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Ayush Sharma becomes the third International Master from Madhya Pradesh

by Shahid Ahmed - 09/10/2023

18-year-old Ayush Sharma became India's latest International Master on 21st September 2023. He drew against GM Tigran Harutyunyan (ARM) in the second round of Tsaghkadzor Open 2023 in Armenia, to cross 2400 in the live ratings. The teenager from Khandwa also became the third IM from his state - Madhya Pradesh. Akshat Khamparia became the first one in 2011 and Anuj Shrivatri second in 2020. Ayush earned his maiden IM-norm in October 2021 at IM Ask 2 in Arandjelovac, Serbia. Almost a year later, he secured his second IM-norm and also his maiden GM-norm at 22nd Dubai Open 2022 in Dubai, UAE. The final norm was scored in two months time at Asian Continental 2022 in New Delhi. He also scored his fourth IM-norm at Baku Open 2023 and fifth at 29th Abu Dhabi Masters 2023, just for good measure. Photo: Chess Academy of Armenia

Five IM-norms and 2400+ in a little less than two years

In October 2021, Ayush Sharma was rated only 2072 when he scored his first IM-norm. His rating was frozen since March 2020 at 2072 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nearly two years later, he scored five IM-norms and crossed 2400 in the live ratings to become India's latest International Master.

Ayush Sharma becomes the latest IM of India | Photo: Chess Academy of Armenia

Ayush Sharma's rating graph from October 2021 to October 2023 | Source: FIDE

First IM norm: IM Ask 2 Round Robin 2021

Ayush Sharma scored his first IM-norm at IM Ask 2 Round Robin tournament in October 2021. He won the first game, had a mandatory Bye in the second round, then he won the next five games in-a-row. He scored 7.5/11 including wins over GM Milko Popchev (BUL), GM Dejan Pikula (SRB), IM Anup Deshmukh and a draw against GM Zlatko Ilincic (SRB).

Ayush - Dejan, Round 7

Position after 17...Nh5

Ayush Sharma (2072) decided to sacrifice an exchange 18.Rxd6 to gain longterm initiative against GM Dejan Pikula (SRB, 2378). The teenager went on to win the game.

Ayush Sharma scored 7.5/9, finished third and gained 160.3 Elo rating points en route his maiden IM-norm

Second IM-norm and maiden GM-norm: 22nd Dubai Open 2022

Ayush Sharma scored his second IM-norm and maiden GM-norm at Dubai Open 2022. He defeated GM Thej Kumar M S, GM Arjun Kalyan, GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (GER), and drew with then IM Aditya Mittal.

Ayush - Nisipeanu, Round 5

Position after 18.Nh5+

Posing practical challenges to your opponent is an important skill. Ayush played 18.Nh5+ although it may look menacing, actually it isn't. After 18...Kf8 19.Nf6 does not pose any major challenges. It would have taken a computer like accuracy for Black to know and realize that. Since, both are human and not a computer, Black played the humane 18...Rxh5 19.Qxh5 and White eventually returned the exchange to get a favorable rook endgame and win it.

FM Ayush Sharma en route his win against GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu (GER) | Photo: Rupali Mullick
Interview with FM Ayush Sharma after he scored his maiden GM and second IM-norm | Video: ChessBase India

Ayush scored 6/9, performed at 2622 to earn his maiden GM-norm and second IM-norm, gaining 82.4 Elo rating points in the process

Third IM-norm: Asian Continental 2022 Open

Ayush Sharma scored his final IM-norm at Asian Continental Chess Championship 2022 Open . He started with three draws, then he scored 4/6 in the next six games to secure his final IM-norm and also gain 74 Elo rating points in the process. Ayush won against GM Arjun Kalyan, GM Iniyan P, IM Yusup Atabayev (TKM), then IM Aditya Mittal, drew against then IM Aditya Samant, IM Ajay Karthikeyan and IM Anuj Shrivatri.

Iniyan - Ayush

Position after 17...Nd3+

Ayush Sharma disturbed the white king and got rid of its castling rights with 17...Nd3+ 18.Ke2 Bc5 19.Be3 Re8 20.f3 Ng5 and it would not be an understatement to say that White is positionally lost. Black won the game in a little over a dozen more moves.

