Monday, October 30, 2017

Fall 2017 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational Preview!

Author: Grant Oen, CCCSA Assistant Director

Charlotte Chess Center's Fall 2017 GM/IM Norm Invitational is coming up this Thanksgiving, November 22-26.  It is the third of our "norm" events, which seek to provide strong players the chance to compete for Grandmaster and International Master titles in a round robin format.

In the first two CCCSA GM/IM norm events alone, Safal Bora (Michigan) earned a GM norm, while Alexander Velikanov (Wisconsin), Michael Brown (California), John Ludwig (Florida), Gauri Shankar (Illinois), and Steve Wang (Charlotte, NC) each earned IM norms.  Also, Matt Larson (Missouri) and Ben Moon (Georgia) earned their FM titles based on rating at our events.

Please read our player bios below and visit us this Thanksgiving - all CCCSA members may visit at any time for free!

A Group (GM Norm = 6.5/9) - Pairings

GM Tanguy Ringoir (Belgium, FIDE 2538, USCF 2604) is the only GM who will have played in all three CCCSA Norm Invitationals.  Last year, he won the GM norm section with a stunning 7.5/9, and has yet to be defeated in Charlotte through 18 games.  He has been a GM since 2015, is the captain of the UMBC Chess Team, is the highest rated player in Maryland, and is the second highest rated active player from Belgium.  He has drawn elite GMs like Dmitry Andreiken, and has defeated Najer and Ganguly.  Ringoir is a three-time national champion and has represented Belgium twice at the Chess Olympiad.  Here is his interview from March.

GM Denes Boros (Hungary, FIDE 2471, USCF 2545) is a Saint Louis-based GM and psychologist who graduated from Webster University where he played for the chess team.  He tied for first at the 2016 Saint Louis Chess Club Championship and the 2012 Missouri Open Championship.  Boros has had good results against the strongest players on the national circuit, having scored wins over Wesley So, Bruzon, Meier, Naroditsky, and Nyzhnyk.

GM Alonso Zapata (Atlanta, GA and Colombia, FIDE 2424, USCF 2496) is the 7-time Colombian national Champion who moved to Atlanta to teach and play chess in 2013.  A former World Top 50 players, Zapata has won the Georgia State Championship twice, tied for first at the 2011 US Open, finished second in the 1977 World Junior Championship behind Artur Yusupov, and competed in the 2002 FIDE World Championship.  He has defeated Nakamura, Ljubojevic, Azmaiparashvili, Miles, and World Champions Smyslov, Gaprindashvili, and Anand.  Zapata has drawn legendary GMs such as Taimanov, Korchnoi, Portisch, Yusupov,  Timman and Short. He is a frequent guest in Charlotte, having scored 4/9 at our GM norm event in March, and having won the 2016 Southeastern FIDE Championship.  Here is Alonso's interview from the March GM norm event.

Alonso Zapata vs Peter Giannatos, Charlotte 2016

IM Andrew Tang (Minnesota, FIDE 2496, USCF 2601) is a 17-year old American IM who has 2 GM norms and will be looking to close out the title in Charlotte.  Perhaps best known for his online “hyper-bullet” skills, where he boasts a 2850 rating on and was at one point, the highest rated bullet player on the site over Carlsen, Nakamura, and Vachier-Lagrave.  Of course, he is also a very strong over-the-board player, having won the 2014 North American Junior (U20) Championship.  He is the top rated 17-year-old and the third highest rated blitz played under 21 in the USA, the current Minnesota state champion, and the second highest rated player in Minnesota after Wesley So.  Some of his best results include wins over Shabalov, Akobian, Brunello, and Banikas and draws with Kamsky, McShane, Bruzon, Lenderman, Ipatov, and Postny.

IM Andrew Tang will seek to complete his GM title in Charlotte

IM Nicolas Checa (New York, FIDE 2467, USCF 2572) is a 15 year old IM from New York City.  Nationally, he is the second highest rated 15 year old, top quick-rated player under 16, and second blitz-rated player under 16 in the United States.  He has defeated strong GMs such as Smirin, Izoria, Paragua, Benjamin, Becerra, and Belous, and represented the USA team at the "Match of the Millenials" earlier this year, where he defeated GM Haik Martirosyan.  Nico's recent results include a silver medal at the 2017 North American Junior (U20) Championship, a GM norm at the 2017 Philadelphia International, a quick victory over strong GM Ilia Smirin, and 1st place at the 2017 SuperNationals Blitz Championship.  This is his second GM norm event in Charlotte, having scored 2.5/9 in the 2016 GM Round Robin.  He will seek his second GM norm this November.

