D Gukesh becomes the youngest Candidates Champion, to challenge Ding Liren for the World Championship

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Gukesh

The world of chess has a new prodigy – D Gukesh, a 17-year-old Grandmaster from India. He made history by becoming the youngest-ever player to win the FIDE Candidates title. This victory was achieved at the 2024 FIDE Candidates Chess Tournament held in Toronto, Canada.

Gukesh, who shot to fame when he became the youngest Grandmaster in the history of chess at the age of 12 years and 7 months in 2019, has now etched his name in the annals of history with this monumental achievement. He narrowly missed breaking the record of being the youngest grandmaster by just 17 days. Gukesh also became the first Indian since Viswanathan Anand in 2014 to win the Candidates.

Gukesh draws the final round

In the tournament, Gukesh held USA’s Hikaru Nakamura to a draw. However, it wasn’t until the showdown between Fabiano Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi, which ended in a draw, that Gukesh was crowned champion. This outcome was bigger than the biggest wins of his young career.

Gukesh tallied nine points from 14 rounds and finished half a point ahead of Nakamura, Nepomniachtchi, and Caruana. His victory was worth €111,000, consisting of €48,000 as the first prize and an additional €63,000 for scoring nine points.

Following this performance, Gukesh gained 20 rating points to become a career-best World No. 6 with a revised rating of 2763. In the process, he overtook the eighth-placed compatriot Arjun Erigaisi (2761) and became the highest-ranked Indian in the world.

Gukesh to challenge Ding Liren for World Championship

This victory has earned him the right to challenge the reigning World champion Ding Liren later this year as he became the first teenager to reach the Worlds final where players have $2 million as prize money to win. The chess world eagerly awaits this showdown, as Gukesh has the opportunity to become the youngest World Chess Champion, a record currently held by Magnus Carlsen.

Before the tournament, he was not even considered among the favourites to win the title. But Gukesh held his composure throughout the tournament to stay in the hunt for the title. He won five matches and lost one against France’s Alireza Firouzja on the way to a historic title win.

R Praggnanandhaa and Vidit Gujrathi finished fifth and sixth respectively with seven and six points. Meanwhile, in the women’s Candidates, Koneru Humpy finished second to Tan Zhongyi of China, who won the title quite comfortably with 9 points. The Indian grandmaster managed to accumulate 7.5 points after the end of the 14th round. R Vaishali, on the other hand, made a late surge in the standings as she won five matches in a row to finish joint second along with Humpy and Lei Tingjie.

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