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SPORTS | 25-03-2024 16:40

Chess prodigy: Argentine 10-year-old Faustino Oro beats world number one

Ten-year-old youngster Faustino Oro, nicknamed the “Messi” of chess, shakes up game by defeating Norwegian Magnus Carlsen in a quickfire game at Bullet Brawl 2024 tournament in just 48 moves.

Argentine chess prodigy, 10-year-old Faustino Oro, has caused a commotion by defeating world number one Magnus Carlsen in a quickfire game at a prestigious tournament. 

The talented youngster, known locally as the "Messi of Chess" (a reference to national football team icon Lionel Messi), surprised everyone with his victory, which came in just 48 moves.

The Bullet Brawl, an annual tournament which gathers chess masters from all over the world, saw Oro playing against Carlsen – his favourite player – online with determination and guile.

Despite the challenges of a brief quickfire game, the Argentine youth managed to capitalise on Carlsen’s mistakes to grasp a historic victory.

Although Oro did not come in first in the tournament, his performance did not go unnoticed. The winner was US master Hikaru Nakamura, followed closely by José Martínez Alcántara from Mexico and Daniel Naroditsky, also from the United States. Oro finished 21st out of 156 players, with a total 108 points – an incredible achievement for someone so young.

However, this is not the first time Faustino has caught the eye – at the World Rapid Chess Championship 2023, Oro impressed by winning three games, including one against a great master, and drawing in two, showing his skill against far more experienced opponents.

Although Oro is still young, his potential is obvious. His skill at an early age is comparable and even superior to that of other world masters at the same point of their careers. With a FIDE master title and a place in the world rankings already in his pocket, the child is proving to be a formidable competitor.

Defeating Carlsen is a major achievement for Oro nevertheless. In an interview last year with Perfil, the youngster's coach, international master Jorge Rosito, revealed that the Norwegian is Faustino's favourite player.

The winner of the Bullet Brawl 2024, Hikaru Nakamura, played a match against Faustino last year and speculated on his YouTube channel (GMHikaru) as to whether the young nine-year-old has the potential to become world champion over the next few years.

“Faustino will definitely be a Great Master,” said Nakamura, a YouTuber and renowned player.

Oro first took up the game less than four years ago, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Fausti stated moving pieces in May 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, by watching YouTube tutorials. His dad showing him a small board, and then with the videos, Faustino started becoming enthusiastic about chess," revealed Rosito.

“Faustino’s father contacted me in September, and specifically on September 4, 2020 I gave him his first lesson. He was only six years old at the time,” the coach explained.

“He’s a fighter: he always plays to win. That’s quite outstanding because there are a lot of people who are very studious, talented, but when it comes to playing there can be a bit of fear and respect towards the rival. I remember Fausti was six years old and was playing against international masters: he didn’t even have an international ranking and he played to win".

“He has had that winning mentality since birth,” he concluded.



--TIMES/PERFIL

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