The November Autumn Invitational was a Round Robin (RR) held at the Saint Louis Chess Club from Nov 17-22. It was a 6-day event, and so had more meaning for me than a typical tournament since I needed a 6-day Grandmaster (GM) norm in order to become a GM. I already had more than required collection of 5-day norms. The average rating of the players in the GM section was 2441 FIDE, and so 6.5/9 was needed in order to earn a norm.

The player’s list, in order of rating, was as follows:

[feature_box style=”1″ only_advanced=”There%20are%20no%20title%20options%20for%20the%20choosen%20style” alignment=”center”]

GM Kannapan Priyadharshan
IM Akshat Chandra
IM Cyril Ponizil
GM Ben Finegold
GM Ashwin Jayaram
IM Aman Hambleton
IM Tania Sachdev
IM Atulya Shetty
IM Nazi Paikidze
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan



In the first round, I was faced against Indian GM Ashwin. Things got off to a sloppy start, as he surprised me in the opening and played accurately thereafter to make a rather easy draw. I was annoyed at having wasted one of my White games, but also understood that sometimes there’s not much you can do if your opponent displays good preparation and play. There was one moment which was alarming, however, in which my opponent and I suffered from a case of mutual blindness.

[pgn height=550 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.28”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Jayaram, Ashwin”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “B90”]
[WhiteElo “2509”]
[BlackElo “2477”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “3r2k1/2q2p1p/1b4p1/pQ1Rp3/Pp2B3/1P5P/2P2PP1/5K2 w – – 0 30”]
[PlyCount “17”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

30. Rxe5 $2 Qc3 $2 (30… Rd2 $1 {I completely overlooked this elementary move.
Fortunately, I still have a defense, although I’ll have to suffer a bit.} 31.
Re8+ Kg7 32. Qe5+ Qxe5 33. Rxe5 Rxf2+ 34. Ke1 f5 {and Black will pick up the
c2 or g2 pawn, and can try to press his material advantage.}) ({For some reason I
was only considering} 30… Rd1+ {but it’s clear this move is just an empty
check and Black has no good follow up after} 31. Ke2) 31. Re8+ (31. Bd3 {
simply transposes back to the game.} Qd4 32. Re8+ Rxe8 33. Qxe8+ Kg7 34. Qe2
Qa1+ 35. Qe1 Qxe1+ 36. Kxe1 $11) 31… Rxe8 32. Qxe8+ Kg7 33. Bd3 Qa1+ 34. Qe1
Qxe1+ 35. Kxe1 Kf6 36. Bc4 g5 37. Ke2 h5 38. g4 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

After that brief scare, I put together a 3 game winning streak, beating WGM Tatev, GM Ben, and IM Atulya. My win against Tatev reminded me of a Petrosian game which featured similar ideas – closing the Queenside, and playing the King to d7.

[pgn height=480 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.18”]
[Round “2”]
[White “Abrahamyan, Tatev”]
[Black “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C03”]
[WhiteElo “2364”]
[BlackElo “2509”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “r2qk2r/2nnbppp/1p2p3/p1ppP3/3P4/2P2N2/PP2QPPP/R1BR1NK1 b kq – 0 12”]
[PlyCount “59”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

12… c4 13. a4 b5 14. axb5 a4 15. Qc2 Nb6 16. Ng3 Nxb5 17. Nh5 g6 18. Ng3 h5
19. Ne2 Kd7 20. Be3 g5 21. Nd2 Qg8 22. f4 gxf4 23. Nxf4 Qh7 24. Qc1 Rhg8 25.
Rf1 h4 26. Nf3 h3 27. g3 Ra6 28. Rf2 Rga8 29. Qf1 a3 30. bxa3 Rxa3 31. Rxa3
Rxa3 32. Nxh3 Qd3 33. Bg5 Qxf1+ 34. Rxf1 Rxc3 35. Bxe7 Kxe7 36. Nfg5 Nxd4 37.
Rxf7+ Ke8 38. Rb7 Rb3 39. Nf4 c3 40. Rc7 c2 41. Kf2 Nc4 0-1 [/pgn]

