Monday, April 29, 2019

Karthik's Corner #1

Chess is and has always been my passion. While I retired from professional
chess several years ago, I try my best to keep up with current day
professional chess. In my free time, study master games, research, teach my
son and spend time at the Chess Center with upcoming chess talent and chess
enthusiasts. Peter and I discussed about doing some game analysis and
communicating through a blog on a regular basis to keep this vibrant chess
community continuously engaged. I am glad we have finally been able to start
this. I am looking forward to this. Please share your feedback and comments to
help improve this as we go along.

SM Karthik Rangarajan 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Errors In The Opening - Part 3

Hello and welcome to the third and final part of the Errors In The Opening series.

As you might recall from the first two articles, we saw an English Opening where White's error in the opening was what he did with the King's Knight. Black had a dominating Kingside attack, but it was apparently complicated enough to where Black made a number of subsequent errors, giving White the opportunity to get off the hook after clearly showing a lack of understanding of the opening. The primary problem for Black was that White's error was one that required rapid play to take advantage of it, and Black gave White time to come back by executing moves on the wrong side of the board. Even so, Black still won.

In the second article, we saw a Petroff where White's error came in the form of allowing Black to do precisely what he wanted to do, and to make matters worse, his error was a Bishop move that allowed Black to do all of it with tempo. After that, the same pretty much played itself, and Black had a stress-free attack.

What we will be seeing in this third article is a King's Indian Defense where once again it is White that makes the opening error, and this one is probably the worst of the three mainly because it was irrepairable. Why? Because the error was that of a Pawn move. When you place a piece somewhere that it doesn't belong, you can always bring it back. Sometimes at a major cost, like in the second game where Black was able to respond to White's error with tempo, but either way, the piece can be retreated. Once a bad pawn move is made, it's not coming back! Pawn move errors also typically come from a complete lack of understanding of the opening because the pawns often mean everything in the position. Let's see what we have here.

Tuesday Night Action 51, Round 1
W: Sulia Mason (1957)
B: Patrick McCartney (2049)
King's Indian Defense, Saemisch Variation

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 O-O 6.Be3 e5 7.d4 Nh5 8.Nge2

Not a blunder by any means, but not the best move. Better is 8.Qd2, answering 8...Qh4+ with 9.g3 Nxg3 10.Qf2 Nxf1 11.Qxh4 Nxe3 with a slight advantage for White and answering most other moves with 9.O-O-O. That said, White still has the chance to transpose into a side line.


Now 9.Qd2 a6 10.O-O-O b5 would transpose to 8.Qd2 f5 9.O-O-O a6 10.Nge2 (10.Kb1 is favored here) b5.


This move is completely unexplainable! There are two instances where exf5 is a good move in the King's Indian Defense. The first scenario is that Black is forced to take with a piece. This gives White the e4-square as a launch pad for his Knights, and any time White succeeds in achieving this motif, Black usually struggles mightily, and is often, thought not always, positionally lost already. The second scenario is when ...gxf5 can be answered by an immediate f4 and that advancement of the f-pawn forces Black to play ...e4. If he can force that issue, then an undermine with g4 by White will severely weaken the e4-pawn and Black will often lose the pawn, being forced to play a Pawn down. That said, here that is not the case as 9.exf5 gxf5 10.f4 can easily be answered by 10...Nd7! and Black already has the advantage. Of course, advancing the e-pawn with 10...e4 would be a huge positional mistake.

Another thing to note is that if White was fearing 9...f4, it just further explains his lack of knowledge of the opening. White has not committed his King. Advancing ...f4 is meaningless for Black unless White's King is already stuck on g1. Here, closing the position makes no sense as all it does is block Black's pieces, especially his Bishop. White can simply run to the Queenside and would have an advantage. Instead, Black's idea is to remain flexible until White commits. As will be seen in the game, in this line, the moves ...a6 and ...Nd7 often act as waiting moves as these two moves are pretty much always played in this ...e5 line of the Saemisch King's Indian. After finding out what White does, particularly with his King, only then does Black decide what to do with the f-pawn and the center in general. If he castles Kingside, only then might Black advance ...f4. Against a Queenside castle, Black's main idea is actually to open up his Bishop, even at the cost of a Pawn. Black will put his Knight on f4, which White is not forced to take but leaving it there can be annoying for White. If White does take, he wins a pawn, but Black's Bishop opens up, pointed directly at White's Queenside, and advances the Queenside Pawns for an attack on the White King. So the fact that Black is likely to put a Knight on f4 should remove all fears of Black advancing the Pawn, and unless White castles Kingside, White should actually want Black to make such an inferior move.

