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Himanshu Sharma is India's 47th GM and Haryana's first!

by Sagar Shah - 20/04/2017

At the age of 34 years Himanshu Sharma became India's 47th grandmaster and the first one from the state of Haryana. In the fifth round of the Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial tournament that is in progress in his home state Himanshu won the game and crossed the magical 2500 Elo barrier. Himanshu has never had a coach in his chess career. Yet he managed to keep improving on his own. What exactly is his secret? If you read this article carefully, no matter if you are a beginner or a grandmaster, you are bound to be enriched with some unparalleled chess knowledge.

Himanshu Sharma scored a win in the fifth round of the 1st Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial tournament to cross the magical figure of 2500 on the Elo list and become India's 47th grandmaster and first from the state of Haryana. The title was extra sweet because it happened on his home soil - in Haryana.

 

Himanshu Sharma became an International Master in the year 2006. He reached an impressive rating of 2471 in 2009. However, getting the GM norms for him was a tough task. I still remember the Commonwealth Championships in Delhi in 2007 when Himanshu raced to a 6.5/7 lead. Getting the GM norm was a foregone conclusion. But he botched it up with two losses to Ratnakaran and Ganguly. After the tournament ended I could sense the disappointment and his loss of confidence.

 

Himanshu's career reached a low point in 2011 when he for the first time in many years went below 2400 Elo on the rating list - 2393 in March 2011. Things worsened further when in April 2014 he reached 2342! This was a rude awakening for the classy player from Haryana. Eight years after his IM title, Himanshu had still not made a single GM norm and had lost a ton of rating points. The bleeding had to stop.

 

Sharma got serious about his chess and his first breakthrough came when he made his maiden GM norm at the Mumbai Mayors Cup 2014. The second norm came in the KIIT Open in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa in 2015. In Montcada, Spain 2016 he achieved his final GM norm. The 2500 rating barrier was still to be breached and he did it in the fifth round of the Sardar Prakash Singh Memorial Fide rating tournament currently in progress in Haryana.

 

Chief Arbiter Gopakumar clarifies, "As per April FRL Himanshu had a rating of 2493 and played at Udaipur and lost -1.3 rating points. He then played Bangkok open and gained 5.3 elo points. Making a live rating of 2497 before the ongoing event. Now he registered 4 wins in the ongoing tournament without a lose or draw and gained 3.2 elo to make a live rating of 2500.2. Now the outcome of future rounds are immaterial for GM title."

Himanshu Sharma (left) with Nilesh Jindal, after achieving the title 

After achieving the GM title, this is what Himanshu wrote on Facebook: (Himanshu wrote the entire post in Capital letters and we haven't changed that!)

 

"THANK GOD.. THANKS ALOT... FOR GIVING ME THE ONE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL MOMENT IN MY CAREER LIFE...
WITH THE BLESSINGS OF GOD ALMIGHTY,
WITH THE TOUCHING FEET TO MY PARENTS, AND THE GOOD WISHES OF MY BROTHER AND ALL OF MY RELATIVES, FRIENDS, DEAR ONES AND NEAR ONES,

 

FINALLY THE MOST CHARMING MOMENT HAS COME.. TODAY I CROSSED THE ELO OF 2500 AND BECAME THE FIRST GRANDMASTER FROM MY STATE HARYANA..

 

THANKS MY WONDERFUL STATE FOR BELIEVING ME AND GIVING ME THE PROUDEST MOMENT UNDER SONEPAT CITY IN IST SARDAR PRAKASH SINGH MEMORIAL FIDE RATED CHESS TOURNAMENT 2017....

 

THE JOURNEY WAS NEVER EASY FROM THE BEGINNING FROM THE ROHTAK CITY.. BUT THANKS TO EVERYONE MY PARENTS..FRIENDS..RELATIVES.. DEARONES.. NEARONES TO GIVING ME THE FULL SUPPORT AND TIME..


THANKS TO ALL THE RAILWAYS MATES IN CHESS AND OFFICIAL COLLEAGUES ESPECIALLY IN OUR SR.DME/O/DSL/KJM.... THANKS ALOT ALL OF MY SENIOR AUTHORITIES FOR EACH AND EVERY SUPPORT AND HELP GIVEN FOR THE GAME IMPROVEMENT.....

