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Goughfather
29-06-2009, 12:55 AM
There seems to be a lot of discussion about our chess prodigies at the moment - and with good reason. Whether it is increased access to coaching and technology, better junior development programs or just a particular purple patch Australian chess is experiencing, it's clear that there are number of very strong juniors around at the moment. It reminded me of an interview with Zong-Yuan Zhao, where he modestly said something along the lines of his chess ability being "nothing special" in primary school and that he only really started to hit his stride in his adolescence. Of course, perhaps it is a bit much to suggest that Zhao was a late bloomer, since I distinctly remember him blitzing the field at the Australian Under 12 Championship in Adelaide in 1998. That said, I'm not sure when people started to talk about Zhao as a future GM, but I have the feeling that it may very well have been at a later age than the age of some juniors for which predictions are being made today.

What I'd be interested in is knowing which players past and present really only hit the accelerator later in the adolescence or early adulthood, or even later for that matter. Perhaps that could have been because they only started playing chess late, or perhaps they were (relatively) overlooked juniors who matured at a later stage than other young chess players who were more highly favoured at the time.

Carl Gorka
01-07-2009, 12:03 PM
Rubinstein learned the moves when he was 16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiba_Rubinstein

Leonid Sandler
01-07-2009, 03:48 PM
Mikhail Ivanovich Chigorin learned how to play at the age of 16 and participated in his first tournament when he was 23!
However when he was 31 Chigorin played World Chess Championship match against Steinitz.

FM_Bill
22-12-2009, 08:22 PM
Max Euwue didn't learn the moves till he was 19 (I think)

Not only that, but he concentrated on his studies at uni and studied chess later.

Vic Pateras learnt when he was about 30 and went on to be over 2000 rated.

Capablanca-Fan
22-12-2009, 11:15 PM
Max Euwe didn't learn the moves till he was 19 (I think)
Oh no, he learned about 4, and won the Dutch Champs for the first time at 20 (http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=10706).

Jesper Norgaard
23-12-2009, 07:44 AM
Rubinstein learned the moves when he was 16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akiba_Rubinstein

I learned chess at 11, started playing in club at 13, and played my first World Championship at 15! But the difference in junior tournaments then and today is light years - now we have WC from Sub 18 down to Sub 8, and many more juniors participating in all kinds of chess tournaments. The difference was even bigger when Rubinstein learned chess.

Charles
23-12-2009, 08:50 AM
Junta played very little chess this year as he was completing Year 12. I think he played only in the 3 big ACT events but he continued coaching our Northside Junior club and he was at the Rapid Championship last week. He is rated 10 in Australia and number two in his age group but in my mind very importantly is a really positive advocate for chess.

This article he wrote in 2007 when he would have been 15 or 16 and had just completed a fairly dominiate showing at the Aust Juniors was really interesting to me.

http://www.nswjcl.org.au/AustralianJunior/2008/bulletins/Bulletin%2011.pdf