Dommaraju Gukesh



india India
ELO (01/24)


WORLD RANK (01/24)






The Journey of Dommaraju Gukesh

Magnus Carlsen occasionally loses chess games. Not often, but it happens. As the reigning world champion, losing to a 16-year-old happened to him once. In October 2022, he lost to Gukesh from India, a boy wonder from the new generation of chess players who have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the G.O.A.T.

In his chess-mad homeland, Gukesh has triggered an even bigger earthquake. After former world champion Viswanathan Anand took over the top spot in the Indian rankings in January 1986, it was a law that the father of India’s chess boom was the Indian number one. The law lasted for more than 37 years until August 2023, when Gukesh overtook his mentor and role model, the man whose fan he is. Gukesh hastened to explain: “We are at completely different stages of our careers. It will be a long time before I get to where Anand has already been.”

Dommaraju Gukesh

Gukesh has time. When he overtook Anand, he was the youngest of the more than 80 grandmasters in India. That fits the picture, Gukesh is generally early: the second youngest grandmaster ever (at 12 years, 7 months), the fourth youngest player over Elo 2700 (at 16), and although he has long been established in international chess, he is still the youngest of the group of young guns who are attacking the established players.

Anyone who imagines these up-and-coming elite grandmasters as computer kids who absorb knowledge from databases and training tools much faster than their predecessors from books is wrong about Gukesh. What sets him apart from the others is not only that he is even younger, but also that until recently he hardly worked with computers and chess engines at all. “I can find the best move on my own,” says Gukesh, sitting down at the board and leaving the laptop switched off.

Dommaraju Gukesh

The 17-year-old has his parents to thank for enabling him to develop his talent. When the gifted player ran out of opponents in India, his coaches advised him to go to Europe and seek competition there. Rajinikanth, Gukesh’s father, then gave up his practice. From then on, he was no longer an ENT surgeon but his son’s companion, who traveled from tournament to tournament to become better and better at chess. His mother Padma, a microbiologist, became the sole breadwinner, a situation that has long since changed in view of Gukesh’s sporting success.

FIDE title: Grandmaster


  • Youngest Grandmaster: When Gukesh was awarded the title in March 2019 at the age of 12 years, 7 months and 17 days, he was the second youngest Grandmaster in history.
  • World Champion: In 2018, Gukesh won the U12 World Championship.
  • Fivefold Gold: In 2018, Gukesh won five gold medals at the Asian Youth Chess Championships: in U-12 Individual Rapid and Blitz, U-12 Team Rapid and Blitz, and U-12 Individual in classical chess.
  • Individual Gold: At the first board of his Indian team, Gukesh scored 9 points out of 11 games with a performance of 2867 at the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Gukesh won individual gold and silver with the team.
  • Carlsen Defeater: Never has a player who defeats reigning Champion Magnus Carlsen been younger than Gukesh at his victory over Carlsen in October 2022 in the “Aimchess Rapid”.
  • India’s Number One: In September 2023, Gukesh became the first Indian after 37 years to overtake former World Champion Viswanathan Anand in the world rankings.
Dommaraju Gukesh
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