|11-year old Sam Sevian with coach IM Andranik Matikozyan.|
The 10-player round-robin (all-play-all) featured three International Masters, four foreign players (including two of the IMs), plus a trio of talented juniors. The competitors clashed in a grueling schedule of nine rounds over five days, each game taking up to six hours. Originally, the organizer Ankit Gupta of Metropolitan Chess planned for a score of +4 (6.5/9) to earn one of the three norms required for the IM title. Unfortunately, one foreign player was replaced by a lower rated one on short notice, thereby increasing the norm threshold to a very demanding +5 (7.0/9).
|FM Yian Liou|
For my former student Yian, this was a well-deserved first IM norm after some close calls. Bravo! Local whizkid Sam picked up his second norm of the summer, further confirming the #1 FIDE rating in the World for U-12, To qualify for the IM title, Yian and Sam will need to complete three norms and raise their FIDE rating to 2400. While both broke 2400 USCF this week, their international ratings lag behind at about 2350 and 2320, respectively.
In case anyone wonders, the youngest International Master in history appears to be Sergey Karjakin of Ukraine at 11 years and 11 months. Karjakin then became the youngest Grandmaster ever at 12 years and 7 months, and now is ranked #6 in the world.
A third Bay Area junior also left his mark. Kudos to 12-year old Kesav Viswanadha for fighting hard against challenging opposition. After a slow start, he finished with 50% over the last five rounds. Kesav won one game--against second seed IM Zhanibek Amanov of Kazakhstan. No doubt, he gained tons of experience in addition to a few rating points.