Vidit the immovable object has become an unstoppable force
Reaching Elo 2700 is a big milestone for a chess player. Many GMs might even kill to reach the feat. India's Vidit Gujrathi had been lurking around this much-revered rating mark for quite a while. He came close, drifted away, but kept chasing. And in the end, on August 20, 2017, he finally barged into the 2700 club with a bang. At the Spanish Higher League, playing for team Solvay, he scored an unbeaten 4.5/7 beating Alexander Areshchenko in the final round to catapult his rating to 2701.7. The fact that only three Indians had been able to achieve this mark speaks volumes about this achievement.
The recently concluded Spanish Higher League held in Linares brought big news for Indian chess. The top board player for Team Solvay, Vidit Santosh Gujrathi, had won his final round game and had finished the tournament with an unbeaten score of 4.5/7. With this last round win against the Ukrainian GM Alexander Areschenko, Vidit had crossed the coveted 2700 rating mark – a feat only three Indians (Viswanathan Anand, Krishnan Sasikiran and Pentala Harikrishna) have been able to achieve before him. Since he is not playing any more tournaments this month, his published rating on September 1 will be 2702.
Talking about his feat, the 22-year-old wrote on Facebook that he felt relieved since he was very close to the 2700 mark since his last few tournaments. He further added that he also realizes that rating does not mean anything if one doesn’t work hard.
Vidit's friend and teammate, GM B Adhiban commented on Vidit's latest achievement saying, "I always used to call him the immovable object because he is not easy to beat. And now, he has managed to retain that quality while also becoming strong enough to beat the best!"
Vidit had been chasing this milestone for quite a few years now. In fact, in an interview with The Hindu, back in the November of 2015, Vidit had already made clear that his next goal was to reach Elo 2700. At the World Team Championship held earlier this year, he came very close. In the first two rounds, he had defeated Radoslaw Wojtaszek and drawn against the Chinese number one, Ding Liren, bringing his rating up to 2698.7 in live ratings. His performance in the later rounds, however, pulled him back and he missed out on achieving his goal.
But Vidit isn’t someone who would get so easily discouraged. He has suffered several setbacks before and has always come back as a winner. In fact, ever since he started playing chess, Vidit was obsessed with winning. In the initial days, he wanted to win against his father; that was solely why he wanted to learn the game! Once that was achieved, he was itching to win at the tournaments he participated in. And when even that was accomplished, he set out to etch his name on the global stage. In 2008, he won the World Under-14 Championship. His zeal to achieve bigger milestones never let him rest.
Today, he has not only achieved the 2700 Elo mark but is also preparing to cross swords with the crème-de-la-crème of the chess world. He will be in Tbilisi, Georgia next month to play the Chess World Cup. If he wins or finishes as a runner up at this event, he will qualify for the Candidates tournament, the event whose winner gets to challenge the World Champion for his title. But the road to victory will be a tough one this time as the field includes bigwigs like the current the current World Champion, Magnus Carlsen; former five-time World Champion, Viswanathan Anand; current world number two, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave; and many more.
The Indian number three is currently in Prague where he will be spending some time before heading to Tbilisi for the big event. He knows that this is a huge opportunity for him and is training hard for it. The task ahead of him is indeed a tough one. But with his kind of attitude he is sure to achieve all that he desires, maybe not immediately, but definitely.
Firstpost and ChessBase India have collaborated to bring you extensive and detailed coverage of the chess scene in India and internationally. This article was first published on Firstpost and can be read here:
Vidit Gujrathi 'relieved' after crossing coveted 2,700 Elo rating, but bigger challenges lie ahead