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Marcel Live from Miami Print E-mail
By FM Marcel Martinez   
February 13, 2008
The Miami International Chess Academy held an IM Invitational (January 2-8) right after the Pan-American Championship, also in Miami. The good news is that the Miami IM Invitational is here to stay! Sponsor and chess player Eric Hecht and organizer IM Blas Lugo are promising to make it happen in the future, at least 3 times a year. This is great for Miami chess, cause it means more GM and IM norm chances for the area.

The January IM invitational counted three IMs: IM Jacek Stopa, IM Blas Lugo and IM Evelio Otero. Jacek Stopa is from Poland, and goes to school at UTD. He had such a great time at the tournament we almost had to induct him into the Miami chess family. IM Blas Lugo had his hands full as player and organizer. IM Evelio Otero from Cuba is a very strong player who has been inactive for a while but is hoping to come back to the mix soon.  The seven other players in the event were: FM’s Bruci Lopez and Marcel Martinez as well as locals: Marc Esserman, Eric Rodriguez, Rodelay Medina, Eric Hecht, Gaston Andretta (from Argentina but resides in Miami Beach).

The event was very hard fought and ended up in a three-way tie between IM Blas Lugo (who came out the winner on tiebreak), Harvard graduate Marc Esserman and me, Marcel Martinez. Without a doubt Esserman was the Cinderella story of the event, tying for first from the middle of the chart and achieving his first IM norm. He also did it in an amazing way by winning 6 games, losing two and drawing one. In Blas Lugo and my case, the result was less surprising as we were among the top seeded of the event. Here is a game from each of the winners:




I was a bit disappointed, but not with my result. I thought I had achieved my third and final IM norm. My FIDE rating is 2418 and many people think my IM title is long overdue! Unfortunately, I only played four titled players so I couldn't get the norm despite having a high enough performance rating. Esserman, who earned a norm, had the same score, but because I am an FM, his field included five titled players.

Jacek Stopa scored six points to finish right behind the top finishers.  FM Bruci Lopez who just graduated from chess powerhouse UMBC just relocated to Miami , his hometown. Bruci did not have his best performance to date, though he finished with 5 out of 9. Bruci will be one of the Miami Sharks newest acquisitions for the 2008 U.S. Chess League. Evelio Otero scored 4 points but now is determined to change this performance for the next events. Argentinian National Master Gaston Andretta scored 3.5. Eric Rodriguez and former US High School Champion Rodelay Medina each earned 3 points.  Rodelay had the flu at the tournament but even so, he won his game against Stopa, which was decided to be the Best Game of the event. Eric Hecht, the sponsor and player achieved 1 point out of 9, which will bring him into the FIDE list.

 Having these events right in our neighborhood is great. Even better news is that they will keep happening so keep your eyes open for more news and norms from Miami.

In September 2008, The Miami Beach Convention Center will be the host of the II Miami Chess Open. The 2008 edition will be in South Beach to ensure the players fun while playing for $100,000 in prizes so mark your calendars for September 10 to 14 of 2008.