Tectonic Shift In Chess World - Eastern Mirror
Wednesday, May 15, 2024
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Editorial

Tectonic Shift in Chess World

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:53 pm

India’s teenage chess prodigy, D. Gukesh has made the country proud by becoming the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Candidates tournament. By virtue of this win, the 17-year-old boy from Chennai will fight against reigning world chess champion Ding Liren of China for the top honour in chess. It was undoubtedly a remarkable journey by Gukesh as he has earned this feat by overcoming top-ranked players such as Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi among others. He was rated sixth among eight candidates and only 1.4 per cent of the respondents among 7148 persons had predicted his win. But proving critics wrong, he showed an extraordinary blend of tenacity and brilliance throughout the tournament. Clearly in Gukesh, Indian has found a worthy successor to legendary Viswanathan Anand, who gave a new identity to Indian chess. Hopefully like Anand, Gukesh will also keep the Indian flag flying high in the world chess arena for years to come.

Gukesh’s success at the world stage has not come overnight; rather it has come from years of hard work. The prodigy was so determined to improve the standard of his game that he resisted the temptation of using chess engines, a modern day gadget to help budding chess players, till crossing a rating of 2500 in his career. He has also kept himself away from blitz and rapid formats of the game to concentrate only on classical chess. His apathy towards online tournaments is also well known in the chess circle. As a result, he has achieved many firsts in his small but eventful career thus far. Gukesh became India’s youngest grandmaster ever at the age of 12 years, seven months and 17 days. He has replaced five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand as the country’s top-ranked player, who held the honour for 36 years. It will not be an exaggeration to hope that Gukesh will also stay at the top for decades and enrich Indian chess.

In recent times, India has made impressive progress in a number of sports and chess is one where the country is making its presence felt in the international arena. It is evident from the number of Indian chess players participating in this year’s Candidates tournament that in the coming years India may dominate world chess in the same manner as the erstwhile USSR. Till Viswanathan Anand effectively ended the dominance, USSR grandmasters had pocketed almost all major chess titles between fifties and nineties barring once when American Bobby Fischer managed to make a dent in their hegemony by winning the 1972 world title. It is now the turn of Gukesh and a few other budding chess players like R. Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi to take Indian chess to new heights. Gukesh’s win in the Candidates has provided a much needed fillip to the country’s endeavour to achieve the feat, which has rightly been described as a tectonic shift in the chess world by none other than the Russian legend Garry Kasparov.

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By The Editorial Team Updated: Apr 24, 2024 11:53:49 pm
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