India ‘B’ team player D Gukesh in 11th-round action on Tuesday
India ‘B’ team player D Gukesh in 11th-round action on Tuesday

Let my team down in a moment of madness: Gukesh

Gukesh had scripted his own 16 Vayathinile story with victories in each of his first eight games, which had put the host’s ‘B’ side in title contention.

CHENNAI: Attending the post-tournament press conference as a representative of the India ‘B’ team that clinched bronze in the Open section of the 44th Olympiad at Mahabalipuram on Tuesday, the toast of the town D Gukesh expressed mixed feelings.

Gukesh had scripted his own 16 Vayathinile story with victories in each of his first eight games, which had put the host’s ‘B’ side in title contention. But, the Chennai lad let nerves get the better of him in the 10th and penultimate round as he came up with a “moment of madness” to go down to Uzbekistan’s wunderkind Nodirbek Abdusattorov.

The crucial loss on Monday dented the hopes of India ‘B’ that ultimately settled for a third-place finish. “Overall, it was a very enjoyable event. The performances were very special. I did not expect to play so well. It (colour of the medal) could easily have been different. On Monday, we had a golden opportunity. It was in my hands. There was one unlucky moment and I let the team down,” said Gukesh, the Board 1 gold medal winner.

“We would have had a better chance [of winning gold] if I had won or drawn the game (against Abdusattorov). But, things like these happen. The Olympiad was a great learning experience for me. Winning bronze at the Olympiad is not such an easy thing. It is a huge achievement, so I am extremely proud of the performances we put in,” added Gukesh, who turned out at the “prestigious event” for the first time.

The teen sensation revealed that he did not throw in the towel after the “devastating” defeat to Abdusattorov since the Open section yellow metal was up for grabs on the final day. “I quickly realised that I had a round in the morning (on Tuesday). I thought ‘If I am going to kill myself, I will kill myself after the last match’. Then, I quickly started thinking about the next game. I played a decent game (a draw against Germany’s Vincent Keymer).”

When asked about the takeaways from the recent campaign, Gukesh replied: “I showed my weaknesses in a couple of moments. Against Abdusattorov I was completely in a winning position. I spent a lot of time in trying to find the best move. I then had time trouble. It is something that has already happened to me. I repeated the same mistake, which was quite stupid. It is something that I will work on [in the near future].”

‘Playing all games helped me’

Competing in 11 games in 12 days can be taxing, but Gukesh, who could not be left out because of his stunning streak, enjoyed the challenge. “Playing all the games did not affect me. It only helped me because I got the flow at the start of the event. I scored eight on eight, so resting me would have been a bad decision. If someone is in great form, it is better to let him keep going,” said Gukesh, who spoke with clarity throughout the presser.

We would have had a better chance of winning gold if I had won or drawn the game against Uzbekistan’s Nodirbek Abdusattorov

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