IM Michael Lee (Washington, FIDE 2435, USCF 2527) is a 24 year old IM from Washington.  He is the 67th highest rated player in the country by USCF rating, the 63rd highest rated by FIDE rating, and the 2nd highest rated in the state of Washington.  He won clear first at the 2008 National Junior High School (K-9) Championship, was the 2016 Washington State Champion, has competed in the U.S. Junior Championship, and represented Princeton University at several intercollegiate championships.  Michael has defeated strong GMs such as Sandipan Chanda, Sam Shankland, Sergey Erenburg, and Julio Becerra.  He is currently at his peak FIDE and USCF ratings, and will seek to score his first GM norm after becoming an IM in 2014.

IM Raja Panjwani (Canada, FIDE 2421, USCF 2527) is a Canadian IM and Ph.D with degrees from Yale, Oxford, and NYU. He is a former Canadian Junior Champion and recently wrote an opening book on the "Hyper Accelerated Dragon".  Panjwani has had solid results recently, including wins in 2017 over GMs Yaroslav Zherebukh and Akshat Chandra and draws against GMs Huschenbeth, Nyzhnyk, Azarov, Bachmann, Moradiabadi, Gledura, Liang, Sadorra, Lenderman, and Smith.  Raja has one GM norm from the 2013 SPICE Cup and will seek his second norm in Charlotte.

IM Raja Panjwani, from Canada

IM Farai Mandizha (Zimbabwe, FIDE 2400, USCF 2509) is the highest rated active player from Zimbabwe, and currently is a chess professional in New York.  He has had successful results on the world stage, having earned the FM title by winning the 2004 World Amateur Championship, and having represented Zimbabwe at the 2007 All-Africa Games and two Chess Olympiads.  Farai has also had excellent success on the American circuit - he earned all of his IM norms at American open tournaments, including a second place finish Under 2400 at the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open for a $19,000 prize.  Mandizha has earned 3 GM norms, and will need 100 rating points to earn the title.  His most recent GM norm came from the 2017 World Open this summer, where he defeated GMs Stukopin, Jayaram, and Ruifeng Li, and drew with Xiong, Lenderman, Stripunsky, and Andrew Tang.  He also has wins against strong GMs such as Nakamura, Ganguly, Kacheishvili, Gareev, Becerra, Mikhalevski, and Shabalov.

IM Bryce Tiglon (Washington, FIDE 2388, USCF 2453) is the reigning North American U18 Champion, 2017 U.S. Open Blitz Co-Champion, and 2017 SuperNationals Blitz Co-Champion.  The fourth highest rated player in Washington and fifth highest rated 16 year old in the USA, Tiglon also has one GM norm.  So far in 2017, he has defeated GM Huschenbeth and drew 2600+ GMs Robson, Azarov, and Gordievskiy.  Tiglon will compete at CCCSA for the first time, and will hope for his second GM norm.

FM Kevin Wang (Maryland, FIDE 2371, USCF 2450) is a FIDE Master with four IM norms and thus only needs to gain a 2400 FIDE rating to earn the IM title.  The American open tournament circuit has been very successful for him, as he earned three of his norms at the 2013, 2014, and 2016 World Open tournaments.  He is a student at the University of Chicago, has represented Maryland at the Denker Tournament of High School Champion, and represented the United States at the World Youth U16 Olympiad in China and the World U14 Championship in Brazil.  He is the 36th highest rated player under 21 by USCF rating and the 108th highest rated player overall by FIDE rating.  On the American circuit, he has defeated GMs such as Friedel,  Corrales Jimenez, Panchanathan, Mitkov, Jayaram, Zapata, Boros, and Amanov.

B Group (IM Norm = 6.5/9) - Pairings

IM Safal Bora (Michigan, FIDE 2363, USCF 2456) is an American IM and the third highest rated player in Michigan.  He won the bronze medal, the FM title, and his first IM norm at the 2014 North American Junior (U20) Championship.  He wrapped up his IM title in 2014 by scoring IM norms at the SPICE Cup Open and North American Open, where he defeated Mac Molner, Denes Boros, Ashwin Jayaram, and Orlen Ruiz Sanchez.  This will be his second event in Charlotte, after scoring a GM norm in the March 2016 event.  Here is Safal's interview from that event and his post-tournament interview.

