Local International Masters David Pruess and Josh Friedel have been travelling the globe in search of chess nirvana and those elusive GM norms. By my count, David needs only one more norm for the Grandmaster title and Josh needs two. Can they do it? Those of us back home in sunny California are betting "yes!"
Both young men are recipients of the prestigious Samford award, which provides considerable financial support to study and play chess abroad. Previous adventures took our heroes to the heart of western Europe: France and Germany. David actually found some success recently, sharing first place and earning his second GM norm at the Rohde Open in Sautron, France last November.
This month, David and Josh went to the mecca of chess: Moscow. Over the course of three weeks in the dead of Russia's winter, they played in two of the strongest swiss format events in the world: the Moscow Open and the Aeroflot Open. To give you an idea how strong these tournaments are, David and Josh are playing not in the top section but in the second division (under 2550 FIDE)! You can read on-site reports written by Josh on both of these events by clicking on the links in this paragraph.
Unfortunately, it now looks like neither Josh nor David found the success that they were looking for on their odyssey. Josh has respectable results while David probably is dreaming of California. Hopefully, both masters can learn something from this trip and will apply it to future tournament successes. I am sure that the Grandmaster title remains within reach!
Moscow Open (300 players, most rated over 2100 FIDE)
Josh 5.5/9 for 76th place
Aeroflot Open - Section A2 (92 players, most rated between 2300 and 2550 FIDE)
Josh 4.5/8 for 28th place
The final round of the Aeroflot Open is on Friday. Josh is paired vs Mihajlovskij (2466) and David is paired vs Nyzhnyk (2405), who was Danya Naroditsky's main rival at the World Youth U12. Here's wishing them both luck!
Update on Friday morning: Josh won in the final round of the Aeroflot Open to finish in 19th place (out of 92) at 5.5/9. Good job! Sadly, David lost to the Ukrainian "wunderkind" and had a tournament result that he'll no doubt prefer to forget.