GM title complete

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.


  • 4 years ago


    I don't understand move 22. Nxd6; why take the rook? if you he could have taken the bishop with his king and prevented himself from losing a rook?

  • 4 years ago


    Best bullit player i seen since the year 2045! awesome games! I knew you was a GM :) but,,,, you will never beat me, ever! lol good luck!

  • 5 years ago


    wow those games were epic. it was a delight and more chess amateurs should look at these games it amazing how you turn the tables but you do. good luck in your young blooming career the u.s. needs more players in the top 100 players we are way behind europe and india in the game. if you disagree with these comments then send me a message

  • 5 years ago

    GM dretch

    Thank you all. Black played 82...h4 because the alternatives appear more unpleasant. If he played Kg7, then I could play Rg2 and then Rg1. If he moved his rook, then Rf6+ followed by Ng3.

    I don't see how 108...Rxh2 would work. For example Rxh2 g3 (Kg3 Rf2 h2 Ne2+ Kh3 Nf4+ Kg3 Rg2+) Nf3+ Kg4 Rh1 g2 Rg1 Kg3 Ke2 h2 Nxh2 Kxh2 Kf2 and white wins.

  • 5 years ago


    First, congratulations on your last GM norm.

    To comment the game against Leon Hoyos, I must say that I don't see why black played 82...h4. Last pawn was moved on move 50, and he needed only 18 more moves to achieve a draw. Was he playing for a win? Also, at move 108(!) black could have played Rxh2, which would probably also lead to a draw, but was tricky and gave him good chances in zeitnot with advanced passed pawns.

  • 5 years ago


    Many congratulations, Grandmaster Holt! I love the Scheveningen, although here's what I thought both White and Black did in order to play it: 

    1.  e4 ...c5  2.  Nf3 ...d6  3.  d4 ...cxd4 4.  Nxd4 ...Nf6  5.  Nc6  ...e6

  • 5 years ago


    Congratulations GM Holt!

  • 5 years ago


    Love the first game!

  • 5 years ago


    Wow that first game was like 100 moves of careful maneuvering - a work of art!

  • 5 years ago


    Congratulations! And nice queen trap against GM Giorgi K. 

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