Greengard's ChessNinja.com

New Kids on the Block

| Permalink | 23 comments

Another day, another micro-Grandmaster. This time make it a double. It's Friday, after all. America's Ray Robson just collected his third GM norm after a narrow miss at the SPICE Cup event in Texas. It's been clear for a while that Robson has raised his game to close to the 2600 level and his norms came fast and furious. That eases the pain of his final norm coming as an automatic one (I assume. [Okay, now I've actually looked it up. Yes, winning an U-20 Continental Ch is an automatic 9-game GM norm.]) by dominating the very weak Pan American U20 event in Uruguay. There was only one GM participating (Brazil's Diamant, who was surely winning against Robson but lost a sharp endgame) and Robson was the top seed at 2527. He started with 7/7 and drew his final two games for a performance close to 2700. At least it's not an automatic GM title for winning; they give out a lot of those as well. For all the ranting among the base about the cheapening of the GM title and how at the very least they should raise the rating required to 2600, things keep moving in the other direction. As Syndrome put it in The Incredibles (one of my favorite moves of all time), "When everyone is super, no one is."

Of course those concerns aren't really relevant to wunderkinder except for the timing. No doubt Robson, who turns 15 in a few days, has what it takes to be super. He'll also have a chance to show it, though it's hard to say how long he'll be in Khanty-Mansiysk at this year's World Cup, where he's an Ilyumzhinov wildcard. Knock-outs aren't kind. He's also guaranteed a spot at next year's US Championship since he easily won the US junior ch this year. More on him at Chess Life. Speaking of norms and the SPICE Cup, someone did get their GM title there after all. Ben Finegold, who has been a contender for strongest IM on the planet for what I'm sure he would say was far too long, got his final norm at last. A fellow 69'er, Ben turned 40 this year. Keep an eye on this kid, he's got potential!

I've been reading the local reports on the Duchamp Tournament in Buenos Aires and it, too, had an impressive roster of young hooligans. It was won by 15-year-old Federico PĂ©rez Ponsa, a local who got his first GM norm in the process. With both on 6.5/9, he took the title on tiebreaks over Peru's Jorge Cori Tello, who is just 14 and earned his third and final GM norm. Not sure if his rating will make it past 2500 in time to be awarded the title at the next FIDE Congress. (And I suppose that may confound whether or not he's the world's youngest GM right now. I don't know his birthday but I assume he's younger than Robson, who turns 15 in a week.) He's quite a story, just the fourth GM in Peru's history. (Granda, Urday, and 18-year-old Emilio Cordova, who made headlines here last year by running away with a stripper in Brazil.) He's been in every Peruvian newspaper for the past few days. Jorge's sister Deysi is a women's international master at 16 and also participated in the Duchamp event. Jorge has been living and studying in Argentina for a while. He needed a draw with black in the final round for the norm and didn't go about it the easy way. He played an insane game refuting an unsound sac by the Argentine Liascovich that eventually ended in a repetition. In a post-event interview, Jorge says he hopes to be in the top 20 in the world in the next few years, but has to work on his openings.

The Peruvian chess federation is dysfunctional and broke even by regional standards, so who knows? I hope he can find the resources to play abroad. The list of strong young Latin American players who were relegated to local mediocrity or who gave up the game entirely is very long. Corus C on line one for Peru?

[Event "Magistral Duchamp"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2009.10.13"]
[Round "9"]
[White "Liascovich, L."]
[Black "Cori Tello, Jorge"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2454"]
[BlackElo "2445"]
[PlyCount "83"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 e6 4. e3 c6 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. b3
b6 9. Bb2 Bb7 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 c5 12. Qe2 Qc7 13. Rad1 Rad8 14. Neg5 Qb8
15. Ne5 h6 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Ng6 Rf7 18. Qxe6 Bd6 19. Nh8 Kxh8 20. Qxf7 Bxh2+
21. Kh1 Qf4 22. d5 Qh4 23. Bxf6 Nxf6 24. Bf5 Bd6+ 25. Bh3 Bc8 26. Rd3 Rf8 27.
Qg6 Ne4 28. Re3 Bxh3 29. Rxh3 Ng3+ 30. Kg1 Ne2+ 31. Kh1 Ng3+ 32. Kg1 Ne2+ 33.
Kh1 Rxf2 34. Rxf2 Qxf2 35. Rxh6+ gxh6 36. Qxh6+ Kg8 37. Qg6+ Kh8 38. Qh6+ Kg8
39. Qg6+ Kf8 40. Qxd6+ Kg7 41. Qe5+ Kg6 42. Qe8+ 1/2-1/2


