A Grand Homecoming for Gukesh as Chennai welcomes the Candidates 2024 winner


The city of Chennai witnessed a momentous occasion as it welcomed home its very own chess prodigy, D Gukesh. The young Grandmaster had just returned from Toronto, where he had made history by becoming the youngest challenger to the world title. His triumph at the prestigious Candidates Chess Tournament not only earned him this title but also made him the first Indian after the great Viswanathan Anand to win the tournament.

Gukesh receives an electrifying welcome

As Gukesh’s flight landed, hundreds of students from Velammal Vidyalaya, his school, lined up at the airport to greet their fellow student. The area around the arrival gate was jam-packed as a sizeable crowd had built up, eagerly awaiting the arrival of the young champion. The atmosphere was electric with anticipation and excitement.

Upon his arrival, Gukesh was immediately swamped by the jubilant crowd. Garlands were placed around his neck, and the police had to jostle to escort him out safely, with people cheering and applauding for the rising star.

Speaking to the media at the airport, Gukesh expressed his happiness for the warm homecoming. He acknowledged that his achievement was special and credited his success to being in a good space since the beginning of the tournament. He also thanked the Tamil Nadu government, his parents, coach, friends, family, sponsor, and school for their support.

Gukesh’s mother, Padma, a microbiologist, was there to receive him along with other family members. The young champion had a huge smile on his face the moment he spotted her in the crowd. They exchanged a hug after greeting each other. Gukesh’s father, Rajinikanth, an ENT surgeon who quit his practice to support his son, had travelled with the teen to Toronto for the tournament.

This triumph entitles Gukesh to a clash against the reigning world champion, Ding Liren of China, in the last quarter of the year. Among the players Gukesh beat in the Candidates was the 18-year-old R Praggnanandhaa, another prodigal talent to emerge from the city.

Gukesh, who became India’s youngest Grandmaster at 12 years, seven months, and 17 days in January 2019, has been making waves for quite a while now. His current FIDE rating is 2743, while his peak rating happens to be 2758, which he attained last September. He is 16th in the FIDE Rankings at present.

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