[pgn height=450 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Lugano ol (Men) fin-A”]
[Site “Lugano”]
[Date “1968.11.02”]
[Round “9”]
[White “Bednarski, Jacek B”]
[Black “Petrosian, Tigran V”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “C06”]
[WhiteElo “2395”]
[BlackElo “2645”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “r2qk2r/p1nnb1pp/1p2p3/2ppPp2/3P1P2/2P1BN2/PP2N1PP/R2Q1RK1 b kq – 0 12”]
[PlyCount “37”]
[EventDate “1968.10.17”]
[EventType “team”]
[EventRounds “13”]
[EventCountry “SUI”]
[SourceTitle “MCD”]
[Source “ChessBase”]
[SourceDate “1999.07.01”]
[WhiteTeam “Poland”]
[BlackTeam “Soviet Union”]
[WhiteTeamCountry “POL”]
[BlackTeamCountry “URS”]

12… c4 13. Kh1 b5 14. Rg1 Nb6 15. g4 fxg4 16. Rxg4 g6 17. h4 Kd7 18. Qc2 Qf8
19. Rag1 Ne8 20. R4g2 Ng7 21. Ng3 Qf7 22. h5 Raf8 23. hxg6 hxg6+ 24. Rh2 g5 25.
Rxh8 Rxh8+ 26. Nh2 gxf4 27. Rf1 Bg5 28. Qf2 Nf5 29. Nxf5 fxe3 30. Qg2 e2 0-1 [/pgn]

In my win against GM Ben, I was able to carry out an aesthetically pleasing combination to finish the game.

[pgn height=650 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.18”]
[Round “3”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Finegold, Benjamin”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B38”]
[WhiteElo “2509”]
[BlackElo “2493”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “2r5/1p4kp/1q1prpp1/p1n5/2P2P2/1P3B2/P2Q2PP/1R3R1K w – – 0 22”]
[PlyCount “23”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

22. Bg4 $1 f5 (22… Ne4 23. Qb2 $1 {and Black loses the exchange.} (23. Qd5 $1
{is equally good.})) 23. Qd4+ {An important intermediate check, which prevents
Black from playing …Ne4.} Kh6 (23… Kg8 24. Bf3 {threatening the decisive
Bd5, and so Black has no choice other than to go for a pawn down endgame after}
Nd7 25. Qxb6 Nxb6 26. Bxb7 $18 {but it’s unlikely he can hold this in the long
run.}) 24. Bf3 Rce8 25. Bd5 Re3 26. g4 $1 {An important resource which I had
foreseen when I played 22.Bg4. Black’s King is marooned on the edge of the
board, and so I need to rip open the kingside in order to take advantage of it!
} fxg4 27. f5 Nd7 {I expected this during the game. Black tries to relocate
his knight so it can shelter his King.} (27… Qd8 {is no better.} 28. f6 Nd7
29. f7 R8e5 30. Qf4+ Kg7 31. f8=Q+ Qxf8 32. Qf7+ Qxf7 33. Rxf7+ Kh6 34. Rxd7
$18) 28. Qxg4 Nf6 29. Qh4+ Nh5 30. f6 $2 {This allows Black to fight on.} (30.
fxg6 $1 {was my initial intention, and turned out to be the correct way to
finish off the attack.} hxg6 31. Rg1 {threatening Qg5+ and Rxg6+} R8e5 {
and I wasn’t sure how to proceed here, but it turns out that after} (31… R3e5
32. Qg4 g5 33. Rbf1 $18) (31… Qd8 32. Qg4 Qf6 33. Rbf1 Qg7 34. Rf7 $18) 32.
Rbf1 $18 {bringing my final piece into the attack, Black is defenseless
against the threat of Rf6 or Rf8-Rh8+-Rxh5.}) 30… Rf8 $4 {This allows a
spectacular shot which concludes the game.} (30… Qd8 {is what I was
anticipating, after which I had planned} 31. Qd4 {followed by f7, and I
thought this was an easy win. But the computer doesn’t agree, saying that
Black is still in the game after} R3e5 32. f7 Rf8 {and White has no forced win.
Fortunately my opponent missed this resource.}) 31. Rf5 $1 {threatening Qg5#.}
Re1+ (31… gxf5 32. Rg1 Rg3 33. Rxg3 {and the rook covers the e3 square.}) 32.
Rxe1 gxf5 33. Bf3 ({Of course not} 33. Rg1 {which would unneccessarily prolong
the game since Black can play} Qe3) 1-0 [/pgn]


The win against IM Atulya wasn’t as crisp as the other two, as I misplayed a better position out of the opening. Fortunately, Atulya was low on time and was unable to find the best defense in a tough position.