Therefore, since White can't achieve domination of the e4 square, he can't force Black to advance e4, and Black has no intention of advancing ...f4 or capturing ...fxe4 anyway, this capture of the f-pawn is outright bad.

9...gxf5 10.Qd2 a6 11.O-O-O Nd7

Notice right after the recapture, Black plays the waiting moves indicated in the notes to White's 9th move. He is waiting to see what White intends to do.


So now White's plan is starting to show. He wants to eliminate Black's fianchettoed Bishop. I would be more inclined to get that Knight out of the way on e2, get the rest of his pieces rolling, and start advancing the Pawns on the Kingside. This move looks like that type of move where you send one soldier to execute a war rather than getting the entire army together first.


Until White does something that forces Black to react, there is no reason not to continue expansion on the Queenside.

13.g4 fxg4 14.Bxg7

It might be wiser to play 14.fxg4, forcing a decision from Black. Does he take the Bishop on h6, giving the g7-square to his Knight, or does he move the Knight? Turns out, he should play 14...Nf4, and White is best off trading Bishops and not trying to capture on f4. The reason for Black's idea will be obvious in the note to Black's next move.


This position requires some explanation. Black is better here. Obviously White is going to recapture on g4, which creates an equal material position, but the position is not equal at all. However, that might be hard to see here, and might even be harder to believe that it's Black, not White, that's better. The Knight on g7 looks a little oddly placed in that rarely do you see a Knight on a square like b2, g2, b7, or g7, but adjacent to the King, it covers many squares, including those often used to check the Black King, including e6 and e8. The only slight weakness in Black's position is the h7-square. This explains why Black did not want to play 14...Bxh6 in response to 14.fxg4 earlier as it would bring the White Queen to h6, eyeing Black's one sore spot, h7. White can play Qh6 himself in the near future if he wants to, but that requires an extra tempo compared to trading on h6 for him. Other than h7, along with covering the g7-Knight if White ever puts two heavy pieces on the g-file, Black has nothing to worry about, and he will continue his attack at the White King. Now you might say that it appears as though White's pieces cover the King well, but with the center being undermined by Black's b-pawn, stability is an issue, and Black will bring in his pieces into White's territory. The other thing to keep in mind is that White's Knight still sits on e2, passively placed, and partially impedes the scope of his Bishop on f1.

15.fxg4 Nc5

15...Nf6 is possibly stronger.

16.Ng3 Bxg4

Black's defensive theme indicated in the note to Black's 14th move combined with White's complete lack of coordination indicates that taking the pawn is safe, despite being on the same file as his own King. Black is going to take his positional advantage and convert it to a material advantage.

17.Be2 Bxe2 18.Qxe2 bxc4 19.Qxc4 Rf4 20.Qe2 Qg5 21.Kb1 Qg4 22.Qe1?

Black wins material here. Do you see how?


Black gains a tempo by giving a check that White is unable to interpose, and after the King moves, the Black Knight is given the path to the forking of the two White rooks.

23.Ka1 Nd3 24.Qe2 Nf2 25.Rhg1 Nxd1 26.Qxd1 Rd4 27.Qb3

Black has been and still is completely winning here, but it requires knowing what Black has to do. Before you go any further, try to explain in words what Black's plan should be.


Black is up an exchange and a pawn. The last thing that Black wants to do is try to hold on to all of the material. Black's plan should be to resolve the g-file issue by bringing the d4-Rook to g4 once White moves the Knight. But doing this, the Queen won't get pinned on the g-file, which allows Black to move the Knight. Since a number of pieces have now been traded, the Knight on g7 should switch from a defensive role to an offensive role. Therefore, Black's two most passive pieces are the Rook on a8 and the Knight on g7, and getting them active is the most important factor in the position, even if it means returning a pawn to White, whether that be a6 or c7, in return for Black's most important factor here, time!

