5 Brilliant Times An IM Smashed A GM

5 Brilliant Times An IM Smashed A GM

| 34 | Amazing Games

Sometimes we just want to sit back and be amazed by remarkable chess games. We've all looked at the games played by the strongest grandmasters and revered them for their unique technique and unparalleled ability. But what if I told you there's a "hidden" world of chess geniuses ready to dazzle you with unbelievably astonishing games?

This beautiful new world is inhabited by international masters—and it's ready to blow your mind. It's funny how we often "forget" about the masters that are literally among the top 0.01% of all the rated players in the world (yes, we counted). But not today! 

Enjoy more IM action by watching the 2022 I'M Not A GM Speed Chess Championship

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2022 I'M Not A GM Speed Chess Championship

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So take a deep breath, relax, and get ready to enjoy the five most brilliant wins by IMs against GMs:

#5: IM Marc Esserman vs. GM Loek van Wely, 2011

Facing a grandmaster is intimidating enough. Facing a grandmaster who won the Dutch national championship eight times, broke the 2700 rating barrier, and was among one of the top 10 players in the world is just... unfair. Or at least that's what most people would think.

IM Marc Esserman, though, thought that it would be an excellent opportunity to play a gambit—and then casually sacrifice some pieces. 

Incredibly enough, his strategy paid off. Esserman not only came out with a win in his game against GM Loek van Wely but also made history with one of the most incredible games you'll ever see.

#4: IM Emory Tate vs. GM Leonid Yudasin, 1997

Those familiar with IM Emory Tate knew that playing against him was like playing with fire. A gifted player with enviable creativity and an intimidating tactical awareness, Tate produced many gems during his career. 

Perhaps the shiniest of them all is his game against the strong GM Leonid Yudasin. Yudasin boasted a 2600+ rating at the time, so it's not like Tate was dealing with an out-of-shape opponent. Still, what Tate did was nothing short of amazing:

#3: GM Alexander Moiseenko vs. IM Kassa Korley, 2019

For those who don't know Kassa Korley, he is an American-Danish international master and content creator. Judging by his game against GM Alexander Moiseenko (yet another 2600+ player), Korley is also an artist.

Dubbed by some as Korley's Mona Lisa, this game could easily be displayed at the Louvre. The only problem is that it might steal Leonardo Da Vinci's thunder... Anyway, even if you're not in Paris, you can still enjoy Korley's work of art, with comments based on a video posted by the artist himself:

#2: IM Rashid Nezhmetdinov vs. GM Mikhail Tal

"Nezhmetdinov was something out of a science fiction novel book." With these words, the strong grandmaster (and even stronger storyteller) Yasser Seirawan described IM Rashid Nezhmetdinov in one of his lectures. An aggressive player with an uncompromising style, Nezhmetdinov was praised for his tactical prowess. 

How good of a tactician was he? His positive score against one of the most brilliant attacking players in history, GM Mikhail Tal, should give you an idea. Nezhmetdinov beat the Magician of Riga at his own game three times! Below you can see his most brilliant victory against Tal, which also happened near his opponent's peak—just one year after Tal became the world champion.

As a bonus, let me give you a hint. You definitely want to check out Nezmetdinov's win against Lev Polugaevsky. The game didn't make it to this article because Polugaevsky wasn't a GM at the time (despite being a 2500+ player), but what a game it is!

#1: GM Wu Shaobin vs. IM Ashot Nadanian, 2006

It's curious to see how few people have heard of the Armenian IM Ashot Nadanian. Not only there is a variation of the Grunfeld with his name (highlighted by GM Daniel Naroditsky in one of his videos), but he has also worked as GM Levon Aronian's second for many years. 

On top of it all, he played a beautiful masterpiece against GM Wu Shaobin, which NM Sam Copeland analyzed in the video below:

You can also appreciate this exquisite game by checking out NM Anthony Levin's annotations:

I hope you enjoyed these masterpieces created by international masters. If you are looking for more great games by IMs, tune in to the 2022 I'm Not A GM Speed Chess Championship event on!

Did we miss a great IM win against a GM? Let us know in the comments below!

Pedro Pinhata

Pedro Pinhata is a Sr. Digital Content Writer for who writes articles, feature announcements, event guides, and more. He has been playing chess since 2019 and lives in Brazil.

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