[pgn height=600 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2016.11.19”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Shetty, Atulya”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D10”]
[WhiteElo “2509”]
[BlackElo “2413”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “r5k1/1b3ppp/4n3/3p3B/PQ1P1q2/1N6/1P4PP/3R2K1 b – – 0 25”]
[PlyCount “46”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

25… Ba6 $2 (25… Qe3+ $1 26. Kh1 Bc6 27. Na5 {was my idea, but apparently
after the quiet} (27. Nc5 {I had seen that Black equalizes here after} g6 (
27… Nf4 28. Bf3 Nh3 29. Nd3 Bxa4 {is also OK, but there’s no need for him to
complicate matters since he was down to his last minutes.}) 28. Bf3 Nxc5 29.
Qxc5 Bxa4 $11) (27. a5 $4 Nf4 28. Bf3 Nh3 $1 {is a nasty trick which I managed
not to overlook. Black wins now, since White can’t do anything against Nf2+.})
27… Be8 $1 {which perhaps we both missed, the position is completely equal
since White can’t really coordinate his akew pieces, which are sprawled all
over the board!}) 26. Qc3 $1 $18 {Preventing Qe3+. I felt during the game that
the position was winning for me now.} g6 27. Bf3 Bc4 28. Na5 Rd8 29. b3 Ba6 30.
b4 Rc8 31. Qd2 Qf5 32. b5 Ng5 33. Qd3 Qd7 34. bxa6 Qxa4 35. Nb3 Nxf3+ 36. Qxf3
Qxa6 37. Qxd5 Qf6 38. Rf1 Qe7 39. Qf3 Rd8 40. h3 Qa7 41. Kh1 h5 42. d5 Qb7 43.
Rd1 Qb4 44. Nd4 Rd6 45. Nc6 Qb2 46. Qf4 Qa3 47. Qe5 h4 48. Ra1 1-0 [/pgn]

In the 5th round, I had a fighting draw against the Czech IM Cyril. On the surface, the endgame seemed slightly unpleasant for me, but for the most part, I was able to play accurately and avoid any potential pitfalls.

[pgn height=600 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.19”]
[Round “5”]
[White “Ponizil, Cyril”]
[Black “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “C07”]
[WhiteElo “2504”]
[BlackElo “2509”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “8/p3kp2/4p2p/2p5/2P2NP1/1P6/Pb3PK1/8 w – – 0 38”]
[PlyCount “29”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

38. Nd3 Bd4 39. Kg3 $6 (39. Kf3 {prevents any monkey-business with …e5.})
39… f5 {Not a bad move, but I had a stronger resouce at my disposal.} (39…
e5 $1 {This seemingly anti-positional move now forces White to tread
cautiously.} 40. Kf3 Ke6 41. Ke4 h5 42. f3 $4 {and I stopped calculating the
line here, not realizing that Black in fact wins after} (42. f4 {is correct.}
hxg4 43. fxe5 g3 44. Nf4+ Kd7 45. Ng2 $11 {and neither side can make any
progress.}) 42… h4 $1 {and amazingly enough, White has no way of stopping
the h-pawn from queening!}) 40. gxf5 exf5 41. Kh4 Kf6 42. Kh5 Kg7 43. a3 (43.
f3 a5 $11 {was my intention. Things will probably transpose back to the game.}
(43… Be3 {probably holds a draw as well after} 44. b4 cxb4 45. Nxb4 Kf7 {
but there’s no need to even allow this type of play for White.})) 43… a5 44.
a4 Kh7 {I’ve managed to build an impregnable fortress.} 45. f3 Kg7 46. Nf4 Be3
47. Nd5 Bd2 (47… Bd4 $6 48. Ne7 Kf6 49. Nc6 Bc3 50. Kxh6 $16) 48. f4 Kh7 49.
Nf6+ Kg7 50. Nd5 (50. Ne8+ {I thought my opponent would go for this, but it’s
also harmless for Black.} Kf7 51. Nd6+ Ke6 52. Nb7 Bxf4 53. Nxc5+ Kd6 (53…
Ke5 54. Nd3+ Ke4 55. Nxf4 Kxf4 56. Kxh6 Ke5 57. Kg5 f4 58. Kg4 Ke4 59. c5 f3
60. c6 f2 61. c7 f1=Q 62. c8=Q $11 {is another line I had calculated.}) 54.
Nb7+ Kc7 55. Nxa5 Bd2 56. b4 Bxb4 57. Nb3 $11) 50… Kh7 51. Nf6+ Kg7 52. Nd5
1/2-1/2  [/pgn]


