "only" another excellent result and he will break the record.
Frederic Frederic 5/12/2021 09:07
@adbennet: "Since this is the internet, I don't see your point. Let me google that for you". You know LMGTFY?
Keshava Keshava 5/12/2021 07:09
You make some interesting points, however all of the players in the past who broke records as the youngest GM ever went on to become significantly stronger in Elo than the nominal 2500 minimum rating to get the title.
adbennet adbennet 5/12/2021 05:30
It was a nice French Defense win, but 11.Qf4 deserved mention as a mis-step -- very common in these positions is Qg4-h3 instead. Simply 11.Nf3 staying flexible, and if 11...Qa4 12.O-O Qxc2? 13.Bd1!. Of course he still had his last round game to play, so there was not a lot of time for annotating this game.

His third GM norm should be possible in the time remaining. It needs "only" a +2 or thereabouts in a single event. To gain the required Elo needs a total of +7 or +8 from here forward, so the most important thing is to guard against any poor tournament(s) which would lose ground. Some players who tried to beat him before might become more cautious now, so it still remains an interesting task.
adbennet adbennet 5/12/2021 04:58
@m8in8 - In a print publication, you might have a point. Since this is the internet, I don't see your point. Let me google that for you (although in fact I used duckduckgo)....

Ah yes, here it is, first result: Abhimanyu Mishra is an American chess prodigy from New Jersey.
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 5/12/2021 04:55
@ m8in8: Nationality used to be permanent, but no longer. We have many GMs who have played in an Olympiad [an Olympiad, not a mere tournament] under one flag and then under another. Except Hikaru, all other top [by FIDE rating] players in the US Federation are examples of that: Caruana (played for Italy), Aronian (Armenia), So (Philippines), and Domingues Perez (Cuba). Levon is still under the Armenia flag, until his application to switch countries is processed by FIDE and the $5000 fee is paid. Given substantial financial backing, the colors of the flags are fading and that confuses the comprehensiveness of relevant reports
m8in8 m8in8 5/12/2021 03:45
Nowhere in this article does it state Abhimanyu's nationality and the flag shown is not the flag of India. The 5 cardinal rules of journalism are: "who, what, when, WHERE, and why." We are told WHERE he won the games, we are not told WHERE he is from. The reader shouldn't be left guessing the nationality of the primary subject of the article.
tcmits tcmits 5/12/2021 02:04
Well done young man, and good luck getting final norm.
Zagliveri_chess Zagliveri_chess 5/12/2021 01:48
The age comparison/race is without much merit.

Back in my early teens, long time ago, it was impossible to become a GM before being an adult in Greece even if your playing strength was super-GM level. The reason? No access to tournaments qualifying for GM norms. Years would pass between successful norms and many players would remain IMs. GMs Kotronias and Papaioannou got the title at the age of 26 and 22 respectively playing in a couple of tournaments per year. Given the same opportunities as the present day prodigies, I do not think that either of the two would have the slightest problem becoming GMs before age 15. Just plug their games at age 13 or 14 into an engine and see what ELO they are assigned to.

That has changed. Now a supporting parent or club can ferry the chess prodigy around the continent or the world starting at ... kindergarten. A supporting federation can arrange tournaments to specifically help the prodigy while, sometimes, encouraging the other participants to give her/him 'opportunities'.

I was discussing this subject with GM Ljubojevic 20 years ago in an island resort (got his title at age 21) and he was saying matter-of-factly that a decent player could get then (~ year 2000) as many GM norms as necessary for the title simply by covering the tournament expenses of GMs north of the border that were past their prime and struggling with the changes in the political regimes.

I would be very interested in science-based analysis that evaluates associations between age, tournament availability, chess-playing maturity, and timing of titles.
PhishMaster PhishMaster 5/11/2021 10:53
There have been a lot of prodigies, who have threatened Karjakin's record over the last 18 years, but it looks destined to fall this time, and I don't think it will even be close.

Good luck to Abhimanyu...this is incredible.
Frederic Frederic 5/11/2021 10:03
@mraammayya: Thanks for the clear and precise explanation. I wrote an article on the subject 17 years ago: "What's in a name?"

Incidentally: Abhi won his final game, beating top seed GM Vojtech Plat (who finished third). The boy ended the tournament with a total of 8.0/9 – just two draws, three full points ahead of everyone else. His rating performance was 2739, and with that he has gained 30.5 Elo points.
jpmoldovan jpmoldovan 5/11/2021 09:27
mraamayya mraamayya 5/11/2021 08:18
To Arminio12

1)Different states in India have different naming culture. Most of the country has a a Given name (First) & Last name (Family, Surname). Eg:1: (First)Abhimanyu, (L)Mishra, (First) Eg:2: (F)Nihal, (L)Sarin. 2)In some states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana & parts of other states - they write Family or Sur name first and then the given name, (similar to Japanese, Korean etc.). Given names can be one or more words (no concept of middle names). Eg:1 (Sur, Fam) Pentala, (Given)Hari Krishna(2 words) Eg:2: (Sur, Fam)Humpy(1 word), (Given)KOneru. So the correct way to address or write these names is in that order for all formal and legal purposes with adding Sri similar to Mr., Sreemathi(Mrs) etc. Informally friends and family use either one or two words of the given name when addressing or calling them, like Hari or Krishna or Harikrishna, 3) In some states like Tamilnadu the Family or Surname is not followed any more and they use their father's first name as their last name, Patronymic . or (Given or First)Anand, (Last or Surname)Vishwanathan, (Given or First)Praggnanandhaa (L)Rameshbaabu. Anand's son's given name is Akhil and Last or Surname is Anand. Hope this helps. Readers please make necessary corrections.
MrPickl3 MrPickl3 5/11/2021 06:15
Abhi might have a brighter future than Nihal, Pragg and Gukesh, but I think Tykhon Cherniaiev catches up to him, soon. Tykhon is already much stronger than Abhi at blitz, is a year younger and is just waiting for the Ukraine to release him into the wild.
Arminio12 Arminio12 5/11/2021 06:00
An Indian name, I suspect, so I’d very much like to know how to interpret it. Is it “Abhimanyu M.” (“M. Abhimanyu”) like in “Praggnanandhaa R.” (“R. Praggnanandhaa”) or “Gukesh D.” (“D. Gukesh”), or is it “Mishra A.” (“A. Mishra”)? Or still something else, as I understand that Indian names are quite diverse as well. FIDE lists the name as “Mishra, Abhimanyu”, implying it is similar to “Carlsen, Magnus” and hence “Mishra” is the name to be used. It would be useful to give some information as to how the two parts should be interpreted and what exactly they stand for. Similarly, now we are at it, I am wondering about the name “Ar Unnadhan Ilamparthi”, another young prodigy you wrote about not so long ago.