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Test your chess with Shyamsundar

by Sagar Shah - 15/01/2016

Shyam Sundar finished joint first at the Groningen Open which was held in the last week of December. He played an excellent tournament scoring 7.5/9 and beating many strong opponents. But the reason why we publish this report is because he sent us an amazingly detailed annotated game with so many rich and diverse variations. We have used this game as training material for you to learn from this meticulous Indian grandmaster.

Shyamsundar joint winner at Groningen chess festival 2015

Photos by Harry Gielen

The Groningen chess festival was held from the 21st to 30th of December 2015. The venue was the sports centre in the University of Groningen.

Groningen is near the north of Netherlands and close to the North Sea

The well organized playing hall

It was a nine round swiss event which saw the participation of five International Masters and nearly 12 International Masters. There were two Indians playing in the tournament: GM Shyamsundar and IM Saravanan Venkatachalam. Saravanan had a pretty forgettable event as he scored 4.5/9, but the highlight was surely Shyamsundar who finished joint first with 7.5/9 and had to settle for the second place due to tiebreaks. It was logical as Shyam had lost to Jorden van Foreest in the fourth round.

Shyamsundar played a fantastic tournament scoring 7.5/9 and finishing joint first. En route to his excellent performance he scored wins over two strong grandmasters: Jan Werle and Avital Boruchovsky.

IM V. Saravanan was the only other Indian in the competition. He scored 4.5/9 and finished 37th

IM Jorden van Foreest, who has completed all the formalities for becoming a GM, played a fine tournament to lift the winner's trophy
The reason for writing the report is that Shyamsundar after the tournament ended sent us a beautifully annotated last round win against Avital Boruchovsky. It was so nice and had so many instructive points that we decided to use it as training material for our readers. Here is what Shyam had to say before the game:
"Before this game, I was leading together with the top seed and my opponent. Naturally I wanted to play for a win without being much worried about the standings or getting  good prize money. As it was the last game of the year, I thought of giving my best no matter what!"
Let the game begin! (picture by Bart Beijer)   

 

We would recommend that you use a chess board and play over the game and whenever a question is posed to you, to stop and think about it. In this way you will be able to compare your thought process with a grandmaster. You can flip the board to see the game from Shyam's side!

[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[PlyCount "17"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]
{Before this game,I was leading together with the top seed and my opponent.
Naturally I wanted to play for a win without being much worried about the
standings or getting good prize money.As it was the last game of the year, I
thought of giving my best no matter what!} 1. d4 {I saw that my opponent
played too many things. So I had just revised a few lines before my game.} Nf6
2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Nbd7 $5 {Relatively unexplored line and
my opponent sank into deep thought and played the most natural move} 6. Nbd2 $5
(6. O-O {is the principled move}) 6... b5 7. Ne5 (7. a4 c6 8. axb5 (8. Ne5 Nxe5
9. dxe5 Nd5 10. O-O Be7 {Black is fine}) 8... cxb5 9. Ne5 Nxe5 10. Bxa8 Qxd4 {
I felt Black is already better here.}) 7... Nxe5 8. Bxa8 (8. dxe5 Nd5 $15) 8...
Qxd4 9. O-O {I felt this was the critical position and so I sank into deep
thought considering various candidate moves} *

 

 

Shyam considered this to be one of the critical positions of the game. Black has a way to gain a clear advntage. What should he play?
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "B1b1kb1r/p1p2ppp/4pn2/1p2n3/2pq4/6P1/PP1NPP1P/R1BQ1RK1 b k - 0 9"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]