In round 6 I faced one of the “chessbrahs“,  IM Aman Hambleton with the White pieces. I knew Aman to be a tough opponent from our online games. We had drawn in our previous classical encounter, and so I was determined to do better this time! I decided to play 1.d4 once again, and as expected he repeated the Queens Gambit Accepted. I went for a different variation this time, and it was pretty cool to later learn that Karjakin had played the exact same thing, a few hours later, against Magnus in their WC match! Aman didn’t seem to be familiar with this line and sunk into deep thought. He came up with a logical setup, but after one small mistake things became highly favorable for me. I may not have displayed the best technique, but it was good enough to get the win.

[pgn height=650 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.20”]
[Round “6”]
[White “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Black “Hambleton, Aman”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “D27”]
[WhiteElo “2509”]
[BlackElo “2445”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “2r2rk1/1b2bppp/p3pn2/1p2n3/4P3/1NN1BP2/PP2B1PP/2RR2K1 b – – 0 16”]
[PlyCount “30”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

16… h6 $2 {This move came as a pleasant surprise to me during the game, and
I quickly realized that I can take advantage of it. I think he wanted to play .
..g5, in order to anchor the knight on e5, but here it’s just too slow.} (16…
Rfd8 {contesting the d-file is what I expected.}) 17. a4 Nc4 (17… bxa4 {
also leads to a tough position, but may have been a better try.} 18. Na5 $1 (
18. Nxa4 {gives only a modest edge after} Rxc1 19. Rxc1 Bc6 20. Nb6 Bb5 21.
Bxb5 axb5 {and although White is still better, Black has decent holding
chances.}) 18… a3 (18… Ba8 19. Nxa4 $16 {Now Black doesn’t have …Bc6
ideas.}) 19. bxa3 Ba8 (19… Bxa3 20. Nxb7 Bxc1 21. Rxc1 $16) 20. Nb1 Rxc1 21.
Rxc1 $16 {and Black can’t save the a6 pawn/}) 18. Bxc4 bxc4 19. Na5 Ba8 20. Na2
(20. Ne2 {was another option, but I wanted to keep the b4 square protected.})
20… Rfd8 (20… c3 {I thought he’d play this and try to create an opposite
colored bishop scenario after} 21. Nxc3 Bb4 22. Nb3 Bxc3 23. bxc3 {but with
the knights on the board White still has great winning chances.}) 21. Rxd8+
Bxd8 22. Nxc4 Be7 {I had several options here, but wasn’t really sure which
one to go for. So I went for a “smart-looking” king move.} 23. Kf1 (23. Ne5 {
was a serious alternative I looked at, but ultimately I decided to keep rooks
on the board for now.}) 23… Ne8 24. b4 f5 $1 {A good practical try which I
completely failed to take into account.} (24… Nd6 25. Nb6 Rxc1+ 26. Nxc1 Bc6
27. Nd3 $16 {and I thought this version of exchanging rooks would be more
favorable for me since his knight on d6 looks a bit awkward.}) 25. Bc5 $1 {
An annoying move to face, especially considering my opponent was down to ~2
minutes.} Bg5 (25… Bxc5 $2 26. Nb6 $1 {is the trick.} Bxb6 $4 27. Rxc8 $18)
26. Rd1 {I liked this square better than e1, since here I take control of the
open file.} Bc6 (26… fxe4 27. Nb6 Rb8 28. Nxa8 Rxa8 29. fxe4 $16 {looked
good for White to me.}) 27. Nc3 fxe4 28. fxe4 Nf6 29. Ke2 (29. Rd6 {is the
best move according to the computer, and although I had seen this move I
didn’t want to complicate things too much since in some lines the Rook could
end up trapped.}) 29… Nd7 30. Be3 Bxe4 $4 (30… Bf6 {and the game would go
on, though White is certainly on the cusp of victory after} 31. Nd6 {followed
by b5.}) 31. Nxe4 1-0 [/pgn]

