By Jennifer Shahade
March 13, 2007
Motivated organizers such as Sevan Muradian in Chicago (president of the North American Association) Chess and Chris Bird (of the New England Masters) are providing a steadier stream of American norm tournaments than ever before.
Sevan explains why he organizes round robins for pro players:
Only two open events in North America provide norm opportunities (Foxwoods and World Open) which forces norm hopefuls to travel to Europe in order to participate in norm bearing events. The US chess scene has focused primarily on scholastic chess and amateur chess. It's a simple reason why - there's no money in organizing events for professionals. If not for people like the NACA, the Mechanics Institute, the East Bay Chess Club, and the Masters' series by Chris Bird, these opportunities would be non-existent. We don't do these for the $$$, we do it for the love of the game and to take chess to the next level here in North America.
In last week's Chicago 4th North American FIDE Invitational (March 5-11), IM Jesse Kraai prevailed by a full point. Unfortunately no norms were earned in this event. The closest contender was FM Pasalic, who missed the norm by one point. Santa Fe based IM Kraai has a positional style and favors openings such as the French and the English. Kraai is on the top of his game, having recently come off a GM norm result in the East Bay Masters. The following French victory adds more evidence in favor of both Jesse's excellent form and the superiority of the bishop.
1st - 7.5/9.0 - IM Kraai
2nd - 6.5/9.0 - IM Young
3rd - 6.0/9.0 - FM Pasalic
4th - 5th - 5.5/9.0 - IM Vigorito, FM Felecan
6th - 4.0/9.0 - FM Chow
7th - 3.0/9.0 - Vishnuvardhan
8th-9th - 2.5/9.0 - Turgut, Loncarevic
10th - 2.0/9.0 - Shankar
In the May issue of Chess Life Magazine, Jesse Kraai will annotate a game for "In the Arena", a new column which will feature a game annotated by a different American player each month. The new column replaces"Polgar's Pick", which was temporarily suspended through the elction season. Polgar's Pick will resume in August.