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Reaction of top Indian GMs after Gukesh hit 2700 Elo

by Sagar Shah - 24/07/2022

Gukesh reaching 2700 Elo was a big milestone in the career of the youngster. He did it at the age of just 16 years making him the fourth youngest player in the history of chess to achieve this feat (after Wei Yi, Carlsen and Firouzja). We spoke to many of the top players of Indian chess including Anand, Harikrishna, Humpy, Harika, Arjun, Pragg and many more and got to know what they thought is Gukesh's main quality that has helped him reach an Elo of 2700 at such a tender age. We also take you down the memory lane with 67 pictures from Gukesh's career from 2016 to 2022! 

On 16th of July 2022, D. Gukesh beat Le Quang Liem from Vietnam in the 3rd round of the Biel GM tournament in Switzerland and crossed the magical figure of 2700 Elo. Here are a few facts about this achievement.

1. Gukesh was born on the 29th of May 2006. He has crossed 2700 at the tender age of 16 years, 1 months and 17 days.

2. He is the youngest Indian ever to achieve this feat.

3. Gukesh is the 4th youngest ever in the world to cross the 2700 Elo mark. Wei Yi was the youngest (15 years 7 months and 29 days), Magnus Carlsen crossed it at an age of 15 years and 11 months in live ratings, Alireza Firouzja was the third youngest. (16 years 1 month and 11 days).

4. During the pandemic Gukesh did not play a single rated game for nearly 13 months. His last event was the Cannes Open in February 2020 and then he played at the Bangladesh League in March 2021.

5. Gukesh becomes the 6th India ever to cross the rating barrier of 2700 after Vishy Anand, Sasikiran, Harikrishna, Vidit and Adhiban.

6. His live rating is 2698.5 right now after the Biel Masters, which makes him no. 38 in the world.

7. He is currently India no.4 behind Anand, Harikrishna and Vidit

What a phenomenal feat by Gukesh crossing the magical Elo of 2700 at such a tender age!

After Gukesh acheived his 2700 Elo, we wrote to some of the best players of India to give their take on what they thought about Gukesh's achievement and what are his strengths that have helped him to reach where he is today. Here is what they had to say:

Vishy Anand

Vishy Anand singled out Gukesh's ability to focus and block out other things as an important power that has led him to where he is right now

P. Harikrishna

Phenomenal achievement by Gukesh. My hearty congratulations to him. I observed his resourcefulness in any kind of position and saving difficult positions are his biggest strengths. Another critical point I observed in him is that he is able to come back from losses.

Arjun Erigaisi

It's a remarkable achievement by Gukesh, he has always been very strong and talented, though away from the limelight. From what I know, Gukesh's determination is just fantastic and his will to win games is simply incredible - I believe these 2 factors really helped him. I'm very happy for him as a friend and hope that he continues to do well.

S.L. Narayanan

Its great that he crossed the magical 2700 at such a young age.It really motivates other youngsters and players from India in general and I am pretty sure more and more players will cross 2700 in the near future.He has recently become very strong and has adapted to playing different kinds of position very well.So I would say he has become more universal and also his fighting abilities have helped him a lot. I wish him all the very best on his onward journey to bigger destinations.

Praggnanandhaa

First of all huge Congratulations to Gukesh! Amazing games! I especially liked his two wins against Le Quang Liem and Nodirbek Abdusattorov in Biel with Black. It is inspiring to see how Gukesh played so many tournaments without getting physical and mentally tired.

Sasikiran Krishnan

I think Gukesh is hard working,  on and off the board. It is a wonderful achievement and credit should be given to his parents and coaches who provided the right environment for his development (especially during the pandemic period). I believe that he attended the training camps conducted by Kramnik (former world champion) and Gelfand (former World Championship challenger) and is now being part of Anand's (former World Champion) WACA academy. I think their guidance was crucial to his quick development. It makes a huge difference when you get guidance from World champions at such an early age.

Raunak Sadhwani

I would like to Congratulate Gukesh on achieving this amazing feat! Very well done! Truly Inspiring. Last few months Gukesh has played all of his games with very high accuracy and has been consistent in his performance. His calculations and technique of converting games have become his strong point .

