****************************************************************I'd like to make it clear to our readers who aren't familiar with chess terminology that Alina has qualified for a WGM - Woman Grandmaster - title. There is a difference between the WGM title and the title of GM - Grandmaster. The requirements for earning a GM title are stricter and one's ELO rating (that is a relative ranking of players by playing strength) must be at least 2500 in order to qualify for the GM title. As I understand the FIDE rules, a player earns a title by achieving three "norms" and achieving an ELO rating of a a certain level. For a WGM title (Woman Grandmaster), the level is 2400; for a GM (Grandmaster) title, the level is 2500. Earning a "norm" is a complicated process. A norm is earned by achieving a certain score in an international tournament in which a player has played higher-rated, titled players. "International" means that a certain number of the higher-rated players must be from a country other than your own. I'm sure it's more complicated than that, but that is is in a nutshell. I'm very happy for WIM (Women's International Master) Kashlinskaya, but the article is misleading - she is NOT a GM - she has qualified for a WGM title - if she achieves a 2400 ELO. According to FIDE's ratings list, which was updated on April 1, 2009 (it is updated every quarter), at present WIM Kashlinskaya has a rating of 2344, and is second on the current listing of all active female players under the age of 16. In Russia, she is number one on the list of active female players under the age of 16. That is quite an accomplishment in a country that boasts the most GMs in the world! It is not easy for chessplayers in the US to earn "norms." Even today, in the age of jet travel, there are only a handful of tournaments in the US each year that attract GMs from other countries, mostly because the prizes offered are small. In those events where larger prizes are offered, so many highly rated players are competing for the prizes that generally lower rated players are shut out of the action because of how pairings are generated. There are many more opportunities to earn norms in Europe, where many tournaments are specifically designed with this goal in mind. It's expensive to travel to Europe to participate in open tournaments where a player has a chance to earn a norm; in benefit/cost analysis, most up and coming US players conclude that they cannot afford to take the chance. It is only recently in the US that such tournaments have been specifically created in an attempt to get more American players the opportunity to earn norms without the expense of travelling out of the country. The North American Chess Association has hosted several such tournaments, and SPICE (at Texas Tech University), which is just a couple years old, has hosted some tournaments of this nature too. Recently, SPICE hosted an invitational (also called a "closed" event) international tournament in Lubbock, Texas, in which American player IM (International Master) Robert Hess participated (born 1991), and earned his third GM norm. Hess also won the event with outstanding play. IM Hess' current FIDE rating is 2485 (updated on April 1, 2009), so he needs to earn only 15 more ELO points to qualify for the GM title. Hess is currently playing in the 2009 US "Supernationals" in Nashville, Tennessee. Another young American player, IM Ray Robson (born 1994), also participated in that SPICE tournament and earned an even score. This score was not enough to earn a "norm" but was a fine performance, showing promise for the future. IM Robson's current FIDE rating is 2464. Here's an article on Kashlinskaya from Russia Today dated April 4, 2009.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
WGM (Elect) Alina Kashlinskaya
Article from Russia Today: Grandmaster at 15 Years Old 09 February, 2009 The Russian teenage chess prodigy Alina Kashlinskaya is poised to become Europe’s youngest Grandmaster. The World Chess Federation (FIDE) sets certain criteria for a player to become a Grandmaster. He or she must take part in an international competition where other Grandmasters play and end up with an Elo rating, which reflects a skill level of at least 2400. Alina achieved a total of three of these norms on February 8 at Russia’s biggest chess tournament, the Moscow Open. This entitles the 15-year-old to receive the honorary title. The Russian Chess Federation will send a request to FIDE’s next congress. In 2007 Kashlinskaya became Europe’s youngest International Master, which is one step lower then Grandmaster in FIDE’s rankings. Alina is a determined player who wants to get to the top of the chess ladder. She said: “It has always been not only a sport but also a kind of art. I want to reach every high goal there is, to win every possible thing.” The youngest ever female Grandmaster is Hou Yifan, who was 14-years-old when she achieved the honour.