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Who Is Ashwath Kaushik? Meet the Youngest Participant to Defeat a Chess Grandmaster

Who Is Ashwath Kaushik? Meet the Youngest Participant to Defeat a Chess Grandmaster

On 18 February 2024, Ashwath Kaushik, an eight year-old Indian-origin boy from Singapore, became the youngest chess player ever to defeat a grandmaster in a classical game.

He defeated 37-year-old Polish grandmaster Jacek Stopa in the fourth round of the Burgdorfer Stadthaus Open in Switzerland.

Kaushik, thus, broke the record of Leonid Ivanovic of Serbia who is the first player under the age of nine to defeat a grandmaster in classical chess. Interestingly, Ivanovic set his record just over a week ago on 12 February.

Kaushik was 8 years, 6 months and 11 days old when he broke the record, while Ivanovic was 8 years, 11 months and 7 days old when he set his record.

There are only eight chess players of age 10 or below who have defeated a grandmaster in classical chess.

Apart from Kaushik and Ivanovic, the elite list includes Awonder Liang, Hetul Shah, Nodirbek Abdusattorov, Aaron Mendes, Abhimanyu Mishra and Faustino Oro.

Everything to know about Ashwath Kaushik

How his parents supported his genius

ashwath kaushik parents
Image credit: Kevin Goh Wei Ming/@kevingohwm/Twitter

Ashwath Kaushik was born in India. According to The Star, he is an Indian citizen who moved to Singapore with his family six years ago. He represents Singapore on the international stage.

His father is Kaushik Sriram and mother is Rohini Ramachandran. They introduced Kaushik to the game when he was four. He has a younger brother, Atharv, who is four years old.

“We were all really happy but he had to quickly refocus so I don’t think we had a lot of time to celebrate right after the game but we’ll definitely do some celebration when we’re back home with the whole family,” Ramachandran told The Star.

His father told Chess.com that neither he nor his wife play chess but their son learned the rules of the game with the help of Chesskid.com, an online chess learning platform for youngsters with grandmasters on the team.

“He picked it up on his own, playing with his grandparents,” Sriram said.

“It’s surreal as there isn’t really any sports tradition in our families. Every day is a new discovery, and we sometimes stumble in search of the right pathway for him,” he added.

His father also said that Kaushik has a photographic memory, which he thinks the young boy has built by solving thousands of puzzles and playing chess up to seven hours a day.

“He solves long complex puzzles visually. He finished GM Jacob Aagaard’s entire Grandmaster series recently without using a board,” Sriram said.

Kaushik was six years old when he won the triple gold in the Under-8 category of the Eastern Asian Youth Championship in 2022 and the same year also became the World Under-8 Rapid Champion.

Who are the coaches of Ashwath Kaushik?

Kaushik trains with some of the best chess coaches, including grandmaster Kevin Goh Wei Ming who is also the CEO of the Singapore Chess Federation.

According to Goh, as a member of the Under-14 squad, he is also coached by grandmasters Thomas Luther and Andrey Kvon.

“He is tactically very sharp, mainly due to lots of practice and we are trying to build his strategical understanding,” Goh told Chess.com.

His idol and world champion goal

Ashwath Kaushik calls the late Soviet-Latvian chess legend Mikhail Tal his idol. Tal, a grandmaster, was the eighth World Chess Champion and is widely hailed as one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Like Tal, Kaushik revealed to The Straits Times in an earlier interview that he wants to play “attacking chess” and first reach his candidate master rank with a 2000 Elo rating and eventually the super grandmaster with 2700.

He has also said that he wants to become the world champion and aims to continue playing competitively.

What is the current rank of Ashwath Kaushik?

Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), or International Chess Federation, ranks Ashwath Kaushik at World No. 37,338, as of 21 February 2024. His Elo ratings are 1892 in standard, 1574 in rapid and 1750 in blitz.

By comparison, World No.1 Norwegian great Magnus Carlsen has ratings of more than 2820 in all three.

Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, the Indian chess icon who became grandmaster at the age of 12 and is currently world No.13, has ratings of 2747 in standard, 2704 in rapid and 2675 in blitz.

See Also

What Ashwath Kaushik likes doing outside of chess

According to The Star, Ashwath Kaushik loves building LEGO and completing puzzles. He also likes cycling and family outings to the Singapore Zoo or Universal Studios Singapore. He also loves Juicy Drop candy.

But chess takes the top spot in his priority list. He travels overseas for tournaments almost every month and plays games that have lasted up to five-and-half hours.

“The key is to have balance and not set unrealistic timelines and records because the reality is that the kid is not pursuing it full-time, so that’s important,” Sriram told The Star.

(Hero and Featured images: Kaushik/@kaushiksriram/Twitter)

This story first appeared on Augustman Singapore

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

– Who is Ashwath Kaushik’s coach?

Ashwath Kaushik’s coaches include Kevin Goh Wei Ming, Thomas Luther and Andrey Kvon.

– Who are Ashwath Kaushik’s  parents?

The parents of Ashwath Kaushik are Kaushik Sriram and mother is Rohini Ramachandran.

– What is Ashwath Kaushik’s world rank on FIDE?

The world rank of Ashwath Kaushik on FIDE is 37,338.

Source: Prestige Online

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