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GM Joel’s Chess Week Recap - a 12-yo GM

This week I have action from the recently completed Karen Asrian Memorial and the ongoing Russian Higher League, but first let’s catch up on earlier events, including a milestone for a young Indian boy.

Indian GM Praggnanandhaa

Praggnanandhaa has narrowly missed Sergey Karjakin’s record as the youngest Grandmaster ever, notching his third and final GM norm in the Gredine Open in Italy.  The 12-year-old clinched the result with an eighth-round victory over Luca Moroni, which I will show in a moment.  Pragga won his last game for good measure, tying for first in the event with Ivan Saric.

American Justin Sarkar scored a positive result with 6.5/9, a point back of the winners.  It’s a step on the long climb to 2500 he needs to claim the grandmaster title.

And back in the USA, Christian Chirila won the traditional National Open in Las Vegas with 6/7.  

GM Christian Chirila in Vegas

The decisive point came in the following game against Elshan Moradiabadi in the penultimate round.

Chirila hails from Romania but has studied in the US for a number of years. I read that he was coming into the tournament after a long layoff from chess, which made him especially proud of the achievement.

The late Armenian GM Karen Asrian

Karen Asrian was a strong Armenian grandmaster who died suddenly and tragically of a heart attack in 2008 at age 28.  His chess-loving country missed his presence tremendously and has organized the Asrian Memorial ever since.
Haik Martirosyan won the event with 7/9. The promising young Armenian, about to turn 18, seems to exhibit good patience and technique, which seems to be a hallmark of his countrymen.

GM Haik Martirosyan

In the first game, he needed a little help from his opponent to score the point.

In the eighth round he pounced on an unexpected blunder by a fellow grandmaster:

Martirosyan upended the higher-rated Hrant Melkumyan in a long maneuvering game in the last round to win clear first.  After this win, we may see young Haik move up the Armenian pecking order.

Finally, the Russian Higher League sees Alexey Sarana lead with 4.5/5, a full point ahead of the field.  Arty Timofeev was leading, too, until losing to Sarana, but I want to show his fourth-round victory over Sanan Sjugirov, which featured spirited attacking play and a problem-like endgame.


My show will be on hiatus next week while I travel to Dresden, Germany to participate in the World Senior Team Championship.  I would like to thank the ICC for their generous sponsorship of the American team.  I’ll be back the week after and hope to have some good, and interesting news from the event.