2016 Autumn Invitational Begins

by Jonathan Schrantz

This week the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis will be hosting a IM/GM norm tournament for the second time this year. The 2016 Saint Louis Autumn Invitational features a strong field of competitors and young talent seeking to earn their Grandmaster or International Master title.

The tournament will run November 17-22 and the format will consist of two ten-player round robins. Here’s a look at the the field for the GM Section:

GM Section
Name Federation Rating
GM Priyadharshan Kannappan India 2520
IM Akshat Chandra USA 2509
IM Cyril Ponizil Czech Republic 2504
GM Ben Finegold USA 2493
GM Ashwin Jayaram India 2477
IM Aman Hambleton Canada 2445
IM Tania Sachdev India 2431
IM Atulya Shetty USA 2413
IM Nazi Paikidze USA 2368
WGM Tatev Abrahamyan USA 2364

Earning a Grandmaster norm is never easy and the prospective norm-seekers will have to face three Grandmasters: Priyadarshan Kannappan, Ben Finegold, and Ashwin Jayaram.

There are a number of favorites to earn a GM norm, including IM Cyril Ponizil from the Czech Republic. He will be coming to America for the first time ever in the hope of achieving top honors.

Also eager for a norm is the 2015 U.S. Junior Champion, Akshat Chandra, who recently moved to Saint Louis to further his chess career. The 17-year-old chess prodigy only needs one more norm to earn the GM title.

Nazi Paikidze, the current U.S. Women’s Champion, will also be competing in the GM section and has strong chances for a norm.

The IM Section is also a very competitive field:

IM Section
Name Federation Rating
IM Michael Brooks USA 2407
IM Vitaly Neimer Israel 2346
FM Josh Colas USA 2335
FM Matt Larson USA 2334
FM Konstantin Kavutskiy USA 2332
FM Seth Homa USA 2329
IM Angelo Young Philippines 2312
FM Gauri Shankar India 2303
FM Lefong Hua Canada 2284
FM Doug Eckert USA 2190

The three IMs that norm seekers will have to compete with are Michael Brooks, Vitaly Neimer, and Angelo Young. With so many of the players so close in rating it is hard to predict who will emerge as the winner of this section and who might be able to achieve a norm this month.

Josh Colas is the highest-rated FM in the field and recently joined the prestigious Webster University chess team. The next three highest-rated norm seekers -- Matt Larsen, Konstantin Kavutskiy, and Seth Homa -- are all within 6 rating points of Colas making this field incredibly difficult to predict.

In addition to the possibility to earn norms, the competitors in the GM and IM Sections are competing for the following prize funds:

Make sure to check out our YouTube channel for video recaps of the 2016 Saint Louis Autumn Invitational.

Prize Funds
GM Section IM Section
Place Prize Place Prize
1st $1,500 1st $1,000
2nd $1,000 2nd $800
3rd $750 3rd $600
4th $500 4th $400
5th $250 5th $200
Total: $4,000 Total: $3,000