Over Spring Break I played at the latest UTD (University of Texas at Dallas) invitational tournament in Richardson, Texas. The format was a Scheveningen and you can google the tournament if you want to know more about it. Going into the tournament I had 2 grandmaster norms and 2499 FIDE rating points, so I needed one more norm and one more point to get the GM title.
I started out with 0/2 (the same as in my previous successful norm tournament) after some lackluster play, losing with black against Manuel Leon Hoyos and white against Giorgi Kacheishvili. However, I was not feeling too worried at that point, due to a delusion I developed regarding FIDE regulations. I had it in my head that I could ignore the first game, and get a norm in rounds 2-10. Fortunately I discovered soon, after winning a game or two but before I neared the end of the tournament, that only rounds at the end of the tournament can be discounted. In Rounds 3 and 4 I won against Ray Robson with black and Alex Lenderman with white. In round 5 I lost with black to Magesh Panchanathan. It was a puzzling experience, because I knew that all rook and pawn endgames are drawn, and I didn't even have any fewer pawns than my opponent. Nevertheless, I somehow lost the game.
Before beginning the second leg of the tournament, in which everyone plays the same opponents with opposite colors, there was a blitz tournament. I scored 6.5/9 and tied for first with fellow UTD team member Julio Sadorra.
In round 6 I beat Hoyos. You can look at this game if you want to exercise your index finger:
In round 7 I defeated Kacheishvili. A good thing about this game for me was that it was the only one where I was able to improvise successfully in the early part of the game. In all the other games that I didn't lose, I was in my opening analysis for at least 16 moves. After round 7 I had reached the +1 score necessary for a GM norm, so it was time to start counting points. I needed to continue with either 1 out of 2 or 1.5/3. I drew Robson in round 8 in an up-and-down struggle.
After that, either a draw with Lenderman in round 9 or a win against Panchanathan in round 10 was sufficient for a norm. I annotated my game with Lenderman below:
And that was it. Thanks to my family for supporting my chess, and to UTD and Turner Construction for making possible this tournament.