Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Chess World Championships: India’s Gukesh to fight China’s Ding Liren for ultimate prize in November-December

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India’s D Gukesh will take on reigning world champion Ding Liren in the World Chess Championship in November-December this year.

This was revealed by Emil Sutovsky, the CEO at FIDE, the global governing body of chess, on social media after the 17-year-old from Chennai had emerged victorious in the Candidates tournament in Toronto, a prestigious eight-player event held to handpick the challenger to the world champion.

The venue for the contest is yet to be confirmed yet.

The teenaged Gukesh had edged past a troika of stalwarts: America’s Hikaru Nakamura, and Fabiano Caruana and Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi to become the Candidates winner on Monday. While Nepomniachtchi is a two-time World Championship contender, World No 2 Caruana was competing in his fifth Candidates event, having won it once. Meanwhile, Nakamura, the World No 3, was competing in his third Candidates event.

Gukesh slipped to second in the open standings at the Candidates chess tournament 2024 after defeat Gukesh slipped to second in the open standings at the Candidates chess tournament 2024 after defeat. (PHOTO: FIDE/ Michal Walusza)

Despite their experience, they could not prevent the Candidates debutant Gukesh from breasting the tape first. With one one round to go, Gukesh had raced into the lead while the trio were just half a point behind him. Gukesh only needed a draw with Nakamura in his final game, provided the other game between Caruana and Nepomniachtchi also drew, If either of the latter had won, they would meet Gukesh in a tiebreaker.

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Gukesh became India’s youngest grandmaster ever at the age of 12 years, seven months, 17 days, missing the tag of the world’s youngest by a mere 17 days. Last year, he overtook five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand as the country’s top ranked player for the first time after 36 years. Now, he has added another feat to that impressive list by becoming the youngest ever Candidates winner and will be the youngest World Chess Championship contender when he battles Ding at the World Championship later this year.

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