The legendary Viswanathan Anand feels young Indian chess players are on the right track given their penchant to hog the limelight on and off, here and there.
Teenage Grandmasters R Praggnanandhaa, D Gukesh and Arjun Erigaisi among others have been enjoying a superb run in 2022 with wins over world champion Magnus Carlsen being the feather on their caps.
Commenting on Gukesh's stunning 29-move win over the Norwegian superstar Carlsen in the preliminary section of the ongoing Aimchess Rapid online tournament, the five-time world champion said, it showed that players like him and Erigaisi are very strong and could compete against anybody on the other side of the board.
"I think it just shows that Arjun and Gukesh are very, very strong players who can compete well against whoever is sitting on the other side of the board. It is also nice that they play regularly against the best players because this is how you keep up," Anand told PTI on Monday.
A day before Gukesh, Erigaisi had defeated the world No.1.
The Chennai-based chess legend was all praise for Gukesh and said he is someone who always plays fearlessly and never holds back.
"With Gukesh, he is winning games, losing games, but he is very much in contention for qualification. It was a sharp battle. Gukesh played fearlessly as always. He never holds back and kept the game very dynamic.
"He was worse, but Magnus made one mistake, and Gukesh's tactical accuracy is very, very high, and (he) immediately pounced on it.
"I have personal experience of this with Gukesh. Quite often I will make one mistake, and he will pounce on it. He is very alert. This is one of Magnus' skills, and it is good that Gukesh shows it, and it just tells me that they (Gukesh and Erigaisi) are on the right track," Anand said of the 16-year old, who is the country's youngest GM to attain the title at the age of 12 years, 7 months and 17 days, in 2019.
Gukesh, who is trained by Vishnu Prasanna has been in superb form this year and impressed with a splendid performance in the chess Olympiad at Mamallapuram in July and August, starring for India-2 in a bronze medal finish in the Open section.
He seems to be continuing his fine run, and the win over Carlsen, his first ever over the Norwegian, could be the beginning of bigger things.
Having scored over the world No.1 in an online game and asked if it would be difficult to beat him over the board, Gukesh said, "Online and classical are two different formats and require different skill sets.
"Owing to Magnus's skill sets, he is a tough opponent to play against whether it's online or offline. Both formats require different skill sets, and I believe it would be a fun encounter to play against him in the classical format."
Meanwhile, former women's world champion Susan Polgar, in a tweet after Gukesh's defeat of Carlsen, wrote: "All 3 teenagers @DGukesh @ArjunErigaisi @rpragchess have now defeated the World Champion Magnus Carlsen! It is only a matter of time there will be another Classical World Champion from India!"
International Master and noted coach V Saravanan hailed Gukesh for the victory over Carlsen and said the youngsters (Gukesh, Erigaisi and Praggnanandhaa) have been improving very steadily and such performances would enable them to play strong tournaments.
"These boys are improving very steadily. Beating Carlsen is a kind of indication... This is of course online (event) and speed chess... But still, they need to prove in classical tournament(s)...," he added.
"It provides an opportunity for them. I expect them (the young Indian players) to get good breaks and get to play strong tournaments. All in all, we are looking at a bright future," Saravanan said.
He also appeared to disagree with the notion that the once-unbeatable Carlsen was on the wane. The Norway player has surprisingly suffered a few defeats in 2022, including to Indian aces Erigaisi, Gukesh and Praggnanandhaa.
"Carlsen is not on the wane definitely," he said, brushing aside the losses suffered by him recently.