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I'd like to study examples where a much weaker player succeeded against an IM or GM.

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Related:… – ETD Jun 14 '12 at 8:22
Yes, I overlooked this question. Still, only one answer (a game which was probably made up), so I hope for more... – Landei Jun 14 '12 at 8:28
up vote 7 down vote accepted

This game comes to mind:

It was a first game in a 2 game match of the first round knock out FIDE championship. Anand rated at 2770 was I believe the highest rated player in the event. Touzane, I believe, was not a professional player. Touzane wins. Despite the first game, that Touzane won, Anand won the second, and then the tie-break. Nevertheless, Anand losing to a player 400+ rated below him was quite a shocker.

[FEN ""]
[Event "FIDE WCh KO"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[Date "2001.01.02"]
[EventDate "2001.11.27"]
[Round "1.1"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Viswanathan Anand"]
[Black "Olivier Touzane"]
[ECO "C42"]
[WhiteElo "2770"]
[BlackElo "2368"]
[PlyCount "78"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6
7. O-O Be7 8. c4 Nf6 9. Nc3 O-O 10. Re1 Be6 11. cxd5 Nxd5
12. a3 Bf6 13. Be4 h6 14. Bc2 Nxc3 15. bxc3 Bc4 16. Nd2 Bd5
17. Rb1 Bg5 18. c4 Bxd2 19. cxd5 Bxe1 20. dxc6 Ba5 21. Qd3 g6
22. cxb7 Rb8 23. Bxh6 Re8 24. Qf3 Re6 25. Bb3 Rf6 26. Qg4 Rb6
27. Bg5 Qe8 28. Qf3 R8xb7 29. h4 Qd7 30. g4 Rxb3 31. Rxb3 Rxb3
32. Qxb3 Qxg4+ 33. Kf1 Qxd4 34. Be3 Qa1+ 35. Kg2 Bb6 36. Bxb6
axb6 37. Qg3 Qc1 38. h5 Qc6+ 39. Kf1 Qh1+ 0-1

Anand - Touzane

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I thought this was interesting, so I ran it through Phalanx-Scid. Anand has a slight pull and a nice attack through move 25. The exchange sacrifice got my attention! After 25. Be3 , however, Anand's advantage drops from 1.5 to 1.3 pts, which is probably still enough for a win against Touzane. Now things begin to come apart for Anand. 26. Qg4? misses that the rook on f6 is defending the g7 pawn against the Q, not the B on b3. When the queen moves, and leaves the rook on b1 and the pawn on b7 undefended, things get interesting. (more to come) – Tony Ennis Jun 16 '12 at 16:18
Now Anand's advantage is down to .3 points. Phalanx says, 26. ... Rb6 27. Ba2 R8xb7 28. Rc1 Qf6 29. Qc8+ Kh7 30.Qh3 Kg8 31. Qc8+, apparently considering a draw by repetition. Black of course can't allow the discovered check. Phalanx doesn't like 27. Bg5 stating it loses another half-pawn to 27. ... Qe8 28. h3 R8xb7 29. Qh4 c5 30. Rc1 Qd7 31. Rxc5 Rxb3 32. Rxa5 Rb1+ 33. Kh2 So what's come about has been related to black's excellent 26th move, which pinned the bishop on b3 and exploited Anand's weak back rank. (more to come) – Tony Ennis Jun 16 '12 at 16:50
Ok, I got curious and found out that Phalanx is a cool program but not in the top rated engines. I switched to Stockfish. After 27. Bg5 black is winning, if ever so slightly - about a quarter of a pawn. Then comes 27. ... Qe8 28. Qf3 [h3 - Stockfish] which costs a full point while still not addressing the back-rank weakness. Touzane finds the right move, and Anand plays 29. h4 [g4 - Stockfish] which doesn't help (or hurt) his game. (more to come) – Tony Ennis Jun 16 '12 at 17:38
What's interesting is that for the last few moves, Touzane is finding all the right moves according to Stockfish. Anand is not. Now, bear in mind Anand and Touzane are both more highly rated than this program on this computer... So this analysis is more of an assist than some gospel truth. After 30. g4 (keeping the back Q off of f6) Touzane exploits white's overloaded queen: 30. ... Rxb3 31. Rxb3 Rxb3 32. Qxb3 Qxg4+. Now white's d-pawn is forfeit, white pawns are all islands, and black has a passed pawn. – Tony Ennis Jun 16 '12 at 17:50
For all that, The computer rates Anand 1.25 pawns behind. Perhaps Anand can pull out the draw. Starting now, for brevity, I'm putting Stockfish's moves in brackets. But 33. Kf1 [Qg3] causes more erosion in Anand's position. Black finds the moves again while Anand does not with 33. ... Qxd4 34. Be3 [Qf3] Qa1+ 35. Kg2 [Ke2] Bb6 36. Bxb6 [Kg3] and white's position continues to erode. He's now down by over 2 points. Now 36. ... axb6 37. Qg3 Qc1 [c5] and now it's Touzane who gives some back. Anand's position looks lost just the same. – Tony Ennis Jun 16 '12 at 18:48

