5 Norms Scored at the Charlotte Labor Day Norm Invitational

This was obtained from the Charlotte Chess Center Facebook page:

5 norms scored at the Charlotte Labor Day Norm Invitational!
IM’s Nikolas Theodorou (Greece) and Andrew Hong (USA) earned their 3rd and final GM norms and will be crowned Grandmasters at the next FIDE congress.
IM Christopher Yoo (USA) earned his 2nd GM norm.
FM Robert Shlyakhtenko (USA) earned his 3rd IM norm and will be crowned an IM once he reaches 2400.
NM Sandeep Sethuraman (USA) earned his first IM Norm.

These pictures can also be found at the website. Unfortunately there are no names to go with the pictures. The gentleman with his thumb up and wide grin is the Executive Director and Founder of the CCC, Peter Giannatos.

May be an image of 2 people, people standing and indoor
May be an image of 2 people, people standing and indoor
May be an image of 2 people, people standing and indoor

This next picture is of Christopher Woojin Yoo:

May be an image of 1 person and standing
Christopher Woojin Yoo

In future years when asked to show the game that garnered his third and final GM norm now Grandmaster Andrew Hong can proudly present this win made even more special because it came with the black pieces:

IM 2411 Kassa Korley (DEN) vs IM Andrew Hong 2494 (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09
E04 Catalan, open, 5.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. g3 dxc4 5. Bg2 Bb4+ 6. Bd2 a5 7. Qc2 Bxd2+ 8. Nbxd2 b5 9. O-O O-O 10. b3 cxb3 11. Nxb3 Bb7 12. Nc5 Bd5 13. e4 Bc4 14. Rfd1 Nc6 15. a4 Nb4 16. Qd2 bxa4 17. Rxa4 Bb5 18. Ra3 Qe7 19. Rda1 Nc6 20. Qc3 Rfb8 21. Nd2 e5 22. Nf3 exd4 23. Nxd4 Nxd4 24. Qxd4 Rd8 25. Qc3 a4 26. e5 Nd5 27. Qd4 c6 28. Nxa4 Nb4 29. Qb2 Nd3 30. Qc3 Nxe5 31. Nc5 Rxa3 32. Qxa3 h5 33. Qe3 Qf6 34. Re1 h4 35. gxh4 Ng6 36. Qg5 Nxh4 37. Qxf6 gxf6 38. Bh1 f5 39. h3 Rd2 40. Nb3 Rd3 41. Re3 Rd1+ 42. Kh2 Rf1 43. Nd4 f4 44. Re8+ Kg7 45. Nxb5 cxb5 46. Re4 Rxf2+ 47. Kg1 Rb2 48. Rxf4 Ng6 49. Rf5 f6 50. Rc5 Nf4 51. h4 b4 52. Be4 Ne2+ 53. Kf2 Nc3+ 54. Kf3 Rf2+ 55. Ke3 Re2+ 56. Kd4 0-1

When asked to show the game that brought him the title of Grandmaster Nikolas Theodorou, who came all the way from Greece, must show this “game” and I use the word extremely loosely because it is an insult to Caissa:

GM Mark Paragua 2475 (PHI) vs IM Nikolas Theodorou 2569 (GRE)
Charlotte Labor Day GM B 2021 round 09
E60 King’s Indian, 3.Nf3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nc6 ½-½

Christopher Yoo needed a draw for his second GM norm and got it with this “gift”:

Christopher Woojin Yoo 2466 (USA) vs Irakli Beradze 2479 (GEO)
Charlotte Labor Day GM A 2021 round 09
E18 Queen’s Indian, old main line, 7.Nc3

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 Ne4 8. Bd2 Nxd2 9. Nxd2 Bxg2 10. Kxg2 d5 11. e3 c6 12. Rc1 Nd7 13. Qa4 ½-½
    https://www.chessbomb.com/arena/2021-charlotte-labor-day-gm-a/09-Yoo_Christopher_Woojin-Beradze_Irakli 12…Nd7 was not a good move. I can see it; you can see it; and so can the programs at ChessBomb and Chess24. The Stockfish program at the latter shows white up a pawn. Maybe the Grandmaster thought it was time to “make his move” and offer a draw to the kid while he held the upper hand, which is exactly what he did. The boy had no reason to play on, and obviously the pusillanimous Grandmaster has no pride. There was a time in Chess when the GM title was so exclusive that Grandmasters wanted to keep it that way and made an aspirant “earn it.” Chess has come a long way, “Bay Bee.”

In the IM D section FM Robert Shyakhtenko earned an IM norm and will become an International Master if he ever attains a rating of 2400. Say what? I don’t know about you but it seems one should either earn the norm or not. What is this with the waiting? Is that weird, or what? If you play in a tournament and meet the norm requirement you have not met the requirement if your rating does not meet the minimum rating required, or am I missing something?

