Andrew Tang Completes GM Title at Charlotte Invitational; Panjwani Earns Second Norm

The Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy in North Carolina organized its third GM/IM norm invitational tournament this Thanksgiving, November 22-26, 2017.  CCCSA’s first two norm events were organized by Peter Giannatos and Grant Oen and previously reported in US Chess News in March 2016 and March 2017.  One GM norm, five IM norms, and two FM titles were awarded in the first two invitationals. Last weekend, the Charlotte Chess Center hosted one GM norm round robin and one IM norm round robin.  The organizers invited quite a diverse and strong field – amongst the twenty players there were players from ten federations and eleven states.  Here are some facts about the players:
  • GM Alonso Zapata (Colombia) has defeated World Champions Vishy Anand and Vasily Smyslov.
  • IM Andrew Tang (Minnesota), who achieved his final GM norm at the event, was recently the highest rated bullet chess player on above Magnus Carlsen and Hikaru Nakamura.
  • FM Christopher Yoo (California) held the youngest US Chess National Master record and was competing for his second IM norm.
  • FM Eliot Soo-Burrowes flew from Brisbane, Australia to compete in his first tournament in the United States.
Many spectators, both in person and online, were closely following Minnesota’s IM Andrew Tang – with a 2496 FIDE rating and two GM norms, Tang would certainly aim to close out his Grandmaster title in Charlotte.  After seven rounds, it appeared that the norm was “in the bag”  – Tang had already scored the necessary “plus 4” score, running through the field with four wins and three draws.  Only needing one point out of the final two games against lower rated IMs, Tang committed a huge blunder in round 8:
[pgn][Event "Fall 2017 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational"]
[Site "Charlotte"]
[Date "2017.11.26"]
[Round "8"]
[White "IM Andrew Tang"]
[Black "IM Raja Panjwani"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2496"]
[BlackElo "2421"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "6k1/1p6/p2p1np1/3Pn1q1/P1p1P2p/7R/1P3QPP/5BK1 w - - 0 32"]
[PlyCount "2"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]32. Qxh4 $4 Nf3+ {causing immediate resignation} 0-1[/pgn]
Such an unfortunate lapse in concentration from such a comfortable position in both the actual game and the tournament can often be unforgiving.  However, Andrew was able to psychologically recover before Round 9, where he defeated IM Bryce Tiglon in just twenty moves with the black pieces, thus achieving a 2601 performance and his final GM norm. This would not be the event’s only success story, as Canadian IM Raja Panjwani took full advantage of his lucky break against Tang in Round 8, and won the following game against IM Michael Lee to clinch his second GM norm.
[pgn][Event "Fall 2017 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational"]
[Site "Charlotte"]
[Date "2017.11.26"]
[Round "9"]
[White "IM Raja Panjwani"]
[Black "IM Michael Lee"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2421"]
[BlackElo "2435"]
[PlyCount "83"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 Nbd7 8. Be3
Ng4 9. Bg5 f6 10. Bh4 Nh6 11. Nd2 Qe7 12. f3 Nf7 13. Qc2 Bh6 14. Bf2 a5 15.
O-O-O Nc5 16. Kb1 Bd7 17. h4 Kg7 18. Nf1 Rfc8 19. Ne3 Qe8 20. Ng4 Bxg4 21. fxg4
Qd7 22. Rh3 Rh8 23. Rf1 Rhf8 24. Bd1 Nh8 25. Rfh1 Kg8 26. Bf3 Rf7 27. g5 fxg5
28. hxg5 Bxg5 29. Qd1 Qe7 30. Bxc5 dxc5 31. Bg4 Rg7 32. Be6+ Nf7 33. Rf1 Kh8
34. Rhf3 Nd6 35. Qe2 Qd8 36. a4 Be7 37. b3 g5 38. g4 Qe8 39. Qh2 b5 40. cxb5 c4
41. Rh3 Qg6 42. Rh6 1-0[/pgn]
IM Raja Panjwani celebrating his second GM norm with organizer Peter Giannatos
With 6.5/9 each, Tang and Panjwani tied for first, a full point ahead of GM Tanguy Ringoir, pictured below during his final round draw with GM Alonso Zapata. The IM norm group hosted a field very close in strength.  Unfortunately, no players scored the necessary performance to earn an IM norm.  IM Safal Bora won the event with 6/9, ahead of a logjam of players with five points. Top seed John Ludwig suffered a heartbreaking loss in the second round after his flag fell in a winning position against Chicago’s FM Gauri Shankar.  He managed to recover a couple points, including a very sharp battle in a concrete line with ten-year-old FM Christopher Yoo:
[pgn][Event "Fall 2017 CCCSA GM/IM Norm Invitational"]
[Site "Charlotte"]
[Date "2017.11.24"]
[Round "4"]
[White "John Ludwig"]
[Black "FM Christopher Yoo"]
[Result "1-0"]
[WhiteElo "2396"]
[BlackElo "2194"]
[PlyCount "55"]
[EventDate "2017.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O b5 8. Bb3
b4 9. Na4 Nxe4 10. Re1 d5 11. f3 Nc5 12. Nf5 Nxb3 13. cxb3 Nc6 14. Be3 f6 15.
Rc1 Bd7 16. Bb6 Qb8 17. Qxd5 Ne5 18. Qd4 exf5 19. f4 Bd6 20. fxe5 fxe5 21. Rcd1
Bxa4 22. bxa4 Ke7 23. Bc5 Bxc5 24. Qxc5+ Kf6 25. Rd6+ Kf7 26. Qd5+ Kf8 27. Rd7
Qe8 28. Rxe5 1-0[/pgn]
Ludwig (pictured below against FM Sahil Sinha) who has two IM norms and has been over 2400, will certainly look to achieve his final norm soon, as he achieved his first norm at the CCCSA’s March 2017 IM norm section. On Saturday, we were honored to be joined by new US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer visited the tournament, who said a few words to the players, and, along with Executive Board President Mike Hoffpauir (who was an arbiter at the event), hosted an open forum/discussion with parents regarding the future of US Chess.
US Chess ED Carol Meyer, CCCSA Founder Peter Giannatos, US Chess President Mike Hoffpauir
The invitational was directed by International Arbiter Rudy Abate, FIDE Arbiter Grant Oen, FIDE Arbiter Mike Hoffpauir, and National Arbiter William Nash, and organized by the Charlotte Chess Center’s Peter Giannatos and Grant Oen.  Information about the event can be found at CCCSA's website, and games and standings can be found at ChessStream, thanks to Chacha Dejava. The Charlotte Chess Center will organize five of these invitationals in 2018, each with at least one GM norm and one IM norm round robin.  The next event will be January 11-15, 2018 (MLK Weekend), and will include players such as IM Praggnanandhaa from India and IM John Bartholomew.  Players who are interested in receiving an invitation should contact Grant Oen at Grant Oen is the Manager of FIDE Ratings and US Chess Titles and Certifications for US Chess.  He also works for the Charlotte Chess Center in North Carolina and is the youngest FIDE Arbiter in the United States.

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