28.Nge2 Rg4 29.Rc1

Of course White doesn't want to trade Rooks being down material.

29...Rg2 30.Qb7 Nf5

Remember what we talked about at Black's 27th move. He is willing to give up a Pawn on the Queenside if it means getting all of his pieces in the game.

31.Qxa6 Nd4

Now what? If White takes the Knight, he loses a tempo as the Pawn will attack his other Knight. If he doesn't take the Knight, he's going to have problems with ...Nc2+.


The tempo loss is the lesser evil, but it's still losing for White.

32...exd4 33.Nb1 Rg1

Forcing yet another set of pieces off the board.

34.Rxg1 Qxg1 35.a4

White's passed a-pawn is too slow to mean anything for White, and all it really does is weaken the King even more.

35...Qxh2 36.a5 Rb8

Threatening mate on b2.


Opening the King even more, and trying to entice Black to take on b4 and open up possibilities of harassing the Black King. Black doesn't bite, and keeps the Rook on the back rank to cover the King, and gets his other heavy piece closer to the White King.


Threatening 38...Qa4+, allowing Black to play ...Rxb4 with check! White does nothing to stop it.

38.Qf1 Qa4+ 0-1

So we saw a game here where White was just completely outplayed, and he really did it to himself by playing the anti-positional 9.exf5?, which did nothing to help White's cause. Black, on the other hand, understood precisely what he was doing, and other than playing 15...Nf6 instead of 15...Nc5, I don't see anywhere that Black's play can be faulted. He recognized that the Knight on g7 was an excellent shield for the Black King. He knew that he did not want to force White to play moves that would lead to the White pieces directly attacking the h7-pawn, Black's only real weakness in the position, and he also understood that while the Knight on g7 covered the King in the early middle game, and the Rook that stayed back most of the game was guarding the back rank, he needed to get them active after a few pieces were eliminated, and understood that the Queenside Pawns meant nothing, and that what was more important was his attack with the heavy pieces on the b-file, f-file, and 2nd rank.

The one thing that all three games have in common is that the errors made were not tactical errors that lead to the immediate win of material. They were all of a positional nature, which show signs of the fact that White did not understand the position in each of the three games. Whether you are talking in person with a higher rated player at an over the board tournament, or reading the forums on, the higher rated players continue to say that to play an opening successfully, you have to truly understand it, not just memorize it. The reason for the need to understand the ideas is two-fold. First off, if your opponent happens to know the opening deeper than you do, you need to understand the position to have any idea what to do next. Otherwise, you are probably lost. Secondly, what happens if your opponent deviates early? Do you understand why other moves are bad? If all you do is memorize, you probably don't understand it, and will be very likely to end up on the losing side when all is said and done. If you are playing an opening where you can't explain in words what you are doing, you are playing the wrong opening!

This concludes the coverage of Errors In The Opening. The next time you try to decide what opening you want to play, ask yourself the all important question. Do I understand it? Or do I just know reams of lines with no real true understanding of the position? If the answer is the latter, you are playing the wrong opening!

Til next time, good luck in your games.

Summer CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational - Preview

Author: Grant Oen, CCCSA Assistant Director

Charlotte Chess Center's 11th Norm Tournament

This June 5-9, the Charlotte Chess Center will organize our eleventh GM/IM norm invitational.

These seasonal norm tournaments offer special opportunities for players to earn FIDE norms and titles - 23 norms and 12 titles have been earned at these events.  Five players even earned their final GM norms and titles in Charlotte: GMs Andrew Tang, John Michael Burke, Steven Zierk, Nicolas Checa, and Michael Brown.

There are three sections, each a 9 game round robin (all-play-all) held at the Hilton University Charlotte Place.  The official website can be found here, while games and standings can be found here.  The tournament will be held alongside the 2019 Carolinas Classic and held just before CCCSA's Elite Chess Camp featuring GM Jacob Aagaard, GM Boris Avrukh, and GM Mihail Marin.

Norm hunters can earn FIDE norms with a score of at least 6.5 out of 9.  The 30 players include 5 Grandmasters, 9 International Masters, 8 FIDE Masters, and 8 National Masters from 13 federations: Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Georgia, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Sweden, Venezuela, and the United States.

