15 October 2009

The Class of 1990

Yes, Magnus Carlsen is a great player, but so is Sergey Karjakin. After wondering if it's possible to compare their progress, I created the following chart, showing the FIDE ratings they attained at equivalent ages. It's a little rough because the rating updates don't coincide with birthdays, but I think it gives a good idea of how the players progressed. For example, at around age 12 (and zero months!?) Carlsen was rated 2250, while Karjakin was 2460. Carlsen caught up and surpassed Karjakin a few months before reaching age 16.

Both players are members of the class of 1990, the year they were born, as is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. The French player was third on the list of Top 20 Juniors September 2009, after Carlsen and Karjakin. What about other years? That FIDE September list shows that the top player in the class of 1992 is Fabiano Caruana, and of 1993 is Wesley So. For the purpose of comparison, I added their rating histories to my chart.

The recent data for Wesley So was missing, so I assembled it from other sources. That's why there's a gap for him at age 14 years and 6 months. If you want to check my work, I took the data from Fide.com:-

I wouldn't draw too many conclusions from this exercise, except to note that these are all fantastically talented chess players!

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