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Gukesh makes history as youngest-ever challenger to claim world chess title

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Toronto: In a thrilling conclusion to the Candidates Chess Tournament, 17-year-old Indian Grandmaster D Gukesh secured a crucial draw against American chess prodigy Hikaru Nakamura in the 14th and final round here.

With this, Gukesh concluded the tournament with nine points out of a possible 14, clinching the title and making history as the youngest-ever challenger to win the world chess title.

This monumental victory propels Gukesh into a highly anticipated showdown with reigning world champion Ding Liren of China in the forthcoming world championship, scheduled for the last quarter of the year.

Chess enthusiasts around the globe eagerly await this clash of titans, as Gukesh looks to challenge Ding Liren for the coveted world title.

The Chennai lad outpaced Garry Kasparov’s record by a significant margin. The Russian chess maestro was 22 when he first qualified to challenge compatriot Anatoly Karpov in 1984.

In the decisive final round, Gukesh showcased his readiness for the grand stage, holding Nakamura to a draw with the black pieces. Despite Nakamura’s attempts in the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Gukesh maintained control, ultimately securing victory in the rook and opposite-coloured bishops endgame.

After clinching the title, Gukesh said: “So relieved and so happy. I was following this crazy game (between Fabio Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi), and then I went for a walk with my second (Gregorz Gazevsky), I think that helped.”

Along with the prestigious title, Gukesh was awarded a cash prize of 88,500 euros (approximately Rs 78.5 lakh). The total prize fund for the Candidates Tournament was 5,00,000 euros.

Gukesh joins the ranks of the legendary Viswanathan Anand as only the second Indian to win the esteemed tournament. Anand, a five-time world champion, secured his victory in 2014.

Anand congratulated Gukesh on his remarkable achievement, in an X post: “Congratulations to @DGukesh for becoming the youngest challenger. The @WacaChess family is so proud of what you have done. I’m personally very proud of how you played and handled tough situations. Enjoy the moment.”

With Gukesh finishing on nine points, attention shifted to the match between Fabio Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi. Both players ended with 8.5 points, alongside Nakamura, in a shared second place.

Gukesh’s journey in the chess world began early, earning his Grandmaster title at just 12. His recent victory adds to his growing list of accomplishments, which includes a silver medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year.

The dates and venue for the upcoming world championship clash between Gukesh and Ding Liren are yet to be finalized, but anticipation is already building for what promises to be a thrilling contest.

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