SGChess Blog #3 – Road to GM: IM Siddharth Jagadeesh’s account of his quest to become Singapore’s next Chess Grandmaster

November 27, 2023

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IM Siddharth Jagadeesh became Singapore’s 2nd youngest IM in our history just last year in 2022. Sidd has now set his sights higher and dreams of becoming a GM within the next 2 years. This blog will feature his story as he embarks on an arduous but fulfilling journey. I hope our readers will enjoy his insights and you can ask Sidd any questions by sending an email to

A couple of months ago, I travelled to play 3 consecutive GM norm tournaments in Budapest, Hungary within a span of three weeks. Up to this point, I hadn’t been too close to making a norm in any tournament. The closest I got was in a tournament in Italy last year, where I had to beat Andrey Esipenko on demand with the black pieces. Unfortunately, I lost that game quite quickly.

A score of 7/9 was required to make a GM norm in these tournaments. In the first tournament in Budapest, I started off well with a win against the top seeded GM with Black, but followed that up with a loss and three draws which squashed my norm chances. I ended the tournament with 3 points out of the last 4 rounds and gained some rating, but I still wasn’t getting close to the GM norm.

The second tournament started the very next day after the end of the first, and I started badly by failing to convert a completely winning queen endgame with white. After this game, my luck seemed to take a complete turn. My second round opponent was dominating me throught the game in a passive King’s Indian that I played with black, but he unexpectedly blundered an elementary tactic after four hours of play which lost him the game instantly. I then won the next two games very comfortably which game me a great score of 3.5 points through the first four rounds. I slowed down considerably in the next three rounds, as I drew all of those games. This put me in a position where I had to win the next two games on demand to make the norm. The following game was played on the first of those must-win games.

This was a good win for me, and it put me one step closer to making the GM norm. All I had to do was to win the final game with white against GM Sahaj Grover to finish the job. The game started well as I managed to get a huge advantage from the opening, but I made several inaccuracies and the game ended in a draw.

Editor’s note: Siddharth managed to earn his first GM norm a few days later – More to come in Part 2!