Those 15 minutes were probably the most stressful: Gukesh after historic triumph

Gukesh during his round 10 match against Ian Nepomniachtchi. File photo: FIDE/Michal Walusza via PTI

Toronto: India's 17-year-old Grandmaster D Gukesh was 'relieved and happy' after winning the Candidates Chess Tournament here to become the youngest ever challenger to the world title.

Gukesh played out an easy draw with American Hikaru Nakamura in the 14th and final round to finish with nine out of a possible 14 points. The triumph entitles Gukesh a clash with reigning world champion Ding Liren of China in the last quarter of the year.

The Chennai-based teen bettered Gary Kasparov's record by quite a distance as the Russian great was 22 when he qualified in 1984 to clash with compatriot Anatoly Karpov.

"So relieved and so happy. I was following this crazy game (between Fabio Caruana and Ian Nepomniachtchi), and then I went for a walk with my second (Gregorz Gazevsky), I think that helped," Gukesh said after winning.

Gukesh also won a cash award of 88,500 Euros (around Rs 78.5 lakh). 

With Gukesh ending on nine points, all eyes were on the match between American Caruana and Russia's Nepomniachtchi.

"...those 15 minutes were probably the most stressful of this entire tournament, I was watching the commentary for sometime and then me and Gajevsky (his trainer) went for a walk and then my father came running," Gukesh revealed.

"Obviously the support system is huge, coming to my team I would not like to take their names but they know how grateful I am to them," he said.

The dates and venue for the World Championship are yet to be finalised.

"I haven't really thought about it a lot I just got to know the result, the main strategy will be to play good moves. Really look forward to all the preparation and being there," Gukesh said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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