5 teenagers who will challenge Magnus Carlsen at Tata Steel Chess Wijk

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As ‘Chess Wimbledon’ gets underway at Tata Steel Chess Wijk on Saturday, all eyes will undoubtedly be on five-time World Champion Magnus Carlsen as he tries to dominate the world of chess. Among the challengers this time, he faces as many as five teenagers, three of who are from India. Let’s take a look at the young challengers

Dommaraju

Dommaraju Gukesh has already experienced quite a few highs and lows. He became India’s youngest Grandmaster but missed becoming the world’s youngest GM by just 17 days. (Twitter)

At just 16, the Indian Grandmaster is the youngest of the challengers. Ever since becoming a GM in 2019 – at the age of 12 and missed becoming the youngest GM by 17 days — Gukesh has sent shockwaves around the world with his performances, including becoming the youngest person to beat Carlsen.

Last year, he won the Olympiad top board gold medal and has received praise from the legends of the sport, right from Viswanathan Anand to Carlsen himself.

Rameshbabu

R Praggnanandhaa in action . (File)

The 17-year-old Indian Grandmaster has defeated Carlsen five times in internet tournaments during 2022, the only teen with multiple victories against the Norwegian. With the victories under his belt, he’s perhaps the best-placed teen at Wijk capable of beating Carlsen.

Though much younger, Pragg has become Carlsen’s favourite chess player over the past couple of years. On multiple occasions, Carlsen has claimed that Pragg is one of the most promising players of this generation and his game is phenomenal.

Arjun Erigaisi

Chess superstar Arjun Erigaisi. (FILE)

The reigning Indian champion won the 2022 Wijk Challengers thereby qualifying for this year’s top group. He had an excellent 2022 with no real setbacks and seems confident. And he’s on cloud nine, quite literally.

He recently landed what is probably the biggest-ever sponsorship deal for an individual player. He is being backed for $1.5m by Singapore-based analytical trading company Quantbox. The company’s founder believes that the Indian will become a world champion. And the Tata Stell chess might be the perfect place to start.

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Vincent Keymer

Vincent Keymer contemplating next move. (File)

A runner-up at the World Rapid Chess Championship 2022 behind Magnus Carlsen, the 18-year-old Grandmaster from Germany was tipped for greatness by Garry Kasparov when he was just 10.

In June last year, Keymer won the Prague Chess Festival Challengers 2022 with a result of 6.5/9 after winning the tiebreaker against Hans Niemann.

Nodirbek Abdusattorov. (Twitter/International Chess Federation)

 

The 18-year-old is the 2021 World Rapid champion. He’s a dedicated player who led Uzbekistan to gold at the 2022 Olympiad and whose success has sparked state support for chess with Tashkent likely to host the 2026 Olympiad.

More than a win for Carlsen

While Carlsen will want to win Wijk for a record ninth time he would like to kickstart another attempt to scale his chess rating of 2900, a target which he has twice missed by fewer than 20 points.

Round one pairings: Van Foreest (Neth) v So (US), Rapport (Rom) v Abdusattorov (Uzb), Caruana (US) v Giri (Neth), Gukesh (Ind) v Ding (Chn), Maghsoodloo (Irn) v Keymer (Ger), Carlsen (Nor) v Aronian (US), Praggnanandhaa (Ind) v Erigaisi (Ind).


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