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Apologies to Cheers fans. We can welcome the US's newest International Master. Welcome him back, that is. FIDE has rejected Ben Finegold's title application and his name does not appear on the list of titles approved by the latest board. There were several irregularities beyond his control with his norm from the Martinovsky Memorial. He says the norm will likely be tossed, so it's back to square two. Boo, hiss, weep.

The US Championship in February will be another chance. National championships get special consideration for norms since of course you don't expect to be facing people from other federations, usually a requirement. Making sure norms are possible is one of the format constrictions on the AF4C when organizing the championship. Last year six players got FIDE norms, including four IM norms.

[Yes, I know there are still errors in the commenting system. Going to take another shot at it tonight.]


What kind of irregularities? poor dude, it must be terrible to have a great tournament like this, and then...whooossh, it's gone..sorry, game over, try again

Damn that sucks. Best of luck to Ben on making another norm.

Rats! Well, here's another Ann Arborite wishing Ben best of luck at the US Championships.

that sucks ass

It's always up to the TD to certify the norms, and it can be very difficult for individual players to tell if they made it or not because it depends on the playing history of other players as well.

"Irregularities" usually means that:
a) a player was reported as having a title that he/she was only an Elect for
b) a player's country federation affiliation had changed or was questioned
c) The norm requires counting only some of the rounds and not others (acceptable in some cases, but can be tricky)
d) The arbiter did not have the appropriate qualifications
e) Events were rated out of sequence for previous events, so that a player's reported rating was in fact lower, reducing the average rating of opponents
f) Some special local rule was in effect (such as a "no draw offers before move 30" and FIDE then decides some results won't count

Most times, these are honest errors, and have nothing to do with the player for whom the norm was actually submitted. Sometimes they have to do with events that occurred several months previously, and in which the player didn't even participate, but which affect the norm calculation due to rating, title, or affiliation of an opponent.

So...it does happen. It's incredibly annoying when it does.

p.s. Adding to the US IM count is Daniel Fernandez, whose IM title was approved in the most recent list.

Oh, forgot to mention one tiny technical point:

I believe National Championships only get "special consideration" for norms when they also count as Zonals.

I know that previously some US Champoinships did count for norms and some didn't, depending on whether it was a Zonal year or not.

On the other hand with the cycle in flux, I'm not really sure what the rule is now.

Thanks for the info, Diuf.


I don't know any of the specifics of Ben's case, but those are the kinds of things that can happen.

Very frustrating for everyone.

From what I can tell, the pairings were weird because there was a last-minute replacement who had some games rescheduled. There were one or two forfeits as well.


About the national championship, here is an excerpt from FIDE rules:

1.43 Federations of opponents.
At least two federations other than that of the title applicant must be included, except for 1.43a-1.43e.
1.43a The finals (but not preliminaries) of national men`s championships and also national women`s championships. See 1.43b1.
1.43b National team championships. (GA `04)
1.43b1 Title applications must include at least one tournament based on an event other than 1.43a and/or 1.43b.
1.43c Zonal tournaments.
1.43d Tournaments of other types may also be included with the prior approval of the QC Chairman.
1.43e Swiss System tournaments in which the competitors include at least 20 FIDE Rated players, not from the host federation, from at least 3 federations, at least 10 of whom hold GM, IM, WGM or WIM titles.

So all national championships count, not just zonals, as long as the player has at least one norm that is not from such events.

Thanks for the handbook reference. My concern is that phrase "the finals (but not the prelimnaries) of national championships" when the preliminaries are not counted as a zonal

Under the new announced format for the US Champoinship, where there are two separate sections and then a finals at a different time control, I am concerned that FIDE might rule that NO norms are possible as "the finals" clause means only that last day's event. The problem is otherwise you're asking for a "national championship" exception for two separate sections with two separate sets of participants, neither of which actually produces the "national champion."

Mig, I assume someone at AF4C has gotten a ruling on this?

My concerns may be totally off here, and the two section then meet in a playoff format may still be oK.

The playoff games themselves can't count towards the norm, of course, because of the time control.

But maybe I'm just confused, and there's no norm issue at all. Or maybe this year counts as a "zonal," in which case I don't think there's an issue with sections.


"Final" refers to the event. The rapid match is just an extra part of the same event, the US championship. Preliminaries would mean qualifiers. The change to groups and adding a rapid match has no effect on norm availability, which are available regardless of zonal status. That's how I understand it.

That bites that Ben didn't get his title.
Don't worry Ben, I'm sure you'll do it on the next tournament. We're all rooting for you here in Arizona!

What about IM-elect Stephen Muhammad listed on Chess Drum? Has his title been confirmed yet?

By the way, what happened to Milman's IM title application? It looks really solid (he even has 4 norms instead of required three, see http://fide.com/titles/apps.asp?cat=1&per=10&code=2020050&x=1038 ), but his name is not among those approved either.

Stephen Muhammad's application is not listed anywhere. It doesn't look like it has been submitted to FIDE yet, as far as I can see.

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