 

WITH MANY UPS AND DOWNS , FINALLY THE AMAZING PEACE OF MIND .
WOULD CONTINUE TO MARCH AHEAD, WITH MY NEXT STEP...

ONCE AGAIN !! THANKS GOD... THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH..........."

How Himanshu achieved the GM title

Himanshu Sharma becoming a GM at the age of 34 years is an inspiration to the entire chess community. However more than the age the fact that he did it without a coach is really amazing. Sharma is a self made player. He has never had a trainer to guide him in his chess journey. How is it that he achieved such a coveted title without any coaching? What is the secret of his success?

 

Himanshu's mantra for success is simple: Analyze your own games. We have heard many people say that you must analyze your games and learn from your mistakes, but Himanshu is the best example of putting it into practice. In July 2016 we had published an article on our newspage entitled "The art of analyzing your own game". In that article Himanshu had shared with us his last round encounter against IM D.K. Sharma from the Paavna Open. Although Himanshu had drawn that game and won the title, his game analysis revealed that his mindset for the last round was not correct. He was fixated on the result and did not make the best moves. Of course, he learnt from his mistakes and put them to good use in the last round of the Montcada Open 2016.

 

Himanshu was pitted against GM Jorge Cori (2602). Sharma needed a draw to achieve his final GM norm. But this time he ensured that he was not playing for the outcome. Instead he focused on making the best moves and the result is here for all of you to see.

 

I would recommend that you go through this game as carefully as you can. Get your chess set out and play through the moves and all the variations. In fact if you find it difficult to move through the variations, then download the PGN file provided at the end of this article and go over the game on your local ChessBase software. I spent nearly three hours watching and learning from Himanshu's analysis and I must say it was the best use of my time! 

