While there are currently over a thousand grandmasters in the world, only 14 players in history had crossed the 2800 rating mark. GM Alireza Firouzja is the latest 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 ever. GM Magnus Carlsen was also 18 years old but got the 2800 rating just before he turned 19. With the victory on Sunday, Firouzja is also the new number two in the world, behind Carlsen.
Firouzja’s extraordinary rise to the top is reminiscent of legends like GM Bobby Fischer, GM Garry Kasparov and even the current world champion. The Iranian-born and now French number one took the grandmaster title at the age of 14 and crossed the 2700 mark two years later. That was in 2019. After another two years, he is the number two in the world and has already established himself. qualified for the next Candidates Tournament after finishing first in the FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss. If he wins, he qualifies for the next World Championship match.
Firouzja’s recent dominance in chess has already reached historic proportions. While it is too early to establish its clear impact, which will evolve, let’s see how he compares to other champions who have amazed the world in the past.
The American prodigy’s fame skyrocketed after the “Game of the Century,” which he played at age 13. He became the youngest American champion at age 14, grandmaster at age 15, and world champion at age 29. of 2785 may seem low today, we should also remember that leading up to the 1972 chess championship, 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 positionally until his space advantage led to an initiative and an attack:
Firouzja has a similar style to the white side of the Ruy Lopez. In the next recent win in FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss 2021, notice how Firouzja takes a similar approach: winning space from the opening, supporting the space with slowly building moves, breaking a pawn and taking the initiative, and the resulting endgame.
The “Beast from Baku” was born in 1963 – nine years before Fischer became champion – and is hailed by many as the greatest of all time. He took the grandmaster title in 1980 and became the youngest ever world champion (age 22) in 1985. Kasparov was the first player to break through 2800 and also hit a peak score of 2851 (the highest rating of all time until Carlsen surpassed it in 2013. ).
Kasparov was known as a ruthless attacker who was not afraid to sacrifice and often threw material overboard for the initiative:
Remember that rook maneuver: Ra4-Rb4-Rxb7. Now take a look at this game by Firouzja (notes by NM Sam Copeland originally in this article):
Only time will tell what Firouzja’s signature legacy will be, but we can definitely see a parallel between his and Kasparov’s play in these two games.
The incumbent world champion took the GM title at age 13, crossed the 2800 threshold at age 18, became the world’s number one at age 19 (where he left off) and became the world number one at age 22. crowned world champion.
Firouzja and Carlsen have fought countless times online and in over-the-board blitz, but not so much in classic. While the more experienced Norwegian GM has a score of four wins and two draws in this time control, one of their recent games at Norway Chess 2021, in which Firouzja sacrificed a pawn to attack from the opening, could be a taste of more to come. come.
World number two
Firouzja has broken an impressive record of the current world champion. He has proven to be a dangerous attacker on a par with some of the greatest champions of the past. He is currently the second best player in the world. From here on, the world can only wait.