An update from the ChessBrahs about Aman
I'm currently restless and sitting on a plane from Atlanta to Montreal. I realize it's been a long time since the last chesbrah blog post. Let me catch you guys up with a few thoughts!
As most of you know, Aman scored his second Grandmaster norm back in April at the Reykjavik Open in Iceland. That means he just needs one more norm to become a fully-fledged GM. After his success, Aman used May as a recovery and training month back in Canada while also making future plans for tournaments he would compete in. After some initial difficulty finding an event we settled on the Wisconsin International which took place June 13-18. Norm tournaments in North America are still relatively rare and although it wasn't the ideal choice it fit well in Aman's busy calendar of coaching, playing, and streaming.
The Wisconsin International had the theoretical possibility of scoring a norm but definitely was quite a bit weaker than the usual tournament and would require Aman to start off well so that he would get paired against the highest rated players in the event. We knew it was risky coming in to the event but what compounded it was that from the time we registered to the time to the event took place the event ballooned up with lower rated players and lost a few top seeds.
Well...Aman drew round one against his young 19xx opponent and with that result his norm chances evaporated before the tournament really started. Despite climbing back into the event and finishing a respectable shared third place, Aman never came close to facing the sustained strong opposition required by FIDE for norm purposes. This is not always the case: Aman gave up an early draw in Iceland en route to his norm but that tournament was much stronger overall which allowed him a bit of leeway.
Ouch... back to the drawing board we went. To make matters worse, one of Aman's planned norm tournaments in July was cancelled. While his next tournament, The Canadian Open in July, has theoretical norm chances that I don't rate too highly. He may need some very lucky pairings to provide that extra boost.
Becoming a Grandmaster is not just about the skill level but also the gruelling process which tends to involve lots of uncertainty and months away from home traveling around. This year I've been extremely busy and havent even seen Aman that much. What I've tried to do under those circumstances is provide a good training environment at home for him as well as provide support via Chessbrah which allows him to focus on the chess and not have to worry about the finances related to chess travels. That credit doesnt to go to me, though. The Chessbrah community- the viewers, have been donating, subscribing, cheering-- and just providing a positive energy and support system that neither myself or Aman could have ever imagined. You can take a look at the 'Reykjavik Open Vlog' on our Youtube Channel to get a sense of that.
There are many talented International Masters in the world who never became or will become a Grandmaster because they couldnt handle the stressful and uncertain process of trying to prove they were worthy of the GM title. Aman is not one of those guys- we are planning his next tournaments and thanks to all of you I am certain that Aman is closer than ever to climbing the chess mountain.