When we look back, Leko was a child prodigy, Bacrot was a child prodigy, Polgar was a child prodigy, Radjabov was a child prodigy, Ponomariov was a child prodigy, Giri was a child prodigy, So was a child prodigy and Wei Yi is actually still a child prodigy. They all have something in common and that is their high percentage of short draws without a fight. The only difference is how they do it. Some prefer repetitions while others play 15 moves of mainline theory and offer a draw. Only Giri is a bit different, because he plays long games, but the overall theme with him is zero risk tolerance too.
Maybe this whole phenomenon has something to do with how child prodigies are brought up these days. They are the sensational kids who are playing in a field of strong grandmasters where a draw is sufficient to boost their rating. Their occasional wins usually come from situations when the strong GMs are pushing too hard in order to save their face. Kasparov-Radjabov, Linares 2003, would be such an example.
Giri’s career is especially interesting, because he only has a few wins against players from the top ten in classical chess, yet some people believe that he will be a challenger for the title in the not so distant future. Same goes for the chinese youngster Wei Yi. He played about 600 games to reach 2700 while mostly beating weaker opponents also. Neither Giri nor Wei Yi have won a top major tournament and yet they are some of the strongest players of the world by “definition”. This shows that you can reach the highest level by rather consistently beating 25xx-players and drawing everyone, rated 26xx and above. It is not surprising, because the result will be a 2700+ performance.
Believe it or not, but I have the feeling that the Elo-rating is the root of all evil. Being able to win Elo-points by making a draw kills the game, because there is too much incentive for not fighting it out. Chess is essentially a drawn game, so maybe the reward for reaching this result is too high in comparison for what you get for successfully disturbing the balance.
That’s one part of it, another one is the way too high k-factor for young players. Even with the k-factor 40 being capped to Elo 2300 for players under 18, it doesn’t prevent such “overrated” youngers losing points to other youngers who are above 2400 already.
In the end there is a reason why it takes so many young players only a couple of hundred rated games to become world class after all, and it’s certainly not that their Stockfish or Komodo, whatever, finds better lines than the engines of all the other players. There is probably a lot of stat-padding going on at the tables and behind the curtain and their overall strategy is just perfectly adjusted to the rating-system.