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World's youngest GM Gukesh is now a teenager

by Sagar Shah - 29/05/2019

A young boy from Chennai was taught chess when he was six years old. Seven years later, today, he became a teenager! 13 years old. What happened in those seven years? Well, the youngster became the under-11 national champion, under-12 Asian Champion, under-12 World Champion, scored his three IM norms, reached 2400 Elo, became an IM, scored his three GM norms, reached 2500, became a GM, became India's youngest GM, second youngest GM in the history of chess! Phew... Yes, the youngster we are talking about is Gukesh! And the good news for Indian chess is that he has just started his journey. A very happy 13th birthday, Gukesh.

World's youngest GM turns 13

The youngest GM in the world as on today, Gukesh, has turned 13 years old on 29th of May 2019. Gukesh celebrated his birthday with his team mates in Brest, France at the French Top 12

The below facts have been reproduced from the ChessBase India Juniors #02 article by Avathanshu Bhat

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.