13-Year-Old M'sian Beats 64-Year-Old Slovakian Grandmaster At His Very 1st Chess Olympiad

The teenager also secured himself the title of International Chess Federation (FIDE) Master at the outing.

Cover image via International Chess Federation (Facebook) & Malaysian Chess Federation

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A 13-year-old Malaysian recently beat a 64-year-old grandmaster — the highest achievement awarded to chess players by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) — at the 44th Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India

Hailing from Penang, the 13-year-old national chess player, Poh Yu Tian, beat grandmaster Lubomir Ftacnik from Slovakia in Round 2 of his very first Chess Olympiad.

According to the Malaysian Chess Federation, Poh was the national team's highest scorer out of 11 rounds at the tournament that ran from 28 July to 9 August, with Malaysia ending at 72nd place – eight places higher than their initial ranking of 80th.

With the win, the teenager also secured himself the title of FIDE Master (FM) at the outing.

It is an amazing feat for the teenager who had only started playing chess six years ago

According to The Vibes, he started taking group chess lessons at the tender age of seven, and it was not long before his coach noticed his potential and started enrolling him in several school-level competitions.

At the end of 2021, on the national level, the teenager had beat his adult competitors to become a double champion at the National Rapid and Blitz Championship held by the Malaysian Chess Federation.

Now beyond age-group competitions, Poh made his international debut representing Malaysia at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games earlier this year in Hanoi, Vietnam.

With his talent being recognised early, the Malaysian Chess Federation hopes Poh is Malaysia's first grandmaster in the making

However, until then, Poh said he aims to keep improving his game so as to be able to compete with strong grandmasters successfully.

FIDE said Poh also does not only focus on results, but is happy to play the game.

"I don't think much about my opponent or how strong they are. I just focus on my game and do my best, while enjoying every move I make," he also told The Vibes.

This 17-year-old student from Selangor also hopes to break into the sport dominated by men:

Malaysia saw an increased interest in chess after the release of Netflix's hit miniseries The Queen's Gambit in 2020:

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