Abhijeet Gupta

The talent and the qualities were always there as I remember when he wasn't even a GM, Vishnu used to talk very highly of him and even when I played against him back in the day you could feel how strong he was already as the 12 year old kid :) but having talent is one thing but I feel the the amount of hard work he puts in is simply amazing.

K. Humpy

I saw him for the first time in the Gibraltar chess festival 2019 along with his father. It reminded me of my younger days:) I had an impression that he is very self disciplined, hardworking and determined to reach his goals and he is very good at calculating accurately. I am not surprised with his achievement and believe he has many more feathers to add.

D. Harika

I am very happy for him that the kid is successfully reaching his goals with all the hard work and dedication. This should be just the beginning for a long way to go and achieve much bigger goals. About the qualities, I don't know him on a very personal level. But whenever I saw or interacted with him during tournaments, I noticed that he is very focused and dedicated to chess. Also, I have seen his father silently waiting for him at tournaments so as in every success story, here too a dedicated family and player together achieving the goals step by step. I wish them all the best for the future and wish him more and more success.

GM Leon Mendonca

I think Gukesh breaking into the 2700 Elo bracket is indeed an awesome milestone achievement! His hard work, dedication, commitment, sincerity, passion and support from his parents & coaches have earned him the spot he is in today. I wish him all the very best and many more milestones to follow.

Shyam Sundar

First of all I would like to congratulate Gukesh, his family and his trainers. I'ts undoubtedly a big milestone! I'm very happy and elated about this feat. I have been following his games for a very long time. There are certain things that he had proved me wrong! for example: at some point he used to play only 1.Nf3 and 2.g3 and scored many victories. This inspired me a lot since I felt having a fixed and predictable repertoire may not yield so much. Playing many tournaments in a row is something I was told to not play by some of the people whom I have worked with since they felt it might kill the creativity. I'm glad that he proved me wrong here as well! He kept playing events in India and also abroad and managed to win one after the another! Another thing to learn is how to bounce back after heart breaking performance. Recently he missed a win at the Reykjavik Open by blundering in a won position in the last game against Prag. However he had made tremendous progress since then! I hope he doesn't get carried away or get pressurized in the forthcoming Olympiad event. Let the kid enjoy the momentum and go with the flow! I'm sure his performance will motivate other kids to perform much better! I wish them a healthy competition and look forward to see them in the elite! I'm also very happy that he's being trained by my very good friend Vishnu! Let the duo reach much greater heights. 

R. Vaishali

Big Congratulations to Guki! Seeing Gukesh playing one after another event makes me tired! :) Like earlier I always skip double round events, continuous tournaments so on.. but after seeing Guki I started playing double round events too! His never give up attitude in a bad position has saved him many points and is personally very inspiring for me!

Bhakti Kulkarni

It's such a fantastic news to know about Gukesh breaking into the 2700+ club! The way he played and won from black against Liem shows his class and the pace with which he is improving. Being in the WACA I got many sessions where Gukesh was one of their students in the class. I get stunned every time when I see him calculate the long lines quickly and evaluating the positions in the end so accurately at the same time he is very curious to know why particular variation is not working. I think this high level of curiosity is taking him to different level! I like his will power and fighting spirit, specially when he was so close to winning some strong events but had to settle for 2nd places. After that the way he didn't get bogged down by self doubts but instead worked harder and fought back and won many back to back International Opens! I know his parents, coaches have really worked hard and sacrificed many things for him! I wish Gukesh and the whole team all my best wishes! Definitely Gukesh has motivated and inspired many including me.. Hard work never goes wasted.. Looking forward to his games in the upcoming Olympiads at Chennai later this month!

Vantika Agrawal

Gukesh is a very strong, talented, hardworking and focused player. What makes him different is that he keeps playing tournaments one after the other tirelessly and also performs consistently. I am sure that he will reach even greater heights very soon.

Soumya Swaminathan

I saw the interview with Vishnu the other day on ChessBase India YouTube Channel. It was fabulous! I think he covered all the points - Gukesh's self belief, huge support from family and I would add a very wise coach!

Gukesh has been training with GM Vishnu Prasanna since the last five years! Below you can find an interview with Vishnu as he speaks about the strengths of this young talent.
Interview with the man who took Gukesh from a 2250 talent to 2700+ world class GM

Gukesh's evolution through pictures published on ChessBase India

Gukesh's chess career began when ChessBase India started covering tournaments! Hence, we have a huge database of his pictures. Below we will try to share some of them with you along with some memories!

