Dust off your "Hou's on first" jokes, as the Chinese 14-year-old has apparently, belatedly, earned her GM title. ChessBase has a nice item on her for the occasion. She obviously world have become a GM at least a year ago had she not been trotted out to dozens of women-only events with no norm possibilities. She's had at least four 2600+ performances going back to 2006. Not that I'm a fan of the title mill either, and having her bashing through First Saturday events in Budapest just to get a title early wouldn't have meant much. But it's still tragic that such a great talent has spent the past two years playing so many 2300s instead of all the 25-2600s that Karjakin, Ponomariov, and Polgar were playing at 12 and 13. If she does ever reach the elite it will be despite her handling and not because of it.
While we're on prodigy watch, 12-year-old Ilya Nyzhnyk has 3/4 in the Ukrainian championship so far. And don't scoff at the increasing proliferation of tot GMs. Just about all the names on that "20 youngest ever" list have hit the top 10, or at least the top 20, in due time. But it's not a coincidence that a few who seemed to get a lot of help producing the GM title as quickly as possible are the ones who haven't climbed so high.
Lately we've seen a few relatively elder statesmen make surprising jumps into the elite. What's the greatest age at which someone has made their first appearance in the top 10? Movsesian is threatening to do it at 30. Thinking back over the past decade I can't recall anyone doing it past even 25. Maybe someone ancient peeped in for a list or two before falling back? Whose your candidate for best late-bloomer? Korchnoi is usually mentioned as peaking late, but though not a prodigy it's not as if he was a wimp in his 20s and 30s.