Chess genius Abhi becomes world’s youngest grandmaster at just 12
The Grandmaster is the highest title a chess player can achieve, out of the millions of players around the world there are currently only 1,721 Grand Masters.
The title is awarded by the World Chess Federation (FIDE) and is usually held for life, although it can be revoked for serious offenses, such as cheating.
While most of the Grandmasters are men, women are also eligible for the title and most of the top ranked female chess players are Grand Masters.
To become a Grandmaster, players must achieve an Elo rating of 2,500 and win three standard tournaments.
Norm tournaments are elite competitions featuring at least three Grand Masters from different countries.
They have nine laps and a time control of at least 120 minutes.
Elo Rating is a method of calculating the skill levels of players in a zero-sum game like chess.
A player’s odds are determined by wins, losses and draws against other players. He is also impacted by the scores of their opponents and the results scored against them.
To have a chance to become a grandmaster, chess enthusiasts are advised to start learning the game from an early age, training for hours and participating in tournaments.
Five of the greatest masters
Who deserves the title of greatest chess player of all time is a subject of endless debate among devotees.
However, the names below are never far from the top of any list of the greatest of all time.
Here are five GMs you should know:
1. Magnus Carlsen (Norway)
Magnus Carlsen has been the reigning world chess champion since 2013 and is currently the best chess player in the world.
Some consider him the best of all time, having achieved an Elo rating of 2,882 – the highest in chess history – in 2014, although he believes the honor still belongs to Garry Kasparov.
Carlsen excels in a number of areas and appears to have no weaknesses.
In February 2020, he was on a 120-game unbeaten streak at standard time checks.
2. Garry Kasparov (Russia)
Kasparov is considered by many to be the greatest chess player, having dominated the competition for over 20 years.
His maximum Elo rating of 2,856, reached in 2000, remained undefeated until Carlsen reached it fourteen years later.
In 1985 Kasparov became the youngest world chess champion at 22 and a half and in 1997 he faced an IBM computer and lost.
Since his retirement in 2005, he has remained active in the chess world while becoming a writer, political commentator and activist.
3. Bobby Fischer (United States)
Fischer’s is one of the best known names in chess and perhaps the best known among those outside the game.
Fischer, who died in 2008, was the first American world chess champion and remains the only American to win the title.
His most famous feat was winning 20 consecutive games against world-class opponents from 1970 to 1971 – a feat that experts say will probably never happen again.
But the most iconic moment in Fischer’s career was defeating Russian Boris Spassky to win the World Championship in 1972, in a match set against the backdrop of the Cold War.
4. José Raul Capablanca (Cuba)
Cuban Capablanca is legendary for going eight years without a single defeat and winning the world championship.
Starting his career at the age of four, Capablanca beat some of the best players in the Western Hemisphere when he was still a teenager.
In 1922, he played simultaneously against 103 opponents, winning 102 matches and drawing only one.
Many believe he could have done even more if he played in another era, but Capablanca’s peak was sandwiched between the two world wars, making international competition difficult.
5. Anatoli Karpov (Russia)
At age 15, Karpov became the youngest Soviet national master in history, before winning the world junior chess championship and ultimately the world championship.
He was the reigning world chess champion for a decade from 1975 to 1985, eventually losing the title to his great rival Kasparov after successfully defending it against him the year before.
Karpov was also the winner of the 1995 Linares Tournament – considered the strongest tournament in chess history.