Grandmaster Xiong, 15 years old, Wins Southwest Class

xiong2015USJR Jeffrey Xiong at the 2015 US Junior Closed Championship, Photo Saint Louis Chess Club
While much of the country was occupied with Amateur Team Championships, Continental Chess Association held a norm event and Grand Prix tournament in Dallas, Texas from February 11-15th.  Several articles noted how the Amateur Team East had record cold temperatures.  In Dallas, we did not have this problem as it was sunny and 70 most days.  Interestingly, the Amateur tournament had 13 GMs while our Professional event had only six!  It is certainly a testament to the Amateur Team East that they had more GMs and had nearly as many teams as we had players! This was the largest Southwest Class with 325 players and a $30,000 guaranteed prize fund.  The Master section was quite strong with six GMs headlining the 61 player Master section field.  Eight IMs, Twelve FMs, Two WIMs, and two WFMs and a host of other FIDE rated players came in search of norms and prizes.  There were eleven foreign players representing  eleven different federations.  This made it challenging to meet the FIDE requirements for number of foreign players and number of titled players necessary to make a norm.  Ultimately, there were no norms achieved.  FM Michael Langer and NM Hans Niemann both achieved IM performances and tied for 4th-8th with 3 other GMs, but they did not face the necessary number of foreigners.  WIM Agata Bykovtsev had a fine tournament scoring 5 points and did meet the foreign and titled players, but fell just short of a WGM norm. The Master section was won by top seeded GM Jeffery Xiong. He had another breakout tournament performance and crossed 2700 USCF and 2600 FIDE for the first time.   Jeffery is now preparing to play in his first US Championship. At only 15 years old, this 10th grader is the highest rated player in the world born this century.  His future is certainly very bright.  Jeffery played eight of the nine rounds on board one, played 4 of the other 5 GMs (and 4 other IMs enroute to his undefeated first pace victory).  He won $3000 plus the $200 first place bonus. His favorite game was his round 5 win over GM Conrad Holt.

[Event "7th Southwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.13"]
[White "Xiong, Jeffery"]
[Black "Holt, Conrad"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D00"]
[WhiteElo "2588"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[PlyCount "53"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 Nf6 3. e3 c5 4. dxc5 e6 5. b4 a5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Be7 8. Nf3
O-O 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. Nd4 Qd7 11. O-O Ba6 12. Re1 Qb7 13. Nd2 Rfc8 14. a3 h6 15.
Qc2 axb4 16. cxb4 Nh5 17. Be5 Qd7 18. a4 f6 19. Bd6 Bxd6 20. cxd6 f5 21. N2b3
Qxd6 22. Nc5 e5 23. Nxf5 Qf8 24. Nd7 Qxb4 25. Reb1 Qg4 26. Ne7+ Kh8 27. Nxe5
1-0 [/pgn]
GM Holt equaled Xiong’s win total with six and wound up with 7 points finishing in clear 2nd place.  Holt started slowly drawing NM Sanjay Ghatti in round one.  Holt achieved an advantage as white, but allowed too much counterplay and for a while Ghatti was winning, but Holt held the draw.  Holt’s first round draw set up an interesting pairing in round 2.  Holt was paired up (by points) to the lowest rated player with one point an 1800 player resulting in a nearly 700 rating point difference for the pairing!  After winning in rounds two, three, and four, Holt worked himself back into contention for the top prizes.  Here Holt hands FM Michael Langer his only loss of the tournament.

[Event "7th Southwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.15"]
[White "Langer, Michael"]
[Black "Holt, Conrad"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C03"]
[WhiteElo "2198"]
[BlackElo "2542"]
[PlyCount "42"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Be7 4. Ngf3 Nf6 5. e5 Nfd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 b6 8. c4
Ba6 9. Qe2 Nc6 10. cxd5 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 exd5 12. dxc5 Nxc5 13. Qe2 O-O 14. O-O
Re8 15. Nb3 Bd6 16. Rd1 Nxe5 17. Nbd4 Qd7 18. b4 Ne4 19. Nxe5 Bxe5 20. Bb2 Bxd4
21. Rxd4 Nc3 0-1 [/pgn]
Somewhat unusual for tournaments of this size is the fact that the top three prizes were not ties.  In clear third pace was GM Bartlomiej Macieja.  GM Macieja coaches the University of Texas Ro Grande Valley Chess tea.  UT-RGV tied for first at this year’s Pan-American Inter-collegiate and will be in the college chess final four. GM Macieja counts as one of his best games this tournament his win over GM Julio Sadorra in the final round.

