9-Year-Old Breaks Record for Youngest U.S. Master
Published: March 30, 2013
A 9-year-old from Madison, Wis., became the youngest chess master in American history last weekend when his rating passed 2,200 after he won two games at the Midwest Open Team Chess Festival in Dayton, Ohio.
The boy, Awonder Liang, broke the record set in 2010 by Samuel Sevian of California, who was less than a month older when he achieved the master rank.
The game that earned Liang the honor was against Ben Weaver, a master. In the top diagram, Liang captured a pawn because of persistent mating threats against Weaver’s king. The game went 22 ... Bc5 23 Qb3 Qd7 24 Ne4 Be3 25 Nf6 gf6 26 Rc8 Bf2 27 Kf2 Rc8.
Weaver should then have played 28 h3. But instead the game continued 28 Rf4 Rd8, and Weaver blundered by playing 29 h3 a move too late. Liang replied with 29 ... Qd2, and Weaver resigned because if he had played 30 Kg3 to protect his rook, he would have lost his queen after 30 ... Rd3.
Children are maturing faster as chess players than they once did because they train with powerful computers that have huge databases of games they can study.
Borislav Ivanov, a Bulgarian master who in December was accused of cheating — although no evidence turned up that he had done so — has again fallen under scrutiny after winning a rapid tournament in Spain on March 16 and 17 ahead of a number of strong grandmasters. This followed a dismal performance in Bulgaria in February that was not even up to the standards of a master.
In the wake of the most recent accusations, the Association of Chess Professionals has sent a letter to the World Chess Federation, signed by many of the world’s top players, asking that an anti-cheating commission be created.
An oddity of the Candidates Tournament now being played in London to choose thechallenger to the world champion, Viswanathan Anand, is that the games are being played without time being added to each player’s clock after each move. As a result, there have been several time forfeits. One occurred in Round 10, in a game between Levon Aronian of Armenia and Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine.
In the bottom diagram, Ivanchuk was already low on time. Aronian decided to attack to complicate the game for Ivanchuk by playing 22 Qh4, and the game continued 22 ... g6 23 Be4 Kg7 24 Kg2 Qc4 25 Rfd1 Qa2 26 g4 Rf4 27 Bf5 Nd5 28 Rh3. Ivanchuk responded with 28 ... Rh8, which was a mistake. (The move 28 ... h5 would have been best.) The game ended 29 e3 gf5 30 ef4 Nf4, and Ivanchuk’s time expired, although his position was also hopeless.