Rewind to December 2007 when Grandmaster Abhijeet Gupta won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Chess Championship (Juniors). Then Gupta had promised, “I will ensure that I create more occasions for you to write about me.” True to his word, Gupta created history by becoming the third Indian (after Viswanathan Anand (1987) and P. Harikrishna (2004) to win the World Junior Chess Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey.
There could not have been a better follow-up to Abhinav Bindra’s pre-Independence Day gift as Gupta was crowned world champion on August 15. “I had never heard of Gaziantep but after hearing the national anthem twice on Independence Day, I can never forget the place,” said Vishal Sareen, Gupta’s trainer. It was probably a coincidence that Gupta defeated Englishman David Howell to win the crown on the day India threw off the chains of British rule.
It was a triple delight for the country as the second place went to GM Parimarjan Negi and D. Harika bagged the girls’ championship.
“I was not expecting to win till the seventh round. I played for about six hours against Eltaj Safarli but I finally broke the deadlock and won. After that round, I was quite comfortable,” said Gupta.
Currently ranked 2551 ELO, Gupta aims to improve his ranking to 2600 ELO. Said Sareen, “It is likely that he will touch 2600 by January.”
Next on the world junior champion’s agenda is the Commonwealth Championship in September.