Teen became a chess grandmaster at age 17 after teaching himself the game at age eight

An American chess player who became a grandmaster at the age of 17 has been compared to the main character in the Netflix hit series The Queen’s Gambit.

California-born Hans Niemann, now 18, was an eight-year-old in the Netherlands when a teacher told him he wasn’t a good enough chess player to join the school team — and he became determined to prove him wrong.

He quickly became a master of the game and is now one of fewer than 2,000 people in the entire world to ever earn the title of Grandmaster.

Top player: California-born Hans Niemann, 18, became chess grandmaster in December

“I’m an extremely competitive person, so winning is definitely the bottom line for me,” he said

He has been compared to the main character in the Netflix hit series The Queen's Gambit

He has been compared to the main character in the Netflix hit series The Queen’s Gambit

Niemann was born in San Francisco but moved to the Netherlands as a child, where his love for chess was born.

Niemann was born in San Francisco but moved to the Netherlands as a child - where his love for chess was born

Niemann was born in San Francisco but moved to the Netherlands as a child – where his love for chess was born

“I started playing chess when I was eight years old, and I went to this school with an after-school program,” he said. Good morning America.

“The teacher told me I wasn’t good enough to play for the team, so I was very motivated to prove him wrong, and basically my mission as an eight-year-old was to be better than him,” he said.

Like chess prodigy Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit, Niemann began to spend most of his time studying and practicing the game.

‘During school I hid a book under my desk and read it as much as I could. And then after school I would probably be playing chess on my computer,” he said.

He was an eight-year-old when a teacher told him he wasn't a good enough chess player to join the school team - and he became determined to prove him wrong

He was an eight-year-old when a teacher told him he wasn’t a good enough chess player to join the school team – and he became determined to prove him wrong

'During school I hid a book under my desk and read it as much as I could.  And then after school I was probably playing chess on my computer,' he said

‘During school I hid a book under my desk and read it as much as I could. And then after school I was probably playing chess on my computer,’ he said

Get higher!  Niemann kept getting better, competed in tournaments and rose through the ranks

Get higher! Niemann kept getting better, competed in tournaments and rose through the ranks

Niemann got better and better, competing in tournaments and rising through the ranks.

He moved back to the US at age 10, and at age 11 he was the youngest ever winner of the Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club Tuesday Night Marathon, the oldest chess club in the United States.

By the time he entered high school at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York City, he said he prioritized chess over his classes.

All his hard work culminated when he became Grand Master in December 2020, which was confirmed in January by the International Chess Federation.

“I’m an extremely competitive person, so winning is definitely the bottom line for me,” he said News 12 this summer.

By the time he entered high school at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York City, he said he prioritized chess over his classes — but he did go to the prom.

By the time he entered high school at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York City, he said he prioritized chess over his classes — but he did go to the prom.

Watch him play: Now he plays chess full time, coaches and streams games on Twitch

Watch him play: Now he plays chess full time, coaches and streams games on Twitch

Now he plays chess full time, coaches and streams games on Twitch.

“I think it’s the ultimate kind of equaliser. Anyone can play chess, any player can become the best in the world, no matter where they come from, who they are,” he said.

“What I personally like is that when you’re at the chessboard, it’s just you and your opponent, and there’s no outside things that can really affect that,” he continued.

“And I also find that I can befriend anyone in the world, regardless of the language barrier.”

He also feels the importance of presenting chess’in a way that can make it popular.’

“I think chess can be used as a means of teaching people, especially in the educational field, I think chess has so many lessons. I think it can really affect people’s lives,” he said.

Impressive!  The youngest grandmaster ever is Abhimanyu Mishra of New Jersey, who became grandmaster this summer at 12 years, 4 months and 25 days

Impressive! The youngest grandmaster ever is Abhimanyu Mishra of New Jersey, who became grandmaster this summer at 12 years, 4 months and 25 days

Chess prodigy: Previously, the record was held by Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was 12 years and 7 months old when he achieved it in 2002

Chess prodigy: Previously, the record was held by Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was 12 years and 7 months old when he achieved it in 2002

While it is certainly a great achievement to become a grandmaster at the age of 17 – especially considering that the title has been awarded to fewer than 2,000 people in the history of the International Chess Federation – he is not the youngest to rise to that level. .

That title goes to Abhimanyu Mishra of New Jersey, who became grandmaster this summer after 12 years, 4 months and 25 days.

Previously, the record was held by Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine, who was 12 years and 7 months old when he achieved it in 2002.

Thirteen people have become grandmasters under the age of 14, including India’s Gukesh Dommaraju (12 years, 7 months, 17 days), Uzbekistan Javokhir Sindarov (12 years, 10 months, 5 days), and Indian Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (12 years, 10 months). , 13 days).

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