Chess: 5 things to know about Singapore grandmaster Tin Jingyao

Tin Jingyao is the fifth and youngest Singaporean to become a chess grandmaster. Tin, who won three SEA Games medals in the Vietnam, is ranked 705th among the world’s active players. PHOTO: Courtesy of Singapore Chess Federation

Singaporean chess player Tin Jingyao has had a stellar 2022, which included a notable win over chess’ “bad boy”, American teenager Hans Niemann.

Here is what you need to know about the 22-year-old Singaporean.

1. He picked up chess by chance at eight

He was at his aunt’s house when he discovered the game by chance while using the computer and taught himself the rules by trial and error.

2. His talent was evident from early on

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.

He later earned the praise of the former world No. 1 for his moves and for being the last player standing.

That same year, he won the only gold medal for Singapore at the 11th Asean + Age Group Chess Championships. He was part of 32 others who represented Singapore in the Philippines and won the individual classic chess trial (open Under-10).

3. He won three medals on his SEA Games debut

At the Hanoi SEA Games in May, Tin claimed the silver in the men’s rapid chess and two bronzes in the men’s standard individual and blitz.

4. At 22, he is Singapore’s youngest grandmaster

Earlier this year, he became Singapore’s youngest grandmaster after earning all three norms required this year.

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 grandmaster norm at the Hanoi SEA Games in May.

His third came also in Vietnam at the Hanoi Grandmaster Chess Tournament, where he won seven and drew two of his nine rounds to win the event.

Singapore’s other grandmasters are Wu Shaobin, Wong Meng Kong and Kevin Goh while Gong Qianyun is Singapore’s only woman grandmaster.

5. 2022 has been a watershed year

While Tin is a five-time national champion (2016-2020), most of his notable international results came this year.

Besides beating American grandmaster Hans Niemann at the III Elllobregat Open Chess tournament in Barcelona on Tuesday, he won the grandmaster tournament in Hanoi before winning the Copthorne Waterfront Prof Lim Kok Ann Grandmaster invitational in Singapore in June.

He also beat grandmaster and former blitz world champion Le Quang Liem at the SEA Games.

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