[Event "Montacada Open 2016"] [Site "Montacada Ripollette,Spain"] [Date "2016.07.04"] [Round "9"] [White "Sharma, Himanshu"] [Black "Jorge, Cori"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "B23"] [WhiteElo "2389"] [BlackElo "2602"] [Annotator "Himanshu Sharma"] [PlyCount "198"] [EventDate "2016.07.03"] [EventType "swiss"] [EventRounds "9"] [EventCountry "ESP"] [EventCategory "8"] [SourceDate "1999.11.16"] {This was the last round of the tournament and I needed a draw to get my final GM norm. A victory for my opponent could ensure him a very good finish in this championship. But as I had analyzed my last round game in great depth against D.K. Sharma and kept it mind the main lessons which I learnt from that game, I really felt better in this encounter. Analysis of my own game ensures me the right rhythm to continue the game as a real sportsman. A pure form of positional battle enlightens your soul, not only the mind.} 1. e4 c5 {My opponent decided to play the Sicilian Defence. Normally the psychological taste of the GM can be understood from his opening choice. With the Sicilian he shows that he wants to achieve victory at all costs. After all he had the chance to fight for the first place.} 2. Nc3 a6 {A move which helps Black gain the queenside advance immediately. And the key idea is to create pressure against the vital e4 pawn.} 3. g3 {A move that fits perfectly against the enemy intention. Intending to connect the rhythm of the light square bishop from the natural diagonal and protecting the central e4 pawn as well.} ({ But sometimes, I feel energetic with the dubious} 3. g4 {Many times, I have chosen this move at this moment. This interestingly dubious approach could ensure White some meaningful purpose against the kingside flank in the middlegame. But as it looks, it also ensures some holes in my area. Hence, I decide not to loosen the grip over any portion of the board.}) 3... b5 4. Bg2 Bb7 5. Nge2 {This ensures the safety of the main e4 pawn and intending to remain flexible at the early stage of the game. I could continue either with d4 or close it with d3. The f-pawn can also be advanced.} e6 {Covering the central d5 square and intending to gain time with b4 and d5. Black's kingside develops late in this way, but he is fine as the idea of b4 followed by d5 is pretty strong.} 6. O-O {Just not fulfilling the safety of my king but also hoping to advance e5 whenever required, as now the bishop on g2 is not unsupported.} Nc6 {This doesn't feel connected to his previous play. By developing his bishop to b7 and threatening b4, he tried to put pressue on e4, and now with Nc6 he is shifting his attention to the d4 square. This somehow doesn't seem like the correct approach.} ({More to the point would have been} 6... Nf6 $5 {This is an interesting moment. The idea is to provoke e4-e5.} 7. e5 Bxg2 8. Kxg2 Ng4 9. d4 cxd4 10. Qxd4 h5 $132 {This is a difficult position to assess. White seems to be ahead in development and Black's king is not castled. However, as per my Mega Database White has not been able to win even a single game. Black king might be in the centre but he is well protected. The ifs and buts are present for both sides. Nc6 with an attack on e5 is threatened, hence Black gets his time to regroup.}) 7. d4 $1 {Gaining the moment and directly opening the phase of the game. Sicilian Open Games with Bg2 should ensure some meaningful pace for White.} cxd4 8. Nxd4 {I felt that I already had some edge at this moment.} Rc8 {Diagram [#] A completely new position for me..Black is developing his queenside rook inorder to gain some tempo with Nxd4 followed by Bc5 whenever possible.The rook also eyes down the c2 pawn when b4 would be played.} (8... Qc7) 9. Nxc6 $1 {A very nice move. This gains precious time for White. First of all it blocks he c-file and secondly the d5 square could be used by the knight to jump in and cause great inconvenience to Black.} Bxc6 {The bishop now blocks the rook and it would take one more move to renew the attack on c2.} 10. Re1 $5 {A move that was played without much thought. White is wating to drop a bomb over d5. However, it could have been much more meaningful to go to d5 with the knight immediately.