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Arnold Scores Third Norm Print E-mail
By Sevan Muradian   
September 2, 2008
IM-elect Marc Arnold, Photo Betsy Dynako
The 14th NA FIDE Invitational wound down late Saturday night, August 30. When all was said and done with the wild and wacky week, FM Marc Arnold emerged as the sole victor. Marc scored his third and final IM norm with two draws in the eighth and ninth rounds. Marc will be shy of the 2400 mark by about 12 points so he'll pick them up, most likely, at the Marshall Chess Club.
Marc secured all three IM norms at the NA FIDE Invitational tournament series, making him the second person to do this (IM-elect Mehmed Pasalic of Chicago was the first). Marc is the first top junior player to secure all of his norms at this tournament series. Other top youths that captured their first IM norms here are Ray Robson and Alisa Melekhina (who happened to score a trifecta with her IM, WGM, and WIM norms all in one tournament). Also a top youth from Canada, Yuanling Yuan captured her final WIM norm at this tournament series.

Marc started with 4.5/5 and looked to have the norm (and first place!) in the bag early on. 



A sixth round loss against Florin Felecan raised some doubts, but Marc came back in round seven with a win over IM Kiril Kuderinov. His draws in rounds eight and nine clinched the norm.



Marc didn't need to go play in large open tournaments. He didn't need to go to Europe to play. He did it traveling only one time zone to the west. While everyone should not be expecting the same results, the up and coming youth players have a new option here on our continent!
The tournament saw ups and downs for players, some games that should have been won but were drawn; some that should have been drawn but were lost. FM Florin Felecan came within a hairs length of his second IM norm but was shy by a half-point.
On Monday night we shared space with the Chicago Blaze US Chess League team and it was fun having the two tournaments running side by side. Shows us how much chess has picked up in Chicago when a hand full of chess lovers gets together to make things happen! 
Our new playing venue, The Holiday Inn Northshore Hotel was fantastic. Easy to get to, great facilities, and a lot of stuff close by. Add to that the secured rate of $99/night year round (with or without a tournament being held) and you've got a chess friendly host facility. All NA FIDE Invitational tournaments and Chicago Blaze games will be played at the Holiday Inn Northshore Hotel so people can come out and watch. Also be sure to bookmark the Chicago Blaze blog.

It was a fun tournament, we saw lots of spectators (a lot from non-chess people staying at the hotel and also the hotel staff), and was a great experience overall.
The 15th NA FIDE Invitational is only a few weeks ago. If you are interested in participating, please send me an email at [email protected].