Abdusattorov second youngest GM ever

by Frederic Friedel
10/29/2017 – Nodirbek Abdusattorov has GM norms from last year's Chigorin Memorial and from Abu Dhabi 2017. And now he's added a third in the Chigorin Memorial in St. Petersburg this weekend. Combined with a rating over 2500 he has met the qualifications for the GM title several months ahead of the previous record held by Parimarjan Negi. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

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Nordirbek does it

The Chigorin Memorial is clearly going to be a tournament Nordirbek Abdusattorov remembers fondly, having now scored two of his three GM-norms at the annual St. Petersburg event. Two draws in the final two rounds was enough to secure the requisite 2600+ performance rating.

Abdusattorov's results

Rd. Bo. SNo   Name Rtg FED Res.
1 37 215   Ismagilov Damir 2058 RUS w 1
2 30 134   Tugarin Anton 2251 RUS s 1
3 19 93 WGM Belenkaya Dina 2346 RUS w 1
4 2 4 GM Sethuraman S.P. 2632 IND s 1
5 3 19 GM Vorobiov Evgeny E. 2555 RUS s ½
6 6 23 GM Levin Evgeny A. 2545 RUS w 1
7 3 7 GM Gordievsky Dmitry 2605 RUS s 0
8 12 21 GM Timofeev Artyom 2549 RUS w ½
9 7 5 GM Alekseev Evgeny 2622 RUS s ½

The Guardian's correspondent Leonard Barden predicted this happening in January this year, and sent us his updated thoughts on Abdusattorov's achievement:

Nodibirek Abdusattorov already looked exceptional when he beat two GMs at Tashkent 2014 when only nine years old.  In the 2016 Chigorin Memorial the 11-year-old scored the youngest 2650 GM norm in chess history with impressive strategic play including a Karpovian win against Brazil's Alexander Fier.  Again this week his ultra-patient style brought a key point in his sixth round win over GM Evgeny Levin.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov in 2015

My impression is that he could have achieved his second and third norms still earlier, thus breaking Karjakin's world age record, if he had been given the right opportunities and backing. I already pointed this out in my Guardian article in January this year, which noted that time was running out for the world record and that he needed to play in more GM tournaments in the West. In the event he has had far fewer opportunities than his Indian rival Praggnanandhaa, and his only 2017 event in the West has been the Millenials junior match at Saint Louis where no norms were possible.

One must point the finger at Uzbek chess and sports officials who missed a strong possibility for a landmark achievement which would have given their country favourable publicity in global media. Now, surely, Abdusattorov must be given the chance to show his skills in a major Western event. Tata Steel Wijk Challengers officials, it's over to you.

What of Praggnanandhaa, who has also played in the Chigorin Memorial this week?  The Indian prodigy, who has until March 2018 to break Karjakin's record, has a 2500 rating but no GM norms yet. He had serious opportunities in recent months at both Vlissingen and the Isle of Man to make a 2600 GM norm, but faded in the crucial closing rounds. At St. Petersburg this week he has had a form crisis, a below 2300 performance after seven rounds which was worse than his sister, WIM R. Vaishali, who defeated a 2500 IM and reached 5/7 for her career best performance.

Praggnanandhaa probably still has a better than even chance of breaking Karjakin's record, since India plans a circuit of three GM tournaments around the turn of the year which will give him a very important home advantage.  But his margin for error has narrowed, and Abdusattorov's breakthrough increases the pressure. The prodigy race is truly on, and should be fascinating to follow in the next few years.

(Above) Abdusattorov at the World Youth Championship in 2015 | Photo: Reint Dykema
(Below) At the Sharjah Masters (March 2017) | Photo: Maria Emelianova / shjchessmasters.com

Nordirbek Abdusattorov

All games broadcast live


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Final standings (Top 20)

Rk. Name  TB1 
1 Alekseenko Kirill 55,0
2 Paravyan David 55,0
3 Sethuraman S.P. 53,0
4 Sarana Alexey 51,0
5 Triapishko Alexandr 55,5
6 Moiseenko Vadim 55,5
7 Sjugirov Sanan 54,0
8 Gordievsky Dmitry 53,0
  Kobalia Mikhail 53,0
10 Mikaelyan Arman 50,0
11 Liu Yan 49,5
12 Predke Alexandr 49,5
13 Timofeev Artyom 49,0
14 Sengupta Deep 48,5
15 Artemiev Vladislav 59,0
16 Abdusattorov Nodirbek 55,5
17 Pridorozhni Aleksei 53,0
18 Vorobiov Evgeny E. 53,0
19 Usmanov Vasily 52,5
20 Volkov Sergey 50,5