Hello Mig.
I am a peruvian who lives in Texas. I am impressed about your knowledge about peruvians GMs. Do not forget the first peruvian GM. Estebal Canal who moved to Italy.
Yes, Peru is one of those countries where you can count chess tournaments (Internationals) with the finger of ONE hand, however we surpass Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia producing good chess players. How is that? Well, the same that Brazil produce soccer players. It is a secret that you can see in the streets of Peru, where you can make your living playing for some coins. Also we have a peruvian chess olimpiad, and Interclubs chess Tournaments, (Like Russia has).
I am crossing fingers to see Jorge Cori in the C group of the Corus.
Have a nice day my friend.
Rafael Llanos.
Sherman, Texas.

I fear many here may not know this fine player, so let's get his name right: Esteban Canal.
His GM title was honorary, but who would begrudge him that?

As Syndrome put it in The Incredibles (one of my favorite moves of all time), "When everyone is super, no one is."

Loved the movie too. Watch it on airflights still. Dash put it the similarly when responding to his mother's "everyone's special" --- by mumbling "which is another way of saying no one is"... Or as G&S doth say: "If everyone is somebody, then no one's anybody" (The Gondoleirs)

"A fellow 69'er"

Do we really need to know about your and Ben's sexual predilections?

The only way you can get an automatic GM title in a tournament is the World Championship, World Senior and World Junior. I'm not sure where they give out GM titles for winning a tournament.

You mean norms, Daaim? Otherwise how to explain this one? It didn't meet the normal standards of facing 3 GMs, etc. Or was it by rating performance? Didn't see any technical info on the norm so I took my best guess.

@Rafael: I've played in the streets of Lima several times. It's a remarkable scene. I've also played against Julio Granda. I have to defend Argentina on the production of players, however! So many strong junior players, but many leave chess early. Just too hard to make a living. Really a shame for chess that Hugo Spangenberg, just to name one of the most promising, decided to stay home and later left chess entirely. But if you don't go to Europe you just can't raise your game.

Cori's achievement is really impressive though, and considering the coaching he's had so far (in Argentina, including with a friend of mine) it seems his family, or some other supporters, have the resources to at least give him a chance. On the other hand, many of the young stars from poorer regions are content to use their chess success to get into a good foreign university instead of playing professionally. Not bad at all, of course.

Just looked it up. Yes, the U-20 Continental does confer a 9-game norm on the winner, regardless of the strength of the event. Ugh. Obviously not a problem in Robson's case, but yeesh. The worst is how they give automatic IM titles in some events, even when they are very weak. In Mexico a few years back they created a six or seven new IMs in one event despite there being almost no titled players participating. Half the players were unrated.


there will be U20 Junior championship soon in Argentina. With Wesley So, Howell, Robson, Cori will have a chance to test his contemporaries there.

Right Mig... I thought you were talking about full GM titles earned in one tournament... like a weak zonal (IM and FM). It's a continental age championship, so the regular GM norm requirements don't hold. It's a strange rule that needs to be abolished. I think they should maintain the three GM, 2600+ TPR requirement. All those automatic continental titles and "half-norms" should be done away with. As a result, we have players going around with IM titles and they may be 2200 strength. Robson, is legit, but it would have been good for him to earn the last norm at a credible tournament. I'm sure he'll add a couple more norms for good measure.

gm title means very little these days

Actually, the strongest participant is Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. A bit surprising that he plays there as he has already won "adult events" (e.g. Biel earlier this year) - read: he cannot really win much by winning the event, but lose quite a bit if he doesn't win ... ?

A certain Magnus Carlsen is not participating - maybe he had declined the invitation because the event collides with the European team championship? ,:)

Thomas, the World Junior is one of the most prestigious tournaments out there. Many of the 2700's have not won it. It's extremely strong and would help a chess resume greatly.

Mig & friends of this wonderful blog.
Sorry I mispelled. It is Esteban Canal.
Several years ago, I was playing in "La Plaza Francia" (The French Park), the center of Lima's chess playing, and I saw an "old" man playing some blitz. I asked who he was, the answer : Florencio Campomanes. He was visiting Peru.
I am still impressed that you were in Peru Mig. Next time I talked (or chat) with Julio Granda I am going to ask him about you.
I was checking the Chess Informant # 25 (I think) and I realized there were only two new Grand Masters.....But real Grand Masters. I don't know what went wrong..there are too many Grand Masters now.
Rafael Llanos.
Sherman, Texas.

