Chess: Tin Jingyao set to become Singapore's youngest Grandmaster at 21, Latest Team Singapore News - The New Paper
Team Singapore

Chess: Tin Jingyao set to become Singapore's youngest Grandmaster at 21

Fresh from winning two SEA Games medals in Vietnam earlier this month, Singapore's top-ranked chess player Tin Jingyao is set to become the nation's fifth and youngest Grandmaster after more sterling performances in the Hanoi GM Chess Tournament.

The 21-year-old won six of his first seven rounds and drew with Filipino Paulo Bersamina on Saturday (May 28) to meet the criteria to become a Grandmaster, pending ratification by the International Chess Federation (Fide).

To score the three norms to become a Grandmaster, the highest rank in the sport, a player has to participate in norm tournaments that have at least three Grandmasters from different countries, nine rounds, and a time control that is at least 120 minutes.

The player must also have a 2,600 Elo performance rating for these tournaments, and cross the 2,500 Fide rating.

Tin's first Grandmaster norm came in 2015 when he won the Asean Under-20 tournament which also gave him the direct International Master title. He earned his second at the recently concluded SEA Games.

"I'm really happy with my performance... I did not expect to win six out of the first seven games and many even with the black pieces," said Tin in an Instagram post by Singapore Chess Federation vice-president Kevin Goh, who is the Republic's fourth Grandmaster.

"This event has given me some good confidence in my own abilities, calculation and openings. I think in terms of level of play, it's probably my best event yet."

Tin, ranked 705th among the world's active players, added that he aims to finish the ongoing tournament well and work on his ratings.

The five-time national champion will next compete at the Copthorne Waterfront Prof Lim Kok Ann Grandmaster invitational during the June 12-19 Singapore Chess Festival before leading the national team at the World Chess Olympiad in Chennai, India from July 28 to Aug 10.

Tin's impending promotion is another milestone in his meteoric rise since he picked up chess at eight after discovering the game online while using the computer at his aunt's house.

He was just 10 when he and 21 other enthusiasts simultaneously played (and lost to) Russian chess legend and former world champion Garry Kasparov in an event at the Serangoon Gardens Country Club, where he earned the praise of the former world No. 1 for his moves and for being the last player standing.

At the Hanoi SEA Games, Tin claimed silver in the men's rapid chess and bronze in the men's standard individual.