Yoo, Javakhadze are Chess Winners, International Master Norm for Lee

by Alexey Root
2/22/2022 – The Master Section of the 13th Annual Southwest Class Championships, February 17–21, ended in a tie for first between International Masters Christopher Yoo and Zurab Javakhadze, with 7.5 out of 9. Woman International Master Alice Lee made an International Master norm. Alexey Root reports from Fort Worth, Texas. | Photo: Courtesy of the Lee family

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Tournament details

The results of the 13th Annual Southwest Class Championships are here. The structure of the 13th Annual Southwest Class Championships is detailed at this website. The Master, Expert, and Class A Sections were FIDE rated and US Chess rated. The other sections, ranging down through Class E, were US Chess rated only.

12-year-old makes IM norm

Alice Lee, age 12, scored 6 points out of 9 rounds in the Master Section to secure her first International Master norm. According to FIDE Arbiter Judit Sztaray, Lee played the right number of titled players and players from other federations to secure the norm. Sztaray said that Lee also crossed 2300 FIDE. Therefore, Lee automatically becomes a FIDE Master.

Alice Lee, 2-21-2022, Round 9, Photo by Alexey Root

Vanessa Lee, Alice’s mother, accompanied Alice to Fort Worth. Vanessa and her husband Frank have two children, Alice and Linden, who is 16. Linden is a US Chess Master but is now more interested in math contests. Alice also loves math and recently qualified for the American Invitational Mathematics Examination (AIME).

When the pandemic began, Alice left in-person public school. She attended virtual public school during the 2020–2021 academic year. For the 2021–2022 academic year, virtual public school was not offered in Minneapolis. So, Vanessa and Frank are homeschooling Alice, around their work duties at the University of Minnesota. Vanessa is a Professor of Psychology and Frank is a Professor at the Veterinary School.

In 2021, Newsweek profiled Alice. In that article, Alice mentioned that International Master Carissa Yip inspires her. Vanessa said that Alice also considers International Master Jennifer Yu to be a role model. From 2017–2021, Alice took lessons, via Skype, from Grandmaster Dmitry Gurevich. Vanessa said that Alice rose from about 1700 to a strong master when Gurevich was her coach.

Next up for Alice is a tournament at the Charlotte Chess Center, where she hopes to gain a second International Master norm. Vanessa isn’t sure if Alice will make chess her career, but she might. Vanessa added, “When Alice was younger, she loved winning. Now, she loves chess.”


Mixed Doubles

In addition to his share of first place in the Master Section, Christopher Yoo also earned, with Romi Milner, Mixed Doubles team prize money.

Christopher Yoo, 2-21-2022, round 9, Photo by Alexey Root

Continental Chess Association (CCA) tournaments have offered Mixed Doubles prizes since 2013. CCA’s website states, “CCA began offering mixed doubles prizes, an idea created by Steve Immitt, at most of our tournaments. Female participation in most of our events has since increased significantly.” Immitt introduced Mixed Doubles in 2012, with these rules:

1. Two players, who are in the tournament, besides competing for whatever individual prizes they can, also compete for the optional Mixed Doubles Team prizes. No extra cost to compete for Mixed Doubles prizes (both players just have to enter the tournament and tell us who their Mixed Doubles Teammate is).
2. Average rating of both players must be Under 2200.
3. Players may play in different sections or the same section (teammate pairings are avoided, but possible).

At the 13th Annual Southwest Class Championships, seventh grader Elizabeth Braddy’s mom, Josie, said that Elizabeth learned about Mixed Doubles two years ago, when she arrived at the 2020 Southwest Class Championships. Then, Elizabeth partnered with someone she knew from Oklahoma City, and they won $200. “I like the Mixed Doubles,” said Josie. “You don’t have to win your section to take part in this opportunity. I think it encourages husbands to bring their wives and brothers to bring their sisters.” Josie serves as the treasurer of the Oklahoma Scholastic Chess Organization,

This year, Sara Walsh is travelling all over the United States playing chess. Follow her travels at this website. Sara said, “As a woman, you have negotiating power to choose your mixed doubles partner. There are many men who would like to compete for the mixed doubles prizes if they can find partners. Sometimes I have won mixed doubles money. My dad and I won a mixed doubles prize at the 2017 U.S. Open in Virginia, as the top Father-Daughter mixed doubles team.”

Perhaps one reason CCA’s founder, Bill Goichberg, embraced Mixed Doubles is because his wife, Brenda, was always by his side. Brenda died February 11. Bill’s tribute to Brenda is posted at this link.

David Brodsky, 2-21-2022, Round 9, photo by Alexey Root

Kassa Korley, 2-21-2022, Round 9, photo by Alexey Root

Maria Malicka, 2-21-2022, round 9, photo by Alexey Root

Razvan Preotu, 2-21-2022, round 9, photo by Alexey Root

Zurab Javakhadze (2-21-2022, round 9) Photo by Alexey Root


Players brought their own chess sets and boards; no DGT (digital game technology) boards were available. The games provided here are from hand-written scoresheets, provided to this author courtesy of CCA.



Alexey was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.


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