[Event "7th Southwest Class "]
[Site "Dallas (USA)"]
[Date "2016.02.15"]
[White "Macieja, Bartlomiej"]
[Black "Sadorra, Julio"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "D43"]
[WhiteElo "2559"]
[BlackElo "2514"]
[PlyCount "61"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 c6 5. Qb3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qd3 a6 8. Bg5
c5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. e3 Bb7 11. Be2 Nc6 12. a3 Be7 13. O-O Qc7 14. dxc5 Rd8 15.
Qc2 Ne5 16. b4 Rg8 17. Qxh7 Kd7 18. Rad1+ Kc8 19. Rxd8+ Qxd8 20. Rd1 Qf8 21.
Nxe5 Rxg2+ 22. Kf1 fxe5 23. Nxb5 Rg7 24. Qd3 Qg8 25. Qd7+ Kb8 26. Ke1 Bh4 27.
c6 Bxf2+ 28. Kxf2 Rg2+ 29. Ke1 Rxe2+ 30. Kxe2 Qg4+ 31. Kd2 1-0 [/pgn]
Sadorra was one of five player’s tying for 4th place with 6 points.  Sadorra played some exciting chess.  He sacrificed a piece for mate in both rounds 1 and 2!

[Event "7th Southwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.12"]
[White "Sadorra, Julio"]
[Black "Panchanathan, Vignesh"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E04"]
[WhiteElo "2514"]
[BlackElo "2339"]
[PlyCount "57"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Bg2 b5 7. O-O Bb7 8. e4 b4
9. e5 Nd5 10. Ne4 a5 11. Re1 Ba6 12. Nfg5 h6 13. Qh5 Qd7 14. Nd6+ Bxd6 15. exd6
Nf6 16. Qh3 Kf8 17. Bf4 Kg8 18. Nf3 Nd5 19. Ne5 Nxf4 20. gxf4 Qxd6 21. f5 h5
22. fxe6 Qxe6 23. Qf3 Qf6 24. d5 cxd5 25. Qxd5 Ra7 26. Nxf7 Qxf7 27. Re8+ Kh7
28. Be4+ g6 29. Qxh5+ 1-0 [/pgn]

[Event "7th Southwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.11"]
[White "De Jesus, Jeffery"]
[Black "Sadorra, Julio"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C01"]
[WhiteElo "2169"]
[BlackElo "2514"]
[PlyCount "44"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Bd3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. c3 Nge7 7. O-O Bg4 8.
Nbd2 Qd7 9. b4 O-O 10. Re1 Ng6 11. Qc2 Rae8 12. Bb2 Nf4 13. Bxh7+ Kh8 14. b5
Na5 15. Bd3 Nxg2 16. Rxe8 (16. Kxg2 Bxf3+ 17. Nxf3 Qg4+) 16... Rxe8 17. Ne5
Bxe5 18. Kxg2 Bf3+ 19. Kxf3 Qh3+ 20. Ke2 Bf4+ 21. Kd1 Nc4 22. Bxc4 dxc4 0-1 [/pgn]
GMs Andrey Stukopin and Andrey Baryshpolets were the other GMs tying for 4th.  As mentioned, FM Langer and NM Niemann also scored 6 and were tied for 4th.  All the 4th place winners received $250 except for Langer who won $1400 for clear first Under 2300 (FIDE). Every tournament has a few interesting stories and this one is no exception.  In one of the lower sections, I was called to a board for an illegal move.  The player who made the illegal move had a lone king versus black’s army.  Neither player was keeping score, but both agreed that the illegal move had been made in the last 10 moves.  When I got to the board the player wanting to go back to the position where the illegal move occurred was moving several pieces in an attempt to recreate the position.  Of course this made it difficult to determine what the current position is.  As I’m trying to untangle this, both players agree that the payer with the lone king was checkmated after the illegal move was made, but within the last 10 moves.  It wasn’t hard to arrive at the correct decision, but it was humorous that a player with a lone king, who made an illegal move, and who displaced the final position was arguing he had a right to go back to the illegal move because it had not been 10 moves! A more interesting TD story was also in the lower section.  Black’s cell phone goes off for a second time.  In accordance with the rules, he was warned after the first offense to turn off his cell phone and if it rang again he would be forfeited.  Of course it did ring again.  He was forfeited.    However, his opponent has a lone king.  What is the correct result of the game?  1-0?  ½ - ½?  ½- 0?  0 -0?  For those who want to know more about this situation, see “Running Chess Tournaments” in USCF Forums.   The master section is not immune from stories either.  I was watching a high board number game in time pressure.  Black is winning with two pieces and a pawn for a rook, but he only has 5 seconds (with 10 second delay).  White was able to sacrifice his rook for the remaining pawns and get to B+N versus lone king.  Black, rated 2256 FIDE, tried for 40 moves but could not checkmate.  I’m sure with more than 5 seconds, he would have done it.  

