Sunday, December 30

Hunting for Norms

The Las Vegas Strip facing south from Bally's.
FM Yian Liou
Congratulations to my long time student FM Yian Liou for earning his second IM norm at the 2012 North American Open in Las Vegas!  The high school sophomore scored 6.0 in nine rounds with an impressive performance rating of 2560 FIDE, good enough to share 7th place overall in the open swiss section.  He faced six higher rated opponents, including four Grandmasters, and lost just once.  Twice he held a draw versus a GM from the black side without much difficulty.  That feat alone takes nerves of steel!  Having clinched the IM norm before the final round, Yian played confidently and aggressively against an International Master to cap the eventful tournament with an exclamation mark (see game below).

  • Wins: NM Viswanadha, NM T.Shaw, NM Colas, IM Yankovsky
  • Draws: GM Shabalov, GM Lenderman, IM Krush, GM Gurevich
  • Loss: GM Ramirez

FM Sam Sevian
Yian was not the only Bay Area junior to qualify for a valuable norm this month.  Only a week ago, FM Sam Sevian tied for first place at the 23rd Metropolitan Chess Invitational in Los Angeles.  The reigning World U12 gold medalist has become accustomed to winning tournaments, but certainly not as the lowest rated invitee!  Magically, the precocious master scored an undefeated plus-3 in a round-robin against three experienced GMs and five strong IMs, for a 2575 performance.  Days shy of his 12th birthday, Sam completed the three norms for the IM title!  He stands to become the youngest IM in American history, but narrowly missed the world record set by Ukrainian superstar Sergey Karjakin,  It would, however, be premature to call him an IM-elect until he meets the final requirement: a FIDE rating above 2400.  That appears to just be a matter of time.  Well done Sam!
  • Wins: IM D.Yang, IM Yankovsky, IM Amanov
  • Draws: IM Kiewra, IM Matikozyan, GM Chibuchchian, GM Ramirez, GM Khachiyan, IM V.Shen
  • Loss: none

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