Of all grandmasters past and present, what is the oldest age at which any of them started playing chess?

Define started playing chess:

  • The day that person played their first (FIDE, or equivalent) rated game
  • 1
    According to wikipedia, Ye Jiangchuan (gm) learned chess at 17, perhaps someone more able at research can find his first rated game
    – user25182
    Commented Dec 7, 2020 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


This isn't an answer to the exact question posed, but it may nonetheless help.

Lajos Portisch learnt to play aged 12.
Akiba Rubinstein learnt at 14 or 16. (Sources vary.)
Harry Pillsbury learnt at 16.

  • Chigorin learned the moves at 16, but didn't play much at first Anyone have a later one? Commented Dec 6, 2020 at 19:20

Arthur Dake (1910-2000) was the oldest competitive chess grandmaster. He was still playing in rated chess tournaments at the age of 89

Vassily Smyslov won the Staunton memorial at Groningen at the age of 75. Jaanis Klovans was 60 when he finally earned his grandmaster title.

  • 3
    This seems to be a good answer to a different question Commented Dec 9, 2020 at 20:04

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