Eight-year-old becomes youngest chess player to beat grandmaster

<span>Ashwath Kaushik was four when his parents introduced him to chess.</span><span>Photograph: kolderal/Getty Images</span>
Ashwath Kaushik was four when his parents introduced him to chess.Photograph: kolderal/Getty Images

An eight-year-old chess prodigy from Singapore has become the youngest chess player to beat a grandmaster.

After a three-hour game of chess at Switzerland’s Burgdorfer Stadthaus-Open, Ashwath Kaushik – who is eight and six months – beat the 37-year-old Polish grandmaster Jacek Stopa on Sunday, according to the Singapore Star.

Kaushik broke the age record set only days before, when Leonid Ivanovic from Serbia (eight years and 11 months old) beat the Bulgarian Milko Popchev, 59.

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“It’s a very exciting feeling and amazing to be able to beat my first grandmaster on the board and it’s in classical [chess] so I feel very proud of myself,” Kaushik, an Indian citizen who moved to Singapore with his family seven years ago, told the Star.

The spate of precocious record-breaking began a week ago on 12 February in Belgrade, when Ivanovic became the first player under the age of nine to defeat a grandmaster in classical chess.

According to, the competitive chess world “has recently been witnessing a surge in children scoring extraordinary results at an even earlier age, perhaps propelled by the pandemic and a rating system lagging behind in keeping pace with their rise in strength”.

Ivanovic reportedly scored four points after winning three games, drawing two and suffering just one defeat. That win made the boy the youngest player to defeat a grandmaster in a classical tournament game, according to

But that record stood for barely a week.

On Sunday Ashwath won his first three games with Stopa. But he lost his next game to the British player Harry Grieve, 23, who won the 2022 British chess championship.

Still, Ashwath’s mother Rohini Ramachandran, 37, said she was pleased with the win. “We were all really happy but he had to quickly refocus so I don’t think we had a lot of time to celebrate right after the game, but we’ll definitely do some celebration when we’re back home with the whole family,” she said.

Ashwath was four when his parents introduced him to the game, the family told the Star. Within a couple of months he was beating them and other members of the family. He now plays chess two hours each weekday, and six to seven hours a day on the weekends.

“It’s really fun and it helps your brain get better and smarter because in chess you need a lot of thinking to find the best moves,” he told the paper.

His parents said the biggest challenge was stopping their son from snacking on Juicy Drop candy which led to spikes and falls in energy.