Pairings, standings, and live games can be found here.


GM Section (GM norm = 6.5/9, average rating = 2446 FIDE and 2538 USCF)

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GM Karen Grigoryan

GM Karen Grigoryan (Armenia, FIDE 2547, USCF 2712)

  • Wins over GMs R. Wojtaszek, M. Ragger, K. Sasikiran, A. Dreev, V. Akopian
  • 16th highest rated player in Armenia, 2015 Armenian national champion
  • Armenian U14 Champion and European U16 Champion
  • Represented Armenia at the European Team Championship, World Junior Championship, and World Youth U16 Olympiad
  • Earned his 3 GM norms in Greece, Armenia, and France
  • This is GM Grigoryan's 1st CCCSA GM Invitational

GM Steven Zierk (California, USA, FIDE 2501, USCF 2585)
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GM Steven Zierk
  • Wins over GMs L. Van Wely, V. Durarbayli, N. Grandelius, E. Safarli, J. Xiong
  • 43rd highest rated player in the United States
  • World Youth Under 18 Champion - earned IM title and first GM norm with a 2739 performance
  • Graduate of MIT
  • Champion, 2010 Denker National Tournament of High School Champions
  • Earned his final GM norm at CCCSA's Summer 2018 GM Invitational, which he won
  • Interview from 2016 GM Invitational
  • This is GM Zierk's 5th CCCSA GM Invitational

GM Tanguy Ringoir (Belgium, FIDE 2500, USCF 2575)
GM Tanguy Ringoir
  • Wins over GMs K. Georgiev, S. Ganguly, R. Vaganian, E. Najer, V. Durarbayli
  • 5th highest rated player in Belgium, two time Belgian national champion
  • Represented Belgium at the 2012 and 2014 Chess Olympiads
  • Won CCCSA's Spring 2017 and Spring 2018 GM Invitationals
  • UMBC chess team member, representing UMBC at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship and Final Four of College Chess National Championship
  • Earned his 3 GM norms in Belgium, Spain, and the USA
  • Holds the record for the longest undefeated streak in CCCSA Invitationals: 37 games
  • Has won 2 CCCSA GM Invitationals
  • Interview from Spring 2017 GM Invitational
  • This is GM Ringoir's 8th CCCSA GM Invitational

IM Brandon Jacobson (New Jersey, FIDE 2486, USCF 2601)
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IM Brandon Jacobson
  • Wins over GMs K. Dragun, G. Kacheishvili, R. Hess, T. Ringoir, I. Glek
  • Highest 15 year old in the US, 8th highest U16 player in the world
  • North American Youth U12 Bronze medalist, North American Youth U16 Silver medalist
  • Earned three IM norms in June 2018, including one at CCCSA's Summer 2018 IM Invitational
  • Champion, 2016 Barber National Tournament of K-8 Champions
  • 1 GM Norm
  • Tied for the record for longest win streak in CCCSA Invitationals: 5
  • This is IM Jacobson's 8th CCCSA Norm Invitational

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IM Alex Ostrovskiy

IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (New York, FIDE 2437, USCF 2545)
  • Wins over GMs P. Harikrishna, V. Milov, J. Xiong, Y. Quesada Perez, A. Lenderman
  • 59th highest rated player in the United States
  • Tied for 4th place at the 2018 Charlotte Open
  • 1 GM norm
  • This is IM Ostrovskiy's 5th CCCSA GM Invitational

IM Kassa Korley (Denmark, FIDE 2430, USCF 2520)
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IM Kassa Korley
  • Wins over GMs V. Mikhalevski, J. Timman, A. Shabalov, S. Ganguly, A. Dreev
  • 14th highest rated player in Belgium
  • Earned three IM norms in 3 weeks in summer 2014
  • Earned first GM norm at CCCSA's Summer 2018 GM Invitational, which he also won
  • Tied for the record for the most wins against GMs in CCCSA Invitationals: 4
  • Holds the record for the most points scored against GMs in CCCSA Invitationals: 10.5
  • Interview from Winter 2018 GM Invitational
  • This is IM Korley's 9th CCCSA GM Invitational

