My Third IM Norm

GM JMB2010
Jan 20, 2016, 11:59 AM |

I recently participated in the New Jersey FIDE Futurity Tournament at Dean of Chess Academy in Branchburg NJ, which took place over the weekend of January 9th and January 16th. It was a round-robin tournament, with 5 being the score for an IM norm and 6.5 being the score for a GM norm. I've decided to blog about this tournament due to the strange quality of games played by everyone. It seems like no one was able to convert winning positions, and I can think of 10 games off the top of my head where a different result would have been expected at some point in the game. I definitely feel like I played much better at the World Open and NY International, where I got my other 2 norms, but I'll take it! Laughing

The participants, listed by USCF rating, were -

GM Tamaz Gelashvili - 2682

GM Leonid Yudasin - 2618

IM Akshat Chandra - 2609

GM Mackenzie Molner - 2569

FM Arthur Shen - 2507

IM Kassa Korley - 2480

IM Dean Ippolito - 2476

FM John Burke - 2473 (that's me if you couldn't figure it out) Smile

FM Praveen Balakrishnan - 2411

FM Rostislav Taborsky - 2318


In the first round I was black against IM Akshat Chandra. He already has two GM norms and it's just a matter of time before he gets his third. He's been ripped off by the technicalities of the norm system before and I honestly can't think of any stronger IM in the world. Unfortunately he didn't manage to get his third norm in this tournament, but I'm sure it will happen soon.


In round 2 I was white against IM Kassa Korley. I had played him twice before, both games being draws.

In round 3 I was black against FM Praveen Balakrishnan. This was our 9th game, the first being when we were both rated below 800!
In round 4 I was black against IM Dean Ippolito. Before this game my record against him was a miserable 0.5/4, and 0/3 as black.
In round 5 I was white against Rostislav Taborsky. I pretty much won out of the opening since he consumed tons of time and got his queen in trouble. Eventually I won his queen for a rook and two pawns and the game was pretty much over. There was a strange incident in the opening, though. During my prep I noticed a cool pawn sac idea, and during the game I realized that it was possible. I thought that I had seen this idea "in a similar position" and I played it. However, after the game I realized that it was the exact same position! I had been in my prep without even realizing it!
So I had 4/5 at this point and just needed 1 point out of the final 4 games to secure a norm. However, I had not played any of the GMs yet, so it wasn't a lock.
In round 6 I was black against GM Leonid Yudasin.
To lose from such a promising position was extremely frustrating and damaged my norm chances. I now needed 1/3, and my opponents included 2 GMs.
In round 7 I was white against GM Mac Molner.

That game could have easily gone south for me, but fortunately my position held together. Now on the final day I was black against Arthur Shen in round 8 and white against Gelashvili in round 9. I needed at least one draw out of those two games to become an IM. I definitely wanted to get it done against Arthur and not leave that kind of pressure to the last round game against the highest rated player in the tournament.
Wow, talk about luck! With 5.5/8 I had secured an IM norm, and I was leading the tournament by a point with a round to go. To top it off, I would get a GM norm if I could beat GM Gelashvili in the last round. Unfortunately, I did not get any winning chances in the last round, and could have become worse, but he made some inaccuracies and this complicated game ended in a draw by perpetual check.

That's about it I guess. I would like to thank Dean for organizing this great tournament. The conditions were absolutely fantastic. Also, congrats to Praveen who was the only undefeated player and scored an IM norm with 1 win and 8 draws. As GM Gelashvili said, Petrosian would be proud! Laughing As soon as the technicalities are taken care of, I will officially be an IM.

Until next time...