IM Sandeep Annotates - #1 - Sunkrith

Welcome to MCA’s new weekly blog series featuring the games of our students, annotated by IM Sandeep Sethuraman! In this article we will be featuring Sunkrith, who had his best ever performance in the 5/10/23  Grand Prix arena tournament.. He finished in second with only two losses throughout the whole tournament! We will delve a bit deeper into what caused these losses and the lessons we can all learn from them.

Back And Forth Battle in the French Defense

His first loss came from an up and down game against Jack in a crazy French Defense. Check out the annotated game to see how both players exchanged blows and came back from losing positions:

Some key takeaways from the game:

  1. Don’t be so quick to resort to passive defense. Sometimes the best way to counter a threat is  with a stronger threat.
  2. Just because you have had a better position for most of the game doesn’t mean you can discount your opponent’s tactics. Remember they are always scheming just like you are.
  3. When you see a good move, always look for a better one. Getting a checkmate is always better than just being up material, when there’s no guarantee that you will win the game
  4. Never give up! Resigning is a guaranteed loss, so it’s never the best move in any position

Test Your Knowledge 

Try to solve these positions from the game and then check out the answers in the annotated game.

White has played b3White has weakened the dark squares on the Queenside. How should Black continue his development and take advantage of the last move?


White is attacking e6White just attacked the e6 pawn, and if it falls, Black’s position will fall as well. How can Black defend actively rather than passively?

Opening Mistakes Can Lead to Disaster

After this game, Sunkrith ended the tournament with only one more loss to Will, one of the highest rated players in the tournament. The game started off in the Sicilian, where some early trades put Sunkrith in the backseat. Check out the game to see how Will sacrificed to gain a lead in development and never looked back:

Some key takeaways from the game:

  1. What separates higher rated players is their willingness to give up material to gain something else. Many times, development is actually more important than a pawn or two, especially in the opening.
  2. Trading your only active pieces is rarely a good idea, especially if you are bringing out your opponent’s pieces by doing so. Bringing in your own pieces is a better option.
  3. Take your time, having 4 minutes at the end of the game is no better than having 4 seconds; the result is the same. Most blunders come when people make quick moves, because they haven’t considered all of the opponent’s possible replies.
  4. And again just because it’s so important: Never give up!

Test Your Knowledge 

Try to solve these positions and then check out the answers in the annotated game.

White has played Be3 with a strong threat

White has just developed and threatened to win a piece. What is the threat and how do you stop it as Black?


chess position 4

Black’s king is really weak, but White’s rook is hanging right now. Can White attack or is it time for some defense?

Learning From Your Losses

We can all learn valuable lessons from each other’s games, and we would like to thank Sunkrith for playing so well and giving us these very instructive moments.  If you want to learn more about how post-game analysis can really help you get better at chess, you might want to check out our online summer camp “Learning From Your Losses”.

About This Series

Our new series is written by International Master (IM) Sandeep Sethuraman and will feature analysis of tournament games played by our students.  Sandeep is a rising high school senior in Arizona and one of the top players in the USA for his age.  Students are encouraged to submit games for future articles by contacting our online team. 

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