This put me at 5/6, which meant that I needed 1.5/3 from the last rounds or the equivalent of 3 draws. I decided to play solidly as Black in my next game against Indian IM Tania, but that strategy went out the window after she made an opening mistake which could have given me a potentially decisive advantage.

[pgn height=480 initialHalfmove=0 autoplayMode=none]

[Event “Nov RR 2016”]
[Site “Saint Louis Chess Club”]
[Date “2016.11.20”]
[Round “7”]
[White “Sachdev, Tania”]
[Black “Chandra, Akshat”]
[Result “1/2-1/2”]
[ECO “E12”]
[WhiteElo “2431”]
[BlackElo “2509”]
[SetUp “1”]
[FEN “rn1qkb1r/pb1p1ppp/1p2pn2/2p5/2PP4/P1N2N2/1PQ1PPPP/R1B1KB1R w KQkq – 0 7”]
[PlyCount “6”]
[SourceDate “2014.11.26”]

7. d5 $2 {A serious mistake, which was the result of her confusing this
variation with another.} exd5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bg5 Nf6 $2 {Not only did I miss
a stronger move, but this move leaves me with a worse position now. After some
further inaccuracies from both players, the game rapidly simplified into a
draw.} ({I rejected} 9… Be7 {because of} 10. Qe4 {but I missed a brilliant
tactical sequence here. Set this position up on the board, and try to see if
you can solve it!}) 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

I was quite miffed to have missed this opportunity, especially after I went back home and saw that I had this refutation sitting in one of my opening analysis’. It’s not every day your opponent messes up as White in the opening, and so one has to take advantage of it when it does happen!

The final two games were more tranquil, as I made quick draws with GM Kannapan and IM Nazi (2016 US Women’s Champ!) to seal the deal. My quest was finally over – I had gotten my 6-day GM norm, and had become a GM in the US chess capital. It was a long wait after crossing 2500 rating over 1 1 /2 years ago and collecting more than enough 5-day norms. I was ecstatic at having finally made it official. But another part of me was eager to get back to work and focus on my next quest – becoming an elite “Super Grandmaster.”

Thanks to the organizer Jonathan Schrantz and Chief Arbiter Mike Kummer, along with the Saint Louis Chess Club, for once again providing a wonderful opportunity for players to compete for norms in a professional environment.

My climb to Everest begins now.

[images style=”4″ image=”×415.jpg” width=”1000″ caption=”Source%3A%20Wikipedia” align=”center” top_margin=”0″ alt_text=”Mount%20Everest” full_width=”Y”]



    16 replies to "The End of One Quest, The Start of Another"

    • Kevin Ho

      Good luck!

      • Akshat

        Thank you, Kevin!
        Good luck to you as well 🙂

    • Shae

      Congratulations, Akshat! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and watching you rise to Grandmaster. I learned the Taimanov Sicilian system thanks to you, and I’ve managed to win a few tournament games with it. Keep up the good work!

      • Akshat

        Thank you, Shae!
        Appreciate your kind words – it means a lot to me.
        Nice to hear that you’ve won a few games with the Taimanov Sicilian!
        Good luck in your future tournaments!

    • […] to Akshat Chandra of Quest to GM recently earned his final GM norm at the Autumn Invitational at the Saint Louis Chess Club (Nov 17-22). He finished the event with […]

    • Devanshi

      Dear Akshat,
      Congratulations on your historic achievement. I always knew that you would become a grandmaster one day. I have seen your rise and have never forgotten your humbling acts. You are truly a genius and I am inspired by you. I hope you scale your Mount Everest soon.

