Luke McShane

Titles bonanza

At the beginning of August, seeing his outstanding performance at the Fide World Cup in Sochi, I wrote that Ravi Haria ‘must now sense that the grandmaster title is well within reach’. But who could expect that he would achieve two more grandmaster ‘norms’ before the month was out? Haria, 22, now has all three norms (tournament results at grandmaster standard) he needs, and requires just a small boost to his international rating before he is awarded the title.

Over-the-board chess has sprung back to life this summer, and Haria is one of many players making up for lost time. Earlier this month, he took first place at the Wood Green Invitational, the same event at which 25-year-old Marcus Harvey qualified as an international master (‘IM’ — the title below grandmaster).

Both were back in action at the Northumbria Masters, held in Gateshead at the end of August. Backed by several sponsors, including Chess in Schools and Communities and the English Chess Federation, the event attracted more than 200 players.

First place was shared between Haria and 22-year-old Conor Murphy, who represents Ireland, with each earning a grandmaster norm. Murphy had wrapped up his own IM title at the Muswell Hill Masters event just three weeks earlier. The game below features a finely judged exchange sacrifice from another bright prospect, 21-year-old IM Matthew Wadsworth, beginning with 13 Bxb7!. Despite this loss, his opponent 29-year-old Callum Kilpatrick scored his final IM norm at the Northumbria Masters, and is also now eligible for the title.

Matthew Wadsworth–Callum Kilpatrick

Northumbria Masters GM, August 2021

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