By GM Ben Finegold
The tournament ended with a bang, as three players earned norms!
In the GM group, IM Safal Bora had 3.5 out of 6, and needed to win his last three to secure a GM norm, and that’s just what he did! Safal entered the day with 4.5 points and proceeded to play a fantastic technical game against IM Dean Ippolito.
In the final round, Safal beat IM Kassa Korley when Kassa blundered with f3?? White lost a pawn, and with it, the game. Safal scored 6.5 points to earn his first GM norm.
Winning a very long last round struggle, GM Niclas Huschenbeth won the GM group by grinding down FM Michael Brown, as Niclas won the tournament with an undefeated 7-2 score!
Brown was able to secure his 2nd IM norm in round 8 when he drew IM Kassa Korley in a game that went all the way until there was no mating material!
Winning 5 out of 6 between rounds 3-8, Matthew Larson earned the FM title, and is now over 2300 FIDE and 2380 USCF! Here is one of his cleaner victories, as he won against IM Angelo Young.
Young Hans Niemann had a real up and down event with lots of decisive games. In the same boat with Gauri Shankar, who started with 3.5 out of 4, but then finished badly. Here is a tough loss he had in round 8 against young Niemann.
Seth Homa was winning quickly against IM Del Campo in round 8 when a Queen wandered a bit too far away, and was soon trapped!.
Alexander Velikanov secured his norm with a round to spare, beating James Canty. Had Velikanov won his last round against Del Campo, he would have broke 2400 FIDE, and had everything he needed for the title, since this was his third and final norm. It was not to be, and, instead he tied for first with his opponent!
There are so many people to thank to have such a nice event where an amazing three norms were scored and one player broke 2300 to earn his FM title! Congrats again to Velikanov and Brown for securing their IM norms with a round to spare, and to IM Bora for winning his last three and earning his first GM norm! Thanks to Karen Boyd for her support, driving the players back and forth from the tournament and hotel, and for getting me Starbucks at a moment’s notice! Thanks to Peter Giannatos for organizing and sponsoring the event at his Chess Center. And thanks go to many more who helped and made this the best event ever in Charlotte, NC!
Note From Organizer and CCCSA Director and Owner Peter Giannatos:
"I am very excited and happy to have completed this very successful event. 3 Norms were earned as well as 1 FIDE title. I could not have asked for a more action packed tournament.
I would like to thank the players for being extremely sportsmanlike and honorable.
A huge thanks goes to my right hand men GM Ben Finegold and NM Dominique Myers who helped me in every way, making this event possible.
Our FIDE Arbiters: Korey Kormick and Rudy Abate did a fantastic job of starting all rounds on time, clarifying rules, and of course submitting norm forms!!
Last but not least I would like to thank Chacha Nugroho of Chessstream.com who has provided a great interface for viewing games, pairings and standings."