Gukesh Becomes 2nd Youngest Chess Grandmaster In History
Gukesh is all smiles after becoming the World 2nd Youngest GM in history! | Photo: Peter Doggers/

Gukesh Becomes 2nd Youngest Chess Grandmaster In History

| 59 | Chess Event Coverage

At the age of 12 years, 7 months, and 17 days, Indian prodigy Gukesh Dommaraju became the second youngest grandmaster in chess history. He scored his third grandmaster norm at the 17th Delhi International Chess Grandmaster Open today in New Delhi, India. Despite the recent torrid tournament schedule for Gukesh, the world record of Sergey Karjakin still narrowly stands, this time by just 17 days!

He had a blazing start as he started with 4.5/5 and then drew three strong GMs to have great chances for his norm. In the ninth round, he was paired against experienced IM Dinesh K Sharma (rated 2303) and a win would mean he would make his final norm.

Gukesh Delhi Chess Open

Gukesh making his last moves as an International Master against IM Sharma. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Playing white, Gukesh went all out from the start and won a brilliant attacking game.

Bharat Singh Chauhan
Gukesh is hugged by AICF CEO and FIDE Vice President Bharat Singh Chauhan moments after his win. | Photo: David Llada/Delhi Chess Association

Gukesh, who hails from Chennai (the same city as Vishy Anand), was introduced to Chess in his school. The Velammal School is a group of schools all across Chennai that has produced talents like GM Murali Karthikeyan, GM Aravindh Chithambaram and the more famous GM Praggnanandhaa. This school could send a full GM team by itself for the next World Chess Olympiad!

Gukesh's talent was spotted by his first and school coach Mr. Bhaskar, who made sure little Gukesh became a FIDE rated player within six months of learning the game! In the August 2013 FIDE rating list he received his first rating of 1291. He was hooked to the game when Chennai held the Anand-Carlsen World Chess Championship in November 2013.

Two years later, while he was being trained by Mr. Vijayanand, he tasted his first International success when he won the Under 9 Asian Schools Chess Championship in 2015 and also earned the Candidate Master (CM) title. Gukesh spent countless number of hours working on his chess and that saw his rating sky rocket from 1291 close to 2000. Thereafter he worked with strong Indian IM P. Karthikeyan (now a GM and the reigning Commonwealth Champion). His rating was steadily rising but the outburst was still missing!

Fast forward to October 2017, a few weeks before his first IM morm, and he started training with highly-acclaimed Indian GM Vishnu Prasanna. Vishnu is a serious tournament player himself and a longtime second of Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban. The work proved fruitful as Gukesh scored his first IM norm at the First Friday tournament in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.

His level was constantly on the rise! This game from the Indian National Under 11 Championship (where won gold,) is where he managed to execute the Double Bishop Sacrifice or also known as the "Lasker Sacrifice."

This was followed by two norms at the Moscow Open in Russia and the Capelle la Grande Open in France. He also crossed the 2400 rating barrier and became an International Master in March 2018.

Gukesh wasted no time and was back at the chess board next month in Thailand. He won the Asian U-12 youth title first and followed it up with his first GM norm at the Bangkok Open in a somewhat fortunate manner as he defeated GM Nigel Short after the latter forgot to press his clock in a clearly better position!

Gukesh vs Nigel Short
The fortunate game that propelled Gukesh to his first GM norm at the Bangkok Open. | Photo: Peter Long/Bangkok Chess Club

Around this time, Gukesh had already seen his friends, first Nihal Sarin and later, city mate Praggnandhaa, become grandmasters and he sure wasn't one to be left behind.

Praggnandhaa and Gukesh
Praggnandhaa and Gukesh play some friendly blitz at the Sharjah Masters. | Photo: Maria Emelianova/

In November 2018, he was crowned the World Under 12 champion in Galicia, Spain with a huge score of 10/11. Then, 14 tournaments later, the second GM norm also came at the Orbis 2 GM round robin event in Paracin, Serbia. He scored a huge result with 7.5/9 while gaining 21 rating points! 

Speaking to, his coach GM Vishnu Prasanna said, "Today is a great day and I am very happy and proud of Gukesh. His strategic supremacy and his unique strategic understanding makes him stand out. His ability to grasp and willingness to learn will make sure he goes a long way."

To achieve his grandmaster title, Gukesh had set off on a world tour playing every tournament he got his hands on. In fact, from his first IM norm till his third GM norm, Gukesh has played a huge 30 tournaments in the last 16 months he has played around 276 games in 13 countries! 

He was supported by parents Dr. Rajnikanth (a rated player himself) and Mrs. Padma Kumari. He was also graciously supported by his Chess school Velammal and his sponsors Microsense and ONGC. 

Indian Chess prodigies3 GM titles down, 1 to go! India has the world #1 in U-11 Raahil Mullick, world #1 in  U-12 D. Gukesh, world #1 in U-13 Praggnanandhaa and world #1 in U-14 Nihal Sarin. | Photo: Oskar Stobez Blazquez/Sunway Sitges 2018

Youngest GMs in history

No. Fed Player Age Birth year
Sergey Karjakin 12 years, 7 months, 0 days 1990
2 Gukesh D 12 years, 7 months, 17 days 2006
3 Javokhir Sindarov 12 years, 10 months, 5 days 2005
4 Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu 12 years, 10 months, 13 days 2005
5 Nodirbek Abdusattorov 13 years, 1 month, 11 days 2004
6 Parimarjan Negi 13 years, 4 months, 22 days 1993
7 Magnus Carlsen 13 years, 4 months, 27 days 1990
8 Wei Yi 13 years, 8 months, 23 days 1999
9 Bu Xiangzhi 13 years, 10 months, 13 days 1985
10 Samuel Sevian 13 years, 10 months, 27 days 2000
11 Richárd Rapport 13 years, 11 months, 6 days 1996
12 Teimour Radjabov 14 years, 0 months, 14 days 1987
13 Ruslan Ponomariov 14 years, 0 months, 17 days 1983
14 Nihal Sarin 14 years, 1 month, 1 day 2004
15 Awonder Liang 14 years, 1 month, 20 days 2003
Wesley So 14 years, 1 month, 28 days 1993

The list of youngest grandmasters of all time, via Wikipedia

IM Rakesh Kulkarni

Rakesh Kulkarni is the Director of Indian Social Media for and a correspondent on chess in India.

Rakesh has earned the International Master title and is a former Commonwealth Blitz Champion and a Commonwealth Bronze medallist in the junior category. Rakesh has a Masters of Commerce degree in Management & Business administration. He now is a professional chess player and trains young talents across the globe on

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