World’s youngest chess grandmaster eyes tough road ahead


Ask him why he likes chess and Abhimanyu Mishra, 12, the youngest grandmaster in the world, replies, “you can completely just crush your opponent but nothing physical.”

On June 30 this year, the Indian-American boy — who lives in Englishtown, New Jersey — earned the title of being the youngest chess grandmaster in the world after winning a tournament in Budapest, Hungary.

Abhimanyu has also broken two other records in the nation: youngest expert, which he broke at 7 years old, and youngest master, which he broke when he was 9.

Abhimanyu’s father, Hemant, began teaching him to play chess when he was only around 2 years old. He soon fell in love with the game and continued to practice it every day, also receiving professional coaching. By the age of around 5, he was able to compete in chess tournaments.

Abhimanyu Mishra with his family. Photograph courtesy Hemant and Swati Mishra

Recalling the hard work and effort he put into practicing chess every day, Abhimanyu told indica News that becoming a grandmaster was always “a goal. It was something I was dreaming of. It just felt amazing that everything finally paid off.”

The help Abhimanyu become the youngest grandmaster, his mother, Swati, started a Gofundme page that raised $16,864. She pointed out that playing competitive chess is expensive, as it needs training classes and international tournament experience.

Abhimanyu said that he is struggling to get sponsorships that fund for his passion of competing in chess, as his parents had put all their money including savings into his dreams.

To go up from here we need high level coaching for sure,” Abhimanyu said. “We’ve already spent everything and it’s getting difficult and we need some extra money so that these expenses will be covered.”

Despite the financial burdens, when Abhimanyu won the grandmaster title Swati felt “amazing, like I was over the cloud. The feeling cannot be expressed.”

At the same time, she felt relief, as all the time, energy, and money she and her family had put into their son’s talent had led to international success.

[Chess] actually helped him to focus, to concentrate,” Swati said. “It helps him with his analytical ability [… he] can spend hundreds of hours on this game and never be bored with it.”

On his part, Abhimanyu has his goal set — to be the world chess champion.