Added on 2/14/2012

The historic Marshall Chess Club in New York hosted an IM Norm Invitational in the beginning of February.  Ten players competed in a round-robin format (all-play-all) over two weekends, with double rounds scheduled on both Saturdays and Sundays.  The time control was 40/90, SD/30 with an increment of 30 seconds starting at move 1.  Top games were broadcast live on ICC and may be found under the Marshall12 account. 

Two Grandmasters topped the field: Nick DeFirmian of the USA and Mikheil Kekelidze from the country of Georgia.  Now based in the Big Apple, Kekelidze won the 2011 Marshall Club Championship.  The remaining eight players, rated between 2148 and 2396, were all hunting for IM norms.  (FIDE considers two GMs to be equivalent to three IMs for norm purposes.)  The highest rated of the contenders was Matthew Herman, rated 2149 for much of 2010 and suddenly 250 points higher in 2011.  Three talented teenagers were invited: 18-year old FM Alec Getz, 15-year old FM Alexandr Ostrovskiy and 13-year old Christopher Wu.  With an average rating of 2339, a score of 6.0 out of 9 was required for a norm.

At the end, the Grandmasters dominated, each finishing without tasting defeat.  GM Kekelidze took 1st with an impressive 8.0 out of 9 and GM DeFirmian was clear 2nd with 6.5.  The second lowest rated participant, Dr. Ildar Salakhutdinov of Russia, finished as 3rd and earned the only norm with exactly 6.0, losing just once, to the winner.  Herman needed a win in the final round for a norm.  Alas, he fell short against Ostrovskiy.  The three kids ended up in the middle of the pack with 4.0, 4.0 and 3.5.

(Photos from Marshall Club website.)