Gukesh: Attack like a super GM!

by clement

Gukesh Dommaraju – Attack like a Super-GM

In its Fritztrainer series, Chessbase has released for the first time a DVD which was not recorded in Hamburg, but at Chessbase Indiain faraway Mumbai, the hometown of Vishi Anand and also of Gukesh.

Perhaps the first thing that jumps out at you about this Fritztrainer is the high price of the DVD: is the Indian prodigy really worth the extra money?

But let’s start at the beginning; we find all possible combinations for the spelling of surname and customary name: Dommaraju Gukesh; Gukesh Domaraju; Gukesh D; D Gukesh – all happily mixed with or without commas. The diminutive Guki is also growing in popularity. At this stage, we’re leaning towards Gukesh as a first name and Domamaraju as a surname – Gukesh being Indian for the virtue and Dommaraju theinventiveness. For these two attributes, we hope to see a certain match with the protagonist!

An old SPIEGEL interview also tells us that Gukesh’s father, Rajini, gave up his profession as a doctor in 2016 so that he could accompany his son, then aged just 10, from chess tournament to chess tournament around the world.

Rajnikanth, Gukesh’s father – Photo

Without sponsors, the mother earns the money for expensive trips, no wonder the child prodigy’s early years are seen in hindsight as a “hardship”.

Padma, Gukesh’s mother – Photo

And then, of course, the scene that springs to mind is the one that made last year’s chess news: Gukesh loses a position he won against Abdusattarov at the Olympic Games in his country, and in his hometown, and so misses out on the gold medal for India 2.

Gukesh asphyxiated – Photo Lennart Ootes, FIDE

A tragic moment, when Gukesh, stunned by his blunder, lets his time run out.

Turning now to the DVD: Gukesh recorded it with Sagar Shah, who is in charge of the presentation. However, the roles are not unevenly distributed: Sagar, extrovert, noisy, wearing a garish blue and white shirt that could have been borrowed from Levon Aronian, and next to him Gukesh, white shirt and neat dark jacket, and a voice as reserved as it is restrained.

Sagar and Gukesh – Photo Lifestream Chessbase

Despite this, the two go well together, as Sagar Shah manages to pass the baton to Gukesh, then really shut up and listen to what Gukesh has to say, even if the volume has to be turned up a little.

The core of the DVD consists of Gukesh’s five parts, mainly from the year 2022, which are each divided into three videos: the “prepa” phase, as they say, the initialization of a royal attack and the combinatorial realization phase.

This core makes up more than three hours of the DVD’s more than six-hour running time.

I found four of the five selected parts logically comprehensible, and the attacks developed by seizing the slightest opportunities that presented themselves.

I won’t mention the most profound example, but certainly the most aesthetically graceful:

On the other hand, Gukesh’s game against the German grandmaster Andreas Heimann far exceeded my understanding of the game:

Gukesh moved the ♟h5, h4, h3 here, got his ♟c6 and ♟d5 taken and was able to occupy Heimann by pressure on the f3 and g4 squares in such a way that Heimann lost without apparent error – only at the end could he have played better. I’ve replayed the game several times with the engine, if, in a Catalan, I play the ♙ in e3, it still can’t be death, can it?

What does Gukesh say in the DVD about how he was able to raise his game to such a level? The thing that struck me the most was this: Gukesh says that if you train and study the ability to calculate and the basic tactical elements over and over again, you can see that an improvement occurs over the years and is clearly noticeable. This is what he has observed on his own person.

The DVD contains a further nine videos in which Shagar Shah and Gukesh introduce a positional problem that the reader has to solve himself. A further ten positions can be played online by the player against Fritz, and the whole is rounded off by a series of model games by Gukesh himself.

Which brings us to the final theme. Raju is also the little king, the crown prince: Gukesh is often regarded as a future world champion – and he is now well on the way to fulfilling this prediction already this year! A foretaste was given when he casually won his inaugural blitz game against Magnus Carlsen at the Norway Chess Supertournament in Stavanger 2023 on his seventeenth birthday:

Gukesh gives himself the best birthday present – Photo live stream

Attack like a Super Grandmaster

In this Fritztrainer: “Attack like a Super GM†with Gukesh we touch upon all aspects of his play, with special emphasis on how you can become a better attacking player.


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