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Abhimanyu Mishra, 12 and Indian American, is youngest chess grandmaster ever

Mishra beat the record by three months. Sergey Karjakin had held it for 19 years.

Abhimanyu Mishra, at 12 years and 4 months old, is the youngest chess grandmaster ever, breaking a record that Sergey Karjakin held for 19 years by three months.

Karjakin was 12 years and 7 months old when he became grandmaster in 2002.

At 12 years and 4 months old, Abhimanyu Mishra is the youngest chess grandmaster ever.Justin N. Lane / Courtesy of U.S. Chess

“Finally checkmated the biggest opponent (ongoing pandemic ) which stopped me for 14 months,” Mishra tweeted after his win. “Thanks everybody for all your love and support. Looking forward for World cup.”

Mishra grew up in New Jersey and has been playing chess since he was 7. After being the youngest international master in the world, he earned the coveted grandmaster title Wednesday by beating Leon Mendonca, 15, a grandmaster from India, in the ninth round of a match at the Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament in Hungary.

To achieve the grandmaster designation, a player has to earn three norms — good performance in official, high-level tournaments — and have a rating of 2,500 from the Fédération Internationale des Échecs, the world governing body of chess. Ratings change with every win and loss based on a player's rating and that of the opponent.

Mishra accomplished his third norm when he defeated Mendonca.