} (10. Nd5 $1 {Honestly speaking I didn't see this sacrifice. But it is more to the point and puts Black on the ropes.} Bb7 (10... Bc5 {This might be one critical variation.} 11. Qg4 $36 {Either Black has to create some holes or lose his castling.} exd5 $2 {Certainly the knight is just untouchable at this moment.} 12. exd5 Bb7 13. Qxg7 Qf6 14. Re1+ Be7 15. Rxe7+ $1 $18 { A nice finishing stroke.}) (10... exd5 11. exd5 Bb7 12. Re1+ Be7 13. d6 $18) 11. Re1 Ne7 {Now the central knight is just attacked by the pawn.} 12. Nf4 $14 {White has better co-ordination.}) (10. a4 $5 {Inserting a4 and b4 and then continuing with the above lines was also interesting.} b4 11. Nd5 $1 $14) 10... Bc5 {Diagram [#] Developing the piece with the intention of castling after developing Ne7. This is a real critical moment for White. What should he play now?} 11. Be3 {Hoping to make good use of the time with the central exchange. Simplifying things would not hurt Black, but it is enough to keep some initiative for White. However, I do think that the immediate knight jump to d5 was stronger.} (11. Nd5 Ne7 {My opponent's idea is obvious. He would like to 0-0 and then pick up the knight on d5. Since the entire game depends on this point, I must speak to my pieces. The bishop on c1 wants to develop. But where? } 12. b4 $1 {I did not see this wonderful move. The main idea is to remove the enemy defender of the e7 square and using the time for some immediate gains. Now Black must choose one out of two given options.} (12. Bg5 $5 {This normal move is pretty good and in the future can lead to the control of the d6 square. However, this is surely not the critical test of Black's play.} h6 (12... O-O $2 13. Nf6+ $3 gxf6 (13... Kh8 14. Qh5 $18) 14. Bxf6 Qe8 15. Qd2 $18) (12... f6 $5 13. Bf4 $14) 13. Bxe7 Bxe7 14. Nxe7 Qxe7 $14 {This ensures White long term edge with purpose of using the d-file in the near future. However, there is no real weakness in Black's camp as well except the d-file and d6 square. The main question was "CAN I DO BETTER ?"}) 12... Bxd5 {Taking the knight seems to be better than Ba7 retreat.} (12... Ba7 $6 13. Bb2 $1 {Here the value of the b2 square connects with White's activity..Now the g7 pawn is under attack..} ( 13. Bg5 $5 f6 14. Bf4 $1 $14) 13... f6 14. Qh5+ Ng6 15. Nf4 O-O 16. Nxg6 hxg6 17. Qxg6 $14 {White is a pawn ahead and there is long term attacking propsects towards the kingside. Although the c-file would give Black reasonable play in the meantime, the value of one extra pawn can never be ignored in a practical game.}) 13. bxc5 {This breaks White's structure, but gives him the bishop pair and also complete dominance on the dark squares.} Bc6 14. Bf4 $14 {White's advantage is beyong any doubt.}) 11... Bxe3 12. Rxe3 Ne7 {Black is ready to castle and there is one weakness only to penetrate from the d-file and that is also not so clear what White can achieve. Counterplay against c2 pawn comes pretty quickly.} 13. Qd6 {This was not a bad move. But it allows Black to exchange one more force. In some ways it is convenient for White because exchange of pieces would bring him closer to a draw, which he requires for the GM norm. But during the game I was focusing only on the moves, not on the result. My attitude changed from the games and lessons I had in the past.} (13. Ne2 $5 O-O 14. Nd4 $13) 13... Qc7 14. Rd1 {I didn't want to take on c7, free the c8 square and allow the knight to join the game via c8-b6-c4.} Qxd6 15. Rxd6 {Diagram [#] Black is just out of danger in this middlegame..White on the other hand seems holding a little small edge as well...This was my assessment during the game...But things are never so simple in the game of Chess..How should Black Continue ?} f6 {This move is natural and it stops my central expansion. However, Black had a much stronger move at his disposal.} ( 15... g5 $1 $13 {This was a nice move. Although it's a bit difficult to find. This captures the dark squares and intends to get the e5 square for the knight. Black could try pressing in the middlegame as his king is in the centre and generally gives support to his lovely soldiers.}) 16. a3 {Just preventing b4. However, this was not required. It was important to place the pieces on the right squares and for that reason it was necessary to begin with} (16. Rd2 $1 { This was the correct choice securing c2 and intending to play Nd5 or Ne2-d4.