Three IM-norms in Hoogeveen

0 | Chess Event Coverage
Besides the crown group the Essent Tournament had a very strong open group this year, with about fifteen grandmasters and several international masters at the participants list. This meant a perfect field for scoring norms and three players did take an IM-norm home: Dutchies Alexander van Beek and Ali Bitalzadeh and Moulthun Ly from Australia. (Robert Ris also scored a norm but he had already enough of those.)

From left to right Moulthun, Ali and Alexander

Ali played a fantastic tournament and had even scored a GM-norm if he had drawn Mikhail Gurevich with black. That seemed a mission impossible beforehand and perhaps it was, alhough it seemed he got quite far. How Ali reached this high? It was a combination of being tough and being sharp. Against Ikonnikov and Van der Wiel he managed to draw a worse rook ending and against Dambacher and Ibrahimov he simply had a sharper tactical vision.

Ali Bitalzadeh

>> replay Ali's games

About fourteen year old Moulthun Ly I wrote before. He came to The Netherlands with his father (a modest man who cultivates fruit at a farm; he emigrated from Cambodia to Australia with his wife about ten years ago) and had a great week with playing some soccer in the morning at the bungalow park, playing blitz at the bungalow at night as a compensation of missed ICC time (although he did play some in the pressroom!) and during the day cruising for his second norm in a most cautious and quiet manner. In the next video his game from the last round, in which he had to beat Freddie van der Elburg (2359) with black and did so. At a certain moment two icons of Australian chess, Ian and Cathy Rogers, are watching and enjoying it.

Moulthun Ly with chief arbiter Koos Stolk

>> replay Moulthun's games

Ali and Moulthun atrracted most attention of course; Alexander van Beek scored his norm quite surreptitiously. He had to win in the last round and did it convincingly.

Alexander van Beek with Koos Stolk

>> replay Alexander's games
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