Gukesh on a path to youngest GM ever

by Sagar Shah
12/11/2018 – YAICP — Yet Another Indian Chess Prodigy! His name is D. Gukesh and he stems from — where else — Tamil Nadu, the home state of Vishy Anand. Gukesh was born on May 29, 2006, which means he is currently twelve and a half years old. On Saturday the lad scored his second GM norm in a closed round-robin in Paraćin, Serbia. Gukesh has a live rating of 2490 and from Thursday onwards will be playing in the next GM Open. Will he be able to break Sergey Karjakin's record? This will be his last chance. | Photo: Nebojsa Radosavljevic

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No pressure!

Gukesh scored his first GM norm at the Bangkok Open 2018. He has been slowly climbing up the ladder towards the GM title, but never really seemed that he would break Karjakin's world record of the youngest GM in the world. However, after his recent performances the boy has a realistic chance and is just one step away. Gukesh became the World Cadets under-12 champion with a whopping 10.0/11 score. With a live rating of 2466, he went to play the closed GM norm round-robin tournament in Paraćin, Serbia.

Players at the GM norm tournament in Paracin with Gukesh seated in the front row | Photo:

Gukesh was the fourth seed and in order to get a GM norm he needed 7.0/9. Quite a tough task considering that he had three GMs above him. But the lad played some brilliant chess and look what he achieved: With a performance of 2744 Gukesh had scored seven points in eight rounds and achieved his second GM norm with one round to spare!

After the final round and a draw with black against a 2262 opponent, Gukesh's performance was 2665, far more than required for a GM norm. Here are his results:

Rd. SNo   Name Rtg FED Pts. Res.
1 1 IM Djordjevic Vuk 2414 SRB 4,5 s 1
2 6 CM Mendonca Leon Luke 2350 IND 3,0 w 1
3 2 IM Stankovic Milos 2451 SRB 4,0 s 1
4 7 GM Savic Miodrag R 2511 SRB 4,5 w 1
5 3 GM Kosic Dragan 2488 MNE 7,0 s ½
6 8 FM Krishnater Kushager 2305 IND 3,0 w 1
7 4 GM Pikula Dejan 2486 SRB 4,0 s ½
8 9 FM Aithmidou Mohamed-Mehdi 2261 MAR 3,5 w 1
9 5   Der Manuelian Haik 2262 USA 4,0 s ½

Gukesh is born on May 29th, 2006. That means he has until December 29th, 2018 to break Karjakin's record of becoming the youngest GM in the world. With his performance in Paracin, he now has two GM norms and has pumped up his rating to 2487. He needs another ten Elo points and one GM norm to qualify for the title.

So what does Gukesh have on the cards now? Gukesh will also be playing at the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival from December 13th to the 23rd. Being quite a strong event, Gukesh has excellent chances of achieving his final GM norm and also the required rating points! Perhaps Gukesh can do what no one has been able to in the last 16 years!

Youngest grandmasters in history

We have compiled a list of the youngest grandmasters in history. We will be updating this list, as new GMs under 15 years of age emerge.

Rank Name FED
born GM
Sergey Karjakin UKR
1990 2002
2 Javokhir Sindarov UZB
2005 2018
3 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu IND
2005 2018
4 Nodirbek Abdusattorov UZB
2004 2017
5 Parimarjan Negi IND
1993 2006
Magnus Carlsen NOR
1990 2004
Wei Yi CHN
1999 2013
Bu Xiangzhi CHN
1985 1999
Samuel Sevian USA
2000 2014
10 Richard Rapport HUN
1996 2010

See the full list

Gukesh playing GM Dragan Kosic in round seven | Photo: Nebojsa Radosavljevic

Gukesh against GM Dejan Pikula | Photo: Nebojsa Radosavljevic

Exactly two years ago, in a FirstPost interview, my friend and mentor Frederic Friedel predicted that "in five years, or at the very latest in ten years, of the top players, 30-40 per cent will be Indian, and of the top ten, four will be Indian grandmasters." It looks likely that he may be right. I pointed Gukesh out to him yesterday and asked him to what he attributed the spate of very young Indian boys suddenly reaching GM strength. His explanation: "It is clear that Tamil Nadu is conducting a scientific project to clone Anand. And they are succeeding!" Of course, this is tongue-in-cheek, but it would interest us to know what you think about the many mini-grandmasters.

