D Gukesh Leads FIDE Candidates Tournament With One Round Remaining

17-year-old Indian chess prodigy Gukesh leads the 2024 FIDE Candidates tournament with one round to go. A win or draw against Nakamura would make him the youngest-ever challenger for the World Chess Championship.

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Rafia Tasleem
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D Gukesh Leads FIDE Candidates Tournament With One Round Remaining

D Gukesh Leads FIDE Candidates Tournament With One Round Remaining

D Gukesh, a 17-year-old Indian chess prodigy, has taken the sole lead in the 2024 FIDE Candidates tournament with just one round remaining. Gukesh defeated Alireza Firouzja in Round 13 to surge ahead, with veterans Ian Nepomniachtchi, Fabiano Caruana, and Hikaru Nakamura close behind him by just half a point.

In the final round, Gukesh will face Nakamura with the black pieces, while Nepomniachtchi takes on Caruana. If Gukesh wins or draws against Nakamura, he will secure a spot in the World Chess Championship match against the reigning champion, Ding Liren of China. A win for Gukesh would make him the youngest-ever challenger for the world title.

Gukesh's victory over Firouzja in Round 13 was a crucial win. "Gukesh scored a fantastic win against Alireza Firouzja, the only player to have beaten him in the tournament, to emerge as the sole leader with 8.5/13," reported one chess news outlet. The win also propelled Gukesh to the World No. 6 ranking with a live rating of 2762.8, surpassing the current World Champion.

The young Indian grandmaster has had a remarkable run in the Candidates, which began with him tied for the lead with Nepomniachtchi and Nakamura after 12 rounds. Gukesh's Round 13 win knocked Nepomniachtchi off the leader's position for the first time in the tournament.

Why this matters: If Gukesh wins the Candidates, he would become the first Indian to do so since Viswanathan Anand in 2014. At age 17, he would also be the youngest world championship challenger in history, breaking a record that has stood for over 50 years.

The final round pairings set up a thrilling conclusion to the tournament, with all the title contenders facing each other. A three-way tie for first is no longer possible, so the event will either have an outright winner or a two-player tiebreaker on Monday. As one chess reporter noted, "The pairings for the final round could not have been better, with Gukesh facing Nakamura and Caruana facing the unbeaten Nepomniachtchi."

Key Takeaways

  • 17-year-old Indian chess prodigy Gukesh leads 2024 FIDE Candidates tournament.
  • Gukesh defeated Firouzja in Round 13, surpassing current World Champion Ding Liren.
  • Gukesh faces Nakamura in final round; a win/draw secures him World Championship spot.
  • Gukesh would be the youngest-ever challenger for the World Chess Championship.
  • Final round pairings set up thrilling conclusion with title contenders facing each other.