IM Roberto Martin del Campo (Mexico, FIDE 2360, USCF 2435) from Mexico has played in all three of our IM norm Invitationals, having scored 6.5/9 in March 2016 and 4/9 in March 2017.  He is the eighth highest rated active player in Mexico and is a former Mexican Junior Championship.  He has had a long career, and has recently defeated strong GMs such as Jorge Cori and Ahmed Adly.  He has represented Mexico at World Youth Championships, Pan-American Championships, and four Chess Olympiads, where he scored an individual Olympic gold medal on board 4 in 1990, posting a 2530 performance.  His peak rating was 2485 in 1997, where he was the second highest rated player in Mexico.  Here is Roberto's interview from the 2016 event. 

IM Roberto Martin del Campo

IM Angelo Young (Chicago IL and Philippines, FIDE 2290, USCF 2367) has had a long career as a Filipino-American IM.  Young has had a very rich career on the tournament circuit, having scored draws against GMs in over 100 games.  Hailing from Chicago, he has also had incredible results against many legends of the American tournament circuit, including wins over Van Wely, Shabalov, Yudasin, Holt, Finegold, Stripunsky, Dzindzichashvili, Fishbein, Benjamin, Ivanov, Fedorowicz, Zapata, Browne, etc.  Young has played in all of our IM norm invitationals, scoring 4.5/9 in March 2016 and 4/9 in March 2017.  He recently won $5000 as the top player Under 2300 FIDE at the 2017 World Open.  Here is his interview from the 2016 event.
John Ludwig (Florida, FIDE 2396, USCF 2482) is the third highest rated player under 17 and in the top 100 overall in the United States and top 90 in the World for players under 18.  Although he does not have a FIDE title, he is almost 2400 FIDE and 2500 USCF.  He returns to Charlotte after winning the IM norm group in March 2017, where he earned his first IM norm.  He recently earned his second norm at the First Saturday tournament in Budapest, and will hope to complete his quest to IM in Charlotte.  The younger brother of IM Daniel Ludwig, John has scored very well in tournaments in his home state of Florida, where he is tied with GM Renier Gonzalez as the fifth highest rated player.  He has defeated GMs Becerra, Mitkov, Sevillano, and Atilla Czebe.  Ludwig will be searching for his final requirement for the IM title at this event.  Here is his interview from March 2017, where he scored an IM norm.

John Ludwig will hope to close out his IM title in Charlotte

FM Gauri Shankar (Chicago IL and India, FIDE 2348, USCF 2437) from India has five IM norms, including one from the 2015 US Masters and the March 2017 CCCSA GM Norm Invitational, and needs to achieve a 2400 FIDE rating to earn the title.  He is the ninth highest rated player in Illinois.  He has draws against strong American GMs like Kamsky, Naroditsky, Kaidanov, Sevian, Fishbein, Xiong, and Lenderman.  He will seek to earn a couple more coveted points towards the IM title at 2400.  Here is his interview from the 2016 event and his interview from 2017 after his win against IM Daniel Gurevich.

FM Gauri Shankar earned his 5th IM norm at the March 2017 event

Benjamin Moon (Atlanta GA, FIDE 2324, USCF 2388) is a several time USCF national champion.  He is a frequent competitor at the Charlotte Chess Center, having won the CCCSA End of Summer Blitz event with 10/10 ahead of IM John Bartholomew, finishing in second place at the 2016 CCCSA Blitz Championship, and having played in the first and second Southeastern FIDE Championships.  He scored 6/9 at the March 2017 IM Norm Invitational, missing out on his first IM norm after a tough loss against IM Angelo Young.  He has recent draws against GMs Stukopin, Gorovets, Panchanathan, Finegold, Troff, Mogranzini, and recently defeated GM Alonso Zapata in a local Atlanta tournament.  He is playing in his second IM round robin and will hope for his first IM norm.  Here is his interview from the March event.

