Madrid Chess Festival: Rozman sole leader in main event

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
6/13/2024 – Rounds 4 and 5 of the three events that make up the Madrid Chess Festival took place on Wednesday. The Closed A tournament has Levy Rozman, also known as Gotham Chess, topping the standings with 4/5 points. The famous streamer defeated Cuban GM Lelys Martínez with the white pieces in round 5. Meanwhile, three players are sharing the lead in the Closed B event, which has 10-year-old Faustino Oro in fifth place with a fifty-percent score. | Photo: Federico Marín’s X account

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A very famous underdog

With more than 5 million subscribers on his YouTube Channel, Levy Rozman is the most successful chess streamer in the world. The 28-year-old International Master has a 2322 FIDE rating, and achieved his peak rating of 2421 back in 2018. Due to his success as a streamer and promoter of the game, Rozman rarely plays over-the-board official tournaments.

Rozman did agree to participate in the main event of the Madrid Chess Festival, though. After commentating on the controversial match between Vladimir Kramnik and José Martínez, he stayed in Madrid to play a 10-player single round robin in which he is the lowest-rated participant. Despite his underdog status, the New Yorker has grabbed the sole lead by scoring 4/5 points at the outset of the event.

In the first five rounds, Rozman has drawn twice, and has defeated Tomás Sosa (rated 2535), Diego Macías (2471) and Lelys Martínez (2453). The leader has a half-point lead over Julio Suárez (2477), whom he will face with the black pieces in the penultimate round.

Standings after round 5

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Rozman, Levy 4 8,00
2 Suarez Gomez, Julio 3,5 6,50
3 Nakada, Akira 3 9,50
4 Tabuenca Mendataurigoitia, Daniel 3 6,50
5 Macias Pino, Diego 2,5 5,00
6 Cuenca Jimenez, Jose Fernando 2 5,00
7 Alonso Garcia, Aaron 2 4,50
8 Suarez Uriel, Adrian 2 4,00
9 Sosa, Tomas 1,5 3,75
10 Martinez Duany, Lelys Stanley 1,5 3,25

All games - Closed A

Oro remains undefeated, needs 3/4 to grab IM norm

While Gotham Chess impresses in the Closed A tournament, one of the main attractions in the Closed B event is the participation of 10-year-old Faustino Oro. The Argentine prodigy needs to end the single round robin with a 5½/9 score to become the youngest International Master in the history of the game.

The ‘Messi of chess’ signed draws in his first five encounters in Madrid, which means he needs to obtain 3 points in the final 4 rounds to grab his third and final IM norm. Now living near Barcelona, Oro receives huge support from his parents, Romina and Alejandro. In an interview conducted by Carlos Ilardo, Alejandro stated that they do not put pressure on their prodigious son to break records, focusing instead on promoting his independence and development:

In January [2023] he told us that he would like to become a FIDE Master this year, and two tournaments later he had already won the title. That’s why I talk to him a lot, that he doesn’t need to focus on records, that the goal is to improve his game.

In Madrid, Oro stands a full point behind a 3-player leading group consisting of José Gascón, Pedro Martínez and Alex Garrido.

Faustino Oro

Faustino Oro | Photo: David Martínez’s X account

Standings after round 5

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Garrido Outon, Alex 3,5 0
2 Gascon Del Nogal, Jose Rafael 3,5 0
3 Martinez Reyes, Pedro Ramon 3,5 0
4 Rosen, Eric 3 0
5 Oro, Faustino 2,5 0
6 Vega Gutierrez, Sabrina 2 0
7 Alvarez Pedraza, Aramis 2 0
8 Larino Nieto, David 2 0
9 Ostrovskiy, Aleksandr 2 0
10 Ruiz Buendia, Miguel 1 0

All games - Closed B


Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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