3 Chennai champs make all right movesNovember 17, 2018, Chennai
Tamil Nadu’s famous assembly line churned out three more chess champs on Thursday. While D Gukesh (open) and Savitha Shri (girls) won gold at the World Cadets championships (U-12) in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Karthikeyan Pandian became India’s 57th Grandmaster, bagging the final norm after finishing joint first in Novi Sad, Serbia. Pandian had formerly coached Gukesh.
Riding on the Chennai teens’ golds, India came second behind China (two gold and a bronze), followed by the US with a gold, a silver and two bronzes.
“This is a special day for all three of us. I am extremely happy that Karthikeyan sir also became a GM. This is definitely a tribute to his patience. As for me, I performed up to the mark,” Gukesh, an International Master, told TOI. ..
While Savitha Shri had won a silver and gold at the Asian Youth chess championships in Bangkok before her triumph at the Commonwealth meet in New Delhi earlier this year, this is the first world title for Gukesh. He won 10 of 11 rounds, losing only to Russia’s Murzin Volodor. He faced France’s Timothe Razafindratsima in the final round.
“He is a strong opponent and it felt great to defeat him. To be able to bag my first world title is special,” said Gukesh, who bagged his maiden GM norm earlier this year. Five – time world champion Viswanathan Anand was impressed.
Anand praise for Gukesh
Viswanathan Anand said, “I sat next to him on a few occasions during the Isle of Man tournament last month. What I was most impressed about was that he defended quite tenaciously. It doesn’t surprise me that he did so well.”
Savitha Shri, who had eight victories and two draws and ended up with 10 points, said she was pleased she didn’t commit too many errors. “I was able to capitalize on my positions better and this win gives me a lot of confidence.”
Karthikeyan had bagged three GM norms and the mandatory 2500 ELO rating in January last year but all of them came at competitions in with no foreign players. “I was in a strange situation. Despite fulfilling all the criteria, I still had to go and bag a GM norm in an overseas tournament which I have done now,” said Karthikeyan. It has taken Karthikeyan, who became an IM in 2008 and achieved a peak rating of 2478 in April 2009, almost a decade to reach the next level.