Gukesh the sport’s youngest Grandmaster

After running out of time in his desperate bid to break the long-standing record of Sergey Karjakin of being the world’s youngest chess Grandmaster, D. Gukesh completed the formalities to be the sport’s youngest GM, at present.

On the auspicious day of Pongal, the 12-year-old defeated Dinesh Sharma in the ninth round of the Delhi International Open GMs chess tournament for his third and final GM norm. The country’s 59th GM is also the youngest after breaking the record of state-mate R. Praggnanandhaa set in June last year.

Gukesh reached the landmark at the age of 12 years, seven months and 17 days while Praggnanandhaa did it in 12 years, 10 months and 13 days. Karjakin’s record, set in 2002, stays intact at 12 years and seven months.

On the all-time list of youngest GMs, Gukesh now holds the second place. Parimarjan Negi, in 2006, and Praggnanandhaa last year, also held similar distinction.

Five years after taking the sport, the 2006-born Gukesh became an International Master in March last year. In April, he attained his first GM-norm by finishing third in the Bangkok Open and added a second in December, in the Orbis 2 round-robin tournament at Paracin, Serbia.

“I’m very happy,” almost whispered the Chennai-boy after completing the formalities of becoming a GM. “During today’s game, I felt a bit of pressure (knowing that a victory would be enough) but soon I felt fine.”

Gukesh, who became the World u-12 champion in November last, narrowly missed breaking Karjakin’s record by just half-a-point in the Sunway Sitges International tournament in Barcelona in December.

In the following week, he took live rating past the stipulated 2500-mark in the recently-concluded event in Mumbai.

Initially coached by M.S. Bhaskar, Gukesh has since trained under several others. Son of an ENT specialist Dr. Rajnikanth and Dr. Padma Kumari, Gukesh was quick to acknowledge the contributions of his trainers Vijay Anand, GM in-waiting and Commonwealth champion P. Karthikeyan and his present coach GM Vishnu Prasanna. He added the name of his mental-trainer Krishna Prasad to the list.


anshulsharma@raaahtimes.com
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