IM Christopher Yoo
IM Christopher Yoo (California, FIDE 2430, USCF 2485)
  • Wins over GMs Le Quang Liem, P. Prohaska, P. Kannappan, O. Barbosa, C. Holt
  • Highest rated 12-year-old in the United States
  • Former record holder of youngest National Master in US history
  • Youngest International Master in US history
  • Can still break the world record for youngest GM in history
  • Won the Spring 2018 CCCSA IM Invitational
  • Has second highest largest FIDE rating gain in one CCCSA Norm event: +68 points
  • This is IM Yoo's 4th CCCSA Norm Invitational

IM Andrew Hong

IM Andrew Hong (California, FIDE 2414, USCF 2502)
  • Wins over GMs G. Sargissian, A. Stukopin, H. Gabuzyan, A. Tang, N. Mitkov
  • 2nd highest rated 14-year-old in the United States
  • 2016 World Cadet U12 Silver medalist (ahead of R. Praggnanandhaa, N. Sarin, V. Keymer)
  • Represented team USA at the Match of the Millenials
  • This is IM Hong's 3rd CCCSA Norm Invitational

FM Gauri Shankar (India, FIDE 2378, USCF 2455)
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FM Gauri Shankar
  • Wins over GMs A. Lenderman, O. Barbosa, D. Gurevich, M. Brown, N. Mitkov
  • 108th highest rated player in India
  • Five IM norms, all earned in Illinois and North Carolina
  • Earned his fifth IM norm at the Spring 2017 CCCSA GM Invitational
  • Tied for first at the Labor Day 2018 IM Invitational
  • Can earn the IM title with a score of at least 5.0/9
  • Interview from the 2016 GM Invitational
  • Holds the record for the largest cumulative (lifetime) FIDE rating gain at CCCSA Norm Invitationals: 94.8 points
  • Holds the record for the most cumulative points scored at CCCSA Norm Invitationals: 47.5
  • Holds the record for the most cumulative draws scored at CCCSA Norm Invitationals: 47
  • Can earn his sixth IM norm with 4.5/9 and the IM title with 5.0/9
  • This is FM Shankar's 11th CCCSA Norm Invitational

NM Tianqi Wang

NM Tianqi Wang (North Carolina, FIDE 2333, USCF 2416)
  • Wins over GMs V. Durarbayli, A. Shabalov, J. Benjamin, V. Kotronias, A. Ramirez
  • 140th highest rated player in USA, 7th highest rated player in NC
  • 2019 CCCSA Club Champion
  • Three IM norms, earned 2 at CCCSA Norm Invitationals
  • Can earn his fourth IM norm with 4.5/9
  • This is NM Wang's 8th CCCSA Norm Invitational

IM Section B (IM norm = 6.5/9, average rating = 2303 FIDE and 2381 USCF)

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IM Martin Lokander

IM Martin Lokander (Sweden, FIDE 2429, USCF 2450)
  • Wins over GMs V. Mikhalevski, T. Hillarp Persson, F. Urkedal, E. Blomqvist, V. Kunin
  • 22nd highest rated player in Sweden
  • Chess author, "The Open Games with Black"
  • This is IM Lokander's first CCCSA IM Invitational

GM Alonso Zapata (Colombia, FIDE 2427, USCF 2533)
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GM Alonso Zapata
  • Wins over World Champions V. Anand, V. Smyslov, GMs H. Nakamura, L. Van Wely, L. Ljubojevic
  • 10th highest rated player in Colombia
  • Eight-time Colombian National Champion
  • Represented Colombia at twelve Chess Olympiads
  • Silver medalist, 1977 World Junior Championship, behind GM Artur Yusupov
  • Peak World Ranking: #48
  • 2013 and 2015 Georgia State Champion
  • Interview from Spring 2017 GM Invitational
  • This is GM Zapata's 5th CCCSA Norm Invitational