} g5 17. Nd5 $1 Kf7 18. Nb4 $14 {Taking the bishop and playing with the bishop vs knight position.}) (16. f4 $5 $13 {Preventing g5 and regrouping with the natural central advance was good as well.}) 16... Rc7 {Now the knight might join from the rear area with Nc8-b6-c4.} 17. Rd2 $14 {Of course saving the rook from the tempo and securing the vital c2 pawn from any further damage.} Bb7 {What was the purpose of this retreat? It was difficult for me to understand. Perhaps Nc6-e5/a5-c4..But that could be achieved with Nc8-b6 easily. Was it to give rook activity down the c-file. But it was always there. Perhaps saving a tempo by anticipating Ne2-d4. But that can be done later. Why Now?} 18. f4 {I simply decided to strengthen my grip over the central area of the board.} (18. e5 $5) 18... h5 {The only purpose of this move is to provoke h4 when the knight could easily sit on g4 or f5 whenever required at his own will. Black will not get anything much from this kingside advance. He has only one piece while I am my entire army well placed on the centre of the board. I decided to continue with my play.} 19. e5 $1 $14 {This pawn advance certainly gains good squares for my pieces. Now the e4 square is waiting for my knight and the enemy pawns can not move easily. White enjoys small but permanent edge. } Nf5 20. Ree2 Bxg2 21. Kxg2 {Now the king improved a little bit without wasting any time.} fxe5 22. Rxe5 $1 {Of couse this was the real aim to give fresh air to my forces. I didn't want to recapture with the pawn and give myself an isolated pawn on e5.} O-O {Diagram [#] Black castled and took away his king from the centre. But he was worried about the dodgy position of his knight on f5. The important question now is how should White continue his momentum?} 23. Ree2 $5 {Not so concrete but not bad either. The intention is to use the central squares for the knight which was impossible earlier due to Ne3 check and the loss of the vital c2 pawn.} (23. Kh3 $5 {This could be one of the most highly unnatural paths for the king. But since it save time for White and might hurt Black after the logical knight exchange, it could be a good idea. The plan is to play Ne4 followed by c3 and then exchange the knights with Nd6. Black might feel sorry for the obvious holes when he pushed his kingside pawns. White is objectively and psychologically better. This is how positional play triumphs. Step by Step. Time after Time!}) (23. Ne2 $5 $14 {Getting from g1-f3 is also interesting.}) (23. Nd1 $5) 23... Kf7 {Now the king comes back to support his soldiers.} 24. Ne4 {I placed the knight to its main occupation, guardning vital squares and gaining time as well.} Ke7 25. h3 {Here I felt that the f5 knight is the base of Black's solidity in the position. I try to kick it out. However, it does weaken my g3 and f4 points. It must be said that it was a calculated risk from my side. But better was to wait and keep the options open with Rd3.} (25. Rd3 $142 $5) 25... Rc4 { Intending to invade with Nd4.} 26. c3 {Simply preventing the enemy intention.} a5 {Black is gaining some play in the position. A critical position for White.} 27. Rd3 $1 {Just waiting and improving my position and intending to double on the d-file.} (27. g4 hxg4 28. hxg4 Nh4+ 29. Kg3 Ng6 30. f5 Ne5 $13) 27... Rc6 { Diagram [#] The rook has moved out of c4 and now Black threatens b4.} (27... b4 $6 {This looks like gaining time for White.} 28. b3 $1 Rc6 29. axb4 axb4 30. c4 $14) 28. b4 $5 {Again dangerous, but calculated. This converts b5 into a long term weakness, gives the c5 square for my knight and the most important pawns seem to be in White's reach.} (28. Red2 {This seems like the most natural move, but I didn't like the fact that it allows Black to break with b4. } d5 29. Ng5 b4 30. axb4 axb4 31. cxb4 $14) 28... axb4 29. axb4 Rc7 $2 { It's hard to understand the purpose of this move. It wasn't important to secure the d7 square.} 30. Ra2 $1 $14 {Now White gets the desired penetration into the black camp. You will understand how little by little White's advantage is growing. The "Penny Penny so many!" approach gives him a stable plus.