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8-year-old chess prodigy makes history as youngest ever to defeat grandmaster


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An 8-year-old chess prodigy made history as the youngest player to defeat a chess grandmaster. The boy, Aswath Kaushik, beat Jacek Stopa at a chess tournament in Switzerland. 

Kaushik, who was born in India but lives in Singapore, handed 37-year-old Stopa of Poland a loss during the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open on Sunday, according to Chess.com, a chess website and social media platform for players. 

Earlier last week, Serbia’s Leonid Ivanovic, 8 years and 11 months old, replaced the previous youngest player Awonder Liang to become the first under the age of nine to defeat a grandmaster in a classic tournament game, according to Chess.com. But that didn’t last long as Kaushik, who is four months younger than Ivanovic, became the new record holder. Grandmasters are titles given to the best chess players in the world by the World Chess Federation. Apart from world champion, it’s the highest title given in chess and only about 2,100 players have earned the distinction. 

chess board
An 8-year-old chess prodigy defeated grandmaster nearly 30 years older than him.

ATU Images/Getty Images

“It felt really exciting and amazing, and I felt proud of my game and how I played, especially since I was worse at one point but managed to come back from that,” Kaushik told Chess.com. 

His father, Sriram Kaushik, told the chess news outlet that the boy learned the rules of the game at the age of four and pointed out that neither he nor his wife play chess. 

“He picked it up on his own, playing with his grandparents,” he told Chess.com. The boy’s father added that the child spends up to seven hours a day on chess and “solves long complex puzzles visually.” 

Even with his early success, Kaushik –who has played several tournaments globally– wants to keep going until he becomes the world champion, he said. He also wants to obtain a chess player rating of 2000, which he’s close to attaining. 

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