IM Felix Ynojosa Aponte (Venezuela, FIDE 2386, USCF 2486)
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IM Felix Ynojosa Aponte
  • Wins over GMs D. Naroditsky, G. Kaidanov, K. Dragun, J. Smeets, J. Cori
  • 6th highest rated player in Venezuela
  • UT-RGV chess team member, representing UT-RGV at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship
  • Four-time Venezuelan National Champion
  • Represented Venezuela at the 2012, 2014, and 2018 Chess Olympiads
  • First place at the Spring 2017 IM Invitational
  • 2 GM norms
  • This is IM Ynojosa's 3rd CCCSA IM Invitational

FM Seth Homa

FM Seth Homa (Michigan, FIDE 2300, USCF 2373)
  • Wins over GMs V. Mikhalevski, S. Zierk, S. Matsenko, M. Flores, M. Amanov
  • 7th highest rated player in Michigan
  • Two time Michigan Open Champion
  • 3 IM norms
  • Interview from the 2016 IM Invitational
  • This is FM Homa's 3rd CCCSA IM Invitational

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FM Sahil Sinha
FM Sahil Sinha (Virginia, FIDE 2283, USCF 2382)
  • Wins over IMs P. Balakrishnan, A. Young, T. Enkhbat, K. Kavutskiy, E. Tate
  • 11th highest 18-year-old in the United States
  • 2018 12th Grade National Co-Champion
  • Represented Virginia at Denker Tournament of High School Champions
  • This is FM Sinha's 4th CCCSA IM Invitational

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NM Alex Kolay
NM Alex Kolay (California, FIDE 2274, USCF 2316)
  • Wins over GM A. Stukopin, IMs D. Aldama, J. Sarkar, T. Coleman, J. Guerrero Sierra
  • 3rd highest rated 13 year old in the US
  • Represented team USA and 2017 World Cadet Chess Championship
  • This is NM Kolay's 2nd CCCSA IM Invitational

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FM Nikhil Kumar
FM Nikhil Kumar (Florida, FIDE 2257, USCF 2374)
  • Wins over GMs R. Praggnanandhaa, I. Glek, D. Berczes, M. Paragua, A. Arribas
  • 6th highest rated 14-year-old in the United States
  • 2016 World Cadet U12 Champion (ahead of R. Praggnanandhaa, N. Sarin, V. Keymer, A. Hong)
  • 1 IM norm
  • This is FM Kumar's 3rd CCCSA Norm Invitational

NM Abhimanyu Mishra
NM Abhimanyu Mishra (New Jersey, FIDE 2227, USCF 2317)
  • Wins over GM J. Tarjan, IMs F. Ynojosa, L. Piasetski, E. Lund
  • Highest rated 10-year-old in the United States
  • Currently the youngest National Master in US history
  • This is NM Mishra's 2nd CCCSA IM Invitational

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NM Richard Francisco
NM Richard Francisco (Georgia, FIDE 2226, USCF 2363)
  • Wins over GMs A. Shabalov, E. Cordova, M. Paragua, J. Becerra, R. Hess
  • 6th highest rated player in Georgia
  • Two time Georgia State Champion
  • This is NM Francisco's 3rd CCCSA IM Invitational

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NM Zachary Dukic

NM Zachary Dukic (Canada, FIDE 2224, USCF 2216)
  • Wins over GMs B. Avrukh, K. Yang, IMs A. Hong, R. Chen, R. Kaufman
  • 51st highest rated player in Canada
  • Participated in Canadian Zonal Championship 2019
  • This is NM Dukic's 1st CCCSA IM Invitational

IM Section C (IM norm = 6.5/9, average rating = 2310 FIDE and 2389 USCF)

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GM Carlos Hevia Alejano

GM Carlos Hevia Alejano (Cuba, FIDE 2481, USCF 2564)
  • Wins over GMs P. Negi, B. Macieja, Ni Hua, L. Bruzon, A. Ramirez
  • 16th highest rated player in Cuba
  • Member, Univ. Texas at Rio Grande Valley Chess Team
  • This is GM Hevia's 1st CCCSA IM Invitational

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IM Levan Bregadze
IM Levan Bregadze (Republic of Georgia, FIDE 2462, USCF 2573)
  • Wins over GMs S. Atalik, M. Paragua, J. Sadorra, Y. Shulman, T. Gelashvili
  • 17th highest rated player in Republic of Georgia, 3rd highest rated player in North Carolina
  • Graduate, UMBC Chess Team
  • This is IM Bregadze's 1st CCCSA IM Invitational

