SPICE Spring Invitational chess tournament

IM Ray Robson, IM Antal, and IM Hess aiming at GM norrms

im ray robson

The Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence Spring Invitational tournament kicked off on Monday in Lubbock. Six players will compete over the next week to improve their standings, each competitor either of international master or international grandmaster status. IM Ray Robson, IM Antal, and IM Hess will be aiming not only at ELO increase, but also at GM norrms.

Round 1 results

IM Robson 0-1 GM Kacheishvili

IM Antal 0-1 IM Hess

GM Gareev vs GM Sharavdorj 1/2 – 1/2

IM Robert Hess

IM Robert Hess, who achieved his final norm for the International Master title at the 2007 Cannes Open, had the best start of the championship. He managed to take a full point with black against IM Antal and climb to the top of the standings.

Hess has been entering in top form lately, last year in April he achieved a grandmaster norm at the 2008 Foxwoods Open, defeating grandmasters Alexander Shabalov, Yury Shulman, Julio Becerra, and Alexander Ivanov and tying for first.

Hess is currently tied at the top of the SPICE Spring Invitational chess tournament with GM Kacheishvili.

IM Gergely Antal

Gergely Antal, an international master from Hungary and economics student at Tech, said he has been working for months to prepare for the tournament, which could gain him grandmaster status. Champion of his native country by age 10, Antal said having the tournament at Tech has helped him to focus, and he hopes, will help him have an advantage over the other players.
“It’s very comfortable for me because for a chess tournament, you need to prepare a lot and rest a lot,” he said. “For me, it’s good being here.”

There are no special rituals Antal said he performs before a tournament, other than studying up on his opponents. “It’s like every chess player does the same thing before,” he said. “Prepare for the tournament.”

IM Ray Robson

At 14, Ray Robson is the current youngest U.S. international master, a title he won just more than a year ago in Iceland. He has been competing in tournaments since age 7. Robson just returned from a tournament in Moscow where he challenged several grandmasters, leading Polgar to call him the next Bobby Fischer.

Ray’s father, Gary Robson, said the teen had little time to prepare for the tournament following his trip to Moscow, but neither father nor son is worried about the outcome. “I think just playing where he was playing was enough for this tournament,” Gary Robson said. “Basically, you just have to beat the people at preparation, and if everything’s even, hopefully you can beat them on the board.”

The elder Robson said he never had an interest in chess until his son was 3 years old, when the two began playing for fun. Though a chess player of his son’s level may not be common in the Western hemisphere, he said the other players don’t seem to notice. “I think it’s less unusual outside the U.S.,” he said.

Official website of SPICE Spring invitational: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/

Video feed live: http://media.english.ttu.edu/chess