The Gambit

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In an astonishing display of skill and resilience, 17-year-old Indian chess grandmaster Gukesh Dommaraju has made history by winning the 2024 FIDE Candidates Tournament. This remarkable achievement has earned him the right to challenge current World Champion Ding Liren for the title later this year.

Gukesh’s victory is all the more impressive considering he is the youngest player to ever win the Candidates Tournament, breaking a 40-year-old record previously held by Garry Kasparov. His remarkable performance has also propelled him to become India’s number-one chess player by rating, surpassing even the current world champion.

The final round of the tournament was filled with tension and drama. Gukesh comfortably held a draw against Hikaru Nakamura, while Fabiano Caruana built up a winning position against Ian Nepomniachtchi. However, a blunder on the first move after the first time control allowed a draw, securing Gukesh’s victory.

Gukesh’s accomplishment is not only a testament to his exceptional chess skills but also a reflection of his mental toughness. When asked when he realized he might win, he credited a painful loss in the seventh game against Firouzja as the turning point, saying, “Even though I just had a painful loss, I was feeling at my absolute best. Maybe this loss gave me so much motivation.”

In the crucial game against Nakamura, Gukesh demonstrated his exceptional endgame skills, holding a draw despite Nakamura’s aggressive play. The game was praised by chess legends, including Magnus Carlsen, who briefly joined the broadcast and praised Gukesh’s innovative play.

Gukesh’s victory has also made history as the first-ever world championship match to not include a European player, and the first all-Asian world championship (excluding women’s world championships).

As we look forward to the upcoming world championship match, one thing is certain – Gukesh Dommaraju is a force to be reckoned with in the world of chess. His remarkable achievement is an inspiration to chess enthusiasts around the world, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for this talented young player.