After becoming the world’s youngest chess grandmaster, 12-year-old New Jersey is ready for his next challenge


Away from his New Jersey home, Abhimanyu Mishra became the world’s youngest chess grandmaster this summer at just 12 years and four months. He took the prestigious title away from Sergey Karjakin, who had held it for 19 years, since the age of 12 years and seven months.

“I feel on top of the world,” Abhimanyu said in an interview for “On The Rise” from Inside Edition Digital. “Finally, all of my efforts over the past few years, it all finally paid off and yes, I was very happy. I don’t think I was able to sleep that night.

Receiving such an accolade has not been an easy task, especially during the pandemic when many in-person chess matches were called off. Abhimanyu only had a short window of 22 months to break that record, and he couldn’t compete in over-the-board tournaments for 14 of them. Then one of those tournaments popped up in Europe, so Abhimanyu seized the opportunity to compete for the title. He was in Hungary for several months.

“I certainly believe that without the pandemic Abhi would have definitely surpassed this record much sooner,” said her six-year-old trainer Grandmaster Arun Prasad Subramanian. He explained that becoming a Grandmaster is one of the highest titles one can achieve in chess. There are no other official titles except World Champion, which Abhimanyu is currently working towards.

To achieve his goals, Abhimanyu plays chess for at least eight hours a day. “On a lot of occasions he just plays chess, from morning till night,” Subramanian said. Although he does participate in a few video games here and there, to say the preteen is busy would be an understatement. Last year, he completed two years in one year so he could take time off school to work on his game. This year his parents enrolled him in online school to complete seventh grade in order that he can continue to practice chess.

Abhimanyu started playing chess at the age of 2. “I wanted him to develop some kind of hobby,” said his father Hemant Mishra. “That’s how it started and it took a long time for interest to grow. But after another two years, he started to like the game.

He won his first match at the age of 5. At 6, he regularly beat his father and at 7, he won national titles. The trophies erected on the chest of drawers in his bedroom mark his rise to the world of chess.

Playing chess all the time never becomes tiring, said Abhimanyu. “This game is so interesting. So full of possibilities, so much more to learn that even the best person in the world loses once in a while, ”he said.

Still a kid, one wonders if he’s taken seriously in the chess world. “It happened before people, they underestimated me. Then they suffered, ”Abhimanyu said.

But he doesn’t mind having to earn respect, because his ultimate goal is the game. He leaves every match focused on correcting the mistakes he made during the match.

And Abhimanyu is so good that he can even play blindfolded.

He often looks at the ceiling and imagines the chessboard in his head, like in “The Queen’s Gambit”. Her parents showed her clips from the Netflix series.

“Abhimanyu had seen the clips where the character, Beth Harmon, watches all the movements in her mind,” said her mother Swati Sharma. She is the only one in their family of four who does not know how to play chess. Her youngest, Ridhima, 8, is also a promising player. “So that’s what Abhimanyu relates to,” Swati said. “I asked him, ‘Is this really happening?’ He said ‘yes’.

After becoming the world record holder for being the youngest grandmaster, Abhimanyu now has a new challenge.

“My next intermediate target is Super Grandmaster, which is around [the] top 20, 25 in the world, ”he said. “My final goal is to become world champion” and “bring the title back to America”.

The current holder of this title? Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen, a 30-year-old Norwegian.


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