This article was originally published on stlpublicradio.org on July 16.
Bobby Fischer was the youngest-ever American Grandmaster, a title that took him 15 years, 6 months and 1 day to collect. That is, until Hikaru Nakamura came along, besting Bobby by three months and earning the title as the new youngest-ever American GM.
That is, until Ray Robson came along, notching his elite title two weeks before he turned 15.
Fischer held his youngest-ever title for 45 years until Nakamura broke it in 2003 -- and then Nakamura was only able to hold it for six. And now, the youngest-ever title seems ready to slip even quicker from Robson’s grasp, as Sam Sevian -- at 13 years, 6 months and 19 days old -- dances tantalizingly close to a new GM salutation, just one performance norm away.
And behind Sevian? Take your pick. These days, the bottom seems to be falling out on how early we’re exposing our children to chess, and the World Chess Hall of Fame is taking it all the way to the floor.