9... Bc5 {After 15 mins of thought,I decided to play the most natural move in
this position though silicon monster found a simple way to trap the B which I
had missed during the game} (9... Nd5 $5 {This was the first candidate move
that came to my mind whereas the idea is to Block the h1-a8 diagonal} 10. Nb1
$1 {I found this move when I was almost about to move my N to d5} (10. Nf3 $6
Nxf3+ 11. exf3 Qc5 {I coudnt find proper way for white to make useful moves as
in most of the variations Black is dominating with the pawn mass} (11... Qxd1
12. Rxd1 Nb6 13. Bc6+ Bd7 14. Bxd7+ Nxd7 15. a4 $14) (11... Bc5 12. Qe2 O-O 13.
Rd1 Qf6 14. Bxd5 exd5 15. Rxd5 Qc6 {I felt Black can play for more than a
equality}) 12. Qe2 Bd6 $132) 10... Qxd1 (10... Bc5 11. Qxd4 Bxd4 12. Rd1 Bb6
13. Bxd5 exd5 14. Rxd5 f6 {I wasnt sure about the Black's position}) (10... c5
$5 11. Bxd5 (11. Qxd4 cxd4 $17) 11... Qxd5 12. Qxd5 exd5 {Looks great but
unfortunately im losing one of the pawns} 13. Nc3) 11. Rxd1 Nb6 12. Bg2 {
White gets some play}) (9... Bd6 {Looks strange but the point is I have B to
e5 when Ns gets exchanged} 10. Ne4 (10. Nf3 Nxf3+ 11. Bxf3 Qxd1 12. Rxd1 Ke7
13. Be3 a5 $11) 10... Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Nxe4 12. Bxe4 {I felt white has some play})
(9... c6 $1 10. Nf3 Nxf3+ 11. exf3 Qd7 $1 $17 {I missed this cute little move
during the game}) 10. Nf3 *
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "B1b1k2r/p1p2ppp/4pn2/1pb1n3/2pq4/6P1/PP1NPP1P/R1BQ1RK1 w k - 0 10"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]
10. Nf3 (10. Nb1 Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Ke7 $17) (10. e3 {Weakens d3 square}) (10. Ne4 {
I was mainly concerned about this move though after} Nxe4 11. Qxd4 Bxd4 12.
Bxe4 Ke7 $132 {With active play}) 10... Nxf3+ {I felt It would be better if I
exchange one pair of Ns so that I can march my pawns towards the queening
square without any troubles!} (10... Qxd1 11. Rxd1 Neg4 12. Bc6+ Bd7 13. Bxd7+
Nxd7 14. Nd4 a6 $13 {I coudnt evaluate this position properly during the game})
11. Bxf3 (11. exf3 $6 {weakening the d3 square for no reason}) 11... Qxd1 12.
Rxd1 Ke7 13. Bf4 (13. a4 b4 $15) 13... Bd6 14. Bc6 {I didnt take this move so
seriously when playing my 9th move} (14. Be3 a5 $132) 14... Bd7 (14... a6 {
I didnt like this move as I felt I need to push the pawns rather supporting
each other}) 15. Bxd7 Nxd7 16. a4 Rb8 {Played after a long thought.} (16... b4
17. Rac1 Bxf4 18. gxf4 c3 19. bxc3 b3 20. Rb1 Rb8 {Though I felt my position
is better,somehow I failed to find the promising way to convert my advantage})
(16... Bxf4 17. gxf4 b4 18. Rdc1 c3 19. bxc3 b3 20. Rab1 Rb8) 17. axb5 Rxb5 18.
Rxa7 (18. Ra2 Bxf4 19. gxf4 a5 $15) 18... Rxb2 19. Kf1 $6 (19. Rc1 $1 Nb6 (
19... Bxf4 $2 20. gxf4 Rxe2 21. Rxc7 $16) 20. Bxd6+ Kxd6 $11 21. Kf1 (21. Rd1+
Kc6) 21... f5 $11) 19... e5 {I was happy to get this position as I felt my
play is bit easier and I can make my moves pretty quickly and complete the
first time control.} 20. Bd2 $6 Ke6 21. Be3 $6 {In time trouble,my opponent
started losing the grip over his position.} c3 22. Rc1 Rb3 $15 {Now its not
easy to attack my pawn and I can improve my position without weakening my
position} (22... c2 {Somehow I felt this move is committal especially in time
trouble}) 23. Ra4 Ba3 {As I was down to 3 mins, I was playing mainly by
intuition.} 24. Re1 Nb6 {Activating my only inactive piece} 25. Ra7 Nd5 26.
Ra6+ (26. Bc1 Bd6 $17) 26... Ke7 $6 {Playing safe in time trouble} (26... Kd7
$1 {Though I felt this is the better move than the one I played.I was somewhat
skeptical about the pin on the d file sometime or the other.} 27. Rd1 c6 28.
Ra7+ Ke6 29. Ra6 Kd6 $17 {Though I saw till this,I decided to play safe by
moving my K to e7}) 27. Bc1 Bb2 {This was my point when moving my pawn to c3
few moves ago with a riskfree play in mutual time trouble.} 28. Ra5 Ke6 (28...
c6) 29. Rd1 $2 (29. Ra6+ Nb6 (29... Kd7) 30. e4 $15 {I was worried about this
during the game though I felt I was doing fine}) 29... Nb4 $17 30. Bxb2 $8 cxb2
$6 {Again i chose the safe way to convert my advantage} (30... Rxb2 $19 31. Rc1
(31. Rc5 c2 32. Rc1 Kd6 33. Rc4 c5 34. e4 Kc6) 31... c2 32. Ke1 Na2 33. Kd2
Nxc1 34. Kxc1 Rb1+ 35. Kxc2 Rh1 $19) 31. Rb1 Kd6 32. Ra8 $1 {I had missed this
move when playing my 30th move} Kd7 33. Ra5 Kd6 34. Ra8 Kd5 {After gaining
some time on my clock,I decided to move my K towards his camp} 35. Ke1 $8 (35.
Rd8+ Kc4 36. Rd2 Kc3 37. Ke1 Nc2+ 38. Kd1 Na3 39. Rd3+ Kb4 $19) 35... Nc2+ {
Yet again I chose the practical way to convert my advantage} (35... c5 36. Rd8+
(36. Kd2 Nc6 $19) 36... Kc4 37. Kd2 {During the game,I coundnt find a way to
make progress with few seconds left on my clock}) 36. Kd2 Na3 37. Rxa3 Rxa3 38.
Rxb2 *

