The leader by a full point in Open U-12 on 5/5 is Candidate Master Gukesh D from India.
Rated 2401, the 11 year old has already completed his International Master title requirements, with the three needed norms achieved in quick succession, beginning with his breakthrough victory at First Friday November 2017 in Malaysia.
Gukesh first learned to play chess after watching his parents play for fun when around five to six years of age and when his school offered the game as a co-curriculum subject option his raw talent was quickly spotted.
From attending holiday chess camps he eventually moved to getting a coach.
But for Gukesh, his main interest has always being solving puzzles and with ChessBase which he first got in 2014, he began to work on tactics systematically while at the same time using the Follow Chess App to catch up on all the latest games which he devoured on waking up in the morning.
In 2013 he was rated 1200 and by 2015 reached 1800 and from then on, he would enjoy a 200 points increase each year.
Gukesh is rather unusual in that he neither uses engines or focuses his study on openings.
His chess idol is of course Viswanathan Anand and his goal is to become a Grandmaster as soon as possible, and already dreams of fighting for the World Championship in the near future.
To make the next step forward, he believes that besides analysing his games and working on tactics as he has always been doing, he will also need to work hard on improving his positional play, seriously study endgames, and perhaps to also give more attention to his openings.
We were surprised to learn that Gukesh has not gotten financial help as his father is a doctor. But because he is unable to practice medicine while taking his son to competitions there is very little income and it has been a constant struggle to finance a very big young talent’s pursuit of chess excellence.
India, do please step up to help your own!