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After historic Candidates Chess Tournament win, D Gukesh returns to rousing welcome in Chennai
Photo courtesy: Video grab

After historic Candidates Chess Tournament win, D Gukesh returns to rousing welcome in Chennai

| @indiablooms | 25 Apr 2024, 11:39 pm

Chennai: India’s teenage Grandmaster D Gukesh, who made history as the youngest challenger winning the Candidates Chess Tournament in Toronto, received a rousing welcome on his return to Chennai on Thursday.

Gukesh arrived around 3 am and was immediately thronged by an exuberant crowd, who felicitated him with garlands.

Despite the large police presence ensuring his safe passage, the atmosphere remained joyous.

Hundreds of students from Velammal Vidyalaya, Gukesh's school, eagerly awaited his arrival at the airport, lining up at least an hour before his flight touched down to greet the 17-year-old chess prodigy.

Gukesh's mother, Padma, a microbiologist, was present along with other family members to welcome him home.

The young champion's face lit up with a broad smile as he spotted her in the crowd, and they shared a warm hug after exchanging greetings.

His father, Rajinikanth, an ENT surgeon who had put his practice on hold to support Gukesh, accompanied him to Toronto for the tournament.

Later, Gukesh also reached his school Velammal Vidyalaya in Chennai's Mogappair area and he was welcomed by his teachers and fellow students.

"This was a very important victory in my career. The next huge goal is the World Championship... Chess is doing great in India. Whoever is taking a sport, I would say Chess is a really good game, even if not professionally but as a hobby, everyone should take Chess...," Gukesh told ANI.

On Monday, Gukesh made history by becoming the first Indian since Viswanathan Anand to win the Candidates Tournament, which determines the challenger for the reigning world champion.

He broke the record set by the legendary Garry Kasparov 40 years ago, becoming the youngest ever challenger for the title.

As the winner, Gukesh will now face the reigning world champion, Ding Liren of China, in the final quarter of the year.

Kasparov praised Gukesh's performance, describing it as "the Indian earthquake in Toronto" and noting that India's success at the Candidates marked a "tectonic shift" in the global order of the sport.

Among the opponents Gukesh defeated in the Candidates was R Praggnanandhaa, an 18-year-old chess prodigy from the same city. Overall, five Indians, including three men and two women, participated in the tournament.

Gukesh's journey has been filled with extraordinary achievements. He made history by becoming India's youngest Grandmaster at the age of 12 years, seven months, and 17 days in January 2019.

Presently, he boasts an impressive FIDE rating of 2743, with a peak rating of 2758, which he reached last September.

In the current FIDE Rankings, Gukesh holds the 16th position, but he achieved his highest ranking of eighth place in September last year.

One of his top recent achievements was winning a silver medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games last year in the men's team category, showcasing his prowess on the international stage.

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