My Road to IM: My First IM Norm! (Part 2)

Hi ChessKids! Continuing with the second part of the tournament where I achieved my first IM Norm. Catch part one here.

Game Recap

Round 5: FM Shreyas Royal (2412) vs. IM Peter Roberson (2429)

Once again, I was playing an in-form player since he got a GM norm not too long ago. He had played the flexible Triangle system and was well prepared. There were mad complications in the game, with both of us having our fair share of chances. In the end, I was forced to suffer a rook endgame with a pawn down, but with some good endgame technique, I drew the game. 

End of Round 5: 3.5/5


Round 6: FM Harry Grieve (2418) vs. FM Shreyas Royal (2412)

I was now playing the current British Champion (yes, you heard me right!) who had a breathtaking tournament that earned him a GM norm in the British Chess Championship,
finishing above 15 players higher-rated than him. He seems to have a photographic memory and calculates extremely well; I saw in the other games he blitzed out 30 moves of sharp opening preparation! In this game, he had out-prepared me; however, I managed to come back, but soon missed a brilliant tactic! 

White to play, can you find the tactic that I missed?

Rxg7! and after Qxg7 Nf6!! and this move is a silent killer. Imagine white had an extra move after Nf6; he would play Rg3, Qf8 Rg8+!! Qxg8 Qxh6+ Qh7 Qxh7# this threat is unstoppable unless I lose material, which I had to opt for.

I had seen Rxg7 but was concentrating on Qxg7 Rg3, which is much more natural. I had a sneaky resource to refute this: 

(Variation from the game)

Can you find the clever sequence I had in mind?

Bg4!! after Rxg4 Rd1+ Kh2 I have Qe5! to exchange of queens and kill his attack. Unfortunately, he did not allow me this in the game.

I soon lost. I felt annoyed that I had missed some chances in other games and had just now gotten crushed. With little time to recover, I decided to put those thoughts behind me before the next round…

End of Round 6: 3.5/6


Round 7: FM Shreyas Royal (2412) vs. GM Bogdan Lalic (2393)

With the tournament now nearing the conclusion, my opponent was GM Bogdan, who is a brilliant player with a peak of 2600, but had lost a lot of rating to taking so many quick draws. I was in no mood for that, even though I knew he was very underrated if he chose to play on.

I was right; unfortunately, in a sharp line in the Grünfeld, I sacrificed a pawn and failed to follow it up correctly. He felt I also had overplayed my hand in the attack, but I always had tricky resources, and he missed one of them for me to escape with a draw! 

White to play, find the best move:

Rxh7+! after Kxh7 Qh5+ Kg8 Qg6+ the repetition is unavoidable

End of Round 7: 4/7


Round 8: FM James Moreby (2319) vs. FM Shreyas Royal (2412)

I needed 1/2 a point from now to get the norm, and I decided to play the rock-solid Berlin, frequently played on the top level. He decided to play the famous 14-move Berlin draw repetition and I could not do much after that since there are no good ways to avoid it, which is the only problem with the Berlin.

End Round of 8: 4.5/8


Round 9: FM Shreyas Royal (2412) vs. GM Jonathan Rowson (2561)

In the final round, I faced a three-time British Champion who is also a philosopher. He was also the author of ‘The Seven Deadly Chess Sins,’ which is a book I am currently reading. Others like Magnus Carlsen have also read it, so in some way, he is an inspiration and someone I look up to.

He played a dubious opening, and I was better, but it became a dynamic position very quickly, and I missed a very clever resource by him to equalize. He offered a draw in what was about to be a drawn position, and I accepted! I had achieved my first IM norm! We also had a fruitful conversation about the game and some other things; it was heart-warming to hear his insights and wishes for my future.

I celebrated the final day with some ice cream!

End of Round 9: 5/9 

Well, ChessKids, it feels great to complete 1/3 of the quest. I really hope you enjoyed reading this article, and stay tuned for when I get my 2nd IM norm!