A Chess World Champion Squares Off Against A 3-Year-Old Prodigy And Feelings Were Hurt

Chess talent is known to fade with age, but does that give the toddler a chance?

I’m not sure how you go about building up the confidence of a talented three-year-old, but this doesn’t seem to be the most effective way to do it.

At such a young age, Mikhail Osipov is already being hailed as a chess prodigy, but as the world saw on this talent show video clip, the gap between being a prodigy and being the best is a substantial one.

Little Mikhail showcased his talents on a Russian TV show by facing off against Anatoly Karpov, who happens to be a grandmaster and the world champion. How this idea got the greenlight is beyond me, but it did and the results were...unsurprising.

It would be nice if the match went differently and the toddler beat Karpov. And prior to the match, you’d think some conscientious product would have felt out Karpov to see how he would treat the kid. That due diligence was either not conducted or ignored – the fact that a little kid was sitting across from him never seemed to register.

As for the match, Mikhail got ten minutes per move to Karpov’s ten and took the champ to a possible draw. But the youngster refused the draw and ended up succumbing to Karpov. Despite being just a kid, Mikhail doesn’t have a lot of experience losing, especially in high-pressure environments, so he takes it pretty hard.


But the story has a happy ending. He quickly composed himself when his mom came to his side and walked the audience through a handful of impressive puzzles to showcase his skills. I don’t know if getting rattled on national TV was a sound move her development as a player or a person, but this kid’s got a bright future in front of him and can hold his adorable head high.

As for Karpov, it looks like he can cross one more item off the fake bucket list a Redditor pieced together for the champ.


Let's hope that when Mikhail sits atop the chess rankings in 40 years he doesn't repay the favor to some doe-eyed youngster finding his way in the world.

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

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