} Rfc8 {Now there is no pressure down the f-file and hence the knight is removed from f5.} 31. g4 $14 Nh6 32. Kg3 $5 {This was played without much thought. Although natural, it was much more incisive to continue with} (32. Nd6 $142 $1 Rb8 (32... Rxc3 $2 33. Nxc8+ Rxc8 34. Ra7 $18) 33. gxh5 $5 $14 (33. Kg3 Nf7 (33... hxg4 34. hxg4 Nf7 35. Ne4 Rbc8 36. Ra5 $14) 34. Nxf7 Kxf7 $13 35. gxh5 $14)) (32. Kf3 $5 $13 {This seems more natural, but I avoided it because after Nf7 and g5, the knight could suddenty jump to e5 and cause some damage.}) 32... hxg4 33. hxg4 Nf7 34. Ra5 {I decided to attack the weakest pawn.} Rc4 { The rook atacks the knight, but it was important to play d5.} (34... d5 35. Nc5 Nd6 $13) 35. Nc5 {Diagram [#] Two Black pawns are attacked. What should he do?} (35. Ra7 $6 R8c7 36. Rxc7 Rxc7 $13) 35... Rc7 $6 {This is not the best, but looks most logical. Black had at his disposal a great g-pawn push!} (35... g5 $3 36. Rxd7+ Kf6 37. Rxb5 gxf4+ 38. Kf2 Ne5 {Black is very much fine.}) 36. Re3 $1 $14 {A nice move creating pressure against the e6 pawn and still threatening the b5 one.} (36. Rxb5 $6 g5 $1 $132) 36... g5 37. fxg5 Nxg5 38. Rxb5 {White wins a pawn at last.} Ra7 {The rook aims to come in and create counterplay.} 39. Kh4 $1 {Removing the enemy kngiht from the better position and giving some time to my forces as well.} (39. Nxd7 $2 Ne4+ $1 40. Rxe4 $8 ( 40. Kf3 Nd2+ 41. Ke2 Rxd7 $17) 40... Rxe4 41. Kf3 Re1 (41... Rc4 42. Rc5 $44) 42. Nc5 $44) 39... Nf7 $14 {We were both heading towards time-pressure. And once again as happens with me. in time-pressure, I fumbled. Playing in time pressure has hurt me a lot, I start panicking and do not make up to my mind quickly.} 40. Rb6 {I decided to keep an eye on the e6 pawn.} (40. Ne4 $142 $1 $14) (40. Rb7 $2 Rxb7 41. Nxb7 Nh6 $11) 40... Ra1 41. Rb7 {Now getting the second pawn..} Rh1+ 42. Kg3 Ng5 $8 43. Rxd7+ Kf6 {Diagram [#] White is two pawn ahead..But Black gets some compensation in return..The g4 and c3 pawn in underattack..In time-pressure ,Things are certainly not easy to handle...What should White do ?} 44. Kg2 $2 {A mistake. Weakening the g4 pawn. It was played with the intention of gaining time and not allowing Rg1+.} (44. Rdd3 $1 $16 { White guards the c3 pawn and maintains good winning chances.} Rh3+ 45. Kf2 Rf4+ (45... Rh2+ 46. Ke1 Rxg4 47. Re2 $18) 46. Kg2 Rxg4+ 47. Rg3 {Black has to suffer.} Rhxg3+ 48. Rxg3 Rc4 49. Kf1 $16 {Heading towards the queenside pawns.} ) (44. Nxe6 $2 Rh3+ $13 (44... Nxe6 45. Rd6 $18)) 44... Rc1 {The rook moves to a better square and attacks the c3 pawn. I was still under time pressure.} 45. Nxe6 $2 {A very big blunder.Totally spoiling everything. Giving Black what he wants. I simply forgot about the g4 pawn and thought Nxe6 was winning for me. Why do I make such silly moves in time pressure. It is not the first time that I spoilt every hard work of the position done earlier. Time-pressure is taking everything away for me. I must soon try to overcome this bad habit.} (45. Kf2 $1 $14) 45... Rxg4+ $15 {Now white is in trouble. His forces are not so well connected.} 46. Kf2 Rc2+ 47. Kf1 $6 (47. Re2 $142 Ne4+ 48. Ke3 Rxc3+ 49. Kd4 Ng3+ 50. Kxc3 Nxe2+ 51. Kb3 Kxe6 $11) 47... Rh4 $1 {Black is now threatening to deliver mate in one. What a turn of tables. I started to panic a lot. My GM norm was at stake. But with every passing second the chances of my error increases. I could think of nothing but somehow saving my king.} 48. Re2 Rc1+ ( 48... Rh1+ 49. Kg2 Rxe2+ 50. Kxh1 Nf3 51. Rh7 $8 $11 {saves the day.}) 49. Kg2 Rg4+ 50. Kf2 Nh3+ 51. Kf3 (51. Ke3 $142 $13) 51... Rcg1 52. Ke3 {Now the king has simply come from the cage to the open area...} Kxe6 53. Rd4 R4g3+ 54. Kd2+ Kf5 55. Kc2 Nf4 56. Rf2 Rg4 $44 {Now a different position has come..White need to secure the draw..From the highly comfortable position,White has entered into drawn but bad position...Still things are pretty much easy for White if wanna maintain equality..But the winning mechansim would never be present for me.....} 57. b5 Ke5 58. Kb3 (58. b6 $142 $13) 58... Nd5 59. Rxg4 Rxg4 60. Rd2 $2 (60. c4 $142 $13 {Why on earth did I not push this pawn. I do not know.