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8-year-old prodigy Ashwath Kaushik makes history after beating chess grandmaster

Look out, there’s another chess prodigy on the scene.

At eight years, six months and 11 days, Ashwath Kaushik made history on Sunday by becoming the youngest player ever to beat a chess grandmaster in a classical tournament game.

The youngster, who lives in Singapore, achieved the feat after beating Poland’s Jacek Stopa, 37, in round four of the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in Switzerland.

The previous record was only just set last month by then eight-year-old Leonid Ivanovic – who became the first player under the age of nine to beat a grandmaster in a classical game – but Ashwath was five months younger than the Serbian when he beat Stopa, according to Chess.com.

“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 after beating Stopa.

Born in India in 2015, Ashwath has already made a name for himself after winning a number of youth tournaments around the world – notably becoming the World Under-8 Rapid champion in 2022, per Chess.com.

Ashwath has earned the attention of some of the chess world's biggest names like Anish Giri. - Carleton Lim/Singapore Chess Federation
Ashwath has earned the attention of some of the chess world's biggest names like Anish Giri. - Carleton Lim/Singapore Chess Federation

He finished 12th in this week’s tournament in Switzerland and plenty is expected of the youngster as he continues to compete against opponents with decades more experience.

In an interview with Chess.com, Ashwath’s father said neither he or his wife have a history of playing chess and it was a surprise to see his son, who he says practices around seven hours a day, become such a talented player.

“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,” his father, Kaushik Sriram, told Chess.com.

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