When Nodirbek Abdusatorov was just nine years old, he was invited to play Grandmasters at the Tashkent Open with the reputation of a child prodigy. The tournament was seen as nothing more than a risky opportunity for Abdusatorov, who started playing chess after watching his older brother and sister play recreationally in a suburb of Tashkent.
Until then the organizers had no idea they were about to witness the launch of a new world-beating prodigy. He clinically defeated two experienced Grandmasters, Andrey Zhigalko of Belarus and Rustam Khusnutdinov of Kazakhstan. The victory had caught the attention of Uzbekistan great coach Dmitry Kyumov, who passed away last year.
He followed the young man closely, first with suspicion and then with admiration. Convinced of his ability, he took her under his wing, played games with him and inspired him to play against the superiors. He was in awe of his talent. “During 40 years of coaching in different countries, I have coached many international Grandmasters, but I must admit that I have never met a talent like Nodirbek. The boy is very athletic, hardworking, has an excellent memory, remembers sports conditions well and, the most important and rare quality, he is not afraid of an opponent, ”he told the Uzbekistan news website ut.uz Told.
— International Chess Federation (@FIDE_chess) 1 August 2022
It was not as if a chess-hungry country suddenly stumbled upon the sensation of chess. The country has a rich history in the sport – having churned out 22 grandmasters after its break from the Soviet Union.
Kyumov was confident that he would break Sergei Karjakin’s then-world record as the youngest grandmaster. Abdustorov missed it for six months, due to the laxity of his home federation. Oddly enough in Sochi turned into under-13 world schools. But Kyumov said in the prediction: “He will be the future world champion, the youngest. Mark my words, ”However, he did not specify which format.
Four years later, riding a sensational streak, he defeated a string of established names such as Fabiano Caruana, Ian Nepomniacchi, and the eldest of them, Magnus Carlsen, in the title decider to claim the World Rapid Championship. And he was the youngest to do so, in any format, at 17 years and three months, surpassing 18-year-old Ruslan Ponomariov in the FIDE version of the then-controversial classical crown in 2001 and Carlsen in the 2009 World Blitz, was 18 years old.
Nodirbek Abdusattorov is suddenly beating Fabiano Caruana and Uzbekistan have a great chance to take down huge favorite USA today! https://t.co/yK6AoIlNqU #Chess Olympiad #c24live pic.twitter.com/dLvV2JKJGx
-chess24.com (@chess24com) 1 August 2022
His game blinded the world with disbelief not at his speed, but by the power of his moves. “One of the hallmarks of Abdusatorov’s game is his style of play, as he’s not the kind of tactical beast you’d expect from a young player. Instead, he has a more mature playing style, one that slowly hits his opponents.” Specializes in squeezing, reminiscent of the great Anatoly Karpov,” wrote American chess writer John B. Henderson.
Nepomniachtchi admired his prodigious ability to punish even the slightest mistakes. As he did after defeating Caruana at the Chess Olympiad. Caruana made a strange move while playing with white pieces and the Uzbeks missed the opportunity to create an impenetrable position. It wasn’t exactly a David-Sledge-Goliath story, as Abdusatorov’s rating is 2677. Inspired by him, the Uzbekistan tournament may have been the dark horse.
Back on his world championship win, he didn’t know the scale of his accomplishment until he returned home to a hero’s welcome. Crowds of people were waiting for him at the airport. After exiting, he was taken for a table-top bus ride before the president presented him with a cash prize of approximately €20,300 in addition to the two-bedroom keys and the Mard Uglon (“Brave Son”) medal. . Apartment in the center of the city. “Of course it was great to beat the big stars, but I never thought it was a big achievement until I got out of the airport,” he said then.
But he’s not someone who is too struck by early success, as he told Chess.com: “It’s just the beginning of my career, a long way before I become a great player myself, or anything close to that.” Have to decide. But I want to be here among the elite.” The voice had a fierce streak of ambivalence, and Caruana’s hammer was another example of what he could pun in the classical format as well.