FM Robert Shlyakhtenko 2313 (USA) vs Shelev Oberoi 2175 (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM D 2021 round 09
E70 King’s Indian, Kramer system

  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nge2 O-O 6. Ng3 a6 7. Be2 h5 8. O-O c5 9. d5 h4 10. Nh1 h3 11. g4 e6 12. a4 exd5 13. cxd5 Nbd7 14. Ng3 Nh7 15. f4 Bd4+ 16. Kh1 Qh4 17. Bf3 Qe7 18. Qe2 Re8 19. Be3 Bg7 20. Rf2 Rb8 21. g5 Bd4 22. Rd1 Bxe3 23. Qxe3 b5 24. axb5 axb5 25. Bg4 b4 26. Nb1 Nb6 27. Qf3 Bd7 28. Rg1 Ra8 29. Bxd7 Nxd7 30. Nd2 Nb6 31. f5 c4 32. f6 Qe5 33. Nf5 gxf5 34. Qh5 Kh8 35. Qxf7 Rg8 36. g6 Rxg6 37. Qxg6 Qxf6 38. Qxf6+ Nxf6 39. Rxf5 Rf8 40. Rc1 Kg7 41. Nxc4 Nxc4 42. Rxc4 Ra8 43. Kg1 Kg6 44. Rf3 Ng4 45. Rxh3 Ra4 46. Rg3 Kh5 47. Rc8 1-0

I was unfamiliar with the “Kramer system”


but did find one game, only one, in which 7…h5 was previously played:

Dragan Kosic (2528) vs Dejan Antic (2479)
Event: YUG-ch
Site: Belgrade Date: ??/??/1999
Round: 4
ECO: E70 King’s Indian, Kramer system
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nge2 O-O 6.Ng3 a6 7.Be2 h5 8.Bg5 Nbd7 9.Qd2 c6 10.O-O b5 11.cxb5 axb5 12.b4 Nb6 13.Rfc1 Be6 14.Bh6 h4 15.Nf1 Bc4 16.Bxg7 Kxg7 17.Ne3 Bxe2 18.Qxe2 Qd7 19.Rc2 ½-½

Sandeep Sethuraman won five games and drew four to win the IM C section by 1 1/2 points. He needed to win to garner his first norm on the way to the International Master title and did just that, after the following battle in which it was anyone’s game for the taking until the lady played the natural looking, but lame, 31st move, after which she was pounded into submission like a punch drunk fighter and went down like rot gut whiskey, hard.

FM Gabriela Antova 2313 (BUL) vs Sandeep Sethuraman 2286 (USA)
Charlotte Labor Day IM C 2021 round 09
D37 Queen’s Gambit Declined, 4.Nf3

  1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 b5 6. e5 Nd5 7. Nxb5 Nb6 8. Be2 Nc6 9. O-O Be7 10. Qd2 O-O 11. Qf4 Nb4 12. Qg3 Kh8 13. Rd1 Qd7 14. Nc3 Ba6 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bxe7 Qxe7 17. Ne4 Na4 18. Rd2 Nd5 19. Rc2 Nb4 20. Rd2 Nd5 21. Rc2 Rab8 22. Bxc4 Bxc4 23. Rxc4 Nxb2 24. Rc2 Nd3 25. Nfd2 N3f4 26. Qf3 Qb4 27. Nb3 a5 28. Rd1 Qa3 29. Qg4 Rfd8 30. g3 a4 31. Nbd2 Qd3 32. Rc4 Ne2+ 33. Kg2 Nec3 34. Rc1 Nxa2 35. R1c2 Nab4 36. Rc1 a3 37. Nf3 a2 38. Ne1 Qxc4 0-1

There Oughta Be A Law Against An Agreed Draw

IM Craig Hilby (2434) – GM Tanguy Ringoir (2498)

Charlotte Open 2020 round 05

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. O-O Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. c3 ½-½


The above game is proof the Royal game has lost its way. To survive Chess MUST change, and the first place to start that change is doing something…anything…to alleviate short agreed draws. No other game allows chicken shit players to CHICKEN OUT in lieu of actually attempting to WIN THE GAME!

GM Jonathan Tisdall’s articles for Matt & Patt

I would like to bring your attention to an article by GM Jonathan Tisdall published January 23, 2018. It is one of the best, most insightful, Chess articles I have ever read. It begins:

Men and machines

Drama Kings

The middle rest day is the closest thing to a half-way mark at the 80th anniversary edition of the Wijk an Zee tournament. This year’s Tata Steel Masters (and Challengers) continues a brilliant tradition of offering more than the usual 9 rounds, and a cleverly composed mix of world stars and hungry, dangerous outsiders. For me, this event is the highlight of the tournament year, with only the Candidates offering comparable entertainment when it rolls around – though that is due to high stakes rather than careful and colorful organization. I like some extra rounds and some new faces, preferably crazed with aggression. This event always delivers.

Other headers tell you much about the content:

Top this?

Shakh shock

Older? Wiser



“This tweet sparked some interesting conversation. Yes, I suppose it is true that in a way Carlsen’s tireless technical determination is also a form of psychological warfare. But torture and fighting spirit are not such unique factors – there are of course occasional wizards at maneuvering or grinding, but these skills have also been part of the daily toolkit of gritty professionals, from those on the weekend circuit to the legendary Soviet school of endgame superiority. But great technical champions tend to spawn dazzling tactical successors; Capa to Alekhine, Karpov to Kasparov, and … Carlsen to ? Presumably someone who will play like AlphaZero, on a human scale, an UltraTal. That is the idea I was trying to summon up.”