 

After all the complications and playing in time trouble, Shyam has reached a pawn up ending. What should he play now?
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/2p2ppp/8/3kp3/8/r5P1/1R1KPP1P/8 b - - 0 38"]
[PlyCount "22"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]

38... Ra7 $1 {Securing my 2nd rank. It was important not to give counterplay
to my opponent.} 39. h4 (39. g4 {I was worried about this during the game})
39... c5 (39... h5 $5) 40. f3 (40. Kc3 e4 $17) 40... f5 {Successfully managed
to complete the first time control without much damage:)} 41. Rb8 Ra2+ {
After few mins of thought,I decided to force the issues,trusting my
calculations,thus violating the basic concept of endgame.i.e.."Do not hurry"!}
42. Ke3 f4+ $1 43. gxf4 exf4+ 44. Kf2 (44. Kxf4 Rxe2 45. Rb7 Rg2 $17 {During
the game,I felt I could win this endgame with ease though it seems Black needs
to be precise to win this ending}) 44... c4 {This is the point of forcing the
matters as I felt that pawn on f4 is too strong by restricting opponent's e2
and f3 pawns since K and P ending with equal pawns should be winning for me.}
45. Rb7 (45. Rg8 c3 46. Rxg7 Kc4 47. Rxh7 c2 48. Rc7+ Kb3 49. h5 Kb2 50. Rb7+
Ka1 51. Rc7 Kb1 $19) (45. Rd8+ Kc5 46. Rd7 c3 47. Rxg7 Kc4 48. Rxh7 c2 $19)
45... c3 46. Rxg7 Ra6 $6 {Overlooking my opponent's next move.} (46... Kc4 $19)
47. e4+ $1 Kc4 (47... fxe3+ 48. Kxe3 $11) 48. Rc7+ Kb3 49. Rb7+ *

 

Shyam's king is under check. Where should it go to?
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/1R5p/r7/8/4Pp1P/1kp2P2/5K2/8 b - - 0 49"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]
49... Ka3 $6 {overlooking my opponent's next move yet again} (49... Kc2 $1 50.
Rxh7 Kd2 51. Rd7+ Kc1 52. Rc7 Ra2+ 53. Kg1 c2 54. Kh2 Kd1 55. Kh3 (55. Rd7+ Ke1
$19) 55... Ra7 $3 {Gaining important time} (55... c1=Q 56. Rxc1+ Kxc1 57. Kg4
Kd2 58. Kxf4 Kd3 59. h5 Rh2 60. Kg5 $11) 56. Rc6 Rg7 $1 57. Rd6+ Kc1 $19 {
Ra7!! was truly a brilliant idea.}) 50. Ke2 $1 (50. Rc7 Kb2 51. Rb7+ Ka1 $1 52.
Rc7 Ra2+ $1 {This was my point when playing my 49th move} 53. Ke1 c2 $19) *

 

What is the only way for Black to still try for a win?
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/1R5p/r7/8/4Pp1P/k1p2P2/4K3/8 b - - 0 50"]
[PlyCount "16"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]

