16-year old Alan Merry, playing in the IM section of the Big Slick tournament that ended yesterday, has recorded his first IM norm! In an outstanding performance, Alan won six games and drew three, to score 7½/9. In fact Alan achieved his norm with a round to spare, as he reached the required target of seven points after only eight rounds.
Photo: © John Upham Photography
Alan’s current Elo rating is 2237, but in this event, the average rating of his opponents was 2241; indeed he was fifth seed of the ten competitors.
Alan’s best win was against Lithuanian IM Gediminas Sarakauskas (2404), but he also beat IM Jack Rudd and drew with IM Gyula Meszaros from Hungary.
All of Alan’s games can be downloaded from the Big Slick website or by clicking here (scroll down to IM section). Alan tends to grind down his opponents with precise play, waiting to pounce on the smallest error. This was a good example from his seventh round game against Caspar Bates. In the position below, with material level, Alan has just played the innocuous 45… N(h4) to f5.
Caspar replied 46. Kg1??, whereupon Alan swiftly despatched him with 46… Rc1+ 47. Kf2 Ng3 0-1. Mate on f1 cannot be prevented.
Let’s hope Alan can gain two more IM norms in the coming months to add to his growing honours list (which includes becoming Suffolk Champion at age 14).