People: Apr. 7, 1997


"I just sat down, looked and understood," says ETIENNE BACROT, 14, of his first encounter with chess. Even at 4, he felt a certain je ne sais quoi about the checkered board. He was 7 when he had his first official win, and now, with years of two-hours-a-day practice behind him, he has become the youngest chess grandmaster ever, beating Canadian grandmaster Kevin Spraggett, 42, at a tournament in France. He can't best world champion Garry Kasparov yet, but he warns, "I'm getting closer." Says his trainer, Iosif Dorfman: "He does much better than Kasparov at the same...

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