John Bartholomew tops group but narrowly misses out on second GM norm

By Leon Watson / On / In Chess news, Chessable news

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He almost did it – but Chessable’s own John Bartholomew fell just short of winning a hard-fought second GM norm today.

The Scandi king put in a phenomenal performance on the final day of the Charlotte Chess Center’s GM/IM Norm Invitational tournament to top his group above three GMs and the much talked about Indian super talent Ramesh Praggnanandhaa.

But when his final game ended in a hard-fought draw, he just missed out on the norm.

John Bartholomew at a chess club
John Bartholomew at a chess club

Unlucky John, it’s only a matter of time!

Going into rounds 8 and 9, John was out in front on 5/7 needing to hit the 6.5 mark to pick up the norm.

In round 8 John faced 2430-rated IM Denis Schmeliov, and picked up a vital half-point with this quick 24-move draw in the Slav Defense, covered in his 1.d4 Repertoire for White:

That left John with everything to do in the final round – an all-or-nothing win with black was needed against the teenage IM David Brodsky (2405), a player he hadn’t faced in classical chess before.

Going into it he tweeted:

So #finittiwinit it was and John received a host of replies urging him on. Among those wishing him good luck were the Ginger GM Simon Williams:

The English IM Lawrence Trent also pitched in along with the host of the Perpetual Chess podcast, Ben Johnson, and yours truly.

Here’s how the game went:

Afterwards, John tweeted:

John has been made to wait for his second norm. He picked up his first GM norm in December 2013 at the Saint Louis Classic so when it does happen we expect he’ll be very pleased.

The final results table from the Charlotte Chess Center event
The final results table from the Charlotte Chess Center event

John, of course, is co-founder of this chess training site and an avid user. The Minnesota master has also authored several chess opening books here including his hugely popular 1.d4 Repertoire for White and his IM John Bartholomew’s Scandinavian opening trainer. The title for that may have to change soon, we hope.

All that remains to be said is another well done to John for getting so close – you’re an inspiration to so many chess players here and we’re proud of you.

Now go and get that norm… make it GM John!

About Leon Watson

Leon is a national newspaper journalist from London, England. He is an avid chess fan, and writes regularly about the game. Apart from chess, he loves cricket, Tottenham Hotspur FC and spending time with his son.
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