      • Akshat

        Dear Devanshi,
        Hope you have been doing well.
        It’s great to hear from you again!
        Thank you so much for your kind words – they mean a lot to me 🙂
        Good luck to you in your future endeavors as well!

    • Tyrone Davis III


      Congratulations on making GM. I am an aspiring 2200 player, despite starting at age 14 two years ago. Do you have any tips on how to improve?

      Tyrone Davis

      • Akshat

        Hi Tyrone,
        Thanks for your kind words!
        It’s nice to hear that you have big ambitions – you certainly have the right attitude.

        For me, the biggest thing in reaching 2200 was improving my tactical skills and awareness.
        From my experience, most of the games at the initial and medium level are decided by tactical blunders.

        Besides working on your tactics, I would also recommend learning common middlegame ideas, eg. Outpost, Good Knight vs Bad Bishop (and vice-versa), How to play with and against an Isolated Pawn etc.
        The best way to do this by yourself would be to study the games of the great classical players, like Steinitz, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik etc.

        Of course, having a good coach to guide you will certainly make things easier.
        But ultimately, there is no substitute for self-work!
        Hope this helped.

        Good luck!

    • Siddharth

      Congratulations on making GM! This is a monumental achievement, and I hope for even more successes in the future! I think the most impressive part of this whole journey of yours was how you set a definite goal and chased it. I sincerely hope that this is the first of many great achievements to come! I came to know of you after you won the US junior championships, and since then I’ve even studied your games, helping me win a couple of tourney games against stronger players in the Sicilian.Your ability to communicate and write so well is also a great skill of yours. All in all great job!

      • SKP

        Hi Akshat,
        Congratulations on all your success!
        I wanted to know, how I could improve quickly in chess? I keep losing to weaker opponents thus it causes my rating to decrease. What things should I practise? I want to reach an IM level. And what books do you recommend? Thank you so much and I hope your wishes and dreams will be fulfilled.

        • Akshat

          Hi SKP,
          Thanks for your kind words!

          Having problems with lower rated is definitely an understandable issue – all players, even the best ones, have had to deal with it at some point in their games.
          It’s tough for me to give you a suggestion since I have not seen the losses you had against them, but perhaps you can ask yourself these questions to understand why you are struggling:

          1) Are you being objective – Being ruthlessly objectively is one of the most difficult things to do against a lower rated.
          Many times, even if our lower rated opponent has played well for most of the game, and the game is more or less balanced, we over-push trying to win and, ironically, end up losing.
          Sometimes, you just have to accept that your opponent played well and play the result out as it should be, not what you want it to be.

          2) Are you underestimating your opponent? Sometimes when playing weaker players, we tend to play “hope chess”, hoping that our opponent won’t see a threat or trap we set.
          No matter who you are playing, you must always assume your opponent will play the best move.

          As for books, I’d recommend “Simple Chess” by Michael Stean – this book is good for learning some fundamental middlegame strategies/concepts.
          For endgames, Silman’s Endgame Manual is pretty comprehensive, and should be good enough for you right now.

          Hope this helped!

          • SKP

            Thanks a lot Akshat!

            I just wanted to ask a last question, do you know which website I could use to download / read online chess books?

          • Hank

            Thanks for the suggestions! I will read those two books this weekend, well, at least Simple Chess since it is smaller. 🙂 Henry

    • Tyrone Davis III


      I have achieved master! Are there any books specifically that can help me reach, maybe, IM?


      • Akshat

        Hey Tyrone,
        To be honest, I don’t think there any books you have to read in order to become an IM.
        The most important thing is to figure out your strengths and weaknesses.
        A good way to do this is by annotating/analyzing your own games.

        Also, go through the games you’ve played against IM and assess your results against them. Eg. are you losing in one-sided fashion, or are the games more evenly contested etc.
        That will give you a better idea as to how much more work you need to put in in order to reach that level yourself.
        I’m sorry if my advice sounds general, but it’s very hard to recommend a course of action since I don’t know much about you as a player.

        Good luck on your journey!

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