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New Delhi: Eight-year-old Ashwath Kaushik, originally from India but residing in Singapore, made headlines at the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in an impressive showdown against Polish chess grandmaster Jacek Stopa. This remarkable feat not only earned him recognition but also established him as the youngest player ever to defeat a grandmaster in the classical variant of the game.

Previously, the record was held by Serbia’s Leonid Ivanovic, also eight years old but slightly older than Kaushik, who defeated 60-year-old Bulgarian grandmaster Milko Popchev at the Belgrade Open just days prior.

Kaushik, representing Singapore, outplayed Stopa, who at 37 is nearly five times his age. Reflecting on his victory, Kaushik, ranked world No. 37,338 on FIDE, expressed pride in his performance, especially in overcoming a challenging situation during the game.

Despite a setback against Harry Grieve, Kaushik secured 12th place in the tournament and is poised to gain 84 rating points in the upcoming Chess.com list update.

Having resided in Singapore for six years, Kaushik first gained attention when he clinched triple gold in the Under-8 category of the Eastern Asian Youth Championship at the age of six. In the same year, he became the World Under-8 Rapid Champion, impressively surpassing the age limit by two years.

Known for his dedication, Kaushik spends up to seven hours daily on chess, solving numerous puzzles on his chess program. His remarkable memory allows him to solve complex puzzles visually, as confirmed by his father, Kaushik Sriram.

Ashwath Kaushik is the YOUNGEST-EVER player to beat a GM in classical chess pic.twitter.com/2ejHYX2a5K — Chess.com (@chesscom) February 18, 2024

Ashwath’s achievements have been praised by Singaporean grandmaster and CEO of the Singapore Chess Federation, Kevin Goh, who attributes his success to a combination of supportive family, natural talent, and dedication. However, Goh also humorously noted that at eight years old, Kaushik still requires a booster cushion to reach the other side of the chessboard.

Acknowledging the role of various coaches and supporters, Goh remains optimistic about Kaushik’s future in the game, while recognizing that interests may evolve as the young prodigy grows older.