Alisa Earns IM Norm; Angelo Takes 1st
By Sevan Muradian   
April 28, 2008
After ten grueling rounds of chess, the 10th North American FIDE Invitational has come to a close. The MonRoi's have been put away, the clocks stored back in their boxes, the boards and sets are recovering from the battle scars left on them by the chess warriors. The players have either left for home or are still sleeping at the time this report will be published. The organizer is bouncing his 6 month old daughter and future grandmaster on his lap while writing this report.
At the end of the day IM Angelo Young came out on top with a score of 7/9. His hopes were to go perfect score (and pick up about 30 rating points on his quest to 2500) were derailed by the tripe-norm champion WFM Alisa Melekhina. Alisa knocked out Angelo's hopes for a perfect score in Round 4 en route to capturing 3 norms.
Alisa walked in as the third lowest seed only to walk away with 3 norms (hmm something about that number three!). Alisa picked apart her opponents with her preparation (and some luck as in the Shankar game) and her tenacity. She's not an opponent to underestimate and is severely underrated. I doubt after her performance that future opponents will take her lightly, lest she'll scalp them without breaking a sweat.
I had warned Alisa before the tournament, that being the third lowest seed that she will be targeted as the full point potential by the opposition. She was well aware and it shows she was prepared. It will be a pleasure having Alisa back for another tournament with her proud papa in tow smiling all the way (her father Alex is quite interesting to speak with).
Unfortunately for FM Mehmed Pasalic his third norm was denied with the 117 move draw against FM Shankar. Mehmed has scored 2 norms in this tournament series and is looking to close it out once and for all. After the tournament I told him - there is always next month. He agreed.
As the organizer of these events it's always a pleasure meeting new faces and getting to know them. Aside from Alisa being a new face, we also had the pleasure of having the Yuan family from Toronto, Ontario Canada present. WFM Yuanling Yuan, a 14-year young lady, played her heart out and learned some valuable lessons, but also forged a friendship with Alisa (always nice to walk away from a tournament with a new friend). I have been in email contact with her father William for some months finalizing Yuanlings participation. At the last minute William was not able to attend so her mother Shaomin came down to be the supporting parent. It was great speaking with Shaomin and making yet another chess connection!
Switching gears slightly here, I find parently and coaching support, especially at this level of tournament play, quiet important. I am quiet pleased when I see the players' parents offering support by being there or when their coaches are present. I've had the pleasure of meeting many of them over the past years and look forward to meeting more, putting faces with email addresses, and growing the chess network. I would hope that all parents understand the importance of supporting their kids psychologically during their quest for titles and either are present themselves or send their children's coaches along (hey that's how I got to meet The Fed!).
Well off to planning the 11th North American FIDE Invitational which will take place just before the Chicago Open. As a side note, the GM norm event will be shifted in time because a number of the players that are on the invite list are teaching camps. So we will continue with IM norm events until otherwise noted. If you are interested in playing please drop me an email at [email protected]