12-Year-Old Erdogmus Breaks Polgar’s 35-Year-Old Rating Record


12-year-old GM-elect Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus has established himself as one of the world’s greatest prodigies, breaking GM Judit Polgar‘s 35-year-old record as the highest-rated player before the age of 13. One of his many grandmaster coaches shares fascinating insights into their work together.

The Sharjah Masters ended on Wednesday and saw a four-way tie for first with GM Bardiya Daneshvar edging out GMs Volodar Murzin, Sam Shankland, and Shamsiddin Vokhidov on tiebreaks. Our main report covers that, but there were plenty of other noteworthy achievements.

In the spotlight once again is Erdogmus from Bursa, a city in northwest Turkey. The 12-year-old fulfilled the requirements for the grandmaster title at the GRENKE Chess Open one month ago, as the fourth youngest ever, so that in Sharjah he could play without the pressure of achieving a norm.

The prodigy finished on 4.5 points, scoring two wins and five draws, including one shared point against 2701-rated GM Vladimir Fedoseev. His rating performance of 2645 was enough for another GM norm, but one he no longer needed.

Erdogmus’ Results In Sharjah













Round Title Name Rating FED Result
1 GM Nihal Sarin 2680 Draw
2 GM Sam Sevian 2698 Draw
3 GM Aydin Suleymanli 2621 Loss
4 GM Shant Sargsyan 2637 Loss
5 GM Sethuraman S.P 2588 Win
6 GM Tamas Banusz 2623 Draw
7 GM Aditya Mittal 2607 Win
8 GM Raunak Sadhwani 2654 Draw
9 GM Vladimir Fedoseev 2701 Draw

While the youngster scored one of the best results of his career, he tells Chess.com, through his father, that he is not satisfied. “If someone had told me before the tournament that I would score 4.5 points, I wouldn’t have been very happy.”

If someone had told me before the tournament that I would score 4.5 points, I wouldn’t have been very happy.

—Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus

He says his favorite game was his round-seven victory against GM Aditya Mittal: “I had good opening preparation and then launched a strong attack against the king, which ended positively.”

With a rating gain of 11 points, plus five added from the Menorca Open, Erdogmus’ expected June rating is 2569. When FIDE publishes the ratings for June by the end of the month, the 12-year-old will set a historic record, surpassing Polgar’s legendary 2555 rating from January 1989, more than 35 years ago.

The Turkish Chess Federation sent its congratulations.

Erdogmus tells Chess.com: “I didn’t make a special effort to break Polgar’s record. Since my progress has been consistently upward, I managed to surpass the record. Of course, as a Turk, this made me very happy. I dedicate this record to my country.”

I didn’t make a special effort to break Polgar’s record. Since my progress has been consistently upward, I managed to surpass the record.

—Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus

While that record has now been broken, it’s worth noting that Polgar’s 2555 rating was achieved when she was six months younger than Erdogmus. Also astonishing is that she was ranked 56th in the world at the time, an unprecedented feat in chess history. By comparison, the Turkish youngster is not yet among the world’s top 300 players.

Erdogmus now tops the list of the highest rated players under the age of 13.
Erdogmus now tops the list of the highest-rated players under the age of 13.

Erdogmus has received coaching from some of Turkey’s top players over the years, in addition to super-GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov. Another key helper is GM Evgeny Romanov, who agreed to share some fascinating insights about his work with Chess.com.

“He is the most talented player I’ve ever seen, and I’m happy that he is going to use my basics in the game of chess,” the 35-year-old said.

He is the most talented player I’ve ever seen, and I’m happy that he is going to use my basics in the game of chess.

—Evgeny Romanov on Erdogmus

The former World Youth Champion from Russia, who now represents Norway, is a FIDE Senior Trainer (FST). He has coached several top players who eventually became strong grandmasters in Norway, Germany, and Turkey. Among them are 2017 World Junior Champion GM Aryan Tari, GM Rasmus Svane, his brother GM Frederik Svane and GM Matthias Bluebaum.

Romanov says he started giving online classes to Erdogmus in 2022, but eventually visited his home in Bursa. Only 10 at the time, and not speaking English, the kid needed a translator during the first coaching sessions, which the grandmaster remembers as a remarkable and amusing experience.

Romanov with Erdogmus in Turkey in 2022. Photo Private photo album
Romanov with Erdogmus in Turkey in 2022. Photo: Private photo album.

“My first impression was, ‘How is that possible?’ He is making strategic and dynamic mistakes, his endgame technique was very bad, this 10-year-old guy. At the same time, he always manages to keep tension and energy in the game. He is making several mistakes in a row, but it’s not so easy to beat him.”

“He makes one mistake, two mistakes, and three mistakes. And he is trying to prove to me that these are the right moves. So he is trying to guard his position and his moves. He also asks the engine for help, and I tell him, ‘Come on, Yagiz, we are not in kindergarten anymore.'” 

Erdogmus responded to the experienced grandmaster in Turkish: “Let’s show this grandmaster how kindergarten is playing.”

Let’s show this grandmaster how kindergarten is playing.

—10-year-old Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus to Evgeny Romanov

Romanov, who has a peak classical rating of 2662, says the 10-year-old gave him a lesson in blitz that he will never forget. He was “schooled” and lost 6-2.

“Despite getting winning positions in every game, I basically had no chance. My impression of his chess was that he has an out-of-this-world gift, with his overview of the board and his speed of thinking.”

Romanov and Erdogmus during the coaching sessions in Bursa, Turkey. Photo: Private photo album
Romanov and Erdogmus at a coaching session in Bursa, Turkey. Photo: Private photo album.

Erdogmus has since shown incredible blitz skills on Chess.com, boasting a peak blitz rating of 3104 as legendisback1.

“Tactics-wise he sees much more than me, with an amazing speed. He simply sees all the possible tactics. I was extremely surprised. He is extremely young, but I have never seen such a talent before.”

Romanov accompanied the youngster to tournaments and prepared him for his games, which appears to have paid off. Erdogmus skyrocketed after the pandemic in 2021 from 1955 to 2456 a little over a year later in 2022. By the end of 2023, he was approaching 2500.

A memorable moment was when Erdogmus, still not 12, beat 2685-rated GM Alexandr Predke.

Their work ended before Erdogmus started scoring grandmaster norms, but Romanov said it was clear to him that it was just a matter of time until the title would be achieved. He emphasized the youngster’s ability to recover from a poor start, as shown in Sharjah.

Now, Erdogmus is the world’s top-rated player under 14 years of age, ahead of one-year-older FM Ivan Zemlyanskii, who fulfilled the requirements for the GM title with a 2770 performance in Sharjah.

Top Rated Players Under 14 Years Old (May 2024)














# Name Title Fed Rating B-Year
1 Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus IM 2553 2011
2 Ivan Zemlyanskii  FM 2516 2010
3 Andy Woodward IM 2503 2010
4 Sina Movahed IM 2463 2010
5 Lu Miaoyi WGM 2437 2010
6 Vaclav Finek IM 2434 2010
7  Artem Uskov IM 2433 2010
8 Reja Neer Manon FM 2423 2010
9 Ethan Vaz IM 2423 2011
10 Adiga Sathvik FM 2413 2011

Romanov says he doesn’t expect it to take much time until Erdogmus breaks 2700: “I hope he will manage to keep the strength. I am pretty sure that he is already able to beat everyone in the world in classical chess, not only online, where he has demonstrated his skills. He has many, many qualities, so we will see.”

Erdogmus already has his sights on his next tournament. The Dubai Open starts on May 25th.




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