“To Lose Spot You’ve Held For 37 Years…”: Viswanathan Anand’s Confession On Being Overtaken As India’s No. 1 Chess Star
Chess legend Viswanathan Anand on Saturday described 17-year-old Grandmaster D Gukesh overtaking him as the highest-rated Indian player in FIDE rankings as a “historic” achievement and said the teenager is spearheading the country’s rise in the sport. On Tuesday, Gukesh posted a win over Azerbaijan’s Misratdin Iskandarov in a second round match of the World Cup in Baku to overtake his idol Anand in live world (FIDE) rankings.
“Obviously, it is a historic day for Indian chess, what Gukesh has achieved. Even though I have been semi-retired for a couple of years, still to lose a spot you have held for 37 years is, well it’s historic, I have to admit that,” Anand told PTI.
“But maybe what is even more hopeful is that Gukesh has actually entered the top 10 independent of his crossing me. There is no sign that he is really ready to stop, that is fantastic news for us,” the five-time world champion chess Grandmaster said.
He said he was happy to work with and support Gukesh through the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy.
“I was able to work with him and support him and his parents in this journey. It is wonderful for Indian chess.” Anand said other Indian players have also been doing well in international circuit which is a good sign for the sport in the country.
“Besides the fact that Gukesh is spearheading India’s rise, we should not forget that right behind him is Praggnanandhaa and Nihal Sarin, who have also qualified for the third round (of the ongoing World Cup).
“Just to underline that thing, his (Gukesh’s) opponent will be S L Narayanan who has also got through the third round.
“So, a wonderful day for Indian chess and it is nice to look back and see how far we have come.” After Gukesh outclassed Iskandarov of Azerbaijan in 44 moves in the second game of their second-round match, the international chess federation (FIDE) had said in a tweet that the teenager has overtaken Anand in live rating.
“There is still almost a month till next official FIDE rating list comes on September 1, but it’s highly likely that 17-year-old will be making it to top 10 in the world as the highest-rated Indian player,” the FIDE had said.
The latest gain of 2.5 rating points took Gukesh’s live rating to 2755.9, while Anand’s is 2754.0. As a result, Gukesh replaced Anand as the World No. 9 in live rankings while the five-time World champion slipped to 10th.
Anand, who first made it to the World’s top-10 in July 1991, has remained India’s top-ranked player in all published lists since January 1987.
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