When it comes to the game of Chess in India, the country has produced some legendary and talented players. However, the country is also producing plenty of youngsters who are becoming Grandmasters at such a young age. At the age of 12, children would be studying in school and ensuring themselves a better career path. However, at 12 years, 7 months and 17 days, Tamil Nadu’s Gukesh D has achieved something spectacular. He has become the country’s youngest Chess Grandmaster and the second-youngest overall in the history of the sport. The earlier record was was also held by an Indian and also from Tamil Nadu, showing how effective the state’s robust chess growth is thanks to five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand.
India’s Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa had become the country’s youngest and the world’s second youngest Grand Master at the age of 12 years, 10 months and 13 days after reaching the final round in the 2018 Grendine Open in Italy which was held in June. After beating an opponent in the eighth round, he needed to play an opponent above rating of 2482 in the next round to make his third GM norm and the Chennai-based player was paired with Grand Master Prujjsers Roland in the final round, which ensured that he would achieve the feat. Ukraine’s Sergey Karjakin remains the youngest ever GM, having achieved the feat at the age of 12 years and seven months in 2002. In 2016, Praggnanandhaa became the youngest International Master at the age of 10 years, 10 months and 19 days.
For Gukesh, the journey has been memorable. Born on May 29th, 2006 in Tamil Nadu, Gukesh secured his first Grandmaster Norm during the Bangkok Open in 2018 when he finished 27th in a strong field. However, his crowning glory came when he won the U-12 World Cadets Championship with a score of 10 out of 11. He continued his great run by securing the top spot and winning the GM norm round-robin tournament in Paraćin, Serbia. The main factor was that he secured seven out of nine points to secure the Norm.
In the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival in Norway, Gukesh finished in 24th position but he missed out on the record by just 17 days. He finally secured the third and final Grandmaster Norm during the Delhi GM Open 2019 and with six points in nine rounds, it was enough for Gukesh to create history. Hs achievement has given Indian chess a great shot in the arm in 2019 and he has also become the 59th Grandmaster from India.
For achieving a Grandmaster title in chess, a player must achieve three GM norms in events covering a minimum of 27 games. An International Arbiter must be officiating and the entry must include at least three GM titled players from different countries playing over a minimum of nine rounds with not less than 120 minutes thinking time per round.
Anand is a legend of the game here while there are many talented players like Pentala Harikrishna, Vidit Gujrathi, Adhiban Bhaskaran and other chess stars who are making a mark on the world stage. In the women’s category, Koneru Humpy, Padmini Rout and Harika Dronavalli are shining bright on the world stage. Now, the names of Praggnanandhaa and Gukesh are added to the list of players who are all set to make India shine on the chess stage.