Sixteen-year-old Grandmaster (GM) D.Gukesh (Elo rating 2,684), the Indian chess `Rajinikanth’, on Saturday set the Chennai Olympiad on fire defeating America’s super GM Fabiona Caruana (Elo rating 2,783).
India-2 team handed out a royal defeat to the top seeded US.
With this victory, Gukesh perhaps enters the Olympiad history with the highest score of 8/8 and three more rounds to go.
Gukesh continued punching above his weight and delivered the knockout punch at Caruana, who was nearly 100 ELO points above the Indian.Playing with black pieces, Gukesh opted for the Sicilian defence and for a long time, was on the backfoot.
“Gukesh had some trouble in the opening and Caruana had a great advantage. But Gukesh managed the position well without giving an inch to his opponent on the 64-squared board," GM Vishnu Prasanna, the coach of India’s latest chess sensation, had told IANS. According to Prasanna, the American, though having the advantage, was not able to press it forward around the move 21/22.
“While holding on to his position well, Gukesh got his opportunity between moves 28-31 and cashed on that," he added.Prasanna, a long term coach of Gukesh, said his ward’s jump like this was unexpected before the tournament.
“Gukesh handled the pressure very well even though he didn’t have the experience of playing at this level till now," he said.Three other juniors in the India-2 team also punched well above their weight to defeat the top seeded USA team filled with super GMs - those having an ELO rating over 2,700.
On the fourth board, Indian GM Raunak Sadhwani handed out a 45 move defeat to GM Leinier Dominguez Perez (2,754).Indian GM Nihal Sarin (2,651) drew with Levon Aronian (2,775), and GM R. Praggnanandhaa (2,648) split points with GM Wesley So (2,773).