[Event "7th Southwest Class"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2016.02.15"]
[White "Furfine, Jacob"]
[Black "Peng, David"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2181"]
[BlackElo "2256"]
[PlyCount "233"]
[EventDate "2016.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 c6 7. h3 Nbd7 8. Bd3
dxc4 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Bd3 Bb7 11. O-O b4 12. Na4 c5 13. Rc1 Rc8 14. Qe2 cxd4 15.
Rxc8 Qxc8 16. Nxd4 Qa8 17. f3 e5 18. Nf5 Re8 19. Bh2 e4 20. Bc2 Bf8 21. f4 Nb6
22. Nd4 Rd8 23. f5 Qc8 24. Rd1 Ba6 25. Qf2 Nc4 26. Bf4 Nd5 27. Bxe4 Nxf4 28.
Qxf4 Bb5 29. b3 Bxa4 30. bxa4 Nb2 31. Rf1 Nxa4 32. f6 g6 33. Nc6 Nc3 34. Kh1
Re8 35. Bf3 Qe6 36. Nxb4 Qxe3 37. Qxe3 Rxe3 38. Nd5 Rxf3 39. Ne7+ Bxe7 40. Rxf3
Bb4 41. a3 Ba5 42. g4 Nd5 43. g5 Nc7 44. Rd3 Ne6 45. Rb3 Bb6 46. Rb5 h6 47. h4
hxg5 48. hxg5 Be3 49. Rb8+ Kh7 50. Rb3 Bb6 51. Rg3 Bc7 52. Rc3 Bd6 53. Rd3 Bc5
54. Rc3 Bb6 55. Rg3 Bc7 56. Rc3 Bf4 57. Rd3 Nxg5 58. Rd7 Be3 59. a4 Kh6 60. Kg2
Bb6 61. Re7 a5 62. Rb7 Bd8 63. Ra7 Ne4 64. Rxf7 Nxf6 65. Rb7 Nh5 66. Rb5 Nf4+
67. Kf3 Ne6 68. Ke4 Kg7 69. Ke5 Kf7 70. Rb7+ Bc7+ 71. Kd5 g5 72. Rb5 g4 73. Ke4
g3 74. Ke3 Ke7 75. Rb7 Kd7 76. Kf3 Nc5 77. Rb5 Nxa4 78. Rxa5 Bxa5 79. Kxg3 Ke6
80. Kf4 Bc3 81. Ke4 Nc5+ 82. Kf4 Kf6 83. Ke3 Ke5 84. Kf3 Bd2 85. Kf2 Bh6 86.
Kf3 Ne4 87. Ke2 Kd4 88. Kf3 Nf6 89. Ke2 Nd5 90. Kf3 Nf6 91. Ke2 Ke4 92. Kf2 Bf4
93. Ke2 Ng4 94. Kf1 Kd3 95. Kg2 Ke2 96. Kg1 Kf3 97. Kh1 Ne3 98. Kg1 Kg3 99. Kh1
Kh3 100. Kg1 Bg3 101. Kh1 Be1 102. Kg1 Kg3 103. Kh1 Ng4 104. Kg1 Nh2 105. Kh1
Ba5 106. Kg1 Ng4 107. Kh1 Ne3 108. Kg1 Bb6 109. Kh1 Bc5 110. Kg1 Kf3 111. Kh2
Ng4+ 112. Kh1 Nf2+ 113. Kh2 Ke2 114. Kg2 Ne4 115. Kh2 Ng5 116. Kg3 Nf3 117. Kg2

The Class sections were all seven rounds rather than 9.  The Under 2200 section ended in a two way tie between Robert Sanchez and David Gaston.  They each started with 5 out f 6 and drew their last round game to earn $1500 each.  Gaston lost his first round game to Leo Creger (who finished tied for third) and re-entered.   In the A section, Arish Varani finished with 6 ½ out of 7 to take $2000 for clear first.  He also picked up 255 rating points! In the B section Erick Zachate finished with 6 points for clear first and $2000.   The C section was won by Artemio Loiz with 6 ½ which was worth clear first and $1200.   The D section ended in a two way tie for first with 5 ½.  Kenan Wright and Naren Pullela each won $900 for their efforts. The class E section was won by the section’s top seed – Rachel Li with a score of 6 points worth $800.  Rachel is the sister of IM Ruifeng Li.  They combined for the mixed doubles prize with each winning $500 for that victory. The blitz tournament had a lighter than expected turnout.  Jacob Furfine scored 6 ½ out of 8 to win the $55 prize.  Furfine was helped when top seeded IM Felix Aponte forfeited his two round 1 games.   IM Aponte went 5-1 in the remaining games and tied for 3rd place.   International Arbiter and National Tournament Director (NTD) Steve Immitt directed for CCA assisted by NTDs David Hater, Brian Yang and Tracey Vibbert (also an IA) and Senior TD Rob Jones. Full tournament details (including most of the games from the master section) are at Details on past CCA tournaments can be found at  


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Han's played three foreign players. That's not enough for an IM Norm?

In reply to by john random (not verified)

The FIDE title regulations provide that in a 9 round event such as this in order to earn an IM norm you can only play 5 players from your own federation. Thus you need a minimum of 4 players not from your own federation i.e, 4 foreign payers.

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