Sixteen-year-old Grandmaster (GM) D. Gukesh (Ello rating 2,684), Indian chess “Rajinikanth”, set the Chennai Olympiad on fire on Saturday by defeating American super GM Fabiano Caruana (Ello rating 2,783).
Team India-2 suffered a resounding defeat against the top seeded US.
With this win, Gukesh has probably entered the Olympiad history with the highest score of 8/8 with three more rounds to go.
Gukesh continued to punch above his weight and delivered a knockout punch to Caruana, who was nearly 100 ELO points higher than the Indian. Playing with the black pieces, Gukesh opted for the Sicilian defense and was on the backfoot for a long time.
“Gukesh had a bit of trouble in the opening and Caruana had a big advantage. But Gukesh managed the position well on the 64-square board without giving an inch to his opponent,” GM Vishnu Prasanna, coach of India’s latest chess sensation, had told IANS. According to Prasanna, the American, despite the advantage, could not press beyond 21/22.
He added, “Having a good grip on his position, Gukesh got an opportunity between moves 28-31 and cashed it.” Gukesh’s long-time coach Prasanna said such a jump in his ward before the tournament was unexpected.
“Gukesh handled the pressure well despite not having played at this level till now,” he said. The other three juniors in the India-2 team also punched above their weight to defeat the top-seeded USA team. Packed with Super GMs – whose ELO ratings exceed 2,700.
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In fourth place, Indian GM Raunak Sadhwani defeated GM Lanier Dominguez Perez (2,754) by 45 moves. Indian GM Nihal Sarin (2,651) followed Levon Aronian (2,775) and GM R. Pragnanandha (2,648) tied with a split point. GM Wesley So (2,773).
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