Vidit Gujrathi: The Unassuming Contender in the Candidates Tournament

Vidit Gujrathi: The Unassuming Contender in the Candidates Tournament

Vidit Gujrathi, the unassuming Indian chess prodigy, has emerged as a formidable contender in the prestigious Candidates Tournament. Despite not being a top seed or a prodigious talent, Gujrathi has persevered against the odds, carving his space in the competition with six decisive games in nine rounds.

Gujrathi’s journey to the Candidates has been a testament to his resilience. Unlike his fellow Indian prodigies, he has taken a longer path to the top. However, the pandemic and the rise of younger Indian GMs led him to question his place in the race.

Undeterred, Gujrathi embarked on a rigorous preparation for the Grand Swiss in November 2023, which he won, securing his spot in the Candidates. At the tournament, he has displayed both brilliance and vulnerability. He has defeated world No. 3 Hikaru Nakamura twice, but has also suffered some costly time management errors.

Gujrathi’s team, including his sister Vedika and trainers Surya Sekhar Ganguly and Daniel Vucaturo, has played a crucial role in his success. They provide him with support and guidance, helping him navigate the emotional rollercoaster of the tournament.

With only five rounds remaining, Gujrathi stands a point behind leaders Ian Nepomniachtchi and Gukesh. The contest is intensifying, and Gujrathi is determined to put up a fight to remember. He understands the pressure and emotions involved, but remains focused on staying in the zone and avoiding time-wasting mistakes.

Gujrathi’s journey is an inspiration to all who dare to dream big. He has proven that with hard work, perseverance, and a strong support system, anything is possible.

Gukesh Retakes Lead in Candidates, Nakamura Stuns Caruana

Gukesh Retakes Lead in Candidates, Nakamura Stuns Caruana

In the ongoing Candidates Tournament, D Gukesh has regained a share of the lead after a comfortable victory over fellow Indian Vidit Gujrathi in Round 8. The second half of the double round-robin tournament commenced with reversed colors, and Gukesh capitalized on Vidit’s time management struggles.

Vidit’s early time pressure, coupled with Gukesh’s strategic pawn moves, led to a gradual loss of control over the a-file. Vidit’s unnecessary pawn push on b5 and subsequent d4 advance proved detrimental, allowing Gukesh to dominate the open file with his rook and queen. Gukesh’s precise play left Vidit with no counterplay, forcing him to resign.

With this win, Gukesh joins Ian Nepomniachtchi at the top of the standings with five points. Despite the pressure, Gukesh remains composed, stating, “I’ve learnt to handle it. So far, I’ve handled it well.”

Hikaru Nakamura also made a significant move in the standings, defeating Fabiano Caruana to leapfrog ahead of his compatriot. Caruana, who entered the tournament as a favorite, has shown signs of vulnerability, and his blunder against Nakamura proved costly.

Nakamura, who has now won four consecutive classical games against Caruana, attributes his success to his lack of pressure. “I feel no pressure in the Candidates. I’m playing for fun,” he said. “I’m not saying I wouldn’t be happy if I won. I’m just trying to play good chess and not make a fool of myself.”

Carlsen Predicts Nakamura or Caruana as Candidates Favorites

Carlsen Predicts Nakamura or Caruana as Candidates Favorites

Magnus Carlsen, the five-time world chess champion, has shared his insights on the upcoming Candidates tournament, which will determine his challenger for the next World Championship. In an interview on the Sjakksnakk podcast, Carlsen expressed his belief that Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura are the strongest contenders to emerge victorious.

Carlsen highlighted the consistency and experience of Nakamura and Caruana, stating that they are the “best and most consistent players” in the field. He acknowledged the potential of rising stars like Alireza Firouzja, but emphasized that a victory for any of the other four participants (Gukesh, Praggnanandhaa, Vidit, Abasov) would be a major upset.

Regarding the World Championship match itself, Carlsen believes that Nakamura poses a significant threat to Ding Liren, the current challenger. He noted that Nakamura has historically performed well against Ding, while Ding has struggled against Caruana. However, Carlsen also emphasized that Ding’s recent form has been impressive, and if he maintains that level of play, he could challenge either Nakamura or Caruana.

Carlsen also discussed his own absence from the World Championship cycle, stating that he has no immediate plans to return. He expressed contentment with his decision to step away and believes that it has been beneficial for his overall well-being.

On the topic of the younger generation of chess players, Carlsen expressed skepticism about whether any of them will surpass his own achievements. He acknowledged their potential but doubted that they would reach the same level of dominance that he has enjoyed.

Carlsen emphasized his continued love for the game, despite his reduced involvement in competitive chess. He enjoys playing casual online games and believes that taking breaks from major tournaments can be beneficial for his motivation.

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