...360 players

Full results (Chess-Results)


For those eagle-eyed readers who notice that all but one of Abdusattorov's opponents were Russian, and may recall that FIDE requirements for norm-seekers generally require a mix of federations, don't fret — there's an exception for certain Swiss tournaments, and the Chigorin Memorial qualifies. Per the FIDE Handbook

1.43e — Swiss System tournaments in which participants include in every round at least 20 FIDE Rated players not from the host federation, but from at least 3 federations and at least 10 of whom hold GM, IM, WGM,WIM titles.

Update October 30: ChessBase has received a copy of Abdusattorov's passport which indicates his date of birth as September 18th, 2004.

There is also some uncertainly as to Abdusattorov's precise age. We initially reported his 13th birthday to be upcoming on December 1st, but that was not correct. He was born on September 18, 2004. We've updated the table below.

He can safely be said to be the second youngest grandmaster in history, as he is easily beating Parimarjan Negi and Magnus Carlsen. Here's a list of all other players who become grandmasters before they were 15: 

No. Player Country Age
1. Sergey Karjakin  Ukraine 12 years, 7 months, 0 days
2. Nodirbek Abdusattorov Uzbekistan 13 years, 1 month, 11 days
3. Parimarjan Negi  India 13 years, 4 months, 22 days
4. Magnus Carlsen  Norway 13 years, 4 months, 27 days
5. Wei Yi  China 13 years, 8 months, 23 days
6. Bu Xiangzhi  China 13 years, 10 months, 13 days
7. Samuel Sevian  USA 13 years, 10 months, 27 days
8. Richárd Rapport  Hungary 13 years, 11 months, 6 days
9. Teimour Radjabov  Azerbaijan 14 years, 0 months, 14 days
10. Ruslan Ponomariov  Ukraine 14 years, 0 months, 17 days
11. Awonder Liang  USA 14 years, 1 month
12. Wesley So  Philippines 14 years, 1 month, 28 days
13. Étienne Bacrot  France 14 years, 2 months, 0 days
14. Illya Nyzhnyk  Ukraine 14 years, 3 months, 2 days
15. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave  France 14 years, 4 months
16. Péter Lékó  Hungary 14 years, 4 months, 22 days
17. Jorge Cori  Peru 14 years, 5 months, 15 days
18. Hou Yifan  China 14 years, 6 months, 16 days
19. Jeffery Xiong  USA 14 years, 6 months, 25 days
20. Anish Giri  Russia 14 years, 7 months, 2 days
21. Yuriy Kuzubov  Ukraine 14 years, 7 months, 12 days
22. Bogdan Daniel Deac  Romania 14 years, 7 months, 27 days
23. Dariusz Swiercz  Poland 14 years, 7 months, 29 days
24. Aryan Chopra  India 14 years, 9 months, 3 days
25. Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son  Vietnam 14 years, 10 months
26. Daniil Dubov  Russia 14 years, 11 months, 14 days
27. Ray Robson  USA 14 years, 11 months, 16 days
28. Fabiano Caruana  Italy 14 years, 11 months, 20 days
29. Yu Yangyi  China 14 years, 11 months, 23 days



Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.


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kievchestnut kievchestnut 11/2/2017 09:47
Good afternoon, Mr.Friedel!
We wanted to specify the list. Ukranian player Kirill Shevchenko has final GM norm in Benasque open (06-15.07.2017) in the age of 14 years,9 months,24 days.
Best wishes,
Chessclub "Kievchestnut"
Bright Knight Bright Knight 11/1/2017 01:43
It's understandable that some people are excited by young prospects. We must realize, however, that these kids are merely the fastest to accomplish a milestone, and are still far from being best among all players. It's much like sprinting ahead to the 10-km mark, except that this is a marathon. Can he sustain that pace all the way? Getting to 2500, while impressive for a 13-yo, is still a long way to 2800.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/31/2017 09:58
@ Bright Knight : Yes, quite interesting thoughts.

To become the youngest IM, the youngest 2500+ IM, the youngest GM or the youngest 2600+ GM (for example) is nonetheless a real achievment isolatedly.

