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Chess

D Gukesh makes history as youngest-ever player to win FIDE Candidates title

Gukesh, who became 2nd Indian to win the Candidates title since Anand in 2014, will challenge Ding Liren in the World Championships final later this year.

D Gukesh makes history as youngest-ever player to win FIDE Candidates title
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Just a few days shy of eighteen, D Gukesh is now the highest ranked Indian player on the FIDE rankings. (Photo credit: FIDE) 

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 22 April 2024 2:31 AM GMT

Indian Grandmaster D Gukesh clinched the FIDE Candidates 2024 Open title to become the youngest winner of the prestigious tournament after an exciting finish in the 14th and final round at the Great Hall of Toronto on Monday morning.

The 17-year-old from Chennai held fellow title contender Hikaru Nakamura of the USA to a draw with black pieces in the 14th round to clinch the title. Gukesh edged past Nakamura by 0.5 points as he accumulated 9 points, while the American grandmasters managed to assemble 8.5.

Gukesh also became the first Indian since Viswanathan Anand in 2014 to win the Candidates.

He qualified for the Candidates in December 2023 at the FIDE World Blitz tournament at Samarkand in Uzbekistan after Anish Giri failed to top the standings.

Gukesh was the third youngest player to qualify for the Candidates in tournament history after Bobby Fischer and Magnus Carlsen.

By winning the Candidates title after 14 gruelling rounds, Gukesh has also qualified for the World Championships final in the classical format.

The Indian grandmaster is now set to challenge world champion Ding Liren of China as he became the first teenager to reach the Worlds final where players have $2 million as prize money to win.

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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