Gukesh at the IIFLW as a naughty 10-year-old kid with his buddy Pranav!

Clash of generations! Gukesh vs GM Laxman!

At the National Schools 2017 we announced that any player who scores 9.0/9 will receive Komodo Chess 9 signed by Vishy Anand! Guess who made sure that we didn't get to take the DVD back home! :)

Peter Long organized a closed Round Robin tournament in Malaysia which was attended by Gukesh. With a last round win, the young boy scored his maiden IM norm at the age of 11. Look at Rajinikanth on the right - a proud father!

After scoring his IM norm, Gukesh was treated to some delicious Indian food in Malaysia!

Always eager to learn! Gukesh sits in Peter Long's Chess Academy and goes through R.B. Ramesh's Logical Decision Making book

At the Sharjah Masters, so many prodigies in one frame!

A special interview with Gukesh after he won the national under-11 in Pune!
Check out this video where Gukesh analyzes a beautiful game of double bishop sacrifice!

Parents of the champions - Rajinikanth and Baskar, parents of Gukesh and Savitha Shri

A fantastic performance at the Bhopal Open 2017 netted Gukesh the 6th place and a cash prize of Rs.40,000

When the trophy is too huge to handle! Gukesh receives his IIFLW trophy from Vishy Anand, as Parham Maghsoodloo easily handles his own spoils.

Rajinikanth is a proud father, at the same time slightly worried about where to find space in his house to place this huge trophy!

In Russia with his good friends Varshini and Rakshitta!

En route to becoming the Asian Youth Under-12 champion!

Count the number of Gold medals!

Gukesh's first GM norm at the Bangkok Open in Thailand

Gukesh had beaten Nigel Short at the Bangkok Open in a way which did not amuse the strong British GM

Another one of those typical Gukesh games where from a completely losing position, he managed to turn it around! In fact the final position was not even lost for Aravindh. He just lost on time!

Bringing home the world under-12 title!

The most critical game at the Delhi GM Open 2019. Gukesh playing against Indian IM D.K. Sharma. He won this game and achieved his GM title at the age of 12 years 7 months and 17 days!

An iconic photo captured by David Llada - AICF Secretary hugs Gukesh after the youngster achieved his GM title!

With the co-founder of ChessBase Frederic Friedel in IIFLW Mumbai 2019

Frederic travelled to Chennai and spent some time with Gukesh and his family!

Not having experienced school life, all of Gukesh's friends are in chess! Here is a beautiful picture at the closing ceremony of an event with Divya Deshmukh and Aditya Mittal

Microsense has supported Gukesh right from a very young age. Here he is being felicitated by Kailasanathan (MD, Microsense), IM Manuel Aaron (India's first IM) and D.V. Sundar, FIDE Vice President

Praise from PM of India Narendra Modi for achieving the GM title at such a tender age!

Gukesh was also a part of the iconic Amul Topical!

Velammal Vidyalaya have supported Gukesh in the staunchest possible way in his chess career

Rajinikanth and Padma Kumari are elated that their son is now a GM!

GM Vishy Anand invited Gukesh to his home in Chennai and together they analyzed some Sicilian lines!

It was a dream come true moment for the entire family

Little Pragg also joined in as Vishnu and Raghavi watch on

A bomb scare meant that one of the rounds of at the Aeroflot Open was delayed. The players were evacuated. Guess what they did after that? Played more chess!

Gukesh with one of his best friends Leon!

Frederic Friedel invited Gukesh and his father to his home in Hamburg. Also with them are Savitha Shri and Siddharth Jagadeesh

Appearing on the famous Endgame Magic show of Karsten Mueller

In between some tournaments Gukesh and Rajinikanth would have those rare moments where they could do some sight seeing!

Very likely that smile is because Gukesh figured a new idea in some opening in his head

Three super talents in one frame - Pragg, Gukesh and Nihal. This was at the French League. Nihal had gone on to beat Gukesh.

