Indian teenager Grandmaster D Gukesh upset Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round of the preliminary phase of the Aimchess Rapid online chess tournament, becoming the youngest to beat the world champion.
The 16-year-old from Chennai beat the world No.1 with white pieces early on Monday to move up to third position behind Poland’s Jan-Krzystof Duda (25 points) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (Azerbaijan, 23 points) with 21 points after the 12th round.
Gukesh’s 29-move dismantling of the world champion comes a day after his 19-year-old compatriot Arjun Erigaisi had posted a maiden win over the world champion.
“Gukesh just became the youngest player to ever beat Magnus after he became WC! Hats off to the 16-Year-Old Indian superstar,” Meltwater Champions Chess Tour, of which the Aimchess Rapid event is a part, said on its Twitter feed.
Gukesh is 16 years 4 months 20 days while the previous record before his win was R Praggnanandhaa’s 39-move victory over Carlsen in the Airthings Masters in February. Pragg was 16 years 6 months and 10 days old when he defeated the world No.1.
The Indian on his part, was quoted as saying after the momentous win: “Beating Magnus is always special, but I was not very proud of that game.”
Gukesh suffered a setback in round 10 when he lost to Duda but bounced back superbly to beat Mamedyarova and Eric Hansen in the next two rounds.
Erigaisi has as many points (21) as Gukesh and is in fourth as the race for the spot in the knockout phase gets closer.
The 19-year old Erigaisi began the third day of the preliminaries with a loss to Mamedyarov before scoring over Hansen and talented German Vincent Keymer. However, a defeat at the hands of fellow Indian GM Aditya Mittal in the 12th round spoiled what would have been a good day.
Gukesh continued what has been a superb year so far for the young Indian players as he became the third one to put it across Carlsen after Praggnanandhaa and Erigaisi, who did so at last month’s Julius Baer Generation Cup online event.
Even as Gukesh and Erigaisi underlined their talent and scored wins, the other Indians — Vidit Santhosh Gujrathi, Aditya Mittal and P Harikrishna — failed to impress.
Gujrathi lies in 10th spot and out of the qualification range for the knockout with 14 points. He lost two of his four games, to Duda and Hansen. He drew against Mamedyarov before finishing the day with a victory over Keymer.
Mittal (12 points) is in 12th place. He upset Erigaisi in round 12 after having lost his three previous games to Anish Giri (the Netherlands), Richard Rapport and David Anton Guijjaro in rounds 9, 10 and 11 respectively.
Harikrishna is 15th after 12 rounds of play and is out of contention to reach the quarterfinals. To his credit, he did, however, hold Carlsen to a draw in the 10th round in a 76-move match.
World champion Carlsen is in fifth spot after having a quiet day. After losing to Gukesh, he drew against Harikrishna and world rapid champion Nodirkbek Abdusattorov and ended with a win over Daniel Naroditsky.
Gujrathi had an impressive win over world rapid champion Abdusattorov but draws against Grandelius and Naroditsky and a defeat at the hands of Carlsen pegged him back.
The Aimchess Rapid tournament is part of the Meltwater Champions tour and features 16 players, including five from India. After the 15-round preliminaries, the top eight qualify for the knockouts.