Felecan Leads in Chicago
By Sevan Muradian   
June 24, 2008
felecanslide.jpg It was a wild Saturday when  the 12th NA FIDE Invitational kicked off at Angelo Young's Touch Move Chess Center.
The field featured a mix of local players and out of town players. WFM Yuanling Yuan, fresh from a solid performance at the Pan-American's where she gained a 20-game WIM norm, is back again representing Canada. NY wunderkid FM-elect Marc Tyler Arnold is back again seeking his second IM norm. Marc scored his first IM norm at the 9th NA FIDE Invitational in March 2008. Along for the ride and to second him is his trainer - none other than The Fed (if you don't know who this refers to then you need to know your GM's better).
This event was plagued with last minute withdrawls which is a nightmare for an organizer. One of the key withdrawls was IM Mesgen Amanov who ended up needing to address personal matters. Mesgen though found his own replacement! A friend of his, IM Kirill Kuderinov, was visiting the US from Kazahkstan and agreed to step in. Kirill is a very soft spoken young man who is a lighting fast player. He placed second in the national championships of Kazahkstan earning him a spot on the Olympiad team (the only IM!). He has 2 GM norms and has been an IM since he was 15. He will begin his final year of studies at the university where he will graduate with a degree in Economics and Business Management.
A key withdrawl, who shall remain anonymous, was a higher rated FM so a replacement matching or surpassing his FIDE rating was needed. A few days prior I had spoken to FM Florin Felecan, a Chicago area resident, and he said he was dead tired from playing in Atlanta and then looking at going to the World Open, but said that if I needed a player to ensure the success of the event that he would make the sacrifice and play. He said that since this tournament series is a sacrifice for the organizer and is good for the chess community, especially the semi-pro and pro players. His performance thus far does not show him being tired out. Kuderinov is a lighting fast player and Florin matched speed and knowledge in their game.


While it's not a game of speed per se, it's a psychological advantage to be able to play fast and accurate. In his fifth round game against Marc Arnold, Florin came out on top, putting him in the clear lead

For those of you that don't know Florin, he was one of the players alongside IM Irina Krush in the Kasparov vs the World match. I met Florin last year after a player withdrew 2 days before the event would start (and decided not to tell me he was going to withdraw - I learned about it through IM Young) and he graciously accepted to fill in. Florin holds 1 IM norm and after his performance this weekend, he's well on his way for his 2nd.  Florin took out IM-elect Pasalic, IM Kuderinov, and WFM Yuan in the first three rounds and was held to a draw by the individual that has promoted and supported chess the most in the Chicago area for over 2 decades - Wiley Coyote himself FM Albert Chow.
Speaking of Mr. Wiley Coyote, Albert was also a last minute replacement. He had to rejuggle a number of other engagements to be able to fill in for us. He's tied for third place currently with a score of 3.5/5 drawing IM Young, FM Felecan, and FM Dean, while taking out FM Stamnov. It's a long road ahead for him for his IM norm as he still has to face difficult players but Albert stated in his acceptance email to me that he'll be here to fight. So far it's proven true!
Our neighbor from the north, Yuanling, currently stands at 1.5/5 having a very difficult day 2. On Sunday she had to face off to two of the top seeds - FM Felecan and IM Kuderinov and lost to both. She played cool and collected on Saturday in a wild game against FM Stamnov (who got sac happy) and scored the full point, and then scored the half-point against FM Dean. Yuanling needs 2.5/4 to score her final WIM norm and then to get her rating to 2200. She has a tough road ahead of her but I know she can pull it off.
Finally we have NY native, FM-elect Marc Arnold, playing in his second IM norm tournament with us. He scored his first IM norm tournament in March 2008 and is enroute to his second one. He took out IM Emory Tate in the first round and drew with Angelo in the second. His second day was crucial and made the most of it by defeating FM Stamnov and FM Dean. 

One thing I will note again for the younger readers (and their parents and coaches) aspiring to reach the heights such as Yuanling and Marc is that the support structure surrounding these young players is a key element in their success (of course their natural talents helps too!). 99% of all of the young players that have come to my events have had their parents constantly here or their coaches. This time is no different as Yuanling's father William is here supporting her and working with her (last time her mother Shaomin was here!). Meawhile, The Fed is here to work with and support Marc (with Marc's mother in constant contact!).  So parents and coaches take note - it's not about dropping off your child or student at a tournament and expecting positive results. There is the deep underlying psychological impact that the support structure makes to their game.
All games are being transmitted LIVE on the MonRoi World Databank of Chess!

Standings after 5 rounds

1st-- 4.5/5
FM Florin Felecan
2-3rd- 3.5/5

FM Marc Arnold
FM Albert Chow

3rd - 5th place - 2.5/5
IM Angelo Young
IM Kirill Kuderinov
IM Emory Tate

7th - 8th place - 1.5/5
WFM Yuanling Yuan
IM-elect Mehmed Pasalic
9-10th place - 1/5
FM Jim Dean
FM Aleksander Stamnov