9-Year-Old Ethan Pang Breaks Faustino Oro’s Record To Become Youngest Ever 2200-Player


Meet nine-year-old Ethan Pang from London, U.K. The chess prodigy has just fulfilled a dream after a series of incredible results that earned him the title of candidate master and the record as the youngest player ever to cross the 2200-barrier.

A seemingly endless generation of rising kids has seized the spotlight in recent years, and they keep breaking records. The new kid in town is Pang, a pupil at Westminster Under School in the heart of London. He’s had an exceptional few months and since turning nine in March has in just three tournaments gained a whopping 334 rating points, skyrocketing from 1878 to 2212.

Pang’s latest success was scoring 3/4 in the EACU County Team Championship in June, where he jumped 48 rating points. His best result was a draw against 2493-rated IM Alan Merry from a reportedly winning position. He hasn’t lost in his last 16 classical games. 

Ethan Pang’s rise in the last months has been meteoric. Source: FIDE.

Last week Pang also competed in the U13 section of the ChessKid Youth Championship, where he defeated none other than GM Yagiz Kaan Erdogmus, the world’s youngest grandmaster.

Pang learned the game at the school’s chess club at the age of five. When he was still only seven, he held a draw in a simul against two-time British Champion GM Gawain Jones. How did he become so good, so early?

“It seems that it ultimately came down to practice. When he is presented with the opportunity to play against strong players, he tends to take it more seriously and apply himself fully. Consistent practice and the chance to compete against different types of opponents were key factors to his chess development,” Ethan’s father Raymond Pang told Chess.com.

He noted that the ability to access online chess resources and compete with others around the world had been instrumental to Ethan’s chess growth during the pandemic.

9-year-old Ethan Pang from U.K is yet-another kid to watch.
Nine-year-old Ethan Pang is yet another kid to watch.

“We feel the pandemic has played a huge role in his chess development, in that the handful of chess club sessions that he attended ignited his interest, then lockdown suddenly forced everyone to stay at home. This period provided Ethan with an opportunity to delve even deeper into his newfound passion, and we can genuinely say that it was thanks to Chess.com and ChessKid videos,” he said.

Pang’s rise is extraordinary as he has now broken the 2200-barrier for the first time and earned the CM title. At nine years and three months, he has now become the youngest player ever to have a published rating of at least 2200, according to Chess.com’s research. The previous record holder was none other than FM Faustino Oro, who recently became the youngest-ever international master.

“Ethan enjoys every moment playing chess, finding it mentally challenging and rewarding—probably more so when he wins. He has a strong sense of direction and determination, knowing exactly what he wants and going after it with all his might,” his father said.

Ethan enjoys every moment playing chess, finding it mentally challenging and rewarding—probably more so when he wins.

 —Ethan’s father, Raymond Pang

He added: “One of his greatest motivators to improve is to participate in Titled Tuesday, so that he has a chance of facing Hikaru and playing the infamous “Bongcloud” against him! Obviously no winning chances for Ethan, but at least he can tell everyone he had a go!”

Chess.com has covered the incredible generation of talented players born in 2015, children who learned chess during the pandemic. Many of them have already beaten grandmasters in classical games, such as Leonid Ivanovic from Serbia who became the youngest to do so at eight years, 11 months, and seven days.

Not long after, that record was smashed by eight years, six months, and 11-days-old CM Ashwath Kaushik from Singapore, who beat 2351-rated GM Jacek Stopa. Another noteworthy player born the same year, is CM Roman Shogdzhiev, who beat five grandmasters in the World Rapid & Blitz Championships last December.

Pang now tops that list, 27 points ahead of WFM Bodhana Sivanandan, triple world champion and the youngest player ever to score a WIM norm. Third on the list is Attila Orman, the son of WGM Turkan Mamedjarova and nephew of GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov.

It’s not the first time Ethan Pang has been in the spotlight. In April, WFM Anna Cramling published an entertaining video of her informal blitz game against Ethan in Menorca, Spain. To date, it has reached more than 375,000 views.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it did not go well for the Swedish content-creator and streamer.

Asked about goals for the future, his father says Ethan jokes about becoming the youngest-ever FM in the next few months, adding:

“We don’t have any expectations for Ethan’s chess progress. Our main priority is supporting his continuous commitment to the game. As long as he remains enthusiastic to play chess, we will be there to support him.”

We don’t have any expectations for Ethan’s chess progress… As long as he remains enthusiastic to play chess, we will be there to support him.

—Raymond Pang

For Pang, the chess journey is just beginning. His next tournament is the British Chess Championship later in July, where he has received a wild card. 





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