FM Ayush Sharma on his win against GM Iniyan P | Video: ChessBase India

Ayush Sharma received his third IM-norm certificate at Asian Continental Championship 2022 | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

Ayush Sharma scored 5.5/9, performed at 2594 and gained 74 Elo rating points en route his final IM-norm

Fourth IM-norm: Baku Open 2023

Ayush scored his fourth IM-norm at Baku Open 2023. Although he did not need it, still his performance earned him one. Despite starting with two losses, Ayush scored 5/7 in the next seven games to secure his fourth IM-norm. He won against IM Abdimalik Abdisalimov (UZB), IM Ismayil Shahaliyev (AZE) and IM Arystanbek Urazayev (KAZ).

Ayush Sharma at Baku Open 2023 | Photo: FA Lana Afanadiyeva

Ayush Sharma scored 5/9, performed at 2460 and gained 45.4 Elo rating points

Fifth IM-norm: 29th Abu Dhabi Masters 2023

Ayush scored his fifth IM-norm at 29th Abu Dhabi Masters 2023. He had a slow start 1/3. Then he scored 4.5/6 with a performance of 2524 to earn his fifth IM-norm. Once again, scoring this norm was not required but having an extra is always good. The teenager defeated IM Ravi Teja S, IM L M S T De Silva, IM Viani Antonio Dcunha, IM Ameya Audi, IM S Rohith Krishna and drew against IM Ramil Faizrakhmanov.

Ayush Sharma with his fifth IM-norm certificate

Ayush Sharma scored 5.5/9, performed at 2524 and gained 49.8 Elo rating points

Live rating 2400: Tsaghkadzor Open 2023

The last criteria which Ayush needed to fulfill happened when he drew against GM Tigran K Harutyunyan (ARM) in the second round of Tsaghkadzor Open 2023.

Ayush Sharma at Tsaghkadzor Open 2023 | Photo: Chess Academy of Armenia

Ayush Sharma crossed 2400 in the live ratings after his second round draw against GM Tigran K Harutyunyan (ARM)

IM Anup Deshmukh | Photo: Shahid Ahmed

"In 2016/17, I played an All India event in Bhopal which was organised by Mr. Kapil Saxena,  I came third. In my first round, I played with Master Ayush Sharma a 7-8 years old kid then. He lost to me in a winning position. But during the Prize distribution function, I was called to speak. Here I said one 7-8 year old boy, (Now IM Ayush Sharma), will become a great name in MP chess. Hence, requested everyone to clap for him! Next we met in the Sikkim National Seniors Championship. There his mother told me the same story and requested me to coach him. Rest is history! A remote area - Khandwa boy, becoming an IM, it's a very big news for Khandwa!"

Ayush's Best Achievements

Ayush Sharma has won a lot of accolades in his chess career so far. Here are the best ones:

Champion - 16th G H Raisoni Memorial Rapid Rating Open 2023

Runner-up - Shri Harbans Singh and Smt. Ranjeet Kaur Memorial Rapid Rating Open 2021

Runner-up - AICF Natonal Under-18 Open Online 2021

Second Runner-up - 16th G H Raisoni Memorial Blitz Rating Open 2023

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Senior Rating Open 2022

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Senior Men 2022

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Junior Under-19 Open 2022

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Junior Boys 2021

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Under-17 Boys 2019

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Under-15 Open 2018

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Under-13 Open 2018

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Under-13 Boys 2017

Champion - Madhya Pradesh State Under-17 Open 2017

Runner-up - 57th Madhya Pradesh State Senior Open Rating 2019

Runner-up - Madhya Pradesh State Sub-Junior Rating Open 2019

Runner-up - Madhya Pradesh State Junior Under-19 Open 2018

Runner-up - 42nd Madhya Pradesh State Under-11 Boys Open 2016

Second Runner-up - Madhya Pradesh State Junior Under-19 2019

• Second Runner-up - 41st Madhya Pradesh State Under-11 and Under-13 Boys 2014

Replay Ayush's games

Videos

When both players start grinning - IM Manish vs FM Ayush | Tata Steel Asian Junior 2023 Open Blitz | Video: ChessBase India
Ayush Sharma on first win against GM Arjun Kalyan - Asian Continental 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
A fascinating rook endgame - FM Ayush Sharma vs GM Karthikeyan Murali | MPL National Rapid 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
GM Mitrabha Guha vs FM Ayush Sharma - MPL National Rapid 2022 | Video: ChessBase India
FM Ayush Sharma vs Md. Reyan - Tata Steel Asian Junior 2023 Open Rapid | Video: ChessBase India