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Breaking through stagnation - The story of how Manush Shah reached 2405 Elo

by Manush Shah - 15/03/2019

"Nowadays, when you're not a grandmaster at 14, you can forget about it." - Viswanathan Anand. Today we have grandmasters that are 12, 13, and 14 years old. But does that mean that you quit playing if you are not young enough for the title? Akiba Rubinstein started when he was 16, Mikhail Chigorin at the age of 17 and there are so many examples around. 22 years old FM Manush Shah believes that age is just a number and anything is possible in life if you put your sincere efforts to make them work in your career.  In this article, he shares with us his interesting story to which most of the players can relate and how he managed to get 2405 ELO (+389 rating), 2 IM norms in 1.5 yrs with K-factor 20. Manush has also annotated his favourite games for the readers of ChessBase India.

How I reached an Elo 2405 in 1.5 years with a k-factor of 20

By FM Manush Shah

I started my journey at a very young age when I was 7 years old but I was suffering from inconsistency until 2017. The rating graph was like a heartbeat: 1999-1797-2178-2016-1983-2016. At the end of June 2017, I was pretty upset as my Elo had come down again to 2016 which turns out to be a figure recurring again and again. I had almost lost all of my hope for the first time in my life.

Manush learned the game from his Grandfather (Mr.Sudhir Shah) who is quite a decent player till date. | Photo: Manush Shah

There was something different awaiting for me. My parents believed in me, never lost hope and without letting me know my dad asked IM Ravi Teja about coaching. He also gave me tickets and visa for the Barcelona trip!

"Our life journey is so much easier with the love and support of family and friends" - Beth Bunchman. | Photo: Manush Shah

I started working with Ravi Teja and soon realized that I had a very bad opening repertoire, you can call it a very limited knowledge about openings. But then with the constant motivation of my parents and nice opening repertoire, I was able to increase 100 ELO rating in the 2017 Barcelona trip. The experience was awesome and suddenly my confidence started elevating.

There is so much positive vibe in the pic, the window connects you with the beautiful, mysterious, wild and free ocean! | Photo: Manush FB

Then I played in the Indian circuit (Bhopal, IIFL and Delhi Open) where I managed to increase 53 Elo points and also crossed the 2200 barrier for the first time in my life! I knew the right way forward was to play in more events and so I took part in the Aeroflot Open B category where I missed my first norm by a whisker. I was very proud of my performance though as I was able to defeat 1 GM, drew with 4 IMs, 2 WGMs and my only loss was against a GM. The best part of playing in Aeroflot was that it boosted me up and made me realized that anything is possible. After returning it took me 2-3 more events to cross 2300 ELO and that's how I became an FM.

The 14+ times state champion in different age group category says: "The person who continuously inspires me in chess is Sergey Karjakin and I follow his games a lot". | Photo: Manush Shah

Then came some nervy moments as I played in the 1st Saturday event and I missed my norm again by half a point. It was a must-win situation for me with the black pieces in the last round but I could only manage to draw. Overall I was happy with the quality of my games. Next, I flew to Montenegro where again, unfortunately, I missed my norm in the last round. The same thing repeated again, I lost in a must-win situation. In the end, there was a reason to be happy about as I again managed to increase my rating and take it to 2353. The thought of missing 2 norms in 2 consecutive tournaments hurt me a lot and I couldn't sleep peacefully for a long time.

"Finding friends as crazy as me is difficult but I managed to get some" - Manush Shah | Photo: Manush Shah

Like every Bollywood movie, my happy moment arrived while I was playing in the Serbia third Saturday. I defeated a very strong IM Flom Gabriel who was the winner of Aeroflot B category, 2017. Then I drew with Karthikeyan P and Nitin S. which helped me get my first IM norm! After the successful event, I played in 2 more events in Serbia and the results were not as expected. I was just too excited with the fact that I had made my first norm. Generally, it happens when you don't play with alertness or accuracy and I had to pay for it.

After many unsuccessful attempts finally, Manush was able to get his first norm in Serbia. | Photo: Manush Shah

Serbia turned out to be a lucky place for me so in February 2019 I again played in Serbia but this time in the GM section. I started off by beating three GMs and was at 3.5/4 at one point. It was a moment when I was thinking about making my first GM norm. Excitement about my GM norm made me lose a game and then a couple of draws, were not enough for a GM norm, but helped me secure my second IM norm. That's how I managed to pump up my rating by 389+ ELO, crossed 2400, made 2 IM norms in 1.5 years and yes, quite importantly my K factor was 20 (not 40!).

After many years of hardwork, everything is coming together for the Gujarat lad! Manush with his 2nd norm certificate in Serbia. | Photo: Manush Shah

Here are some favourite games of mine that I have annotated and analyzed for you:

IM Flom Gabriel vs FM Manush Shah

GM Ilincic Zlatko vs FM Manush Shah

FM Manush Shah vs IM Kojima Shinya

I would like to give full credits to my parents, family for always keeping hope in me and pushing me which I have also mentioned once in the Chessbase India's #chessmom initiative. I would also like to give huge credit to my coach IM Ravi Teja who would help me anytime between the rounds and in every aspect of the game especially in the opening part which I was lacking throughout my life. I would also like to thank Mr. Muktak Kapadia, Trustee of H.B.K High School for helping me with arranging leaves for chess.

"Being under Ravi Teja's supervision has been an amazing experience. He never focuses on results but only on improvement and this made me able to give my 100%" - Manush Shah

Manush's rating worm which had been dormant for nearly a decade is now unstoppable!


By Nongsha Angom

Manush has just completed his B.E.(IT) from the Silver Oak college of engineering and technology. Instead of going for his PG he has decided to go for the GM title. He is also the recipient of the prestigious Jaydeepsinha Baria award And Sardar Patel Award by the Gujarat Govt. A die-hard fan of his sister who is currently pursuing her MBBS from Belarus, she keeps motivating and pushing him to move ahead. When asked about his thought on children quitting academics for chess this is what he said:

"My opinion is not to quit academics. Chess definitely helps in grasping, it is a great combination if worked well. I think both chess and education can be balanced. Only becoming an IM or a GM is not enough you should know how to socialize, how to make a conversation and that only studies can teach you. I would say you can give more importance to chess than academics but you must not to quit it."

Related news:
Solve 4 tough positions from IM Manush Shah

@ 15/05/2024 by Himank Ghosh (en)
Manush Shah becomes the latest International Master of India

@ 17/05/2022 by Shahid Ahmed (en)

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