} Rg3+ 61. Ka4 Nb6+ 62. Kb4 Rg4 63. Kc5 Nxc4 64. b6 $11) 60... Rg3 61. Rc2 $2 ( 61. Ka4 $142) 61... Kd6 62. Kb2 Kc5 63. Rh2 Nxc3 64. Rh5+ Kc4 65. Rh4+ Kxb5 { We enter a basic drawn position. White should know how to play and I was aware of the drawing technique.} 66. Kc2 Kc5 67. Kd2 Kd5 68. Rh8 Kd4 69. Rd8+ { Rest of the moves do not need any commentary.} Nd5 70. Ke2 {The key thing is to not allow the knight to jump near the enemy king.} Rg5 71. Kf3 Kd3 72. Rf8 Rg1 73. Kf2 Rg7 74. Kf3 Kd4 75. Rd8 Rf7+ 76. Ke2 Rf6 77. Rh8 Nc3+ 78. Ke1 Ne4 79. Kd1 Rf2 80. Rd8+ Ke3 81. Re8 Rh2 82. Kc1 Kd4 83. Rd8+ Kc4 84. Rc8+ Nc5 85. Kd1 Kd4 86. Rd8+ Ke3 87. Re8+ Ne4 88. Kc1 Rh6 89. Kc2 Rc6+ 90. Kb3 Kd4 91. Rd8+ Nd6 92. Rd7 Kd3 93. Kb4 Kd4 94. Kb3 Kd3 95. Kb4 Kc2 96. Rh7 Rc4+ 97. Ka5 Rc8 98. Kb6 Kc3 99. Rh1 Nc4+ {And here we agreed for a draw and I got my final GM norm. But a few things I must say about this game and the power of analysis - the things I learnt after analyzing the game between myself and D.K.Sharma. Lessons from this Game:- 1. Before starting the round, My earlier analysis with D.K.Sharma helped me to have the right mind set. Due to that I was able to play with a solid grip right from the opening until the end. 2.) I was able to prove my learning capacity by overcoming the errors made by me in other encounters with different players. I learnt how to place slow and steady pressure on my opponent. 3.)"Penny-Penny So many" - This rule helps after every passing of time. When suddenly White inch by inch gains small but steady edge, it helps him to gain a huge advantage. 4.) A centrally placed knight bites the opponent quite powerfully. The same is felt about the knight on e4. The longer it sits on e4, the powerful it becomes. 5.) Although some better regrouping of the forces was available for me, they were quite difficult for me to understand. But we should always talk to ourselves - "CAN I DO BETTER?" 6.) My new weakness makes me lose all my cool under time-pressure. I was not able to maintain cool and calm attitude and made blunders which gives away everything that I have built up. It simply ruins all the efforts and hurts badly and breaks the soul. But firstly I have to understand the reason behind why I blunder under time pressure. In time pressure I make the moves based on my feel and forget about calculation. In the game your feel and calculation must work together even if you are in time pressure. It's surely difficult to calculate with less time, but a little more cautious approach can help. Other thing might be helpful to play some blitz games with the computer at home. The engine will beat you badly in blitz. But those losses at home are far better than actual losses at the tournament. The third thing - What happens when you play in time pressure is panic. Fear naturally squeezes your heart and you starts doubting your patience and your inner capabilities. However, the origin of such fear comes from your panic attitude in severe time-pressure. Hence, the first thing is to understand is that a fearful person can not play better chess at any cost...Hence, this fear and panic should not be allowed to threaten your inner instincts. Recently in the past few important games, I made a lot of mistakes in time-pressure and lost immediately. This habit of mine has killed me. However, I can happily say one thing - I have overcome most of my other mistakes. And one day soon I will overcome my time pressure errors as well. After all, we are born to make mistakes. But we should not repeat the same mistakes again!} 1/2-1/2

This is the secret of Himanshu Sharma becoming a grandmaster. It is no sophisticated opening analysis, it is no Soviet book that he read when he was young, it was not because of some trainer who should him some secret way of analyzing a position. It's just sheer and plain hard work. The inquisitiveness to know the truth of a position and going through all the pains to find out the mistakes and trying to rectify them in the next games.

 

"We are all born to make mistakes, but we should not repeat the same mistakes again."

                                                                          -GM Himanshu Sharma

Download Himanshu's deeply annotated games in PGN format

Congratulations Himanshu Sharma, you truly deserve this title.