Azarov wins Washington, Sevian scores norm

by Albert Silver
8/21/2014 – Among the many summer events was the The 3rd Annual Washington International that was held from August 9-14 in Rockville, MD. What made it stick out in the crowd was the presence of several US juniors in a field full of masters and grandmasters. Among them were IM Samuel Sevian and IM Akshat Chandra, both in a race to complete their third GM norm, and grab a bit of history.

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Samuel Sevian is trying to become the first US player to become a grandmaster before fourteen

For 13-year-old Sevian, it would bring him just a breath away from becoming the youngest US player gain the grandmaster title (he would still need to make the rating requirement), whereas for 15-year-old Chandra, he would become the poster boy of Obama's mantra "Yes, you can", as he too became a grandmaster when just five years ago he had been rated just over... 1500 Elo!

15-year-old Akshat Chandra is only one norm away from the GM title, yet five years ago
was rated just over 1500 Elo

The A section tournament had a strong field with a median rating of 2400 with 53 players in it, and was won by GM Sergei Azarov (BLR) with a score of 7.0/9 who took home the $4000 first place prize. A full point behind the winner, six players tied for second with 6.0/9: GM Yaroslav Zherebukh, GM Ioan Cristian Chirila, IM Akshat Chandra, IM Samuel Sevian, IM Levan Bregadze, and IM Justin Sarkar.

IM Jeffery Xiong finished with 5.5/9

Both IM Samuel Sevian and IM Akshat Chandra raced to their dreams and as fate would have it, the two met in the last round with a draw being sufficient for Sevian for the norm, while Chandra, playing black, needed a win as the average rating of his opponents was two Elo short.

Those future GMs start young. Very young.

Their encounter ended in a draw and Sevian scored a vital third norm, needing only to reach 2500 Elo to secure the title. For Chandra, it means he will need to try again, despite an ever-so-close result.

The dramatic last round game in which an early shake of the hands was out of the question

Final standings "A" Section

Rk
Name
Rtg
Pts
1
GM Sergei Azarov
2635
7.0
2
GM Yaroslav Zherebukh
2625
6.0
3
GM Ioan Cristian Chirila
2515
6.0
4
IM Akshat Chandra
2472
6.0
5
IM Samuel Sevian
2454
6.0
6
IM Levan Bregadze
2435
6.0
7
IM Justin Sarkar
2399
6.0
8
GM Illya Nyzhnyk
2639
5.5
9
GM Oliver A Barbosa
2551
5.5
10
GM Kayden W Troff
2514
5.5
11
GM Bryan G Smith
2478
5.5
12
IM Darwin Yang
2478
5.5
13
IM Jeffery Xiong
2442
5.5
14
IM Michael A Mulyar
2411
5.5
15
GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez
2566
5.0
16
GM Gi Margvelashvili
2556
5.0
17
GM Mark C Paragua
2487
5.0
18
IM Nikolay Andrianov
2417
5.0
19
IM Keaton Kiewra
2392
5.0
20
FM Seth Homa
2378
5.0

To their credit, the organizers kept a steady flow of results, games and pictures at both their website and Facebook page. They are to be commended.

Pictures from the official Facebook page


Links

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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