At 10 years and eight months, Faustino Oro becomes world’s youngest IM

At 10 years and eight months, Faustino Oro becomes world’s youngest IM

Bengaluru: At 10 years, eight months and 16 days old, Faustino Oro is now the world’s youngest International Master. The Argentinian prodigy surpassed the distinction held by Indian-origin American Abhimanyu Mishra at 10 years, nine months and three days. Faustino becomes only the third player — after Mishra and India’s R Praggnanandhaa – to become an International Master under the age of 11.

Faustino Oro of Argentina. (Flickr/FIDE)
Faustino Oro of Argentina. (Flickr/FIDE)

Oro began playing chess during the pandemic by watching YouTube videos and has made giant strides to get here, picking up eye-catching feats along the way – becoming the youngest player to cross Elo 2200 and 2300 and also the youngest to earn an IM norm. Nicknamed ‘Messi of chess’ and ‘el pibe de oro’ (golden boy) by press in his home country, the 10-year-old has also shown remarkable achievement in online chess breaking 3000 in blitz rating and even beating Magnus Carlsen in a bullet game.

Oro’s parents, Romina and Alejandro, moved from Buenos Aires to Badalona, Spain to help further his chess career and the prodigy is understood to be backed financially by Argentinian businessmen and has a team of five Grandmasters coaching him. Argentinian Chess Federation president Mario Petrucci who’s seen Oro from when he began playing chess, calls the feat a ‘revolution’.

“Many chess talents are formed by study and tenacity. What Faustino has is a lot of spontaneity. His calculations in complex positions flow naturally and quickly, and are extremely precise. I also think he’s not affected by competition and isn’t afraid of losing. He enjoys every game, every day he wants to play more and defeats only stimulate him. He’s unbeaten in three tournaments now! It’s simply special.”

Oro finished the Barcelona IM tournament on Sunday unbeaten, in shared first place and didn’t have much trouble taking down the only Grandmaster in the field in the first round. He needed only three draws in his last three games to walk away with the IM title and he stuck to plan. Argentinian media and chess fans are understandably delirious. There are TV tickers running and supplements being taken out in dailies in the football-mad nation to celebrate the feat.

To make sense of Oro’s gifts, Petrucci, emotional and lost for words, leans on the otherworldly. “After my trips to India, I’ve begun to believe that Faustino is perhaps a reincarnation. His knowledge doesn’t arise from a teaching. It’s as if he’s always had this knowledge within him and now he’s just letting the world know.”

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