Sundararajan-Henry: GM Scalp

Good games should be appreciated! My good friend Liam Henry played against GM Sundararajan, rated 2491, in the fourth round of the World Open. Liam annotates the game below in-depth, while also presenting a lot of his thoughts during the game. Congratulations to Liam for the great game and thanks for analyzing it for my blog.

Liam introduces a novelty on move 17 and later finishes the game in style! Liam takes it from here.

[Event “World Open”]
[Site “?”]
[Date “2011.??.??”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Kidambi, Sundararajan”]
[Black “Henry, Liam”]
[Result “0-1”]
[ECO “E92”]
[PlyCount “80”]
[EventDate “2011.??.??”]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4 8. Bg5
f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. O-O-O Qe7 14. h4 g4 15.
Ne1 Nc6 16. Nc2 f5 17. exf5 Nxf5 18. Bd3 Nxg3 19. fxg3 Be6 20. Qe4 Bf5 21. Qe3
e4 22. Be2 Qe6 23. Rhf1 Bh6 24. Rf4 Bxf4 25. gxf4 Rad8 26. Nd5 Rd7 27. Qc3+ Kg8
28. Nce3 Ne7 29. Nxf5 Qxf5 30. Nf6+ Rxf6 31. Rxd7 Qxf4+ 32. Kb1 Nc6 33. c5 e3
34. Rxc7 Nd4 35. Qc4+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Ke7 37. Bd3 e2 38. Bxe2 Qe4+ 39. Qd3 Rf1+
40. Bxf1 Qe1+ 0-1

{In round 4 of the tournament I had to play GM Kidambi Sundararajan who I knew
is a solid GM. I had a bit more confidence than usual for this game, because
my good friend IM Raja Panjwani had beaten Kidambi at last years World Open in
beautiful style! The pairings went up about 15 mins before the round so I
didn’t have much time to prepare. I knew I was going for the Kings Indian as I
will explain later, so I quickly checked which line he plays against it and it
was mainly the Gligoric variation. Kidambi switches between 11.dxe5 as he
played in the game and 11.d5 so I had to prepare for both. It took be about 30
min to prepare both of the lines, so I ended up coming 15-20mins late
for the game.} 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 {I kind of predicted he would start this way,
since he must have seen that I mainly play the Gruenfeld Defense nowadays.} g6 3.
Nc3 Bg7 {I had only decided at the last minute to play the Kings Indian
Defense for this tournament which is the first Defense I ever learned against
1.d4, 1.Nf3 and 1.c4. I had given it up around the year 2007 due to getting
horrible positions out of the opening and just not really understanding the
middlegame positions properly. To be honest I had never planned on touching
the opening again with a 10 foot pole. The reason I did decide to play it
though was mainly because of my students. A lot of them asked me to prepare
lines for them in the Kings Indian Defense, and this led me to have a fresh
look at my games in this defense again, and also to look at my old preparation.
I had to look at a lot of recent games in the KID to prepare my students, and
I came across some of Hikaru Nakamura’s games which are just amazing in this
opening! Combine that with the fact that Raja is always showing me his
beautiful games in it as well, it really inspired me to pick it up again, and
give it the fair chance it deserves.} 4. e4 d6 5. d4 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. Be3 Ng4
8. Bg5 f6 9. Bh4 g5 10. Bg3 Nh6 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Qd5+ Kh8 13. O-O-O Qe7 {All
of this has been played before in the game Motylev-Radjabov, Wijk aan Zee 2007}
14. h4 {This is the move which Kidambi introduced in 2004 in his game against
Rahul Shetty in the Indian Championships I was not very familiar with the idea,
so I decided to have a look at it with Houdini in my preparations, as I
thought that there is no reason why he wouldn’t repeat it since he won the game
} g4 15. Ne1 Nc6 16. Nc2 f5 17. exf5 {Still following Kidambi’s game from the
Indian Championships in 2004. I was aware of the game in my preparations, and
I had prepared an improvement on move 17…}

