New GM’s Sprouting Like Weeds

by admin on June 1, 2014

Okay, stop it! Just… stop it! Like anyone else, I love it when I read about new American kids getting IM and GM norms and titles. But then I get two notifications in one day on my Facebook news feed.

From Ted Castro:

Kudos to 13-year old IM Sam Sevian for securing his 2nd GM norm. One more to go and he’ll be the youngest GM in the history of US Chess. Congrats to his dad, Armen and his coaches, especially IM Andranik Matikozyan!

From Damian Nash:

Congratulations to 16-year-old Kayden Troff, the world’s newest chess GRANDMASTER!! He just earned the highest lifetime title awarded by the world chess federation. I am proud to say that in our first encounter I held Kayden to a draw. (True, he was only 9 at the time, and then started clobbering me every game until he was 12, by which point he had already moved way beyond amateurs like me.) He now belongs to the ranks of the world’s most elite chess players and professionals. I am lucky to have watched his phenomenal progress from a front-row seat!

Oy! My head hurts! I can’t keep track of all these new GM’s. Okay, Sevian isn’t a GM yet, but he’s just a norm away.

Anyway, the reason for the coincidence is that both players played in the 2014 St. Louis Invitational, which was more or less intended to be a norm-producing event. And it delivered! Sevian finished first with 6½ points out of 9, which was enough for the grandmaster norm.

Troff finished second with 6 points, which was not enough for a GM norm… but he didn’t need one! He already had his GM title approved conditional upon reaching a 2500 rating. This result moves him past that goal. His father notes that he may have actually achieved the goal in his previous tournament, because at the Chicago Open his rating reached 2499.5, “and FIDE rounds up.” I have no idea if that’s true or not. In any case, the St. Louis tournament leaves no doubt.

And meanwhile, back here on Earth, I’m just trying to get my rating back over 2200 again, and I have no idea if I can do it… Makes me feel really slow.

In other news, Jesse Kraai is back on his feet after the bicycle accident, and doing okay. He notes on Facebook that his GPS showed his speed increasing from 20 mph to 31 mph the moment after he got hit. The motorcyclist was injured, too, but also is expected to make a full recovery.

I wonder what chess news will come my way next on Facebook?

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