Shelev Oberoi receives IM norm at Diesen Memorial

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Courtesy of Jeff DiOrio

The mark of this monument Invitational took place in Chicago from September 16th to 20th. Named in honor of the late 1987 World Junior Champion IM Mark Diesen (1957-2008), the ten-man round robin was one of the first norm events in Chicago since the death of international organizer Sevan Muradian (1976-2016). Both men were giants of regional chess and the void they left is only now beginning to be filled.

The field was a wonderful combination of Chicagoland’s best players, young sensations from around the country, veteran title players and a friend of Mark’s, who was playing in his first classical chess tournament in over six years. Everyone gathered at the Elite Chess Center with different goals but a common desire to play their best chess.

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Courtesy of Jeff DiOrio

The players came out with six crucial results in the first two rounds. In round three, Chicago’s Jonathan Kogen caused the surprise of the tournament by defeating GM Vladimir Georgiev and putting himself in the norm competition.

As is well known, Georgiev would recover well and remain undefeated in the last six rounds.

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Courtesy of Jeff DiOrio

Round four featured the ever-rare knight-bishop checkmate, with Mexico’s IM Roberto Martin Del Campo executing the pattern to perfection against Chicago native Aakaash Meduri.

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Local legends FM Gauri Shankar (L) and Aakaash Meduri face off.

In round five, Kogen faced Shelev Oberoi, who joined Kogen at the top of the leaderboard with 3½/4. The match did not disappoint, as Shelev sacrificed a pawn for a pair of bishops that would eventually help him gain a piece. Now, with 4½ points after five rounds, Oberoi’s dreams of an IM norm were beginning to materialize.

In rounds five and six, Dr. Eric Moskow his famous preparation and brilliant endgame technique to achieve back-to-back wins over Meduri and Kogen.

While most high-level players stop competing in their 60s, Dr. Moscow did the opposite by re-entering the gladiator arena at the age of 64.

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Courtesy of Jeff DiOrio

En route to the finals, Oberoi, who is taking a gap year from school to focus on chess, found himself just a point off his coveted second international masters norm. He and HThis family is all-in at chess. His mother, whose dissertation was entitled, “Using Chess as an intervention to Improve Executive Function Among Youth” is the epitome of support. But even with a lot of people in his corner, defeating Cuban IM Pedro Rodriguez Rivera with the black pieces would not be an easy task.

The fight that ensued captivated everyone in attendance, as well as those watching the event live online. In the end, Oberoi’s strong knight outposts were enough to give them a tactical advantage. Then, with less than two minutes on his watch, he found all the right moves to navigate a complex ending and emerged victorious. The International Master Standard was his!

Elite Chess strives to provide regular round-robin opportunities to players of all walks of life. Information on upcoming events can be found here: https://www.elitechess.net/tournaments

Notes by JJ Lang

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