I'm finally listed on the FIDE website as an International Master! Maybe someone saw my last post?

My rating card is here.


IM Title

I never thought getting the IM title would be this difficult...off the board!

A lot of people have been asking me why I haven't received my title yet. The answer: I don't really know. Basically, I've been e-mailing back-and-forth with the USCF since I scored my final norm last June. I subsequently scored a fourth norm at the UTD Grandmaster Invitational in December.

Carol Jarecki e-mailed me a few days ago and said that FIDE has essentially confirmed my title, but it just hasn't shown up on the FIDE website.

This is all rather strange. Most title applications are listed on the FIDE website weeks or months before the congress meets to ratify them. My application has never been listed. For now, I'm just watching my rating card to see when (if ever!) I receive this elusive title.


Definitely Have to Blog Soon

Ok, a two-week hiatus is long enough! Updates on the way...


Bust!? Schneider - Rohonyan cont'd

I few days ago, I received the following e-mail from Tom Ewers of Minnesota:

In the Rohonyan - Schneider game I think you have overlooked something.
1.h4 gxh4 2.Bf1 Be3 (This is one of your notes) 3.g5 Ke7 4.Kc6 Kf6 5.Kb7 Kg6 6.a7 Bxa7 7.Kxa7 Kxg5 8. Kb6 e5 9.Bh3 (Here you give +-, but I'm not convinced) 9...e4 10.fxe4 f3 11.e5 Kf4 12.e6 Kg3 13.Bf1 h3 14.e7 h215.e8/Q h1/Q At this point, my Chess Engine (with endgame tablebases) is screaming that the position evaluates to 0.00. What do you think? Also, in some of the other variations, it seems to me that Black can put up better resistance by leaving his pawn on e6 to prevent the White Bishop from going to f5 after the White g pawn has advanced. You may want to revisit some of those variations also.

Let's take a look at Tom's analysis. The critical position arises after 9.Bh3:


In my original analysis here, I assumed that this position was lost for black. Let's continue. 9...e4 10.fxe4 f3 11.e5 Kf4 12.e6 Kg3


Here, Tom's line above with 12.Bf1 does lead to a draw. I tried the more obvious 13.e7, but this too seems to end peacefully after 13...Kxh3 14.e8Q f2 15.Qe2 Kg2 16.Kc5


Now 16...Kg1! is a draw, i.e. 17.Qg4+ Kh2 18.Qxh4+ Kg2= with the famous bishop-pawn vs. queen endgame. Note that black's other try 16...h3 actually loses to 17.Kd4! h2 18.Ke3 h1Q 19.Qxf2+ Kh3 20.Qf5+ Kh2 21.Qf4+ Kh3 22.Qh6+ Kg2 23. Qg5+ Kf1 (if 23...Kh2, then 24.Kf2) 24.Qf4+ Kg2 (24...Ke1 25.Qf2+ Kd1 26.Qd2#) 25.Qg4+ Kh2 26.Kf2 with mate to follow.

This all looks pretty convincing to me. Simply waiting with a move like 2...Be3 is black's best plan. Now, where can we find an improvement for white!?

Thanks again to Tom for sending in his findings about this complex ending.

Updates Coming

School has had me on lockdown the past week or so. Two exams and six quizzes since last Monday! Anyways, I am free now...so expect new blog entries soon! Keep those e-mails coming.


Akopian Takes Gibtelecom Masters

The 5th Gibraltar Chess Festival has just concluded. Congratulations to Vladimir Akopian of Armenia! The 35 year-old Grandmaster rebounded fantastically from a first round loss to Irina Krush to take clear first in this very strong tournament with 7.5/9. In the last round he decimated 16 year-old GM Yuri Kuzubov in 23 moves:


Black looks pretty solid here, right? Two bishops, a better pawn structure... 18.Nxc6! Boom shakalaka! 18.Nd5 also wins, but is much less fun. 18...Kxc6 19.Nd5! The point! The knight is immune from capture and the black king is starting to feel exposed. 19...Qe8 If 19...Qc5, then 20.b4! is decisive 20.Qa6 Bf8 21.Qxa7 Bc5 22.b4 Qd7 23.Qa6 1-0

The winner: GM Vladimir Akopian

The complete crosstable can be found here.