In 2009, GM Nurlan Ibrayev of Kazakhstan (rated 2407 at the time) lost a classical time control game to 9-year-old Hetul Shah of India, who then had a FIDE rating of 1817. Shah's current rating, now three years after that game, is 1979, not so much higher than it was at the time of his upset victory. So this game wasn't a case of Ibrayev running up against some seriously underrated prodigy whose rating was about to shoot up several hundred points. To the contrary, this seems to be exactly the sort of game you are after: a much weaker player having a good day and taking a grandmaster scalp, with the black pieces no less!

[FEN ""]
[Event "7th Parsvnath International Open"]
[Site "Delhi"]
[Date "2009.01.11"]
[EventDate "2009.01.11"]
[Round "1.36"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Nurlan Ibrayev"]
[Black "Hetul Shah"]
[WhiteElo "2407"]
[BlackElo "1817"]
[PlyCount "88"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.O-O Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 O-O
9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2 cxd4 13.cxd4 Bd7 14.Nf1 Rfc8 15.Ne3 Nc6
16.a3 Bf8 17.b3 Nxd4 18.Nxd4 Qc3 19.Ne2 Qxa1 20.Qd2 d5 21.b4 d4 22.Nd1 Rxc2
23.Qxc2 Rc8 24.Qd2 Nxe4 25.Qd3 Nd6 26.Bb2 Qa2 27.f4 Qc4 28.Qb1 d3 29.Ne3 Qe4
30.Nc3 Qxf4 31.Ncd5 Qg3 32.Nf1 Qg6 33.Bxe5 Nc4 34.Nf4 Qb6+ 35.Kh1 Nxe5 36.Rxe5
Bd6 37.Re4 Bc6 38.Qc1 Qb7 39.Re1 Bxg2+ 40.Nxg2 Rxc1 41.Rxc1 Bf4 42.Rc3 d2
43.Rd3 h6 44.Kg1 Qb6+ 0-1
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Cool, thank you! – Landei Jun 26 '12 at 6:58

Not very serious, but fun to watch:

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I learned the stalemate joke, but I'm afraid I don't find a blitz blunder to be of much interest (downvoting because the OP mentions “study”). – Nikana Reklawyks Nov 18 '12 at 7:25

In a 1929 against Fritz Saemisch, a lesser master, former World Champion J. R. Capablanca blundered away a piece on the 9th move, and resigned some 50-odd moves later.

It was reported that Capablanca'ss wife or mistress (or possibly both) had just entered the room. In any event, the grandmaster LOST the game.

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Giving this as an answer to this particular question doesn't seem quite fair to Saemisch. He was no Capablanca of course, but he was one of the top players in the world for many years. Chessmetrics, for instance, puts him at #14 in 1929 (while Capablanca was #2): That's an upset, sure, but one between world-class players, while this question asks for examples where "a much weaker player succeeded against an IM or GM." – ETD Oct 8 '12 at 21:12
Also I'm not sure he's much after piece blunders, especially if that's meant for study. – Nikana Reklawyks Nov 18 '12 at 7:28

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