Awonder Liang Earns GM Norm in El Salvador

image (1)13-year-old Awonder Liang just earned his first GM norm at the Continental Championships held in San Salvador, El Salvador May 28-June 5, 2016. There were 13 Grandmasters (GMs), 12 International Masters (IMs) and 12 FIDE Masters (FMs) competing in the event.
Awonder scored an upset victory in round two over GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista of Cuba:
[pgn] [Event "American Continental Chp"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.05.29"]
[White "Bruzon Batista, Lazaro"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "B90"]
[WhiteElo "2681"]
[BlackElo "2410"]
[PlyCount "90"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. Qd2
Nbd7 9. f4 exf4 10. Bxf4 Ne5 11. O-O-O Be7 12. Nd4 O-O 13. g3 Qd7 14. h4 Bg4
15. Be2 Rfc8 16. Bxg4 Qxg4 17. Nf5 Bf8 18. Nxd6 Nc4 19. Nxc4 Rxc4 20. e5 Nh5
21. Nd5 Qe6 22. Qe2 Rc5 23. Qf3 Rac8 24. c3 Ra5 25. Kb1 Rcc5 26. Nb4 Rc8 27. b3
Nxf4 28. gxf4 Qf5+ 29. Ka1 Rxe5 30. Qxb7 Rb5 31. Qd7 Qxd7 32. Rxd7 Bxb4 33.
cxb4 Rxb4 34. Ra7 Rxf4 35. Rxa6 h5 36. Rh2 Rg4 37. Kb2 f5 38. Ra5 Rf8 39. a4 g6
40. Ra7 f4 41. Rc2 g5 42. Rc6 gxh4 43. Raa6 h3 44. Rg6+ Rxg6 45. Rxg6+ Kh7 0-1[/pgn]
Awonder lost a couple games toward the end of the event, including one to another American star, GM Aleksandr Lenderman.
[pgn] [Event "American Continental Chp"]
[Site "ICCF"]
[Date "2016.06.02"][White "Lenderman, Aleksandr"]
[Black "Liang, Awonder"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E20"]
[WhiteElo "2618"]
[BlackElo "2410"]
[PlyCount "79"]
[EventDate "2013.??.??"]1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. g3 O-O 7. Bg2 d5 8.
cxd5 Nxd5 9. Qb3 Qa5 10. Bd2 Nc6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3 Ba6 14.
Rfd1 Qc5 15. e4 Bc4 16. Qa4 Nb6 17. Qb4 Qh5 18. Be3 Be2 19. Rd2 Rab8 20. Bxb6
axb6 21. Qd6 Rfc8 22. a4 Bf3 23. Rb1 h6 24. Qf4 Bxg2 25. Kxg2 Ra8 (25... Qc5)
26. Rxb6 Rxa4 27. Rb7 e5 28. Qe3 Qg6 29. f3 Qe6 30. g4 Ra2 31. Kg3 {Here
Awonder saw that 31 ...Rxd2 would almost certainly lead to a draw. But he
wanted to win even when he had very little time on the clock at that point. He
erred and lost the game. He was quite sad after the game.}
Rca8 (31... Rxd2 32. Qxd2 Ra8 33. Qb2 $11) 32. Rdd7 Rc2 33. Rxf7 Qxf7 34. Rxf7
Kxf7 35. Qd3 Raa2 36. Qd7+ Kf8 37. Qf5+ Kg8 38. Qxe5 g5 39. h4 Rg2+ 40. Kh3 1-0

The 11 opponents whom Awonder competed against in the event are: (copied from Awonder's GM Norm Certificate):
Round one: Oscar Valencia, El Salvador, FIDE Rating 1792 (adjusted to 2200), Awonder won
Round two: GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista, Cuba, FIDE Rating 2681, Awonder won
Round three:GM Alan Pichot,  Argentina, FIDE Rating 2532, draw
Round four: IM David Arenas,  Colombia, FIDE Rating 2496, Awonder won
Round five: GM Sergey Erenburg,  USA, FIDE Rating 2587, draw
Round six: FM Perez Gormaz Matias, Chile,  FIDE Rating 2437, Awonder won
Round seven: GM Emilio Cordova, Peru,  FIDE Rating 2602, draw
Round eight: GM Aleksandr Lenderman, USA,  FIDE Rating 2614, Awonder lost
Round nine: GM Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, Cuba,  FIDE Rating 2555, draw
Round ten: GM Sandro Mareco, Argentina,  FIDE Rating 2610, Awonder lost
Round eleven: CM Ernesto Jorge Giron, El Salvador,  FIDE Rating 2218, Awonder won
AwonderCont Awonder elaborated to US Chess on his great result (and fun time!) in San Salvador.
"The people here seem very friendly and energetic. The drivers are among the most skillful and creative in the world. The streets in San Salvador are normally very crowded. But the buses taking us players and families from the three hotels to the playing avenue arrived safely and on time every day with the diligent and dutiful escort of police motorcades, and policemen armed with shotguns on the buses. The tournament was run very smoothly and the round always started punctuating the clock. This truly reflects that the organizer, the arbiters and other supporting members of the team, including the government, put in huge efforts with challenging conditions. I would like to  give a big "Thank You" to every one involved.
Another big  Thank You to Mr. John Buck and his company, Dr. Tansel Turgut, Dr. Nidal Aker, Dr. and Mrs. Dennis Doren, Dr. Connie Li and Prof. Ran Bin, Dr. and Mrs. Keming Song, Dr. and Mrs. David Huang, Dr. and Mr. Shucai Huang, Dr. and Mrs.Yiming Li, Dr. and Mrs. Xue Qi, Dr. and Mrs. Zhiliang Hu, Dr. and Mrs. Zhenhua Ma. Their generous financial support made my trips to chess tournaments, including this one, possible.
I would also like to say  Thank You to Mr. Garry Kasparov and Mr. Rex and Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield for their support to my uncompromising chess pursuit through the "Young Stars-Team USA" program, which is co-sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
Thank You to Mr. Mike Nietman, all of my teachers in school and all friends and supporters out there who have been backing me all the time."
Next up for Awonder: the Saint Louis Invitational  from June 8-13 (also with norm opportunities). Follow along here.