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Colin McGourty

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“The future of chess is in very good hands!” Leko & Svidler on the Indian kids

Gukesh beat Caruana as India 2 crushed the USA | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE

Gukesh beat Caruana as India 2 crushed the USA | photo: Stev Bonhage, FIDE

The teenage stars of India 2 crushed top seeds USA 3:1 in Round 8 of the Chess Olympiad in Chennai, with 16-year-old Gukesh beating Fabiano Caruana to move to 8/8. Our commentators Peter Svidler and Peter Leko talked about a “changing of the guard” in the chess world.

Peter Svidler: The States played against two teams completely packed with youngsters, and they should have lost to Uzbekistan and we just watched them get destroyed in the end by India 2. This is actually a point I have seen in chat, and whenever people make sweeping statements like those it feels premature and unnecessary, but it does feel like we’re watching — we knew about these kids, these kids are not any kind of an unknown quantity — but still

it feels like we’re watching some sort of a changing of the guard.

This is the first event where we are day in, day out watching these kids play against the well-established, very, very well-known household names and do well against them, day after day after day. It does feel like it’s now very, very visible in front of our eyes that

the future is here.


Peter Leko
: Since I’m working with Vincent [Keymer] for quite some time I’m not surprised at all. I know all these guys very, very much. I was telling my wife Sofia 2 years ago, or 3 years ago, that in just a couple of years we will have 10 incredible kids, or even maybe more, who have Top 10 potential.

And then if you already have all the old guard who are incredibly strong in the Top 10, and then suddenly a new 10 guys come there, what kind of Top 10 will we be talking about? It will be like a top 20-30 guys with the potential of becoming World Champions and so on. An unbelievable amount of new talent is coming.

Svidler: This really does look like a wave of new talent is coming in. People started asking me which of the Indian kids I liked the most, maybe a couple of years ago. It was clear that this was going to be the next conversation about the future of chess, and I thought, ok, I understand why I’m being asked that question, but

I don’t really have to form an opinion just yet, because there’s still some time left for us old farts. No! Not anymore. We are all out of time!

Leko: Well not us, because we were clever! We’ve kind of given up in time.

Svidler: Yeah, for sure. I don’t really need to include myself in that conversation, I meant the general “we”.

Leko: Also they are just playing incredible chess and fearless chess, and modern chess is all about fighting, these kind of things are so important, and they are bringing this extremely important quality, this fighting spirit, not having any fear. It’s lovely to see! Basically,

the future of chess is in very, very good hands.

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