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D Gukesh Becomes Youngest Candidates Winner In Chess History, To Challenge Ding Liren For Crown

The 17-year-old D Gukesh is only the second Indian after the legendary Viswanathan Anand to win the prestigious Candidates title. He notched up nine out of a maximum 14 points in Toronto after drawing his final round game against America's Hikaru Nakamura

Gukesh D wins FIDE Candidates 2024, April 22, FIDE Twitter photo
Indian Grandmaster D Gukesh in action at the round 14 of FIDE Candidates 2024 chess tournament in Toronto. Photo: FIDE/Maria Emelianova
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Indian chess is well and truly on the cusp of something special. The country's teenaged prodigies are taking the world by storm, and breaking records in the process. Days after he had become the second youngest player to compete at FIDE Candidates, India's 17-year-old Grandmaster D Gukesh has become the youngest-ever winner in the tournament's history. (More Chess News)

By annexing the prestigious event, Gukesh has also become the youngest-ever challenger to the world title. He will battle reigning world champion Ding Liren of China for the crown later this year.

All-time chess great Garry Kasparov was 22 years old when he won the Candidates tournament in 1984 to clash with compatriot Anatoly Karpov. Gukesh has bettered that mark by almost five years.

"So relieved and so happy. I was following this crazy game (between Fabio Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi), and then I went for a walk with my second (Gregorz Gazevsky), I think that helped," Gukesh said after winning.

Gukesh also won a cash award of 88,500 Euros (around INR 78.5 lakh). The total prize fund of the Candidates was 5,00,000 Euros.

Gukesh notched up nine out of a maximum 14 points in Toronto after drawing his final round game against America's Hikaru Nakamura. He is only the second Indian after the legendary Viswanathan Anand to win the Candidates. Five-time world champion Anand's victory had come back in 2014.

A "proud" Anand posted on X (formerly Twitter): "Congratulations to @DGukesh for becoming the youngest challenger. The @WacaChess family is so proud of what you have done. I'm personally very proud of how you played and handled tough situations. Enjoy the moment."

Like Anand, Gukesh too hails from Chennai.

Congratulating Gukesh on his historic achievement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on X: "India is exceptionally proud of @DGukesh on becoming the youngest-ever player to win the #FIDECandidates! Gukesh's remarkable achievement at the Candidates in Toronto showcases his extraordinary talent and dedication. His outstanding performance and journey to the top inspires millions."

To secure the title, the 17-year-old needed the last game between Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi and the top-seeded Fabiano Caruana of America to end in a draw, and that is how things panned out.

Had any of these two won, the tournament would have needed a tie-break as Gukesh and the winner would have finished with the joint lead.

Gukesh has been making waves at the global stage for quite some time. He had become India’s youngest-ever and the world's third-youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years, seven months, 17 days. Last year, he upstaged Anand as the nation’s top-ranked player, a feat achieved for the first time in 36 years. He also bagged a silver medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

The dates and venue for the world chess championship will be finalised later.

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