The Story of Vidit Gujrathi

Vidit started playing chess when he was seven years old. His parents, who were busy in their profession as doctors, needed an activity to keep their son busy. He was sent to chess classes to learn the game. His main motivation to improve at the game was to beat his father. While his father worked at office, Vidit plotted new ideas in order to beat him when he was back from work. The humble beginnings soon turned into something very promising as Vidit won one national title after another. He was clearly superior than most of the competitors of his age.

Vidit’s biggest success at International level came when he won the World under-14 title (image on the right). His hunger for chess knowledge combined with an excellent work ethic helped him to keep improving as a chess player. He was a good student academically and he proved this by scoring good percentages at the 10th (92%) and 12th (76%) examination, but he knew where his true passion was. Vidit became an International Master (IM) at the age of 15 years. He quickly reached a rating of 2500 and also made his two GM norms. However, his final GM norm took an eternity. But Vidit struggled hard and fought on, never giving up, and after three years and innumerable events where he narrowly missed his GM norm, he finally became a grandmaster at the age of 18 years.

Vidit winning the under-14 World Championship

In the next four years Vidit moved up from strength to strength. He currently works with one of the top players in the world Anish Giri, as his second. At the age of 23 years and a rating of 2721 he is dubbed as the next big thing in the world of chess. Vidit has reached such a high rating just by playing in open events all around the world, which shows his stable and solid play.

With his best friends in chess | Photo: Alina l'Ami

He recently drew his game against GM Magnus Carlsen at the Isle of Man International 2017. During the game Vidit was clearly better and pushing for a win. Magnus saved himself by the skin of his teeth and said after the game that he was relieved with a draw. Such results have made Vidit believe that he belongs right there at the top and that he can fight on equal terms with the best in the world whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Vidit drew his game against Magnus Carlsen at the Isle of Man 2017 after being better throughout | Photo: Maria Emelianova

The next two years will be spent in sharpening his arsenal by receiving invitations to super tournaments and playing more against the likes of Carlsen, Anand, Kramnik, Aronian, Caruana and so on, thereby pushing his ranking to top five in the world. After that he would be in an ideal position to fight for the ultimate crown of World Champion in chess. A right step in that direction has been taken as Vidit has qualified to the Tata Steel Masters 2019 by winning the challengers section in January 2018.

After winning the Tata Steel 2018 Challengers | Photo: Alina l'Ami

Hailing from a small town of Nashik, which had hardly any chess culture, Vidit is an epitome of “achieve big by dreaming big”. If a World Champion coming from Norway is a big surprise in the world of chess, then a 23-year-old from Nashik making his mark on chess map is equally astounding.

Achievements of Vidit Gujrathi

International:

2018

• Won the prestigious Tata Steel Challengers 2018 in Wijk Aan Zee and qualified for Tata Steel Masters in 2019

• Brand Ambassador of All India Chess Federation of the Blind

• Recepient of the Shiv Chatrapathi award – the highest sporting honour of Maharashtra

2017

• Joint first at the Dubai Open 2017

• Bronze medal at Asian Individual, Chengdu, China

• Team finished second at Spanish Team Championship. First on individual board

• Qualified to fourth round of World Cup 2017 in Tbilsi, Georgia, losing to eventual runner-up Ding Liren

• Drew against World Champion Magnus Carlsen at the Isle of Man International 2017

2016

• 4th Position in individual as well as team at 42nd Olympiad at Baku, Azerbaijan

• Winner of Lake Sevan International Grandmasters Tournament, Armenia, July.

• Won six medals in Asian Nations Cup, UAE (2 Gold,1 Silver , 3Bronze) (India won Gold after 8years!)

2015 and before

• Qualified for World Cup 2015, Azerbaijan

• Winner of Lake Sevan Category 16 Grandmaster closed tournament at Armenia 2014

• Bronze Medal winner in World Junior championship, Turkey, 2013

• World Champion Under-14 Vietnam, 2008

• Silver medal World Under-16 category (Joint Winner), Turkey,2009.

• Gold Medal in Common Wealth Championship Under-12,Mumbai 2006

• Four times Asian Youth Joint Champion, (Silver on tiebreaks) (U-12 Delhi 2005, U-12 Iran 2006,Under-14 Iran 2008 U-20 Chennai 2010)

 

Nationals:

• 4 times National youth champion (U-11 Nagpur 2005, U-13 Bhiwani 2006, U-13 Delhi 2007, U-15 Mumbai 2009)

• National Champion in National Challengers Championship at Dharamshala, 2014

• Silver Medalist in National Premier Chess Championship, TN November 2015

Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase it, we can catch excellence!