At 21, he’s our new chess grandmaster blaster

Dylan Welch
January 31, 2008 – 2:45PM

A 21-year-old Sydney pharmacy student has become the nation’s third chess grandmaster, and he’s done it in record time and at a record age.

Part-time chess player Zhao Zong Yuan – now the highest rated Australian player after the nation’s first grandmaster, Ian Rogers, retired from competition last year – completed the requirements to become a grandmaster in two months – a process that normally takes several years.

And achieving the top title in international chess at the age of 21 has never before been achieved in Australia.

“It’s extraordinary,” said Jonathan Paxman, an Australian chess commentator and writer.

“It’s certainly the most impressive chess performance by an Australian in many, many years.

“We haven’t seen anything like Zhao in decades,” Dr Paxman said.

Zhao achieved the prestigious title after defeating French player Gildas Goldsztein in a tournament at the 2008 Gibraltor Chess Festival this week.

Here is the full story.

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