Young guns by the sea

by Jonathan Speelman
1/15/2023 – As Wijk aan Zee gets underway this weekend, we can look forward to a magnificent battle of the generations. In my time this would have been utterly impossible — surely the young guns used to play in the B group? Find here analyses of three formidable wins by the Indian prodigies that are playing in Wijk aan Zee. | Photos: Tata Steel Chess

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Elders but maybe not betters

[Note that Jon Speelman also looks at the content of the article in video format, here embedded at the end of the article.]

Vishy AnandAs Wijk aan Zee gets underway this weekend, we can look forward to a magnificent battle of the generations with the “old guard”, led by Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren and Fabiano Caruana, in combat in a field which includes no fewer than five teenagers (in increasing order of age): Dommaraju Gukesh who won’t be 17 until June, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (17), Nodirbek Abdusattorov and Vincent Keymer (both 18) and Arjun Erigaisi (19).

In my time this would have been utterly impossible, and even today I shall risk summary execution (the penalty I advocate for use of the u-word in public) by saying that it must be unprece*****d: surely the young guns used to play in the B group?

When I turned to the January FIDE list of the top juniors of 20 or under, it was utterly terrifying. Alireza Firouzja won’t be 20 until June, and he’s followed by four more over 2700: Gukesh, Erigaisi, Abdusattorov and the controversial Hans Moke Niemann; and a further eight in the 2600s starting with Keymer, Pragg and Nihal Sarin.  

So I thought that in advance of the expected bloodshed by the sea we’d look today at some of the young monsters who will be attempting to devour their elders-but-maybe-not-betters. Five is rather too many to focus on, so I’m giving a game each by the three Indians.

[Pictured: The three Indian prodigies joined by guest of honour Vishy Anand in Wijk aan Zee | Photo: Tata Steel Chess]


Select an entry from the list to switch between games

Master Class Vol. 12: Viswanathan Anand

This DVD allows you to learn from the example of one of the best players in the history of chess and from the explanations of the authors how to successfully organise your games strategically, consequently how to keep your opponent permanently under press


Jonathan Speelman, born in 1956, studied mathematics but became a professional chess player in 1977. He was a member of the English Olympic team from 1980–2006 and three times British Champion. He played twice in Candidates Tournaments, reaching the semi-final in 1989. He twice seconded a World Championship challenger: Nigel Short and then Viswanathan Anand against Garry Kasparov in London 1993 and New York 1995.
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