There is a photo of Reshevsky playing at a very young age (like 8) against many adult players but there were no ratings in those days. I assume that a modern GM who got the title at 12 must have been close to master strength at 8 but I am not sure this is true. I wonder in fact if there is some limitation of the human brain that prevents a certain level of play before a certain age in the same way that no child can run a 4 minute mile, etc.

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    It seems to me like this question is more or less impossible to give a definitive answer to. Practice seems to indicate that people younger than 12 years old will not be of GM level, but as far as I know there have been no studies done on the subject.
    – Scounged
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 12:18
  • You can certainly keep your eyes on misha osipov which had a game against karpov at the age of 3. Maybe he can be the one to break that record.
    – Isac
    Commented Sep 25, 2018 at 1:56

1 Answer 1


Let's just say a master is someone who crosses the 2200 USCF mark to get a rough idea. In that case, Abhimanyu Mishra and Liran Zhou both crossed the 2200 barrier around 9 years and 3 months. Christopher Yoo did the same thing in just under 10 years. Note that these chess players did not necessarily reach 2200 strength at those ages, it is likely they were weaker than 2200 but from stochasticity, achieved the crossing. Also note that USCF is the federation associated with United States and 2200 USCF corresponds to something like 2100 FIDE.

  • It seems hard then to imagine that Reshevsky, in the pre-computer days, could have been a master much before this (at, for example, 8). The term doesn't really mean the same thing as today anyway. It would be interesting to subject very early Morphy, Capablanca and Reshevsky games to computer analysis and maybe that would tell us in an absolute sense how good they were and even possibly compare them to quality of the "masters" of that time.
    – releseabe
    Commented Sep 23, 2018 at 16:59

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