The apprentice beat the master on Friday when Indian chess prodigy Gukesh D recorded his first win against former world champion Vishwanathan Anand at the SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz tournament. The pair played a memorable match in the eighth round of the rapid event, with Gukesh D edging out Anand in a 40-move battle. This was the first time the two had gone head to head in a tournament setting, and the young Grandmaster is delighted to mark what would prove to be a very important win for his tournament.
The SuperUnited Rapid and Blitz tournament is underway in Croatia, and features star Grandmasters such as Magnus Carlsen, Ian Nepomniatchi, Fabio Caruana, Jan-Krzystov Duda and Constantin Lupulescu. Anand and Gukesh share the fourth spot in the tournament, and chase Carlsen in third as well as Caruana and Nepomniatchi in joint-first. Sharing 10 points each, the victory will be invaluable for Gukesh and he looks to have a strong performance in the tour.
Discussing the match, Gukesh said it was “a very important win.” Despite his win, the 17-year-old admitted that it wasn’t always smooth sailing. "I thought I was better, but he equalised quite easily. Then he blundered the back rank. And after that the position got really tricky. It was very hard to play from there,” he said. Fortunately for Gukesh, he was able to weather the storm and convert the more or less equal position into a victory. In spite of his brilliant win against Anand, Gukesh has had a mixed tournament, losing to Caruana and being held to a draw by Duda.
The 2006-born player is considered one of the brightest upcoming players in not only Indian chess but across the world. After learning how to play the game at age seven, Gukesh achieved the title of grandmaster in 2019 at age 12. Since then he has shot up the rankings, peaking this year at a FIDE Rating of 2744, which makes him the thirteenth best active player in the world.