Hungary is a country with a strong chess tradition that has had its share of prodigies, and this 22-year-old is no exception. Born in Szombathely, Hungry, in 1996, Rapport learned chess from his father at the age of four. He won the 2006 European Championships in the U10 division. His rise was meteoric after that, achieving National Master, International Master, and Grandmaster in three successive years from 2008-2010. His final Grandmaster norm was scored by tying for 2nd at the Gotth’Art Kupa, perhaps fittingly with GM Lajos Portisch, one of the strongest players to ever come out of Hungary. Richard got the title just short of his 14th birthday, becoming the 5th youngest GM in history at that time, which is nearly six months faster than his famous compatriot Peter Leko.
Rapport’s career continued to skyrocket after becoming a Grandmaster. In May of 2013, he tied for first at the Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament with strong GMs Nigel Short and Nils Grandelius, with Richard winning on tiebreaks due to a head-to-head score. The young Hungarian also won the European Rapid Championship and finished 4th in the European Blitz Championship, and is known to be especially dangerous at quicker time controls. Rapport won a match in 2016 against Chinese prodigy Wei Yi, taking it in an Armageddon game after the two elite Grandmasters were neck and neck throughout the match. Richard is also the 2017 Hungarian Champion. Known for his unpredictable openings as well as unpredictable results, when on form, he is truly capable of beating anyone, as shown when he defeated World Champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2017 Tata Steel Tournament. The mercurial Hungarian will be a fun player to keep an eye on at the Champions Showdown.