Chess Olympiad: Am proud, but I let the team down too, says Gukesh

chess olympiad: am proud, but i let the team down too, says gukesh

Chess Olympiad: Am proud, but I let the team down too, says Gukesh

Teenager wins individual gold on top board

MAMALLAPURAM: D Gukesh (Elo 2684) was India’s star of the Chess Olympiad. He started with eight wins and then had a defeat sandwiched between the two draws at the end for nine points and Elo performance of 2867. The individual top-board gold medal he won was nothing more than a consolation for missing out on the team gold.

After the toil on Tuesday, the 16-year-old spoke to the media on his exploits.

Excerpts:

On the performance:

Overall, it has been an enjoyable event. The performance has been special. I didn’t expect to do so well. But it could have been better. Yesterday, I outplayed my opponent (Abdusattorov). Then a moment of madness came and I let the team down. If I had won or drawn that game, we could have had a great chance to go for a gold. But things happen. Overall, extremely proud of the team and performance. The last three rounds, I didn’t score much (two draws), but others stepped up. It could have been better, but bronze is a special achievement.

Feelings after losing to Abdusattorov in the penultimate round

I was devastated. Then I realised that it’s a morning round the next day. So, if I had to kill myself, I had to do it after the last round!

On interaction with (team mentor) V Anand after that heart-breaking defeat

He basically cheered me up. He said these things have happened before and he gave me his own examples. I felt better after realising that even a great player like him had gone through this.

On why he played all 11 games without break

It didn’t affect me. It rather helped me because I got in the flow immediately. Then resting me would have been a wrong decision. If somebody is doing well, it’s better to continue.

On working on his game

One minute of complete madness and the team’s gold chances gone. Earlier, things went my way. I was in trouble against Caruana but (luckily) I won that game. So I can’t say I was perfect. I showed my weaknesses. In my game against Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan, I spent a lot of time trying to find the best move and got into time trouble. This has happened to me before but I repeated the same mistake. It was quite stupid.

On his coach Vishnu Prasanna

He has been of tremendous support. We have been working for five years. He has improved my playing game and the psychological aspect too. It has improved my mental stability. I can’t find a better coach than him.

On his next goal

To keep my current form going. My game has become dominating and the accuracy level is going high. I want to keep it going and not lose the current form.

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