The 28th Metropolitan Chess FIDE Invitational began August 13th in downtown Los Angeles as seasoned Grandmasters and promising young talent pressed their clocks and began a six day, nine Round Robin Grandmaster norm event. The tournament was held on the 8th floor of California Market Center at the heart and center of the Los Angeles fashion district. Participating players included GM Elshan Moradiabadi (Iran), GM Melikset Khachiyan (USA), GM Enrico Sevillano (USA), IM Zhanibek Amanov (Kazakhstan), IM Andranik Matikozyan (Armenia), IM Raja Panjwani (Canada), IM Darwin Yang (USA), IM Victor C Shen (USA), FM Joel Banawa (USA), and FM Yian Liou (USA).
Report by Alejandro Ruiz, Jr.
Coinciding with the Grandmaster Round Robin was a nine-game round robin International Master norm tournament, as well as a five-round Swiss System qualification event.
The GM norm round robin demonstrated creative and spirited chess from the get go, as round one had four decisive results and only one drawn game between GMs Moradiabadi and Khachiyan. The most impressive fight of the first round was the game between IM Matikozyan and FM Banawa. The game was playable for White until Matikozyan made a costly error on move 21 which allowed Banawa a remarkable reply.
By the beginning of the fourth round many players were still in contention for the GM norm. Indeed it seemed likely that IM Victor Shen was a likely norm candidate as he had 3.5/4.0. Yet, with so many norm seekers, every game and point became important, with some norm seekers requiring near perfect scores in the remaining rounds to stay alive for norm contention. As a result, another tactically riddled game was produced between GM Melikset Khachiyan and Kazakhstan’s visiting IM Zhanibeck Amanov.
Round seven produced a must-win situation for the two remaining GM norm contenders IM Victor Shen and IM Darwin Yang. Yet, neither was able to produce the necessary result.
In the end, it was the grandmasters who stood their ground as none of them suffered a single loss throughout all nine rounds. GMs Elshan Moradiabadi and Enrico Sevillano tied for first with 6.0/9.0 as GM Khachiyan took clear second with 5.5/9.
In the IM norm round robin, most norm seekers were eliminated early, and it was IM Jack Peters who took lone first with a score of 7.0/9.0. The final norm seeker, FM Arthur Shen, was bested and eliminated from norm contention by IM Jack Peters in round 8.