Checkmate! Eight-year-old youngest to defeat grandmaster

AFTER three hours at the Burgdorfer Stadthaus-Open on Feb 18, Ashwath Kaushik could not help but grin widely as he delivered the good news to his mother Rohini Ramachandran: he had just beaten Polish grandmaster Jacek Stopa.

At eight years, six months and 11 days, he became the youngest chess player to beat a grandmaster in a classical game with his victory over the 37-year-old Stopa at Hotel Stadthaus in Burgdorf, Switzerland.

The previous record was set by Leonid Ivanovic a few days prior to Ashwath’s feat.

The Serb was eight years, 11 months and seven days when he defeated Bulgarian Milko Popchev, 59.“It’s a very exciting feeling to be able to beat my first grandmaster on the board and it’s in classical (chess) so I feel very proud of myself,” said Ashwath, an Indian citizen who moved to Singapore with his family seven years ago and represents the republic internationally.

When he found out he would be playing a grandmaster at the Feb 16-18 tournament, Ashwath, a student at the Overseas Family School in Pasir Ris, was anticipating the chance to rewrite Leonid’s record.

Ashwath and Ramachandran barely had time to celebrate his achievement as he had another game against Englishman Harry Grieve shortly after, which he lost.

Ramachandran, 37, said: “We were all really happy but he had to quickly refocus.

“I don’t think we had a lot of time to celebrate right after the game ... We’ll definitely hold some celebrations when we’re back home with the whole family.”

Ashwath was four when his parents introduced him to the game. — The Straits Times/ANN

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