Reading Dvoretsky's endgame manual in Russian! Do these kids know Russian? Doesn't matter! They just see the chess position and start discussing. This picture was taken at the Talent House that booked in France for the trainings with Vladimir Kramnik.

What a beautiful photo! All the young talents completely engrossed in calculation with the 14th World Champion Vladimir Kramnik

Guess who took this photo?

Calculate till you drop has been Gukesh's motto...

What are airports for other than to just sleep?!

Gukesh and Pragg selecting some of their favourite books when they visited the ChessBase India office! Amruta is always very happy when she around them! Don't believe me, check out this video...
Don't miss Gukesh coming at the end and reprimanding Amruta for making so many blunders!

Visiting China to play in a strong Round Robin event

Born in 2007, 2006, 2005 and 2004 - Raahil Mullick, Gukesh, Pragg and Nihal

Frederic, Aruna, Akhil and Gukesh visiting the crocodile park in Chennai

In 2020, where Rajinikanth and Padma Kumari came to drop Gukesh at the East Coast Road villa for a training camp with Kramnik and Gelfand

Bike ride to save money on taxis!

Last event before the pandemic struck in 2020!

The Covid-19 pandemic gave Gukesh a chance to stay with his mother for a longer duration

Enjoying a nice game of cards! 

But as the pandemic went on, Gukesh made sure that he kept himself sharp by playing a lot of online events!

A rare photo from the archives when Chris Gayle visited the Velammal school in Chennai

So cute!

An intense battle in the 2nd round of the World Cup 2021 in Khanty Mansiysk against world class GM Daniil Dubov. Gukesh lost in the tiebreaks.

A famous picture where Gukesh and Svidler are playing blitz in the closing ceremony and it seems as if Svidler is asking Gukesh to keep a ear out if his name is being announced!

Gukesh played in the Chess Super League and performed excellently for his team Kingslayers. What made his performance even more astounding was the fact that he was playing a tournament in Armenia and would finish his round and then play the online event. On one of the days, his game went on for such a long time that his father had to go with the laptop to the playing venue and set it up there.

Legendary Shirov kibitzes Gukesh's game at the Grand Swiss tournament

Working with Vishy Anand in WACA has helped Gukesh improve rapidly in his chess career!

Vishy Anand wishing Gukesh the best before the start of his game at the Chessable world schools at the venue of the World Championships in Dubai

Playing at the World Blitz Championships 2021 in Poland

Just missing out on the winner's title to Arjun Erigaisi at the National Championships 2022 in Kanpur

Cool and calm Gukesh after winning the Formentera Open in Spain

The 3rd round clash with Le Quang Liem that helped Gukesh reach 2700 Elo on the live rating list in round 3 of the Biel GMT 2022

Personally I have many amazing stories of Gukesh that I can share, but the article is already very long and I will keep it for some other time. For this one, let me just share a short one - When we were in France with the young talents of Indian chess to train with Vladimir Kramnik, Gukesh was one of the students. His parents came on the first day of the camp and then left. They gave us a ladle (giant spoon) so that we (Amruta and I) could cook the food better for these young talents. On the last day, we forgot to give Gukesh the ladle back and we brought it to our home! Now this ladle lies proudly in our kitchen! Every time I take it out, it reminds me of Gukesh! The last time I used it for cooking a couple of days ago, I told Amruta, this is the ladle of a 2700 GM now! :)"

This one is our priced possessions now! :)

A total of 72 videos in Gukesh's playlist on ChessBase India YouTube channel that tracks quite a few major achievements of his chess career


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Arjun Erigaisi and Gukesh dominate 2nd Terras de Trás-os-Montes Open

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Blitz Challenge with GM D.Gukesh

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Lucena in Lockdown #5 : GM D.Gukesh

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Gukesh wins Cannes Open and moves to a live rating of 2565!

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Gukesh's unbelievable fortune in Denmark

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Shanghai Haiwan 2019: When you play well and still lose

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Gukesh sizzles at the Grenke Open 2019 with a 2700+ performance

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Endgame Magic with Gukesh and Karsten Mueller is LIVE!

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What happened when Gukesh and Pragg visited Vishy Anand's home in Chennai

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Watch out for the Indian talents born in 2006! They are coming!

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Gukesh becomes 2nd youngest GM in the history of chess at 12 years, 7 months and 17 days

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