D Gukesh Leads Candidates 2024 Tournament Heading into Final Round

17-year-old Indian chess prodigy Gukesh leads the FIDE Candidates 2024 tournament, poised to become the youngest ever Candidates champion and challenge World Champion Ding Liren.

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Rafia Tasleem
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D Gukesh Leads Candidates 2024 Tournament Heading into Final Round

D Gukesh Leads Candidates 2024 Tournament Heading into Final Round

D Gukesh, the 17-year-old Indian chess prodigy, has taken the sole lead in the FIDE Candidates 2024 tournament after defeating Alireza Firouzja in Round 13. Gukesh now stands at 8.5 points, half a point ahead of his closest rivals Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, and Hikaru Nakamura, who are all tied at 8 points.

In the penultimate round, Gukesh secured a vital victory over Firouzja, the only player to have beaten him so far in the tournament. Meanwhile, Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura played out a draw, allowing Gukesh to pull ahead. Caruana joined the chasing pack by defeating fellow Indian grandmaster R. Praggnanandhaa.

The final round, set to take place on Monday, promises to be a thriller as Gukesh faces Nakamura with the black pieces. A win or even a draw could be enough for Gukesh to secure the Candidates title and earn the right to challenge World Champion Ding Liren, depending on the outcome of the game between Caruana and Nepomniachtchi.

Why this matters: If Gukesh wins the Candidates, he would become the youngest player ever to do so and the first Indian to win the tournament since Viswanathan Anand in 2014. His victory would mark a significant milestone for Indian chess and showcase the rise of a new generation of prodigious talent.

The tournament has a specific tie-breaker system in place, involving rapid, blitz, and knockout games, to determine the winner in case of a tie. "A win for Gukesh would make him the champion, while a draw and a decisive result on the Caruana-Nepomniachtchi board would lead to a tie-break on Monday," explained a tournament official.

Gukesh's performance has been nothing short of remarkable, as he has handled the pressure well in his first Candidates appearance. His current live rating of 2762.8 has propelled him to World No. 6, surpassing even the reigning World Champion. As the chess world eagerly awaits the final round, all eyes will be on the young Indian prodigy as he stands on the brink of making history.

Key Takeaways

  • D Gukesh, 17, leads FIDE Candidates 2024 with 8.5 points after Round 13.
  • Gukesh defeated Alireza Firouzja and could become the youngest Candidates winner.
  • Gukesh faces Nakamura in the final round, with a win or draw potentially securing the title.
  • Gukesh's performance has propelled him to World No. 6, surpassing the reigning World Champion.
  • The tournament has a tie-breaker system in place to determine the winner if there's a tie.