Photo by Paul Truong

Hikaru, the best home grown American GM since Bobby Fischer, is a member of a back to back Bronze medalist team (Turin and Dresden Olympiads). Here is a look back at when he became the youngest master in the U.S. at age 10:

April 12, 1998
Chess Master, 10, Sets Record

HIKARU NAKAMURA, a 10-year-old fourth grader at Ridgeway School in White Plains, was recently recognized as the youngest chess master ever in the United States, earning a place for himself in the annals of chess history as well as in the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records. Bobby Fischer, America’s most famous chess player, did not become a master until he was 14.

”Hikaru saw the Guinness Book of World Records, and said, ‘No one from White Plains is in this book,’ ” his mother, Carolyn Weeramantry, said. ”He really wanted to make it.”

Chess players need to have a rating of 2,200 to attain master status, points they earn through playing in chess tournaments. Hikaru’s rating is 2,203, according to the United States Chess Federation. Although Hikaru earned this level in a match at the end of February, results became official only this month. Last Sunday, Hikaru vanquished a grand master, an international title, in a chess match. In the United States, the highest ranking is a senior master, at 2,400 or more points.

To help Hikaru meet his goal, Mrs. Weeramantry and her husband, Sunil, executive director of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation, provided Hikaru with ample opportunity to take part in chess tournaments. Mr. Weeramantry is the coach for both Hikaru and his older brother, Asuka, 12, who is also a chess champion and will represent the United States in an international youth tournament next month in Brazil.

”This is not easy,” Mrs. Weeramantry said. ”There were some ups and downs, but he kept beating masters at tournaments. If you don’t play, you don’t have a chance. Sunil is really thrilled and just amazed at Hikaru’s accomplishments. The players Hikaru beat are players that Sunil would be happy to beat. And Sunil knows that if he faced Hikaru across the board, he might win or he might lose.”


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