The October FIDE rating list has been published and we have updated our Current Prodigy Watchlist to reflect the changes. We also want to take a brief bit of time to highlight a couple of youngsters whose performance this month we found to be particularly interesting or noteworthy.
Jovokhir Sindarov: This youngster from Uzbekistan is no stranger to our list, having already been ranked #3 for his age last month, but he made quite the splash in Abu Dhabi and has now jumped into the clear number one spot! His new rating of 2299 is the highest rating ever achieved by a player who has not yet turned 10 years old. In fact even if he fails to make any additional progress over the next year, he’ll still deserve mention as his current rating is the fifth highest ever achieved by a player younger than 11! We like when we can track prodigies running a year ahead of the curve, they have the potential to set spectacular records.
It’s worth mentioning that 2299 is a rather fortuitous rating for him to have ended up with, as it falls just one point under the threshold for a reduction in k-factor. And for those who are skeptical of prodigies these days because of that k-factor issue, it’s also worth mentioning that Sindarov’s rating seems quite reasonable based on his results. His performance rating in that most recent event was 2377, and included two wins over players rated 2300+ (which were not the first of his career), so it’s not a stretch to believe that he might still be underrated even at 2299. If nothing else, the rating is probably legitimate, and if anything Sindarov could be the poster child for the arguments in favor of the high k-factor. It would be a shame for his future opponents if, because of a lower k-factor, they only got credit for losing to a 2200 instead of a 2300 when he beats them.
It might be dangerous to get too excited about a 9 year old Candidate Master, as there is a tremendous amount left to do before Sindarov warrants credit beyond the scope of prodigy status. We’re not promising that we have a future world champion here, or even guaranteeing that he’s a future Grandmaster, but the future seems awfully bright in Uzbekistan (particularly with Nodirbek Abdusattorov also maintaining his own #1 prodigy rank.)
Wei Yi: There was no actual rating change here from last month, but we have to take a moment to admire Wei Yi’s performance at the World Cup this month. He made it all the way to the quarterfinals (top eight) before finally falling in tie breaks to Peter Svidler. Simply a remarkable achievement for a 16 year old.
Alireza Firouzja: Since we first profiled this youngster, he has seemed to be in a slight plateau, but finally this month he broke out with a new personal high rating of 2364, and his prodigy rank climbed back up to #13. He saw two events rated in this period, gaining 19 rating points in the same Abu Dhabi event, and 22 more in the Iranian Super League. His results for the month included two wins over 2400+ rated opponents, so again the rating gains seem perfectly legitimate here.
Alex Krstulovic: While not (yet?) soaring at the heights of some of the others on this list, this Hungarian youngster did move 99 spots up our list to crack our top 50 for the first time. The rating gain of 131 is the highest this month by anyone we were already tracking, which we feel warrants mention.