Raunak Sadhwani played brilliantly to defeat much higher-rated Leinier Perez Dominguez, while Nihal Sarin and R Praggnanandhaa held much higher-rated Levon Aronian and Wesley So with almost effortless ease.
But the man (actually boy) of the day was 16-year-old Dommaraju Gukesh, who had won all of his first seven games at the 44th Chess Olympiad. Today he faced former World Championship Challenger Fabiano Caruana in a critical game on the top board for India B. And he had the black pieces. So what did the lad do: outplay and actually mate his illustrious opponent! He now has tallied eight out of eight points.
“This is one of the most sensational debuts in the history of the Olympiad,” writes FIDE, “comparable only to former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik’s record set in 1992 of 8.5/9, clocking a 2958 rating performance.” With this win over over a 2783 opponent Gukesh has clocked a 3366 performance, and with a live rating of 2729 he has overtaken Harikrishna, to become India’s number two player behind Vishy Anand.
It was uniquely exciting to watch the round on the ChessBase India live broadcast, with Sagar Shah squealing with excitement, and a host of GMs and IMs dropping in to join the fun. If you want to relive the atmosphere you can watch all the action in this six-hour broadcast:
Until now, 337,000 chess fans have watched it so far, with the number growing hourly. We watched it live, and enjoyed every moment of the broadcast.
Even after this exhausting game Gukesh still had enough energy to answer some questions in the media center, saying that “Fabiano is one of my favourite players, and it was a pleasure to play against him”.
A full report on Round eight of the Chennai Olympiad will appear shortly.