Human frailty


“And why is it that when world champions blunder a full piece, it isn’t quite a full piece?

Catching up on today’s #TataSteelChess
On Magnus’s blunder: 17…f4 would be positionally catastrophic for Black if it didn’t win a piece.
One difference between humans and computers is that our strategic filters often trump our tactical filters at the worst possible moments.

Jonathan Rowson (@Jonathan_Rowson) January 21, 2018

I am a huge fan of Rowson’s insights, and his unique examinations of chess matters psychological. His tweet sparked a few trains of thought – another component of his observation contains a kind of inherent law of compensation – even a blunder can result in practical chances if there is any price, particularly structural, to winning the material.”

Included this because I, too, am a huge fan of GM Rowson.

The human factor

Double trouble?


Muppets. Muppets!

The Candidates

So dangerous

The remarks contained under Psychology brought to mind a position from the 2018 Tata Steel Challengers tournament, aka, the ‘B’ group.

Provocative play by black, to say the least. It has been written that GM Viktor Korchnoi would sometimes play somewhat ‘dubious’ opening moves in an attempt to cause problems for his opponent, especially those who were known to be ‘booked-up’. The player of the white pieces has just made her thirteenth move, which completed her development, while black, Benjamin Bok, lags behind in development.

WGM Olga Girya (2489) vs Benjamin Bok (2607)

Round 5

1. d4 d6 2. e4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Bf4 Nbd7 5. e5 Nh5 6. Be3 dxe5 7. dxe5 Nxe5 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8 9. O-O-O+ Bd7 10. Be2 f6 11. g4 Ng7 12. f4 Nf7 13. Nf3 Nd6 14. h3 c6 15. Rd2 Kc7 16. Rhd1 Nge8 17. Ne4 Bc8 18. Nf2 b6 19. c4 c5 20. b4 Nb7 21. bxc5 Nxc5 22. Nd4 Nd6 23. Nb5+ Nxb5 24. cxb5 a6 25. Bf3 Ra7 26. f5 gxf5 27. gxf5 Bxf5 28. Ng4 Bxg4 29. Bxg4 axb5 30. Kb1 e6 31. Bxc5 bxc5 32. Rd8 Kb6 33. Bxe6 Bg7 34. R8d6+ Ka5 35. Bf5 Re8 36. R6d3 Bf8 37. Ra3+ Kb6 38. Rxa7 Kxa7 39. Bxh7 c4 40. h4 Kb6 41. Rf1 Ka5 42. Rxf6 Re1+ 43. Kc2 Ba3 44. h5 Ra1 45. h6 Rxa2+ 46. Kd1 Rh2 47. Be4 Bb2 48. Rd6 Rh4 49. Bf5 Rh5 50. Be4 Rh4 51. Bf5 Rh5 52. Be4 Re5 53. Bc6 Rc5 54. h7 Kb4 55. Kc2 Bc3 56. Rh6 Bh8 57. Rd6 Rh5 58. Rd5 Rh2+ 59. Kd1 c3 60. Rxb5+ Kc4 61. Rg5 Rxh7 62. Kc2 Bd4 63. Be4 Rh8 64. Bd3+ Kb4 65. Be4 Rf8 66. Kd3 Bh8 67. Rg2 Rf1 68. Kc2 Bd4 69. Re2 Kc5 70. Rg2 Ra1 71. Re2 Be5 72. Bg6 Bf6 73. Bf5 Kd4 74. Re4+ Kd5 75. Re2 Bd4 76. Bg6 Kc5 77. Bf5 Rf1 78. Bd3 Ra1 79. Bf5 Ra3 80. Bg6 Bg7 81. Bf5 Ra7 82. Bg6 Kc4 83. Bd3+ Kd4 84. Re4+ Kc5 85. Re2 Ra2+ 86. Kb1 Ra8 87. Kc2 Rb8 88. Bg6 Kc4 89. Bd3+ Kd4 90. Re4+ Kc5 91. Re2 Rb2+ 92. Kd1 Rb3 93. Kc2 Ra3 94. Bg6 Bh6 95. Kd3 Ra6 96. Bh7 Kb4 97. Bg8 Bd2 98. Re4+ Ka3 99. Kc2 Rb6 100. Rc4 Rb2+ 101. Kd3 Rb8 102. Bh7 Kb2 103. Bg6 Rb6 104. Bf5 Rf6 105. Rc5 Rf8 106. Ke2 Re8+ 107. Kf3 Be3 108. Rc6 Rf8 109. Kg4 Bf2 110. Rc7 Rf6 111. Rc8 Be3 112. Rc7 Rf8 1/2-1/2

There is another picture I like immensely.

It looks as though the human World Champ is eavesdropping on the conversation, does it not?

This is Chess writing at its best. The wonderfully excellent article can be found in its entirety here: