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'So relieved and so happy': D Gukesh after winning FIDE Candidates title

Gukesh won nine of the maximum 14 points and clinched the Candidates title ahead of Nakamura and Nepomniachtchi who finished with 8.5 points each.

So relieved and so happy: D Gukesh after winning FIDE Candidates title

D Gukesh with his mother Padma as fans celebrate the Indian grandmaster's historic FIDE Candidates winning performance in Toronto on April 22, 2024. (Photo credit: FIDE/X) 


The Bridge Desk

Updated: 22 April 2024 7:13 AM GMT

Indian grandmaster D Gukesh made history as he became the youngest player ever to win the Candidates tournament at the Great Hall of Toronto on Monday morning.

The 17-year-old from Chennai played out a draw against fellow title contender Hikaru Nakamura of the USA in the 14th and final round to clinch the title.

Gukesh won nine of the maximum 14 points, while Nakamura finished with 8.5 points. He is only the second Indian player after Viswanathan Anand in 2014 to win the FIDE Candidates tournament.

But throughout his final round game against Nakamura, Gukesh was also busy following the outcome of the crazy game between Fabio Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi, who was in a strong position to win the title, but a draw against the Italian-American grandmaster spoiled Nepomniachtchi's hopes, resulting in the Indian's win.

Nepomniachtchi, the joint leader with Gukesh for most of the tournament, could have won the title had he beat Caruana in the final round. He finished with 8.5 points.

Following his magnificent achievement, Gukesh reflected on his triumph.

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

"The main thing was that I was in the right mindset throughout the event. From start to end, I was in good spirits, fully motivated, and I really wanted to win the event. All these things come together. It was helpful that I was sharp chess-wise and I managed to play some good chess but I would say mainly my mental attitude in this tournament was very very good," added Gukesh.

Gukesh's Candidates winning performance made him the contender to challenge world champion Ding Liren in the Championships final later this year. It also helped the Indian prodigy to surpass a record set by Kasparov four decades ago. Kasparov was 22 when he qualified in 1984 to challenge compatriot Anatoly Karpov.

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