Norm Tournaments Kick off in Dallas
By WIM Alexey Root   
November 26, 2008
Vice president John Jacobs making the ceremonial move in Ramirez-Wang.

The Opening Ceremony for the 2008 UTD Grandmaster Invitational Tournament featured speeches by invited guests, group photos of the
GM-norm (category 10, 10 player) section and of the IM-norm section (also 10 players), and a two-minute, two-game blitz match between GM Alejandro Ramirez and GM Babakuli Annakov.

The opening speeches had moments of humor. John Jacobs, representing the Richardson Chamber of Commerce, said, "I was five-time state champion and I am an FM, but I only had one chess teacher, this gentleman right here, Jim Stallings." At this point the assembled players and the audience gave UTD Chess Program Director Stallings a round of polite applause. Then John delivered his punch line, "and that's why I never made GM!"

Mayor Steve Mitchell makes the first move on GM Sergey Kudrin's board.
The Mayor of Richardson Steve Mitchell, also spoke. His nine-month-old twins, Abigail and Samuel, smiled and gurgled appreciatively, waving their rattles and pacifiers at the players. Also speaking was UTD Associate Provost Abby Kratz, who recalled the early days of the UTD Chess Program. In 1997, she and her husband Dennis Kratz (who, with Dr. Tim Redman institutionalized the Chess Program) brought home UTD's trophy from the Pan Am tournament, hosted that year at UMBC. Back then, UTD was not a contender for first. For the seventh year in a row, the UTD GM Invitational serves not just for norms, but as the UTD team's warm-up for the Pan Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Tournament, which will be held in Fort Worth December 27-30. And, this year, UTD is the defending Pan Am Champion.

The most exciting part of the Opening Ceremony was the two game, two minute blitz match. In game one, Annakov had black and achieved a position of K, R, and P vs. Ramirez's K and R. The pawn was only on the third rank (black's b6 square), and the position was a theoretical draw due to white's active rook and king. Ramirez, with 21 seconds, offered a draw. Annakov, with 26 seconds, refused. In the ensuing time scramble, Annakov took Ramirez's king. But then he graciously said, "It was a drawn position, so draw." In the second game, Annakov won as White to take the match 1.5-0.5.

After the blitz match, photos of each section were taken and then tournament director and international arbiter Bill Snead went over the
rules. Since the time control is G/90 with a 30-second increment, all players are required to take score on every move. Live games can be found on the Internet Chess Club (finger UTD08) or (click on the Chess Games tab, go to Live Chess Games, and then UTD Invitational.)   

Round 1

One of the most exciting games in Round One was in the IM-norm section.


After the game, Bantic said, " I opened the center with 15....d5, which isn't necessarily good (but)...I wanted tactics."

Another tactical melee took place in the GM-norm section, after 27....c4 28.Bf5 in IM Salvijus Bercys-IM Marko Zivanic.

Position after 28.Bf5

Marko commented that he was worse after the opening, but felt that after White's 28. Bf5 he had the tactics going his way. He thought that Bercys, in time trouble at the time, might not have seen 30....Qc3.


GM Invitational

Standings after 1 round
GM Alejandro Ramirez, IM Marko Zivanic, Jacek Stopa- 1

GM Sergey Kudrin, GM Julio Becerra, IM Davorin Kuljasevic, IM John Bartholomew- 0.5
Puchen Wang, IM Salvijus Bercys, IM Drasko Boskovic-0

Provst Kratz makes the first move in GM Jesse Kraai and Nelson Lopez

Dr. Alexey Root is a WIM and former U.S. Women's Champion. You can find out more about her and her books in the following links: , Science, Math, Checkmate and Children and Chess.