chessbase india logo

CBIJ #02: Top ten things you didn't know about Gukesh!

by Avathanshu Bhat - 31/03/2018

Here's the second edition of CBIJ (ChessBase India Juniors!). CBIJ covers all the kids in India born on or after 1st January 2005. A lot of things happened in the last 15 days. The focus of this issue is India's latest International Master - 12-year-old D. Gukesh! Thanks to regular reports by ChessBase India we all know Gukesh the chess player quite well, but what about Gukesh the 12-year-old! We let you know more about him here. Also we have the interview with the Prince of the North-East Shahil Dey. And yes, try your hand at the trivia. Last month no one was able to get the answer! We hope this month you will fare better! Enjoy the second edition of CBIJ by Avathanshu Bhat.

Budding Talents

What a month this has been! Gukesh making his IM title, Divya making her second IM norm and Rakshitta making her maiden IM norm! There used to be a time when getting a rating was difficult. It still is. But kids these days are surging ahead and gaining Elo and making norms, titles in no time. One really wonders, how do they do it?


The chess world is no longer a world for players of long years of experience. We have seen kids who have just played chess for a few years, yet are as strong as anybody around them. I feel that rating isn’t a yardstick to judge the level of the players - the quality of play matters as well - but getting Elo as high as 2000 is not child’s play. Every player has their own story to tell. Some of them almost chose another sport (swimming or cricket) but by a turn of fate, they all started playing chess seriously and are now well known worldwide. Such players start chess at a very early age and will give up everything else to toil at the game. The rate at which they get such giant achievement is truly worthy of admiration. Their will to keep working and achieve their goals is unrivaled with anything else I have seen.

D. Gukesh - the latest IM of Indian chess! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

We see these talents slowly emerging into the main pages of newspapers, sports magazines and online articles. Take for example Gukesh. With his recent IM title, he is making speedy progress in the chess world. But there are lot of things we don’t know about Gukesh the 12-year-old boy.

Top ten things you didn't know about Gukesh!

10. Gukesh’s ‘Heaven on Earth’ is Malaysia

He has played many tournaments in India and abroad. His favourite place so far is Malaysia. Gukesh went there to play the DATMO (Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open) in January where he increased his rating by 37 points! He also got his first IM norm at the First Friday tournament in the same city! A great tournament plus a great location always equals a memorable experience!


9. He misses this food the most when abroad…

…Pani Puri! It can sometimes be painful to be in such beautiful places with a major drawback: no chaat stands in sight. Especially for Indians, it is almost a blessing (not in a disguise) to have absolutely anything from home.

Gukesh the foodie?! | Photo: Peter Long

8. Sportive Gukesh!

Devoting his full time to chess never really allowed many prizes in any other sports. However, this young boy has two other casual hobbies, Cricket and Badminton. What’s more is that…

7. …all the talent in him is unique!

When asked, Gukesh replied that not many other people in his family play any sports. His dad, Rajni Kanth, does have an International rating in Chess, but that was only after Gukesh showed his potential first in the game of Kings and Queens. We can only conclude that one rogue gene caused it all!

When the son inspired the father to get a rating! | Photo: Niklesh Jain

6. Contingency plans? Gukesh has one ready!

What if the young lad hadn’t had the splendid potential for chess? What if that interest never sparked years ago? Well, Gukesh has something he can fall back onto! With the same devotion to chess, by this time Gukesh may have been a world class Cricketer!

5. Bored no longer!

Boredom is possibly the worst thing to have on a day like the weekends. Well the solution is Youtube - the memes, vines, 'Try not to laugh' compilations, challenges etc. are what Gukesh watches to brighten up. Oh, and he says he watches ChessBase India Interviews ardently as well!

4. Entertainment- a vital routine!

Everyone loves a good movie, whatever the genre maybe. For us youngsters, Action, Sci-fi, Adventure, Fantasy are the world in film tastes. Gukesh loves India’s most ‘box office shaking’ action film, Baahubali 2. I mean, who didn’t love that last scene?

3. Reading tastes…

We kids love a good comic. The comics in the newspaper, Garfield® or Tinkle is always a treat! Gukesh however prefers the last of those, Tinkle.

2. Best buds!

Leon Mendonca, Gukesh's best friend! | Photo: Amruta Mokal

Being a very serious player, where is there time to party? Gukesh though, has many friends to keep in touch with. But that one best dude, currently, is another Goan talent, Leon Luke Mendonca. Keep an eye out for this little guy! He will soon feature in one of our editions!

1. That one game…

…where he feels he played best was against Praneeth Vuppala in U-11 Nationals in Pune. A fantastic game, with great spirit, Gukesh took the full point with grace. It seems like Lasker was alive on the board, when Gukesh went for his famed double bishop sacrifice. The game can be viewed below.

