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Chess: Singapore's 8-year-old Indian-origin boy creates history!

Source: PTI
Last updated on: February 20, 2024 19:07 IST
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IMAGE: Ashwath Kaushik, who moved to Singapore in 2017, beat Poland's grandmaster Jacek Stopa, who at 37 is nearly five times older than him. Photograph: Overseas Family School/Instagram

An eight-year-old Indian-origin boy defeated Polish chess grandmaster Jacek Stopa at the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in Switzerland on Sunday, becoming the youngest player to defeat a GM in classical chess.

Ashwath Kaushik, who represented Singapore, defeated Stopa, who at 37 is nearly five times older than him, according to a Channel News Asia report.


The previous record was set only a few weeks earlier when Serbia's Leonid Ivanovic, who is several months older than Ashwath, beat 60-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster Milko Popchev at the Belgrade Open.

Currently ranked World No 37,338 on FIDE, the international chess federation, the Indian citizen, who moved to Singapore in 2017, said, "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."

Singaporean grandmaster and CEO of the Singapore Chess Federation Kevin Goh lauded Ashwath's feat on X, saying, "Dad is super supportive, boy is dedicated, school allows flexibility and of course he has natural talent.

"Remains to be seen how far he can go as interests can change as the boy gets older. Still, we are hopeful."

Goh also joked that as he is only eight years old, Ashwath still "needs a booster cushion to reach the other side of the board".

He also attributed Ashwath's success to the "many other coaches and supporters" on his journey.

Goh also hopes that Ashwath's success can inspire more children to pursue chess at a competitive level.

"I think his achievement shows that with the right amount of talent and support, a young player has every chance of achieving success in chess," Goh said.

Ashwath made waves in 2022 after emerging as a triple champion in the chess variations — classic, rapid and blitz — at the under-8 Eastern Asia Youth Championship.

Sriram Kaushik said in a post on X that his son's upset win over Stopa was "one of the proudest moments of my life".

"Special thanks to Ashwath's true pillars and his long-term, and often long-suffering coaches who have put up with him for many years through thick and thin," he was quoted as saying.

"Puzzle solving certainly (is) at the core of his board success as well," he added.

According to Goh, Ashwath's next goal is to improve his ratings and earn the title of candidate master in chess.

He also aims to do well in FIDE's World Cup for youngsters later in the year.

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