Legendary Indian chess grand master Vishwanathan Anand, while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2022 on Saturday, predicted a bright future for India in chess. Anand said India currently have a golden generation that will only get stronger as time progresses.
“There is a wave. Lot of people play and follow chess. The Internet has made chess more accessible to everyone. Right now, chess has got a good rise in India and the important thing is we have a golden generation. Gukesh’s peak rating has been 16 and he is still in the top 25. Arjun is 1-2 points behind. Nihal Sareen finished in the final of an online global event. Praggnanandhaa has beaten Magnus so many times this year,” Anand said.
Anand is right. If beating world’s best player Magnus Carlsen is a yardstick then India are in pretty good hands. The teen trio of R Praggnanandhaa, Arjun Erigaisi and D Gukesh have all got the better of Carlsen. Praggnanandhaa, 17, has defeated the Norwegian three times; Erigaisi, 19, and Gukesh, 16, notched up their maiden victories over the world champion at the Aimchess Rapid tournament in October. By doing so, they offered the most resounding evidence of their readiness to challenge the world’s top players.
Gukesh, in fact, had beaten Carlsen in just 29 moves. It seemed as though the Norwegian was on his way to a routine win 25 moves into the game, only to stumble into a cleverly-laid trap for his queen.
“Anand sir was my role model and the reason I got into chess. I was super happy to be able to discuss chess with him regularly and the other coaches. Guys like Guyavsky were also there so I was just very excited. I can’t really explain how much I have learnt from all the classes,” Gukesh said about joining Anand’s WestBridge Anand Chess Academy (WACA), founded in 2020, aimed to educate and nurture young chess players.