Alireza Firouzja, the youngest chess player to beat 2800
While there are currently over a thousand Grandmasters in the world, only 14 players in history have crossed the 2800 mark mark. General manager Alireza Firouzja is the most recent addition to the 2800 club after scoring a sensational 8/9 in the European Team Championship.
At 18 years and five months, he is the youngest to do so. General manager Magnus Carlsen was also 18 but earned the 2800 rating just before turning 19. With Sunday’s victory, Firouzja is also the new world number two, behind Carlsen.
Firouzja’s extraordinary rise to the top brought to mind legends such as GM Bobby Fischer, GM Garry Kasparov and even the current world champion. The player of Iranian origin and now French number one obtained the title of grandmaster at 14 and crossed the 2700 mark two years later. It was in 2019. Two years later, he is number two in the world and has already qualified for the next Candidates tournament after finishing first in FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss. If he wins, he will qualify for the next World Championship match.
Firouzja’s recent dominance in chess has already reached historic proportions. While it is too early to identify its distinct impact, which will evolve further, see how he compares to other champions who have amazed the world in the past.
The fame of the American prodigy skyrocketed after the “Game of the Century”, which he played at the age of 13. He became the youngest United States champion at 14, a Grandmaster at 15, and a World Champion at 29. of 2785 may seem low today, we also have to remember that before the chess championship in 1972 he was 125 points higher than the then world number two (and world champion!) GM Boris Spassky.
In his Round 10 match against Boris Spassky, Fischer maneuvered into position until his space advantage led to initiative and attack:
Firouzja has a similar style on the white side of the Ruy Lopez. In the following recent victory in FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss 2021, notice how Firouzja follows a similar approach: gaining space from the opening, supporting space with slow movements, playing a break pawn and taking the initiative. , and win the resulting final.
The “Beast of Baku” was born in 1963, nine years before Fischer became champion, and has been hailed by many as the greatest of all time. He won the title of Grandmaster in 1980 and became the youngest world champion of all time (22 years old) in 1985. Kasparov was the first player to surpass 2800 and reach a maximum score of 2851 (the highest score ever until Carlsen surpassed it in 2013).
Known as a ruthless striker unafraid of sacrificing himself, Kasparov often dropped equipment for initiative:
Remember this turn maneuver: Ra4-Rb4-Rxb7. Now check out this game from Firouzja (annotations by NM Sam Copeland originally in this article):
Only time will tell what Firouzja’s distinct legacy will be, but we can certainly see a parallel between his play and Kasparov’s in these two games.
The reigning world champion won the GM title at 13, crossed the 2,800 threshold at 18, became world number one at 19 (where he remained) and was crowned world champion at 22.
Firouzja and Carlsen have fought countless times online and in over-the-board blitzes, but not so much in classic. With the more experienced Norwegian GM posting a score of four wins and two draws in this time control, one of their recent matches at Norway Chess 2021, in which Firouzja sacrificed a pawn to attack on the opening, may be one more preview to come.
World number two
Firouzja broke an impressive record set by the current world champion. He has proven to be a dangerous striker, comparable to some of the greatest champions of the past. He is currently the second best player in the world. From there, the world can only wait and see.