But it is also quite true that it wouldn't be a good thing to "overinterpret" this : it isn't because a player becomes the youngest ever IM (for example) that he will necessarily also become later a 2850+ GM ! What it means is that he was able to become (for this example) an IM younger than everyone else. Nothing less (it is a real feat per se), but not too much more either !
Bright Knight Bright Knight 10/30/2017 11:55
Becoming an exceptionally young GM does not guarantee a future WC-caliber player. Just look at the guy he dislodged from #2. No one talks about Negi now. Karjakin and Kuzubov were childhood peers. Now both 27, Karjakin has been to the WC finals, but Kuzubov has yet to even reach 2700. In the list of 29 who became GMs faster than Fischer, I see at least 10 names who have not reached any elite status long after their phenom years. And I don't see one Garry Kasparov in the list, yet he became arguably the best ever.
macauley macauley 10/30/2017 11:25
@excalibur2 - FIDE also had December 1, however, after we received the passport scan they also acknowledged that the record was incorrect and was being updated.
daftarche daftarche 10/30/2017 12:13
leave these kids alone. becoming the youngest gm is just a purely pointless hype.
VVI VVI 10/29/2017 11:49
It is a pity that Praggnanandhaa has failed to score a single GM norm in the past 14 months ever since he became a IM; despite playing several tournaments. He has botched up every tournament in similar fashion; always fading away towards the end of the tournament via blunders or poor end game technique. The kid has played several tournaments; must be exhausted and frustrated.If he has to become the youngest GM; I believe he needs a coach who can work out his true weaknesses and definitely RB Ramesh is not the right guy. I wish the kid the very best to become the youngest GM.
SambalOelek SambalOelek 10/29/2017 11:27
Terrible !

Reminds me of the child soldiers

His Youth will be totally lost!
excalibur2 excalibur2 10/29/2017 01:14

chessbythenumbers, chessgames.com and chess-db.com all have it as September 18th 2004. I trust those 3 sources more than Wikipedia. In the Match of the Millenials I also recall them billing him as being 13. Regardless, he's still the 2nd youngest GM in history as it stands.
Thomas Richter Thomas Richter 10/29/2017 12:26
BTW the birthday controversy doesn't affect his status as "second-youngest GM ever", and another question is currently open: Will Artemiev be the next young player (younger than Hou Yifan) to cross 2700? He needs in the win in the final round.
Thomas Richter Thomas Richter 10/29/2017 12:19
It seems that he can afford to lose today and his TPR will still be 2603 (good enough) - don't forget that the rating of his first opponent (2058) will be adjusted to 2200 (rating floor) for norm calculation purposes.
On the birthday controversy: First thing I check in such cases is Wikipedia in various languages - the English version says 1st December, the Catalan and French versions say 18th September. So it seems unclear (his GM norm on the FIDE rating pages has "Date of birth 2004/00/00" which doesn't help).
macauley macauley 10/29/2017 09:25
@fons - Don't forget future Women's World Champions Dinara Saduakassov, Bibisara Assaubayeva, and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh! :) It's not so hard, really, but you do need to practice. Better start now! @saguni - My info is he needs a draw today in the last round. @excalibur - Can you point to a source of info on controversy?
excalibur2 excalibur2 10/29/2017 01:24
There's some controversy as to his actual birthday. Other sites have it as September 18th 2004. Some have it as December 1st 2004.

Did Chessbase and Friedel get confirmation as to Abdusattorov's actual date of birth? Anyway good luck to the kid and I hope he is able to get the final norm. Special talent for sure.
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/28/2017 11:16
@ fons : Even "worse" than that ; it is : "Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa"!!! But, in view of his enormous talent, to remember his name is really fully worth the effort ! And Abdusattorov also seems to be quite a promising talent...
saguni saguni 10/28/2017 11:07
His game was drawn today. His last round is also against another 2600+ strong GM. I think he made it..
Petrarlsen Petrarlsen 10/28/2017 10:30
Difficult to understand why he wasn't given all his chances to break Karjakin's record...quite a pity...

But he still can succeed in being the only under 13 GM besides Karjakin, and this would nonetheless be a really BIG achievement...
fons fons 10/28/2017 08:10
Ramesh Praggnanandhaa and Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

I pity the chess commentators of the (not so distant) future.
Magic_Knight Magic_Knight 10/28/2017 02:22
Dang, I'm excited to see what this kid will do! Please give us updates.
Augusta2022 Augusta2022 10/28/2017 01:29
This kid has the name of a future World Champion!
Best of luck today!