50... Rd6 $8 51. Rxh7 c2 52. Rc7 Kb2 53. Rb7+ Kc1 54. h5 {I already felt that
I had missed easy ways to convert my advantage in the R and P ending.However I
also felt that his position is tricky to defend especially in time trouble!} (
54. e5 $2 Rd5 $19) 54... Rd2+ {Played after 10 mins of thought} (54... Rh6 55.
Rb5 $11) 55. Ke1 Rd1+ (55... Rd3 56. h6 (56. Ke2 $4 Re3+ 57. Kf2 Kd2 $19) 56...
Rxf3 (56... Re3+ 57. Kf2 Kd2 58. Rd7+ (58. Rc7 $4 Re2+ (58... c1=Q $4 59. Rxc1
Re2+ (59... Kxc1 60. h7 $18) 60. Kg1 Kxc1 61. h7 Re1+ 62. Kg2 Re2+ 63. Kh3 Re1
$11) 59. Kg1 Re1+ 60. Kg2 c1=Q 61. Rxc1 Rxc1 62. h7 Rc8 $19) 58... Rd3 59.
Rxd3+ Kxd3 60. h7 c1=Q 61. h8=Q Qe3+ 62. Kg2 Qe2+ 63. Kg1 Qe1+ 64. Kg2 Qg3+ 65.
Kf1 Qxf3+ 66. Kg1 Qe3+ 67. Kf1 $11) 57. h7 Re3+ 58. Kf2 Rh3 59. Ke1 $11) 56.
Ke2 Rh1 57. Rb5 Rh3 $5 58. Rc5 $4 {Overlooking my next move} (58. Rg5 {also
draws}) (58. e5 Rxh5 59. Rc5 Rh2+ 60. Kd3 Kd1 61. Ke4 $11) *
Shyam's opponent's last move Rc5 was a grave error, how do you take advantage of it and win the game?
[Event "53rd Groningen Open 2015"]
[Site "Groningen NED"]
[Date "2015.12.30"]
[Round "9.1"]
[White "Boruchovsky, A."]
[Black "M.Shyamsundar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2540"]
[BlackElo "2485"]
[Annotator "Shyamsundar"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "8/8/8/2R4P/4Pp2/5P1r/2p1K3/2k5 b - - 0 58"]
[PlyCount "5"]
[EventDate "2015.12.21"]
[EventType "swiss"]
[EventRounds "9"]
[EventCountry "NED"]
[Source "Mark Crowther"]
[SourceDate "2016.01.04"]

58... Rh2+ $1 $19 (58... Kb2 59. Rb5+ Kc3 60. Rc5+ Kb3 61. Kd2 Rh2+ 62. Kd3 Kb2
63. e5 c1=Q 64. Rxc1 Kxc1 65. Ke4 $11) 59. Kf1 (59. Kd3 Rd2+ $1 {Driving the K
away from my f4 pawn} (59... Kd1 $4 60. e5 c1=Q 61. Rxc1+ Kxc1 62. Ke4 $11) 60.
Kc3 Kd1 61. Kb4 c1=Q 62. Rxc1+ Kxc1 $19) 59... Kd2 {Played after 10 mins of
thought as I had 2 ways to win the game and I chose the most practical approach
} (59... Kd1 {also wins} 60. Kg1 Rd2 61. h6 c1=Q 62. Rxc1+ Kxc1 63. h7 Rd8 $19)
60. Kg1 Rxh5 {My opponent decided to call it a day and I managed to tie for
first along with the top seed Van foreest who also won his game with Black
pieces.} (60... Rxh5 61. Rxh5 c1=Q+ 62. Kg2 Qe1 $19 {with mate to follow in
few moves}) 0-1

 

That's how hard you have to try in order to win the last round game with the black pieces against a fellow GM

What is really the most impressive is how Shyam kept his nerves in this crucial final round. ChessBase India congratulates him and thanks him for treating our readers with such a finely annotated game. There is a huge advice for all the youngsters out there from Shyam - "Analyze your games well after playing them." And as you can all see Shyamsundar practises with he preaches! 

Final standings of Open A

RkNamePtsFedRtgPerfTB
1 IM Van Foreest, Jorden 7.5 NED 2547 2690 51.5
2 GM Shyam, Sundar M. 7.5 IND 2485 2682 53.5
3 GM Boruchovsky, Avital 6.5 ISR 2540 2564 53.0
4 IM Golubov, Saveliy 6.5 RUS 2452 2506 49.0
5 Brink, Barry 6.5 NED 2360 2448 46.0
6 FM Maris, Ivo 6.5 NED 2352 2404 45.5
7 IM Kuipers, Stefan 6.5 NED 2398 2434 42.0
8 IM Petrov, Nikita 6.0 RUS 2456 2513 53.0
9 GM Kasparov, Sergey 6.0 BLR 2485 2473 47.5
10 FM Baskin, Robert 6.0 GER 2351 2442 44.0
11 GM Werle, Jan 5.5 NED 2542 2499 56.0
12 IM Lobzhanidze, Davit 5.5 GEO 2425 2398 48.0
13 IM De Jong, Migchiel 5.5 NED 2336 2392 45.0
14 Maatman, Nick 5.5 NED 2258 2369 43.5
15 FM Chen, Pengyu 5.5 AUS 2289 2344 43.0
16 FM Warmerdam, Max 5.5 NED 2335 2227 38.5
17 IM Soors, Stef 5.0 BEL 2398 2322 48.0
18 Amesz, Jaap 5.0 NED 2166 2348 47.0
19 FM Von Meijenfeldt, Bart 5.0 NED 2283 2346 46.0
20 FM Beerdsen, Thomas 5.0 NED 2323 2326 45.5

Click for complete standings

Official tournament website