Farai Mandizha has been on the U.S. tournament circuit a few years and has developed a reputation on the east coast. The New York-based player from Zimbabwe is perhaps known for his acute skills in blitz, but he has been putting together some solid results in major tournaments. Having a Hikaru Nakamura scalp on his resume and one IM norm under his belt, Mandizha set forth to compete in the New York International. He scored well in the Chicago Open, but was out of norm contention.
The New York International was the site for many strong players including a contingent from India. In fact, Mandizha would face the top seed in GM Surya Ganguly. In total, he would play seven Grandmasters and was in contention for a GM norm until the end. He would lose to GM Robert Hess, but would secure a second IM norm with a round to spare.
Mandizha put himself on good pace by beating GM Alexander Shabalov and Ganguly in succession. He then tried to beat Ehlvest with black, but was unable to keep the momentum and loss. However it is this type of determination that is needed to reach the next level. Mandizha could not recreate his magic in the next three rounds getting three straight draws.
While he had already clinched an IM norm, he was forced to get a win against an 18-year rising star in Hess. This proved to be too high of a barrier and he would have to walk away with only the IM norm.
Results for FM Farai Mandizha
beat Andy Applebaum (unr., USA)
draw GM Mark Paragua (2497, Philippines)
beat GM Alexander Shabalov (2585, USA)
beat GM Surya Ganguly (2672, India)
loss GM Jaan Ehlvest (2591, USA)
draw GM Sundaraja Kidambi (2520, India)
draw IM Dean J Ippolito (2480, USA)
draw GM Rashad Babaev (2543, Azerbaijan)
loss GM Robert L Hess (2590, USA)
Score: 5-4 (IM norm)