Credit: X

Credit: X

On Sunday, April 21, the Indian grandmaster, Dommaraju Gukesh became the youngest World Championship challenger in history after winning the Candidates Chess 2024 tournament. The 17-year-old drew against Hikaru Nakamura, but it was the marathon 109-move draw between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Fabiano Caruana, which gave him the title win with nine points, 0.5 ahead of the rest of the field.

In the Queen’s Gambit accepted, Hikaru Nakamura tried A3 on the seventh move, which Dommaraju Gukesh was ready to meet. The American sacrificed a pawn to get some play, but ultimately, the queen trade led to him managing to hold a pawn-down endgame for a draw against the Indian after a lot of moves.

Following his title win at the Candidates Chess 2024, Dommaraju Gukesh spoke to the media about the moment when he realised that this could be his tournament. He said, “I had to pinpoint a moment where I really felt this could be my moment, it was probably after the seventh game, after I lost to Firouzja... Even though I just had a painful loss, I was feeling at my absolute best. Maybe this loss gave me so much motivation.”

Vishwanathan Anand, one of the greatest chess players of all time, sent out a post on X to congratulate Dommaraju Gukesh for making history at the Candidates Chess 2024 tournament. He wrote, “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”.

Dommaraju Gukesh will be challenging Ding Liren, the World Champion from China, later this year, in the World Chess Championship match.

In the women’s competition at the Candidates Chess 2024 tournament, Tan Zhongyi (9) won the title with a whopping 1.5-point lead over her Chinese compatriot Lei Tingjie, and the Indian duo of Vaishali Rameshbabu and Koneru Humpy. She will be challenging another Chinese compatriot Ju Wenjun, the Women’s World Champion, next year, in a rematch from 2018, which ended in a loss for her.