Sensational Gukesh wins Gelfand Challenge on tiebreak

Fifteen-year-old wonderkid overhauls the leaders to clinch title and a golden ticket to the next Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event
D Gukesh wins

Indian star D Gukesh came from behind to win by the smallest of margins in a thrilling end to the Gelfand Challenge.

Team Polgar’s top player showed incredible fighting spirit to drag himself into joint top spot with three straight wins in the first three rounds today.

Going into the final round of the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour event, the down-to-earth teenager found himself level with fellow Indian Praggnanandhaa on points.

Gukesh, however, had the superior tiebreak having won the head-to-head game between the pair. It meant his fate was in his own hands and a win would clinch it.

Gukesh meditating

Pragg – the winner of the Polgar Challenge – did his part by winning his game, but 15-year-old Gukesh held his nerve to take his too and secure the title.

Gukesh’s team, coached by chess legend Judit Polgar, also triumphed in the team battle by crushing Team Kramnik 101 to 89.

Team Polgar on top

Team Polgar is now the hot favourite to win the Tour overall and bag its members a trip to the next World Chess Championship in Dubai.

By winning the individual event Gukesh, the second-youngest Grandmaster in history, qualifies for a golden ticket to the next Meltwater Champions Chess Tour event.

It is a huge prize that means he will face the true elite of chess. Details on the event will be revealed in due course.

The final standings in the Gelfand Challenge

Gukesh, whose father is a surgeon and his mother is a microbiologist, also takes home a cash prize of $4,000 out of the tournament prize pot of $15,000.

The Chennai-born youngster was typically humble afterwards saying his win was “very unexpected”.

Gukesh said he will now prepare for the Meltwater event and the FIDE World Cup, which he was granted a wild card for.

“Everybody is happy that I won,” he said. “But I don’t think we will celebrate much.”

The lead changed several times during the event with Germany’s Vincent Keymer holding top-spot going into the final day.

The German lost two games in a nightmare final day. But going in to the tense final round he still had an outside chance of winning.

It wasn’t to be for Keymer as Gukesh dispatched Lei Tingjie.

The players will returned for the next Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour event, the Hou Yifan Challenge, on July 15 to 18.

Read more