New Jersey 12-year-old is world's youngest chess grandmaster

12-year-old chess prodigy becomes youngest grandmaster in history

12-year-old Abhimanyu Mishra and his head coach and fellow grandmaster Arun Prasad discuss the difficulty journey towards securing the historic achievement

Abhimanyu Mishra is the world’s youngest chess grandmaster.

The 12-year-old chess prodigy from New Jersey broke the world record on June 30 when he won first place at the Vezérképző GM Mix 2021, a 10-round Swiss chess tournament that took place in Budapest, Hungary.

Mishra defeated grandmaster Leon Luke Mendonca, 15, of India, seconds before the match ended.

“It feels amazing,” Mishra told Fox & Friends Saturday. “All my years of hard work, everything, finally paid off.”

Mishra described his history-defining match as being a “very tight game” where he was falling behind by a half or full point, but he was able to turn it all around when his opponent made a mistake.

“Finally things clicked, and I felt amazing,” Mishra said.

“It was a very long match. It was like three or four hours,” Mishra recalled. “The mistake happened in the last two seconds of the game. It was a very tight game… I surprised the opponent.”

Mishra went on, “In the opening, he spent a lot of time, and as the game kept going on, he kept on having very low time. He cracked in the end and I was able to win.”

The New Jersey tween earned a score of 7/9 and a 2485 Elo rating and was ranked no. 1 out of 18 players, according to Vezerkepzo GM Mix tournament results.

Mishra broke the world record for the youngest grandmaster 4 months and 25 days after his 12th birthday. 

Previously, the world record belonged to Russian chess player Sergey Karjakin, 31, who became a grandmaster in 2003 when he was 12 years and 7 months.

The title of grandmaster is awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), and is given to chess players of the highest class.

His chess coach Arun Prasad told “Fox & Friends” the road to breaking the world record was not an easy one.

“It was a very tough path,” Prasad said. “Especially during this pandemic time, it was not easy to travel to Europe and get this done.”

Mishra reportedly dedicated 12 hours of chess practice a day to reach the level he is at today.

His strategy for winning is to watch his opponent closely and remain calm.

“Most times, I see what kind of game they’re trying to play and then I decide what to play based on that,” Mishra said.

“Before I begin, who I do to focus is I do a short prayer and during the game I do breathing exercises, so that definitely during the game helps keep me very focused,” he added. “Chess is all about being focused and whatever work you’ve been doing in the past… Everything [is] on the board, you can’t do more than that.”

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