17… Nxf5 {logical improvement. Black
just wants to bring another piece to control the d4 square and at the same
time can entertain the idea of playing …Nxg3 at some point damaging the
opponent pawn structure. This move also takes some pressure off my …e5 pawn}
(17… Nd4 18. Nxd4 exd4 19. Rxd4 Bxd4 20. Qxd4+ Kg8 21. c5 Rxf5 22. Bc4+ Nf7
23. Nd5 Qd8 24. Re1 c6 25. Ne7+ {1-0 Sundararajan,K-Shetty,R/Visakhapatnam IND
2004 (25).}) 18. Bd3 Nxg3 19. fxg3 Be6 20. Qe4 {after this move I was on my
own, I had only looked at Qb5 in my preparations and not this more logical
move.} Bf5 21. Qe3 (21. Qe1 {was the right move keeping the Queen out of any
tactics with …Bh6 and not allowing my nextmove}) 21… e4! {Played after
about 15 mins thought. I knew there had to be a reason why the computer
suggested Qb5 on move 20 for White and not this move, so that led me to look
for a resource like this in the position, and I found it! e4 is really the key
to the position, since if White can succesfully blockade on that square, he
should be better since my g7 bishop is just miserable. Now Black takes over
the initiative} 22. Be2 {I remember Kidambi instantly made this move. I dont
know if he just trusted that I calculated something, or if he himself saw that
he can’t take. In this position I had a long think. I felt my dark squared
bishop is good, but my light squared bishop is actually miserable, biting on
my e4 pawn. So I was thinking, if I could get my pawn to e3, not only would
both of my bishops be amazing, but also my pawn on e3 will be a real threat in
the position.} (22. Bxe4 {doesn’t work because of} Qf6 23. Kb1 Rae8 {and e4
can’t be defended another time, due to the knight on c3 being pinned, because
of the mate threat on b2} 24. Rhf1 Bxe4 25. Rxf6 Bxc2+ 26. Kxc2 Rxe3 {leaves
Black up a piece}) (22. Nxe4 Rae8 23. Rhe1 Ne5 24. Bf1 Bxe4 25. Qxe4 Qf6 {when
the threat of …Nd3+ or …Nxc4 is too much} 26. Nd4 (26. Kb1 Nc6 {winning
material}) (26. Qd4 Nd3+ 27. Bxd3 (27. Qxd3 Qxb2+ 28. Kd2 Bh6+ {is no better})
27… Qh6+ {winning the Queen}) 26… c5 {winning material}) 22… Qe6 ({after
} 22… Qf6 23. Kb1 Bh6 {I could not calculate the consequences of} 24. Nd5 {
and I felt that this would at least be giving my opponent some play. I thought
it wasn’t necessary, when I can play …Qe6 and not allow him that Houdini
still likes Black after} Bxe3 25. Nxf6 Bf2 26. Nxg4 e3 {but good luck finding
this concept over the board}) 23. Rhf1 {Kidambi was very proud of this
exchange sacrafice after the game, but I am very doubtful of its correctness.
Sure White will have some compensation, but I dont believe its enough for an
exchange. I remember getting very excited during the game that I would be up
an exchange against a GM with Black!} ({I felt} 23. Nd5 {would be useless now
because I have} Qe5 {but he should still go for this. I did not see the
resource} 24. Qa3 {during the game} Bh6+ 25. Nf4 {when its almost a crime to
take the pawn with …Bxf4 and give up my pride an joy of the position}) 23…
Bh6 24. Rf4 Bxf4 {played too quickly, there was no need to take it right away
since there is a big traffic jam on the h6-c1 diagonal. I let me emotions get
the better of me} ({the simple} 24… Rad8 {was better.}) 25. gxf4 Rad8 26. Nd5
Rd7? {Simply a mistake.} ({after} 26… Ne7 27. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 Qd7+ 29.
Nd5 {I forgot that my knight was on e7, and I evaluated this position in my
head as winning for White. Im not sure what cause the hallucination, maybe I
couldn’t believe I was beating a GM so easily so figured that consolidating
the position must be hard.}) ({I also considered} 26… h5 {but rejected it
again because of miscalculation} 27. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 28. Kxd1 {I thought White had
more than enough compensation, missing the simple} Qe7 {winning the h4 pawn.})
27. Qc3+ Kg8 28. Nce3 {Here I realized I was in trouble, and started thinking
that I was not even better anymore. I had a long think about how to
consolidate my position}

