Seven-time French Champion Etienne Bacrot was a true prodigy. He won the World U10 and U12 Championships and in 1997 became the youngest grandmaster in history at the age of only 14 years and 2 months. Two years later he was the youngest ever French Champion and proved it was no accident by winning the title for each of the next four years. Bacrot truly came of age when he reached the world Top 10 as a 21-year-old in 2005. In the same year he beat Vladimir Kramnik on his way to third place at the Dortmund supertournament and won the Karpov Tournament in Poikovsky in a field that included Alexander Grischuk and Peter Svidler.
Since then Bacrot’s career hasn’t exactly been a disappointment –
subsequent victories include the 2009 Aeroflot Open, the 2011 Karpov Tournament
and two more French Championships – but he’s dropped out of the ranks of the
absolute elite, with his April 2005 rating of 2731 and world no. 9 remaining a
high-water mark. In 2013 he won the GRENKE Elo Open and tied for first with an unbeaten +2 at the Biel Chess Festival, though he had to settle for 3rd place after a 4-player play-off.
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