Chess-Eight-year-old becomes youngest to beat grandmaster

By Thomson Reuters Feb 20, 2024 | 11:15 PM

(Reuters) – An eight-year-old became the youngest player to defeat a grandmaster in classical chess on Sunday when Ashwath Kaushik beat Poland’s Jacek Stopa at the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in Switzerland.

Indian-born Ashwath, who lives in Singapore, defeated 37-year-old Stopa to break the record set a month earlier by Leonid Ivanovic from Serbia when he beat grandmaster Milko Popchev, according to the Chess.com website.

Ivanovic is also aged eight but was born five months before Ashwath.

“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,” Ashwath told Chess.com.

Ashwath learned to play the game at the age of four and became a World Under-Eight Rapid Champion in 2022, the website said.

“He picked it up on his own, playing with his grandparents,” his father, Kaushik Sriram, said.

“It’s surreal as there isn’t really any sports tradition in our families. Every day is a new discovery, and we sometimes stumble in search of the right pathway for him.”

Ashwath finished the tournament in 12th place after losing to International Master Harry Grieve.

(Reporting by Shifa Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)