Indian teen, Negi, leads Philly International
By Todd Andrews   
June 29, 2008
Photo Michael Atkins, from
Upon checking the pre-registration list for the 2008 Philadelphia International (June 26-30) with my buddy IM Ron Burnett, we feared that this event was not going to be much of an international at all. Only 22 pre-registered players meant little though, since there was no reason to pre-register if your entry was free. This is a common deal in international events to attract the titled players to create the norm possibilities. In the end over 40 signed up, including 14 men and women players from India riding the World Championship-Vishy buzz into town.

 So far they have put on a pretty good show with 15-year old GM Parimarjan Negi waxing the field, even if it meant Indian-on-Indian crime. Negi has a perfect 5-0 score. If his performance continues he may break his way into the Top 20 World Rankings for FIDE rated juniors before long. IM Arun Prasad holds clear 2nd with 4/5 and a crew of seven of players sits on top of 3.5, which includes 3 GMs and 3 IMs. The event turned out to be strong enough and diverse enough to offer norm possibilities for all.

The biggest happening of the opening round was two of America’s top junior talents took advantage of two worn out Indian Grandmasters and nicked them for draws. Here Pennsylvania resident Daniel Yaeger holds the top seed (at the time) GM Ganguly to a hard fought draw.


]California teenager Sam Shankland kept the third seed GM Kunte at bay. An American did not weigh in until boards 11 and 12, because of all the strong players from India. IM Dean Ippolito and IM David Pruess both won their first round encounters. Here is a nice Najdorf victory from the young tournament leader over Canadian FM Bendi Cheng.


In round three, the fifth Grandmaster to round out the field arrived with two half-point byes. Julio Becerra of Miami added some chances to the American squad after this victory. 


There were also nine International Masters, three Women GMs and a slew of players with other international titles. There is a strong showing of female players nearly taking up a quarter of the field.  There have been some tense female battles already such as this game.

    Personally I sit on an even 2.5 points right now which I am not worried about. I came to this event with the intent of warming up for the big dance next week in the under 2400 section. Here is a small lesson and general lesson from two of my games so far and an all free-for-all from my 5th round encounter with GM Gopal.

The point I want you to take away from the next two puzzles is that typically, when you have taken the time to properly set up all your pieces, the next logical step is a breakthrough move or tactic. It just does not make sense to do everything right and then decide to waste time by repositioning a piece to a worse square or to play some worthless pawn push. If all pieces are where they are supposed to be, there has to be a good move. The study of Capablanca's games gave me a better understanding of how to locate those bone crunching moves.
MacKinnon - (FM) Andrews,
Black to Move

Show Solution

Here is another quick example from my first round.

FM Andrews - Fisher,
White to Move

All White's pieces are in their optimal places. Can you find the best move?

Show Solution


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