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Gukesh’s show at Chess Olympiad was just breathless: Viswanathan Anand | Chess News – Times of India

CHENNAI: India not only hosted what’s arguably one of the best editions of the chess Olympiad — which concluded on Sunday — but also delivered its strongest-ever show in the competition by winning two bronze medals. The high point of the tournament from India’s point of view was young gun D Gukesh’s splendid show.
Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, the team’s mentor, heaped praise on Gukesh’s run at the Olympiad. The Indian legend revealed how he found it difficult to keep pace with the youngster’s progress in the last few months.
“It was just a breathless performance (by him) and we couldn’t keep up with it. (His rise) has been quite dramatic because now I am evaluating a different chess player to the one I did back in May this year. He entered the top-100 in April and now he has moved to the top-20. Probably I will need to sit down and do the evaluation again,” said Anand, during an event on Wednesday to announce the fourth edition of Tata Steel rapid and blitz chess tournament — which will be held in Kolkata from November 29-December 4. Apart from the open category, this year’s tournament will also feature a women’s category event with the same format — rapid and blitz.
For Anand, the biggest takeaway from the Olympiad was the performance dished out by the youngsters. “Gukesh has been the biggest success story of the tournament but others in the team like R Praggnanandhaa, Nihal Sarin, Raunak Sadhwani and B Adhiban too did a terrific job. Everyone played their part. Nihal and Adhiban were consistent, while Praggu and Raunak delivered during crunch moments. Also, for India 1 — Arjun Erigaisi was in great form, got better as the tournament progressed and breached the 2700 ELO barrier in the live ratings which is a tremendous achievement,” the 52-year-old said.
On the 16-year-old’s heartbreaking loss in the penultimate round of the competition, Anand said: “Gukesh was not only winning, but his position was also crushing. Many of us thought that his opponent (Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan) would’ve resigned in the next few moves. However, the breakthrough for Gukesh didn’t happen. Gukesh could not stop playing for the win, even when the team had already won.”
Gukesh, after the tournament, had revealed how Anand’s pep talk had cheered him up after the defeat to Nodirbek. “He said these things have happened a lot of times in his career. Anand was showing examples of the times he lost from winning positions. I felt better after that such a great player has also gone through the things that I am going through,” Gukesh had stated.
Anand felt the Indian women’s team’s medal-winning show should push more women players to take up the sport in the future. “In the women’s section, India’s performance was a dramatic improvement. In general, I feel we need to build on this momentum and that will happen when we conduct more tournaments for women and juniors which will inspire players to take up chess at a young age. Events such as Tata Steel chess for women this year is a step in the right direction,” Anand pointed out.
While India produced some stunning performances, the fans did miss the player Anand. There was a feeling that if the legend himself was playing, India might have done better than what they did in the event. The newly-elected FIDE deputy president said that he will pick and choose tournaments as has been the case in the last couple of years.
“I am yet to decide which will be the next event. Like this year, I will hopefully play a few tournaments in the months of May, June and July but nothing is planned as yet. I love playing chess and will continue to play a few tournaments,” Anand said.




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