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NM John Ludwig

NM John Ludwig (Florida, FIDE 2374, USCF 2446)
  • Wins over GMs J. Becerra, E. Sevillano, N. Checa, J. Burke, N. Mitkov, 
  • 2 IM norms, can become an IM with 6.5/9
  • Earned his first IM norm at Spring 2017 IM Invitational, which he won
  • Interview from Spring 2017 IM Invitational
  • This is NM Ludwig's 5th CCCSA Norm Invitational

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IM Roberto Martin Del Campo
IM Roberto Martin Del Campo (Mexico, FIDE 2311, USCF 2408)
  • Wins over GMs A. Adly, S. Agdestein, J. Becerra, W. Browne, A. Ramirez
  • Two draws with former World Champion V. Anand at different World Junior Championships
  • Represented Mexico at three Chess Olympiads
  • 1993 Mexican National Champion
  • Individual Gold medal at 1990 Olympiad, Board 4
  • Interview from 2016 IM Invitational
  • Tied for the record for longest win streak in CCCSA Invitationals: 5
  • Holds the record for the most cumulative (lifetime) wins in CCCSA Invitationals: 25
  • This is IM Del Campo's 10th CCCSA IM Invitational

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FMs Aaron Jacobson and PG
FM Aaron Jacobson (New Jersey, FIDE 2302, USCF 2391)
  • Wins over GMs T. Ringoir, G. Kacheishvili, D. Khamrakulov, E. Iturrizaga, M. Rohde
  • 50th highest rated player under 21 in the US
  • 1 IM norm
  • Earned his first IM norm at Winter 2019 IM Invitational
  • Second highest cumulative (lifetime) FIDE rating gain at CCCSA Norm Invitationals: 94.6 points
  • This is FM Jacobson's 5th CCCSA IM Invitational

    NM Aydin Turgut
    NM Aydin Turgut (Indiana, FIDE 2286, USCF 2333)
    • Wins over IMs. L. Harmon-Vellotti, A. Young, S. Ghatti, and GM Javokhir Sindarov, the second youngest GM in history
    • 7th highest 14-year-old in the US
    • 2019 Junior High School (K-9) Co-Champion
    • 2019 Junior High School (K-9) Blitz Champion
    • Represented the USA at World Cadet and World Youth Championships
    • His father, Tansel Turgut, is a FIDE master and International Correspondence Grandmaster
    • This is NM Turgut's 1st CCCSA IM Invitational

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    FM Jason Wang
    FM Jason Wang (Ohio, FIDE 2285, USCF 2346)
    • Wins over IMs H. Niemann, R. Burnett, C. Yoo
    • 2nd highest twelve-year-old in the US
    • Represented USA at the World Cadet Championship
    • This is FM Wang's 1st CCCSA IM Invitational

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    FM Robby Adamson
    FM Robby Adamson (Arizona, FIDE 2238, USCF 2329)
    • Wins over GMs V. Akobian, D. Naroditsky, R. Dzindzichashvili, A. Yermolinsky, M. Paragua
    • 9th highest rated player in Arizona
    • Three IM norms
    • Co-Champion, 1988 Denker National Tournament of High School Champions
    • Member of US Chess Scholastic Council
    • This is FM Adamson's 4th CCCSA IM Invitational

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    NM Aaron Balleisen
    NM Aaron Balleisen (North Carolina, FIDE 2203, USCF 2328)
    • Wins over GM M. Paragua, IMs A. Young, P. Balakrishnan, K. Wang, M. Kleinman
    • 12th highest rated player in North Carolina
    • Princeton University chess team member, representing Princeton at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championhsip
    • This is NM Balleisen's 2nd CCCSA IM Invitational

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    FM Malaku Lorne

    FM Malaku Lorne (Jamaica, FIDE 2159, USCF 2172)
    • 6th highest rated player in Jamaica
    • Tied for 2nd at the 2016 American Sub-Zonal in Barbados
    • Represented Jamaica at 2004, 2014, and 2018 World Chess Olympiads
    • This is FM Lorne's 2nd CCCSA IM Invitational