Hunting for Norms in Hollywood

A New Norm Series in SoCal!

Sometime in June, I received a surprising text from IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy, co-organizer of the New York Invitationals norm series I direct. He wanted to put me in contact with IM Josiah Stearman who was looking for an arbiter to run a norm tournament in early August…in Los Angeles.

Wait, what? Why would they be interested in an arbiter from NYC!?

But I agreed of course; Josiah and I exchanged some emails. The new organizers running the event were

It turns out that this tournament was scheduled at the same time as the U.S. Open, and it seems many prospective arbiters had already committed to that event (which is announced years in advance). This is an example of a larger issue in American chess — there aren’t many arbiters available to run norm events.

For many TDs, the seminar, the test and the other hoops one needs to jump through to become a FIDE Arbiter just aren’t worth it.

Anyway, both Josiah and I agreed that he would try to find someone closer. Honestly, I didn’t really want to fly across the country to run an exhausting norm tournament! But I sorta agreed that I would if absolutely necessary.


Hollywood Norm Classic #3

As a matter of course, I regularly stalk the USA FIDE tournaments page to see which events are coming up, which have been rated, and so on.

In late June I saw an entry for “Hollywood Norm Classic #3” and, most importantly, another arbiter listed as the Chief. I was relieved!

During the New York Summer Invitationals in early July, however, I received an email from Josiah saying they would probably need me after all! I don’t know if the other arbiter had to back out or if he was just listed as a placeholder.

I was gently trying to beg out of it, pleading with Josiah “there must be someone else!”

But maybe there really wasn’t. And I sorta agreed to do it already. Yes, there was no contract signed at the time, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me to leave all of these players hanging a few weeks before the event.

Andre was going to Hollywood.


Event Details

This 9-round, Swiss-system tournament was held at the Hilton LAX from August 3-7. Two rounds per day were played on the first four days of the event, and the final (ninth) round was contested on the final day.

42 players participated. This is number is important, because FIDE recently introduced a new regulation (B.1.5.6) requiring title seekers (GM, IM, WGM, WIM) to earn at least one norm in a Swiss tournament with at least 40 players who play all rounds (excepting pairing-allocated byes). 42 was desirable to have an even number, and a cushion in case one or two players withdrew during the event. In the end, no one did.

We fell a bit short of a “Super Swiss” (at least 20 players not from the host federation, at least 10 of which hold GM/IM/WGM/WIM titles). This would allow players to earn norms regardless of their opponents’ federations, as normally a USA player playing in a USA tournament needs to play 4 foreign opponents in 9 rounds, and a non-USA player competing in a USA tournament needs to meet 3 non-USA players in 9 rounds.

In the end we had 18 foreign players from 10 federations other than USA, with 10 having the required GM/IM/WGM/WIM titles.



Detailed results can be seen here.

IM Bryce Tiglon (USA) and GM Vladimir Belous (Russia) tied for first place with 6½ points out of 9, splitting the $1,000 first prize equally ($500 each).

Joseph Levine (USA) earned his 1st IM norm with “only” 5 points out 0f 9 — but he faced six GMs, scoring +3=2-1 against them!

Tugstumur Yesuntumur (Mongolia) earned his 3rd IM norm with 6 points out of 9, defeating all three GMs he faced!

Technically, Robert Shlyakhtenko (USA) also earned an IM norm (at least his 5th), but he was having his IM title approved at the Chennai Olympiad while the tournament was in progress. Indeed, he is now officially an IM. Congratulations, Robert!

Last, but certainly not least, I was proud to submit an International Organizer norm for event organizer Srikanth Bangalore. Kudos to him and the team (Josiah, Rushaan Mahajan, and co.) for a successful norm tournament!

Thanks also to Juan Cendejas and Deep Joshi for their expertise in managing the DGT broadcasts, preparing the venue for play each round, and their friendly, welcoming nature!


2022 New York Summer Invitationals: Results

Hilton Garden Inn Midtown Park Avenue
The playing venue, in a great location! Photo: TripAdvisor

The 2022 New York Summer Invitationals concluded on July 11, once again organized by the dynamic duo of Keith Espinosa and IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy.

The event featured four sections: GM A, GM B, IM C, and IM D. GM and IM norms were available in the A and B sections, while only IM norms were on offer in C and D.

Overall, two IM norms were achieved.

Let’s see the results, shall we?


GM A: Grandmaster Class

Polish GM Kamil Dragun finished in clear 1st Place in this section with 6.5 points. GM Djurabek Khamrakulov (Uzbekistan) followed with 6 points, and GM Ante Saric (Croatia) tallied 5½. This trio dominated the event.

No norms were earned this time; 5 points would have scored an IM norm for FMs Liran Zhou and Maximilian Lu, though the latter will presumably have his IM title approved at the next FIDE Congress in August.

A GM norm required 6½ points, but no one ever looked very likely to earn one during the course of the event.


GM B: Don’t Lose

Joseph Zeltsan (USA) won this section with 5½ points out of 9, winning two games and drawing the rest. In addition, he earned his second IM norm. Congratulations!

IM Bryce Tiglon (USA)GM Leonid Yudasin (Israel), and FM Aaron Jacobson (USA) tied for 2nd place with 5 points. Jacobson could have earned his final IM norm with a win over tail-ender Qibiao Wang (China) in the final round, but only managed to draw.

The GM norm in this section was a full 7 points out of 9. Maybe next time?


IM C: Just Win

FM Tanitoluwa Adewumi (USA) scored 7 points out of 9, winning the section and scoring his second IM norm. He’s now 2-for-2 in the New York Invitational series. Congratulations!

FM Akira Nakada (USA) once again came just a half-point short, finishing 2nd with 6½. Rating favorite IM Mykola Bortnyk (Ukraine) came in 3rd place with 6 points.


IM D: Fight Club

GM Michael Rohde (USA) emerged victorious, tallying 7 points out of 9. The veteran GM showed great form throughout, and was motivated to post the highest score among the four groups, which he did (along with Tani)!

IM Arjun Vishnuvardhan (India) followed Rohde with 6½ points, and IM Nikolai Andrianov (Russia) scored 6. Because the IM norm was 7 points, the norm seekers went after the top three, but their attempts backfired.

While no norms were earned, this section was a bloodbath; it was common for Group D to go well after the other sections were done or nearly so! Only 17 of 45 games ended in draws.


More Info

You can find more information on the event website. Results, standings, and downloadable games can be found on Chess Results.


Coming Up Next

From September 1-5, the Marshall Chess Club will host the next edition of the series, the Bobby Fischer World Chess Champion 1972 Commemoration, in two sections — GM A and IM B.

Bobby Fischer became World Chess Champion on September 1, 1972; 50 years ago. I was born 11 years later on the same date.