Chennai’s Gukesh crowned world’s second youngest grand master

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Tamil Nadu lad D Gukesh 15 January 2019 became the second youngest Grand Master in the world and the youngest Indian to achieve the feat at 12 years, seven months and 17 days, erasing the mark set by his state-mate R Praggnanandhaa in June last year.

He achieved his third and final GM norm at the ongoing 17th Delhi International Open Chess tournament in Delhi after beating compatriot D K Sharma in the ninth round. Gukesh becomes India’s 59th Grand Master. Ukraine’s Sergey Karjakin remains the youngest-ever GM, having achieved the feat at the age of 12 years and seven months in 2002.

Gukesh, however, recovered and he put that setback behind him to beat and has now beaten the record held by his friend Praggnanandhaa, who was 12 years and 10 months old when he became Indias youngest GM. His biggest moment came when he won the U-12 World Cadets Championship with a score of 10 out of 11. He continued his great run by securing the top spot and winning the GM norm round-robin tournament in Serbia.

The youngster, who idolizes the legendary Bobby Fischer and India’s own Vishy Anand, said after achieving the feat that he was very happy and excited. Before the game, I didn’t feel any pressure, only during the game. I just forgot about the pressure and focused on my game, he added.

He said he was a little disappointed to have missed out on breaking Karjakin’s record in Barcelona but felt relieved after a while and focussed on his game. A seventh standard student of Velammal Vidyalaya, he said his school had supported him a lot whenever he had to miss classes to play in tournaments. Gukesh, with a FIDE rating of 2497, said his aim is now to keep improving his game and achieve the Super GM title.

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