Who is the best chess player with Down Syndrome? Wiki says that the mental ability of a person with Down Syndrome equals to this of a healthy person 8 or 9 years old. So, are there some players with this syndrome, as there are many admirable healthy players at the age of 8-9?

What is the elo ceiling in that case? Is it possible a "Magnus Carlsen with Down Syndrome" to get in 2000 or 2200 elo?

What about other types of intellectual disabilities?

  • I am not sure if the player I quoted is the highly rated player, but probably, as he was rated 1980 at 2015 and I didn't find any other new about a strong Down Syndrome player (and probably press would have published something about a +2000)
    – user18196
    Jan 2, 2020 at 20:13
  • 4
    A comment a bit off-topic. Don't trust those estimations a Down intelligence is like a 10 years old one. If they are well educated they can make a movie. In this one down actors recently won spanish version of Hollywood's Oscars. If educated they can match with adult society. Subramaniam Karaan is also actor, maybe that's because his rating has fallen from 2000 to 1800.
    – user18196
    Jan 2, 2020 at 20:33
  • Down's can vary in how strongly people are affected. I suspect that very high functioning people with Down's only have a mosaic version of Down's: Only a part of their cells has the trisomy 21. That makes the symptoms much less severe. Feb 6, 2020 at 13:38

1 Answer 1


There are a lot of titled players with high functioning autism.

One known is GM David Navara, but there are others. It is discussed if Bobby Fischer was Asperger too. There was a buzzing Magnus Carlsen was autistic too, but looks false according to Quora. Another example of GM that looks to be autistic is GM Julio Granda from Peru.

As for Down Syndrome, they have not the abilities an Asperger has, but they can learn how to play chess competitively.

Subramaniam Karaan, from India, has Down Syndrome, and he is rated 1806 when I write on FIDE list. He is also rated 1832 in blitz, and was close to reach 2000 in 2015.

  • 5
    Different conditions with much different impacts. I knew Fischer and he was different for sure. Not sure that he did have Asperbergers, and certainly did not have Downs. He did have some social adjustment issues but he never demonstrated autism when I saw him. DSM V will have many possibilities for amateurs to try to fit to Fischer.
    – yobamamama
    Jan 2, 2020 at 17:50
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    I never said Bobby did not have it. I said that I never noticed it. And that article noted was speculation not a diagnosis by a trained person.
    – yobamamama
    Jan 2, 2020 at 18:02
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    @yobamamama there were no such licensed professionals at his time. Even now psychiatrists are staticians that do pseudo-science classifying deviations for a non existing "normal brain". Trust me, my mother is Asperger, I am Asperger. I cannot say 100% Bobby was "Asperger", but at least he shew Asperger patterns in low grade.
    – user18196
    Jan 2, 2020 at 18:25
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    @Akavall acording to Jimmy Wales answer, Carlsen replied it was obvious he was not. "Here is a useful quote from Wikipedia, and then I will add a personal anecdote: “In 2008, during a Q&A session with Nettavisen, when Carlsen was asked whether he had a form of autism spectrum disorder, he replied "Well, isn't that obvious?" In December 2013, in an interview with Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang, he clarified that he had meant "obviously not", and said that he considers himself to have "normal social skills and to be functioning normally."”
    – user18196
    Jan 2, 2020 at 21:03
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    @Michael that's Jimmy Walles accepted answer on Quora. Magnus has yet rejected that on a Norweig interview. The little doubt one can have if Magnus was trying to hide the true, because there is that answer Akavall says on Quora: "Yes, Magnus Carlsen is high on the autism spectrum." Autism spectrum is still not well known. Carlsen may have some little likeness with an Asperger, but as Asperger I am I can recognize Fischer on my spectrum, but after seeing Magnus meeting lichess anual meeting I would rarely say Magnus is Asperger.
    – user18196
    Jan 2, 2020 at 23:04

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