In September 2022 19 year old Hans Niemann beat Magnus Carlsen in the Sinquefield Cup.

On the 19th January 2023 18 year old Nodirbek Abdusattorov beat Magnus Carlsen in the Tata Steel tournament.

Is Abdusattorov the youngest player to beat a reigning world champion in a classical (i.e. not rapid or blitz) over-the-board game?

  • 7
    Youngest player to beat a World n°1 is probably 15yo Teimour Radjabov in Linares, but Garri Kasparov wasn't World Champion anymore at that time.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 8:01
  • I am guessing that in the spirit of the question, simultaneous exhibitions are also excluded, right (or, rather, it is limited to tournament setting classic format only)? I've looked up pre-modern (~<1990) games and it'd seem that there were not just a lot of opportunities to young players to play a reigning champion, Fischer was notably fuming when he was denied to play Botvinnik. Also, not sure if relevant, but I would assume disputed situations like post-Alekhine's death interregnum and 1993-2006 split championships are treated permissively.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 19:20
  • 6
    @Lodinn Yes, simuls don't count. As a 16 year old I drew with Kortchnoi in a simul. When a strong GM is playing 25 or more players at the same time then 1 or 2 will get lucky. It doesn't mean much, although a draw meant that I got my entry fee back which did mean a lot to a poor working class lad. Between Alekhine and Botvinnik there was no world champion. During the PCA time there were usually two world champions.
    – Brian Towers
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 20:33
  • Still pretty impressive. Completely distracted IMs (at least, some of them) would usually handily beat me (~2000-2100) in my youth without even trying, so I reckon ratings matter quite a lot in chess. And for winning I would have to get really lucky, this is yet another ballpark entirely.
    – Lodinn
    Commented Jan 20, 2023 at 20:39

1 Answer 1


I have not identified the record with certainty, but here are some young winners of World Champions in classical chess:

  • N.Abdusattorov, 18y 4m 1d, vs Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee 2023

  • Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, 18y 5m 6d, vs Ding in Wijk aan Zee 2024

  • V.Kramnik, 18y 8m 11d, vs Kasparov in Linares 1994.

  • A.Esipenko, 18y 9m 17d, vs Carlsen in Wijk aan Zee 2021

  • T.Radjabov, 18y 11m 10d, vs Topalov in Linares 2006

Edit: V.Keymer, winning against World #1 at 18y, 9m, 25d, would be in a very good spot on this list, had Magnus Carlsen not renounced his World Champion title a few months earlier...


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