NYC Norms: Ghazarian and Hardaway Lead Quartet of MLK Weekend Norm Earners

A quartet of norms were earned over Martin Luther King Jr. Day in New York. Earning a GM norm, in particular, is never easy, but FM Brewington Hardaway (who is already “IM-Elect”) earned his second GM norm in the same section that IM Kirk Ghazarian earned his final GM norm!

The 14th NYC Chess Norms event (in collaboration with 1000GM Chess Charity) in Midtown, Manhattan hosted four invitationals from January 11-15: two ten-player GM norm Round Robin invitationals, a nine-versus-nine IM norm Schvenigen section, and a “qualifier” eight-player Round Robin for future IM norm tournament invitations.


Alex Kirk
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IM Kirk Ghazarian (R) with organizer IM Alex Ostrovskiy (photo courtesy Alex Ostrovskiy)


The “A” section saw Hardaway and Ghazarian run away from the field with 7/9 and 6½/9 scores, respectively (drawing their seventh-round encounter). Hardaway’s 2668 performance rating is the highest from any NYC Chess Norms event, according to organizer IM Alex Ostrovskiy, and indeed was a half-point higher than the 6½/9 Hardaway needed to earn his norm.


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IM-Elect Brewington Hardaway has earned two GM norms before his IM title has officially been conferred (photo courtesy Alex Ostrovskiy)


The hometown Hardaway had previously earned three IM norms at local NYC Chess Norms events, and now can add a second GM norm to his collection less than two months after earning his first GM norm in Charlotte. Throughout the event, Hardaway played uncompromising chess, and his fighting spirit was rewarded a number of times. IM Ostrovskiy provides annotations on two of his victories below:




Thanks to his results this past weekend,  now only roughly 50 FIDE rating points stand between Ghazarian and the GM title. Cool defense throughout the event culminated in a must-win encounter against Hungarian GM Miklos Galyas, and Ghazarian proceeded to pick apart his veteran opponent’s defenses to claim his final norm.


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Ghazarian during the event (photo courtesy Alex Ostrovskiy)


IM Ostrovskiy again annotates two key games:




No GM norms were earned in the GM “B” section, won by GMs Koustav Chatterjee, but FM Akira Nakada did manage to pick up his second IM norm (and cross the 2400-barrier) with a strong 5½/9 performance, tying for second along with GM Mark Paragua.


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FM Akira Nakada (R) after earning his second IM norm (photo courtesy Alex Ostrovskiy)


His smooth win over IM Alice Lee is a nice introduction to Nakada’s style, annotations courtesy of IM Ostrovskiy:



In the IM “C” section, WIM Iris Mou was the top finisher not just among the norm-seekers but among all players, finishing with an impressive 6½/9 score. This was good for Mou’s second WGM norm (the first came via her gold medal at the 2022 North American Junior (Under-20) Girls’ Chess Championship).


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WIM Iris Mou earned her second WGM norm (photo courtesy Alex Ostrovskiy)


Mou ended the tournament on a three-game winning streak against two IMs (in rounds seven and nine) and an FM (in round eight). “Energetic” does not even begin to describe Mou’s play in this event. Below, IM Ostrovskiy provides three of her games featuring a total of four knight sacrifices by Mou:





Evan Rosenberg and Ryan Harada Peterson shared top honors in the “D” section with 5½/7 scores. The strong result was enough to push Peterson over the 2200-US Chess ratings threshold to earn his title of national master.

Since beginning these events in November 2021, players have earned 38 norms  across the 14 events, with three more events already scheduled for the upcoming months.

This event was run and directed by FA Greg Keener, NA Miguel Garcia and NYC Chess Norms' IO Keith Espinosa.

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