B. Adhiban in awe of prolific and consistent D. Gukesh

At a function organised to felicitate D. Gukesh, India’s youngest GM, B. Adhiban praises the consistency of the 12-year-old chess wizard.

Small wonder: D. Gukesh, India’s youngest GM, at a felicitation function in Chennai on Friday.   -  M. Vedhan

Viswanathan Anand and Bobby Fischer are D. Gukesh’s favourite players.

The world’s second-youngest and India’s youngest Grand Master (GM) revealed as much at a felicitation function organised by his sponsor Microsense and the Tamil Nadu State Chess Association here on Friday.

The 12-year-old Gukesh also said he “would like to play and beat” Anand.

‘Very good achievement’

GM B. Adhiban, also present at the function, expressed his amazement at Gukesh’s frequency of play. He said, “I can just make a direct comparison. I was barely a State champion when I was a 12-year-old. And he has already become India’s youngest GM. I think I heard his name for the first time around April 2018 in Reykjavik. I was, like everyone, talking about [R. ] Praggnanandhaa. But my friend Erwin L’Ami asked ‘what about D. Gukesh?’. I was surprised he knew about him and I didn’t.

“Then, in a span of less than a year, he had played so many games. I saw in a report that he played, like, 276 games or something, and gained around 152 points. And the main thing is, he lost rating in less tournaments and kept on playing. To maintain consistency when the K-factor is less than 10 is a very good achievement.”

D. Gukesh being felicitated by S.Kailasanathan, Managing Director, Microsense, on Friday. He is also flanked by (left) Manuel Aaron, and D.V. Sundar, Vice President, FIDE. Photo: M. Vedhan

 

Manuel Aaron, the first Indian chess master and nine-time National champion said he came to know about Gukesh from V. Venugopalan, who was working in his chess academy. “He told me he’s been working with him as an end game coach; only for the end game. Whenever I read in the newspapers that Gukesh had had some success, I used to tell him (Venugopalan) ‘your horse is doing well!’”

Changed times

Asked if playing a lot is a cause for concern for today’s young players, he said, “A lot has changed. During the days of [Mikhail] Botvinnik, it used to be said one should play competitive chess for only two months in a year. In the 1950s and 60s, I mean. And that for a lot of the rest of the time, one has to analyse their play. But nowadays nobody bothers about that. If they (the players) are able to do it (play a lot), then let them do it.”

Read | A rousing welcome for D. Gukesh

S. Kailasanathan, Managing Director of Microsense, said he heard about Gukesh from a coach, tracked him for a month, and then decided to sponsor him. “Sponsoring Gukesh was a no-brainer. He was a hot prospect. It was surprising and fortunate that no one else had approached him,” he said.