Everyone lies to children all the time. The lies I am going to talk about today are the endless hordes of chess fans/parents/supporters and whatever, who publicly talk about how basically every talented kid is going to become a Grandmaster. Comments like "future GM" followed after every young kid's name are all over the place.
I have a dirty secret to tell all of you.....most of these talented kids will NOT become Grandmasters. The super super talented ones will...and when I say super talented I say it from a scientific math/numbers sense of the word. Like if someone is 11 years old and legitimately 2300+ strength they are probably going to be a GM.
If someone is 14-15 years old and 2300-2400 range....they may need to continue to work extremely hard, and make sure to stick with chess well into their late teens and early 20's to achieve this goal. Obviously not every child is the same....some will make it without doing all the right things, some won't, but the point is that it's not easy.
I look at the rating lists of kids under 16 years old, and I see exactly 9 kids that I would bet are above 50% to become Grandmasters. This is an exceptionally high number historically, as if you did the same exercise 10 years ago the number would probably be 3 at the most.
What is my point? I guess my point is that being a Grandmaster is really hard, a lot harder than many of the adults, who don't really have a clear perspective on how chess at the top level works, think it is. Most of the super talented kids of my generation didn't make it, most of the highest rated kids from 10 years ago didn't make it....basically unless you are well above 2500 at a pretty young age, it's not going to be easy and is going to require long term consistency. The majority of players currently ranked something like 3rd-10th for their age group in the top rating lists, will not become Grandmasters. Maybe 20% of them at the absolute most. Historically this number would be much much lower, but it's hard to argue with the fact that kids are much stronger today...so I'm being generous by saying 20%.
One last thing to note is it's not that these kids aren't talented enough to become GM. The problem is that they aren't talented enough to be GM without it being the focal point of their life. Once they hit college, and start taking college seriously, and start to play chess a bit less........well the same pattern has happened repeatedly for chess playing kids for the last 10-20 years, so I don't see any reason to expect it to change.
So these kids are not "future Grandmasters". They are future Grandmasters if they work their ass off for 4-5 years in a row. It is not a good thing to constantly be told that you are going to be something, because it makes you start thinking that you won't have to work hard to get it. You are not doing these kids any favors by making it seem as if they will easily achieve something so difficult, and for most of these kids their talent alone is just not quite enough without extremely hard work over the next stage of their life. Sorry to be a downer!