28… Ne7 ({there is} 28… h5 29. c5 Kh7 30. Bc4 {which is
a variation I saw during the game, but I stopped my calculation here saying
this is too risky, since it allows him to activate his light squared bishop,
but if I calculated further, I would have seen he has no threat} Kg6 {since}
31. Nxc7 Rxd1+ 32. Kxd1 (32. Nxd1 {allows the familiar trick} Qe7) 32… Qd7+
33. Ncd5 Qg7 {consolidates everything}) 29. Nxf5 Qxf5 30. Nf6+ Rxf6 31. Rxd7
Qxf4+ {This is the variation I saw when playing 28…Ne7, and I figured that I
will give him back the exchange, but I will still be up a pawn so I still
should be slightly better. I did not sense that my opponent’s compensation
actually gives him full equality.} 32. Kb1 Nc6 33. c5 {Kidambi was very low on
time in this position, 5mins and under if I remember correctly, and I had
about 15min.} e3 {a very scary move to meet in time trouble, since he has to
watch out for Back rank mate tricks, as well as his rook on d7 hanging by …
Qf5+, added with the passed pawn on e3.} 34. Rxc7 {Kidambi blunders under
pressure, but the move does look very logical because after 34…Qxc7 there is
35.Qxf6, but he missed my next move} (34. a3 {making sure his king is nice in
safe in time trouble was the best}) 34… Nd4 {After playing this move I was
pretty sure I was going to win. I didn’t see any defence for my opponent to my
onslaught of threats} 35. Qc4+ (35. Bc4+ Kf8 36. Rc8+ Ke7 37. Bd3 (37. a3 e2
38. Ka2 {was the best try according to Houdini, but not easy to find with
2mins on your clock}) 37… Qf1+ 38. Bxf1 Rxf1+ 39. Qc1 e2 {winning}) 35… Kf8
36. Rc8+ (36. Rxh7 Qe4+ 37. Ka1 (37. Bd3 Rf1+ 38. Qc1 Qxd3+ {mating}) 37…
Nc2+ 38. Kb1 Na3+ {winning}) 36… Ke7 37. Bd3 e2 38. Bxe2 {I almost didn’t
see my next move, and was going to play 38… Qf5+, but luckily I had some
extra time on my clock, so I took a couple of deep breaths, and then I found}

Qe4+ 39. Qd3 Rf1+ 40. Bxf1 Qe1+ {Kidambi took the loss really well, and he
analyzed the game with me afterwards for quite some time. I already had a lot
of respect for him, and consider him a strong GM, but that gesture gained him
even more respect in my books. I had to hold in my excitement until I got to
my room, where the first person I emailed the game to was Andrew McMillan, who
is well known in Toronto as the KID specialist. He has one of the largest
collections on the KID. My last count a couple of years ago was 20, but it
could be well over 30 by now. He has taught me a lot about the opening,
whether it be him telling me key games in the opening, lending me his books,
playing blitz, analyzing famous KID games with me, so I felt it necessary to
dedicate this win to him! This game really taught me a lot about keeping a
cool head during the game, and not letting your opponent’s rating affect your
decisions during the game. I made a lot of bad decisions because I let me
emotions dictate my moves. It’s amazing what your mind will believe if you let
it. This was my second GM scalp, and I hope there will be many more in the
future!} 0-1


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