Grandmaster Gukesh to only play in U-14 category at Youth World eventDecember 4, 2020, Chennai
It’s been a mixed year for Grandmaster D Gukesh. In January, the 14-year-old won the Hillerod 110th-anniversary event in Denmark his maiden open category tournament and followed that by clinching the Cannes Open before the covid-19 pandemic struck.
Gukesh, who became the world’s second youngest GM in 2019, will have a chance to end the year on a high at the FIDE Online Cadet & Youth World rapid championships where he will feature in the U-14 open category.
Gukesh could have been part of the U-16 and U-18 age-group events as well but with matches of all the categories happening simultaneously Gukesh had little choice but to focus on the U-14 only.
By virtue of being the world no. 1 in U-14 age-group Gukesh automatically qualifies for the last-16 stage in that category. “It was a tough choice to make as I was keen to be part of the U-18 event as well. But it wouldn’t have been possible to feature in both categories at the same time. However, the field in U-14 open category is as competitive as any other in the tournament. This is my last year in the U-14 category and I hope to do well,” Gukesh told TOI. In 2018, Gukesh had won the U-12 world crown in Spain.
The last 9 months has seen Gukesh lay more emphasis on his openings. “When the pandemic began in march, I wasn’t so adept at online chess. But by playing in so many online events, I have gotten better with regards to my rapid and blitz games which should hold me in good stead in this competition,” said Gukesh.
Apart from Gukesh, Nihal Sarin (U-18 open) and B Savitha Shri (U-14 girls) are the only other indians to get a direct entry into the knockout stages. While R Praggnanandhaa isn’t featured in this competition, but it has other prominent Grandmasters such as P Iniya, Prithu Gupta among others who are part of the qualifiers.