The double bishop sacrifice as shown by Gukesh to IM Sagar Shah at the under-11 nationals in Pune

Gukesh's team:

Three people who have worked very hard for Gukesh's success are his parents Rajinikanth and Padma Kumari, and his first coach Vijay Anand. ChessBase India got in touch with three of them to give you insights into this amazing talent's life.

Praggnanandhaa was Gukesh's inspiration - Rajinikanth
We speak to Padma Kumari, Gukesh's mother, at the Delhi International 2018
IM. P. Karthikeyan, GM Vishnu Prasanna, are Gukesh's recent trainers. But the initial foundation was laid out by Vijay Anand. We speak with Vijay about how he developed his raw talent into a polished diamond. 

Junior interview: Little prince of the north east - Shahil Dey

One of the best talents from North east India - Shahil Dey | Photo: Amruta Mokal

North-East India hasn't seen a titled player in chess yet. CM Shahil Dey is their best bet. A swimming champion turned chess player at the age of five, he is now an 1896 rated with the title of CM and was felicitated with the National Child Award from the President of India. Watch the following interview about his chess, swimming and personal life!

Skype interview with Shahil Dey by yours truly

Answer to ChessBase India Juniors' trivia 01:

The question that was asked to you was: Can you guess who this super ChessBase India junior is?

We received many comments in the last article and also 21 comments on Facebook but no one was able to guess the right answer.

Well, it was none other than Pranav. V., born in 2006 and rated 2333. He is currently ranked number two behind Gukesh.

ChessBase India Juniors' Trivia 02:

Hint: This player has chess in their genes!

There will be one winner selected via lucky draw from all the correct answers. The winner will receive Rs.250 gift voucher from ChessBase India.

Carlsen vs Caruana!

Every World Champion was once a beginner! | Photo source: unknown

Were you all following the Candidates 2018? Fabiano Caruana truly deserved that victory. The world will have to wait till November to see the clash of the two titans and find out who will reign as world champion! Both started very young and dreamed big, like you and me. Think big, dream big! What is your thought on the on these two champions. Do you think Caruana can dethrone Carlsen? Let us know in the comments section below!

Top 5 born in 2005:

 25059530 Praggnanandhaa R IM  IND2507   1736   2207  2005M 
 35093487 Sadhwani, Raunak FM  IND2369   2308   2151  2005M 
 35006916 Divya Deshmukh WFM WFM IND2138   1544   1800  2005F 
 45048975 Aaryan Varshney   IND2108   1576      2005M 
 25073230 Rakshitta Ravi   IND2107   1507   1451  2005F 

Top 5 born in 2006:

 46616543 Gukesh D CM  IND2360   1286   1715  2006M 
 25060783 Pranav, V   IND2333   1874   1955  2006M 
 35042025 Aditya Mittal CM  IND2206   1488   1655  2006M 
 46608850 Shome Shiv   IND2148   1627   1558  2006M 
 35080580 Samant Aditya S   IND2107   1464   1637  2006M

Top 5 born in 2007:

Name Classical Rapid Blitz
 Mullick,Raahil 2053            
 Bharath Subramaniyam H 1997    2193    1899  
 Dev, Shah 1997    1500    1730  
 Prraneeth Vuppala 1943    1628    1424  
 Shahil Dey 1896    1735    1767  

Top 5 born in 2008:

Name Classical Rapid Blitz
 Kadam Om Manish 1788    1282       
 Shaik Sumer Arsh 1561            
 Arhan Chethan Anand 1526    1338    1504  
 Vedant Nitin vekhande 1512    1229       
 Sahib Singh 1484            

Contact us:

Did you like the second edition of ChessBase India Juniors? If you want to see any content of yours on the page, or win a special prize by guessing, start pouring your opinions in the comments section below! You can also email us at

About the author:

Avathanshu Bhat has been writing about chess for well over a year now. He has published innumerable articles for ChessBase India and his articles have been well received by the audience. He is the editor-in-chief of ChessBase India Juniors. His main intention is to bring the best junior players of our country into the limelight with his writings. Here is some of the work he has done in the past:

Life of a young chess player

Joy of losing

G. Akash wins the Grand Hyderabad affair

10-year-old boy's deep calculation (50,000+ hits on Youtube)

12-year-old chessentrepreneur Avathanshu Bhat

Chess species classified

Hemant Sharma becomes International Master

Colours of Black and White

Champion from Chudamani - IM Sidhant Mohapatra

Blindfold simul by Timur Gareyev

A letter from 2050

ChessBase India Juniors #01

54,000 hits on Youtube!

Contact Us