Gukesh's best game from the event

Gukesh has played many excellent games from the Paracin event. But I really liked this win:

[Event "Round Robin Orbis 3-9 XII 2018"] [Site "?"] [Date "2018.12.07"] [Round "6.1"] [White "Gukesh D"] [Black "Krishnater Kushager"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "A05"] [WhiteElo "2466"] [BlackElo "2305"] [Annotator "Sagar Shah"] [PlyCount "65"] [EventDate "2018.??.??"] [TimeControl "5400+30"] [WhiteClock "0:18:25"] [BlackClock "0:05:50"] 1. Nf3 {0} Nf6 {0} 2. g3 {0} g6 {0} 3. b3 {0 Gukesh has taken a liking recently towards the double fianchetto variation against the King's Indian.} Bg7 {0} 4. Bb2 {0} O-O {0} 5. Bg2 {0} c5 {48} 6. c4 {105} Nc6 {6} 7. O-O {38} d6 {4} 8. d4 {156} cxd4 {7} 9. Nxd4 {6 Gukesh is a big expert in such English structures.} Bd7 {4} 10. Nc3 {322} Nxd4 {18} 11. Qxd4 {8} Bc6 {5} 12. Nd5 $5 { 523 Very direct play.} Bxd5 {83} 13. Bxd5 {25 White now has the bishop pair and I would defintiely give him a slight edge. Kushager tries to exchange one of the bishops.} Nh5 {15} 14. Qd2 {15} Bxb2 {6} 15. Qxb2 {5} Qb6 {7 Once I had a similar position with the white pieces and I felt that White should get his rook over to h4 to attack Black's king. Gukesh plays in a more sophisticated manner.} 16. Rad1 {467} a5 {624} 17. Rd3 {214} Nf6 {376} 18. Bg2 {388} Rfc8 {45 } 19. Rc1 $1 {370 A very nice move. Gukesh is trying to use his pawns on the queenside which is much more realistic than a kingside attack.} Rc5 {236} 20. Rdc3 {194} Rac8 {584} 21. a3 {382} Nd7 {981} 22. Bh3 {204} e6 {77} 23. Qd2 {560 } a4 $6 {562} (23... R5c7 $11 {Black should be doing fine in this position.}) 24. b4 {124} R5c7 {22} 25. e4 {516} Qc6 {639} 26. Bg2 {387} Ne5 {82} 27. Qd4 { 195} Qd7 {475} 28. c5 $1 {375} Rd8 {43} 29. h3 {258} Nc6 {280} 30. Qxd6 {115} Qxd6 {12} 31. cxd6 {5} Rcd7 {2} (31... Rxd6 32. b5 $18) 32. Rxc6 $1 {77 A very nice solution!} bxc6 {12} 33. e5 $18 {6 The position is just dead lost! What a picturesque final position.} 1-0

Final standings

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Gukesh D 7,5 30,00
2 Kosic Dragan 7,0 28,00
3 Savic Miodrag R 4,5 18,50
4 Djordjevic Vuk 4,5 16,25
5 Pikula Dejan 4,0 18,75
6 Stankovic Milos 4,0 17,00
7 Der Manuelian Haik 4,0 16,00
8 Aithmidou Mohamed-Mehdi 3,5 13,25
9 Mendonca Leon Luke 3,0 12,00
10 Krishnater Kushager 3,0 11,25

Special thanks for this report to ChessBase India, currently the biggest chess news portal and chess software distributor in the country. The motto is “Powering Chess in India”.

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Sagar is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India, the biggest chess news portal in the country. His YouTube channel has over a million subscribers, and to date close to a billion views. ChessBase India is the sole distributor of ChessBase products in India and seven adjoining countries, where the software is available at a 60% discount. compared to International prices.


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