I don't know about too many GMs. I just believe the mass of information and games played gives current players the benefit of hindsight. They can look at so many games and play more accurately because lines and openings have been tested. I believe that is one reason ratings have gone up and age to earn GM keeps dropping. FIDE can increase the standards, but how? Are players today objectively stronger than before? Is it a fair comparison? It's hard to compare Anand (2009) with Karpov (1975).

The title cheapening had offended me in the past, but no longer. Back in the real world, a 2500-rated FIDE player is good enough to be titled "Grandmaster", to run a chess school, to earn a premium on tutoring fees, etc.

And for marketing purposes 1,000 GMs for 200 countries aren't too many. Even a fading GM of 2400 is pretty darned goood - I still suspect not 1 in 10,000 people have the talent to make GM.

The rating inflation effect has nothing to do with information -- it has to do with 1) size of pool increasing each year, and 2) the limiting effect that the top 20 or so at the top of the ratings pyramid constantly play each other (virtually only)...thus driving up ratings at that segment.

Ratings do not care about playing level or quality -- you could create the same phenomenon with a coin-flip tourney or a group of elementary school players.

don't know about too many GMs. I just believe the mass of information and games played gives current players the benefit of hindsight. They can look at so many games and play more accurately because lines and openings have been tested. I believe that is one reason ratings have gone up and age to earn GM keeps dropping. FIDE can increase the standards, but how? Are players today objectively stronger than before? Is it a fair comparison? It's hard to compare Anand (2009) with Karpov (1975).

I think we should go back to the 1953, '57, or '68 requirements for the gm title (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandmaster_%28chess%29) which basically stated that unless you were a player who could seriously try to qualify for the candidates, no gm title for you. That's how people like Nezhmetdinov who was once by far the strongest blitz player in the world (Chepukaitis was 2nd) never got a title despite being stronger than most of today's so called gms.

You can't seriously compare people like Ben Finegold to say Stahlberg, who finished dead last in Zurich 1953. Anyway, it's always nice to see middle-aged players get a title (Ben will be not even be close to the weakest gm, some of whom are 23xx and only 40 something). I don't really mind them giving out honorary titles for the World Junior or Senior Championships. It gives both young and old something to look up to.

The worst thing FIDE has done is the cheapen the IM title by giving it out to 2200s at Zonals. Yeah they have given out FM titles to 1600s at Zonals but the FM title has always been sort of a joke (it was supposedly originally instituted to get FIDE money hence the term "fee master"). You know an international title doesn't mean much when even someone like myself can realistically hope to get it someday.

Perhaps 95% of the cache of the "Grandmaster" title derives from public relations, only 5% chessplayer.

It's not for us chessplayers. We know the Elo, the performance history to separate Finegold from Grischuk.

But the public does need to recognize a Finegold from the 2200s - Finegold teaches, does videos, chess school so may benefit from the title's marketing power.

For the public, for the greater good of chess, 2500 FIDE is plenty good enough.

That's very well put, hc.

"the limiting effect that the top 20 or so at the top of the ratings pyramid constantly play each other (virtually only)...thus driving up ratings at that segment."


First, IF the top 20 players had not virtually but actually only played each other, the average of their ratings would've stayed completely unchanged, except for roundings 6 times every year. But essentially, in a closed group of 20 players with the same K, this is a zero-sum game.

Secondly, on average the complete group of 2700+ players play MORE GAMES against sub-2700 players than against 2700+ players. That is, if one bothers to check the facts before one makes one's statements.

So your second point had flawed logic, and an argument based on false "facts". Maybe not posting would've been a good alternative?

I am fairly certain that ratings are inflating because the formula for new players' initial ratings is too generous, and so new players come in overrated, and then spend the next 12-18 months shedding their excess rating points to the rest of the pool, and during that time (while still overrated) they are also contributing to the inflation of the next generation of new players' initial ratings by "posing" as stronger players than they really are.

The great Jeff Sonas.
It is a pleasure to read your comments about ratings.....you are "Mr. Ratings".
I have two questions for you my friend.
First one, How it can be stopped the inflation of ELO points?
Second one, Is it possible to take 100 ELO points out from everybody and then we will have what we had several years ago. A 2600 Elo GM was a real Champion Candidate.

Thanks again Jeff for your help.
Rafael Llanos.
Sherman, Texas.

I visited this page first time to get info on people search and found it Very Good Job of acknowledgment and a marvelous source of info......... Thanks Admin! http://www.reverse-phone-look-up.net

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on October 16, 2009 3:41 PM.

    Carlsen Leaves Novi Sad was the previous entry in this blog.

    Anand-Topalov in Sofia in April is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.