“Have Heavily Benefitted From His Academy”: Gukesh D On Chess Legend Viswanathan Anand

Indian chess prodigy D Gukesh on Thursday thanked the legendary Viswanathan Anand for playing a huge role in shaping his career, saying “I wouldn’t have been close to what I am now if it wasn’t for him”. The 17-year-old Grandmaster scripted history on Monday by winning the Candidates Chess Tournament in Toronto to become the youngest ever challenger to the world title, beating a record created by the legendary Garry Kasparov 40 years ago. The triumph paved the way for Gukesh’s clash against reigning world champion Ding Liren of China later this year.

“Vishy sir has been a huge inspiration for me and I have heavily benefitted from his academy. I am truly grateful to him and wouldn’t have been close to what I am now if it wasn’t for him,” Gukesh said at a press conference a few hours after his arrival here to a rousing reception from fans and schoolmates.

Gukesh has trained at the Westbridge-Anand Chess Academy which came into existence in 2020. Incidentally, before Gukesh, Anand was the only Indian to have won the Candidates, the last time being 2014.

Speaking about his much-anticipated clash against Liren, Gukesh said, “The biggest challenge against Ding would be how I prepare myself and being in the right state of mind since it will be a big match.

“There are a lot of expectations and a lot at stake. I have full belief in myself and will be going in with the same strategy. Hopefully, it will work out well.” The history-making teen was swamped by fans as he returned to an enthusiastic reception early this morning.

Hundreds of students from the Velammal Vidyalaya, the school where Gukesh studies, lined up at the airport at least one hour before his flight landed to greet him.

“I am happy to see what the victory meant to the country. I was delighted to see young kids full of energy and rooting for me the moment I landed in Chennai. It’s truly special and means a lot to me,” he said.

His mother Padma, who is a microbiologist, was at the airport to receive him. His father Rajinikanth had travelled with Gukesh to Toronto.

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