Saint Louis Invitational - Round 5 Recap
The 2016 Saint Louis Invitational, featuring both a GM and IM norm 10-player round robin, is more than halfway finished. Norm seekers in both sections have traded blows with their opponents and resulted in a very tight standings list. Each field’s norm requirement sits at 6.5 total points and still a few have the chance, if they finish well, to earn their norm.
In the GM norm field, IM Steven Zierk and IM Akshat Chandra have 3.5 points after 5 rounds and are undefeated co-leaders. IM Chandra has survived the gauntlet of grandmasters in the first half of the tournament and now needs to convert against his peers. The co-leaders find themselves needing 3 more points out of the last 4 games to earn their final GM norms—a tough task in this strong field. IM Irine Sukandar still needs 3.5 more points for a norm which will prove difficult. Finally, IM Aman Hambleton will have to play perfect chess to capture a norm as he needs to win his last four games.
In the IM section, those looking for norms have been met by a field intend on making each half-point hard to come by. IM Angelo Young has dominated the tournament so far with 4/5 points. His grinding play against FM Seth Homa in round 4 resulted in a long endgame win. IM Michael Brooks has also done well with 3/5 points. While a few still have very long shots to earn their norms, FM Gauri Shankar has 3.5 points after 5 rounds, and he will need to play extremely well to finish with enough points for his norm.
Here are some key pairings in the upcoming round:
GM Round 6 – IM Zierk vs IM Hambleton
IM Round 6 – FM Shankar vs IM Brooks