Moon (left) collecting the "Benjamins" at CCCSA's Summer Blitz event

FM Jacob Furfine (Illinois, FIDE 2324, USCF 2361) is the tenth highest rated 16 year old in the United States by USCF rating, the eleventh highest U16 player by FIDE rating, and the 16th highest rated player in Illinois.  He represented the USA at the 2017 World Youth U16 Championship in Uruguay, and tied for third place in the K-9 section of the 2017 SuperNationals tournament.  He has defeated GMs Vladimir Georgiev and Akshat Chandra

FM Sahil Sinha (Maryland, FIDE 2227, USCF 2330) is the tenth highest rated 16 year old in the United States and the 11th highest rated player in Maryland.  Some of his best results include draws against GMs Dreev, Barbosa, Gelashvili, Ivanov, Hernandez, Ringoir, Boros, and Fishbein.  His peak FIDE rating was 2300.

FM Christopher Yoo (California, FIDE 2194, USCF 2274) is the second highest rated 10 year old in the United States, and until recently, held the record for the youngest USCF National Master (9 years, 11 months).  Despite only being 10 years old, he won the 2017 North American U16 Championship, which earned him the FM title and his first IM norm.  He recently defeated GM Razvan Preotu and drew GM Julio Becerra at the Calgary International in Canada, and represented the United States at the World Cadet Championships in Brazil.

10-year-old FM Chris Yoo, formerly the youngest master in the country

FM Eliot Soo-Burrowes (Australia, FIDE 2145) is the 54th highest rated player in Australia  and is 20 years old.  He is a FIDE Master, who earned his title in 2017 from the Oceania Zonal Championship.

The average rating across the event is 2464 USCF and 2355 FIDE.  Out of all 20 players, there are 3 GMs, 9 IMs, 6 FMs, and 2 other masters.  It is not often the case that Peter, Dominique, and I bring down the average rating of people in the chess center!
11 States Represented – Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, North Carolina, and California.  We will have 4 arbiters, from North Carolina, Virginia, and Alabama.

8 Foreign Federations Represented – Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Mexico, India, and the Phillipines.

In addition, we will have two additional round robins which form the Fall 2017 Junior Invitational.  The following junior players will compete:

  • Alex Tong (2117) - Charlotte, NC - #43 fifteen year old in the country, 2017 NC Open Champion, 2016 NC K-8 Champion, represented NC at the Barber Tournament of K-8 champions.
  • Shelev Oberoi (2093) - Texas - #24 eleven year old in the country, represented USA at 2017 World Cadet U12 Championship in Pocas de Caldas, Brazil.
  • Vishnu Vanapalli (2027) - Charlotte, NC - #10 ten year old in the country, tied for third place at 2017 K-5 SuperNationals, represented USA at 2015 World Cadet U8 Championship in Halkidiki, Greece.
  • James Dill (2011) - Holly Springs, NC - #70 fourteen year old in the country.
  • Anand Srinivasan (1987) - Atlanta, GA - #92 fourteen year old in the country, tied for first at 2017 Georgia Open with GMs Finegold and Zapata, 2017 Georgia High School Champion, 2016 Castle Chess Class B Grand Prix Champion.
  • Adharsh Rajagopal (1986) - Charlotte, NC - #84 fourteen year old in the country, tied for fifth at 2017 SuperNationals K-12 U1900 section.
  • Pradhyumna Kothapalli (1934) - Charlotte, NC.
  • Varun Gadi (1917) - Atlanta, GA - #3 eight year old in the country, represented USA at 2016 World Cadet Championship in the Republic of Georgia, 2017 Georgia 3rd Grade Champion, 2015 U.S. 1st Grade Champion, 2016 Susan Polgar Foundation National U8 Boys Champion.
  • Erick Zhao (1890) - Gainesville, FL - #19 nine year old in the country, represented Florida at the 2017 National Invitational.
  • Ziyang Qiu (1890) - Raleigh, NC - #27 ten year old in the country.
  • Curtis Ianni (1875) - Charlotte, NC.
  • Nicolas de la Colina (1865) - Florida - #61 twelve year old in the country.

Here is the link to tournament information.  The event takes place Wednesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 26.  Spectators are welcome throughout the event - members may visit for free, while non-members may purchase a $10 day pass.

There will be plenty of analysis, blitz, and chances to meet some famous chess masters – come by and check it out!  For those that can’t make it, we will be posting game PGNs online after games conclude, in addition to pairings and standings online on Chessstream.  These events will become much more regular in Charlotte, as we are planning five such events in 2018.  We will also have player interviews, videos, games.  It will be an awesome event!

Hope to see you at the Charlotte Chess Center, November 22-26!

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