Pavlo Vorontsov wins St. Louis Norm Congress

by Macauley Peterson
2/16/2018 – The Saint Louis Chess Club hosted the 2018 Saint Louis Norm Congress, from February 8th to 13th. The tournament features invited players from outside the USA to ensure Grandmaster and International Master title norm opportunities. Pavlo Vorontsov (Ukraine, 2548), the top seed in the GM tournament (pictured left), won clear first, while the IM tournament Sergei Matsenko (pictured right) dominated! | Photos: Austin Fuller

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Saint Louis Norm Congress 2018 

The 2018 Saint Louis Norm Congress took place February 8th to 13th and featured two ten-player fields comprised of hungry juniors, veteran IMs and GMs, and other top players from the USA and abroad, competing for $15,000 in prize money. 

International students from Texas Tech University took clear first in both the GM and IM tournaments. Pavlo Vorontsov was first in the GM event with 6.0 / 9 with Russia's Sergei Matsenko outclassing his nearest rival by two full points, scoring 7.0 / 9.

One player had a standout performance which was more than enough for an IM norm: Stavroula Tsolakidou scored 5½ to finish in clear second place in the GM tournament. ChessBase readers may recall her name from an impressive performance a few months ago at the European Team Championship. She also finished fourth in the World Junior Championship for Girls.

Stavroula Tsolakidou

Stavroula Tsolakidou | Photo: Austin Fuller, Saint Louis Chess Club

The other woman in the tournament also did well. FM Tatev Abrahamyan already has the required norms for the IM title, but needs to get her Elo rating above 2400. Her 4½ / 9 score, while only good enough for seventh place, still nets her about 37 rating points, and was well above her expected score.

Unfortunately for other norm seekers, no one met the requisite minimum score.

Final standings


GM tournament games


Commentary playlist

All webcasts from GM Josh Friedel and Ben Simon.

IM Tournament

Final standings


IM tournament games



Macauley served as the Editor in Chief of ChessBase News from July 2017 to March 2020. He is the producer of The Full English Breakfast chess podcast, and was an Associate Producer of the 2016 feature documentary, Magnus.


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pfren pfren 2/17/2018 11:59
Stavroula did not need any IM norm: She already has the required norms since last November, as well as 2400+ rating, and she is just awaiting to get the title at the next FIDE Congress.
GM77251 GM77251 2/16/2018 08:13
Given his rating, shouldn't Sergei Matsenko have played in the GM norm tournament, and one of the other IMs in that tournament swapped into the IM norm tournament?
melante melante 2/16/2018 01:11
so... who scored norms?
libyantiger libyantiger 2/13/2018 01:54
some ims are more deadly than some gms .....relativity theory of albert ansteins stilll works in chess rating
macauley macauley 2/12/2018 06:01
@decredico - Updated for round 7
decredico decredico 2/12/2018 03:35
PawnCabbage PawnCabbage 2/11/2018 03:27
John B for the GM title in 2018!
chessdrummer chessdrummer 2/10/2018 02:32
Go Josh!