There is no stopping India’s prancing knight D Gukesh breaking new ground and adding new feathers to his cap.
The 17-year-old GM from Chennai has made it to the world’s top-10 in live rating list (Elo 2755.9 now) and has also overtaken stalwart Vishy Anand’s Elo strength (currently 2754) for the first time to become India No. 1.
Gukesh completed his win over home boy Misratdin Iskandarov in the second game of the two-game mini match to enter the third round of World Cup chess at Baku, Azerbaijan, the birth place of erstwhile Soviet great Garry Kasparov.
This is not the first time that any Indian has overtaken Anand’s live rating as an elite player. P Harikrishna had overtaken Anand’s live rating in 2016 (2763.3) but could not sustain it.
Former seven-time national champion Praveen Thipsay said, “It’s a fantastic achievement, had not been expected so soon. But one must bear in mind that Anand was in the top-15 continuously from 1991 till 2016. We must also see the fact that in 1978, there were only 12 players above 2600. So today’s 2740 2750 is like the 2600 of 1970 or 1978. Fischer, Spassky, Botvinnik, Petrosian, Tal and even Karpov (at his peak) will always remain under-rated when we see today’s rating list.”
Rating inflation is a point. Another being whether Gukesh is ready to win an elite classical tournament on his current strength and tournament wisdom. “Unlikely at this stage,” said Thipsay. “But after a year or so, he could, would and should be in a different class The champions’ class!”
Anand had won the Regio Emilia tournament (Category 18 then) in the presence of Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Kaprov to announce his arrival at the elite level in 1991. Gukesh is yet to win the National title although the competition has grown manifold and likelihood of any player’s domination reduced due to the help from computer engines.
A chess player retains his rating strength even if doesn’t play for months.
After February 2020, Anand has played only 21 games and could maintain his rating of 2755. Gukesh has played more than 350 classical games in this timeframe. Gukesh started the chess Olympiad in Mamallapuram with eight wins on the trot. Less than a fortnight ago, he touched Elo 2750 and became the youngest ever (17y2m3d as on August 1 when the official rating list came out) to do so in classical chess, breaking Magnus Carlsen’s record by two months.
When Anand broke into the top10, India didn’t have another GM to boast of. Now, we have 80-plus. That includes two of the youngest in the top-30.