India’s teen sensation D Gukesh wins Candidates Chess, becomes youngest ever challenger to world crown

iNDICA NEWS BUREAU–

India’s 17-year-old phenom Dommaraju or D Gukesh on Monday created history as he became the champion of the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2024 after an exciting final round in Toronto, Canada. He is only the second Indian player to win the Candidates Tournament, after legendary player Viswanathan Anand. In Round 14, Gukesh used black pieces to hold rival championship contender Hikaru Nakamura to a draw and secure his victory.

Hikaru Nakamura, who was edged out by India’s D Gukesh

With this victory, the 17-year-old became the youngest player to go to the World Championship final, where he will take on Ding Liren of China. Gukesh won first place with a total of 9/14 points. He held Nakamura to a draw on a dramatic day, but his fate was sealed on the opposite board when Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi fought for 109 moves before settling on a tie.

The 2006-born Gukesh is one among the four Indians in the world’s top 20 highest-ELO-rated chess players. He is ranked 16 (2743 points), while India’s top-rated player is Arjun Erigaisi (ranked 9, 2756 points). The other two are Viswanathan Anand (ranked 11, 2751 points) and R Praggnanandhaa (ranked 14, 2747 points).

 The worlds top five players, in order, are Magnus Carlsen (2830 points), Fabiano Caruana (2803 points), Hikaru Nakamura (2789 points), 
Nodirbek Abdusattorov (2765 points) and Ding Liren (2765 points).

The day was filled with a lot of drama. For a short while, it seemed that Gukesh would emerge victorious on Monday when Fabiano Caruana’s error in move 41 created the chance for a draw with Ian Nepomniachtchi.

However, Nepo then gave Caruana the upper hand by returning the favour. Eventually, the tide turned and the Nepo vs. Caruana match was headed to a tie. After Gukesh drew his match against Hikaru Nakamura, the FIDE Candidates’ tournament took a dramatic turn.

However, Fabiano Caruana’s critical error in his match against lan Nepomniachtchi provided a glimmer of hope for Gukesh’s historic quest. This mistake changed the game’s trajectory significantly and created an opportunity for a draw.

After being crowned as the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2024 champion, Gukesh said achieving something big for “my country is very special.” “The last few days were very stressful. Now so relieved and happy. Not even after finishing my game,” Gukesh told RevSportz on being asked when he started thinking that he had done it.

Asked about his support system and his team, the Indian Grandmaster was grateful to everyone who had contributed to his success. “I was watching the other game. Now that it’s done, I feel relieved and happy. To achieve something for your country is special. I don’t want to take names, but I thank everyone in my support team, family and friends for this,” said the 17-year-old.

“It’s always an honour to represent my country and to achieve something big for myself and my country is very special,” he added.

In Round 14, Gukesh used black pieces to hold rival championship contender Hikaru Nakamura of the United States to a draw and secure his victory. With this victory, the 17-year-old became the youngest player to go to the World Championship final, where he will take on China’s Ding Liren.

Gukesh said that a victory after the seventh round was really important in his journey adding that he looks forward to preparing well for the world championship match.

“The victory after the seventh round was really important. I was upset but started feeling better the next day which was the rest day. That win gave me a lot of motivation. I’m very excited to win this and looking forward to all the preparation (for the world championship match). I don’t care about records, but it’s nice to be called the youngest Candidates winner,” said Gukesh.

In a video shared by the International Chess Federation on X, many spectators were seen waving passionately at the Grandmaster and chanting his name, wanting to take a photo with him.

Earlier, former Chess World champion Viswanathan Anand praised newly crowned FIDE Candidates 2024 champion D Gukesh for becoming the youngest challenger and said he is impressed with how the 17-year-old played and handled tough situations. “Congratulations to @DGukesh for becoming the youngest challenger. The @WacaChess family is so proud of what you have done. I’m personally very proud of how you played and handled tough situations. Enjoy the moment,” Anand posted on X.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday hailed the performance of Grandmaster D Gukesh’s “remarkable achievement” at the FIDE Candidates 2024 in Toronto and said the 17-year-old player’s outstanding performance, journey to the top inspires millions.

The 17-year-old Indian on Monday created history as he won the FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament 2024, becoming the youngest-ever challenger to the world title after an exciting final round in Toronto. PM Modi took to X (formerly Twitter) and hailed Gukesh’s extraordinary talent and dedication, saying country is “exceptionally proud” of the Indian for his historic feat in Toronto.

“India is exceptionally proud of @DGukesh on becoming the youngest-ever player to win the #FIDECandidates! Gukesh’s remarkable achievement at the Candidates in Toronto showcases his extraordinary talent and dedication. His outstanding performance and journey to the top inspires millions,” PM Modi posted on X.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin also congratulated the 17-year-old Indian prodigy for his title winning campaign in Toronto. Tamil Nadu CM also conveyed his best wishes to the Grandmaster. “Congratulations to @DGukesh on an incredible achievement! At just 17 years old, he’s made history as the youngest-ever challenger in the #FIDECandidates and the first teenager to claim victory. Best of luck in the battle ahead against Ding Liren for the World Chess Championship title!” Stalin said.

Former world champion Viswanathan Anand

Former Chess World champion Viswanathan Anand praised newly crowned FIDE Candidates 2024 champion D Gukesh for becoming the youngest challenger and said he is impressed with how the 17-year-old played and handled tough situations.

“Congratulations to @DGukesh for becoming the youngest challenger. The @WacaChess family is so proud of what you have done. I’m personally very proud of how you played and handled tough situations. Enjoy the moment,” Anand posted on X. He is only the second Indian player to win the Candidates Tournament, after Viswanathan Anand. Five-time world champion Anand’s victory came in 2014.

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