Becerra defends Florida title

GM Julio Becerra

The Florida State Championship was held at the picturesque Rosen Shingles Creek in Orlando, Florida. Players from the length and breadth of the state came to compete in the tournament traditionally held during Labor Day weekend. The beautiful hotel complex sit adjacent to a golf course and includes a nature trail. The venue will move to Naples next year.

GM Julio Becerra has been the long-standing Florida State champion since 2006 and successfully defending his title on Labor Day weekend. The Cuban native and Miami resident took two draws in the last two rounds to coast to victory with a final 5/6. There was a four-way tie for second with John Nardandrea, Robert Perez, Dalton Perrine and Peter Dyson all ending on 4.5/6. The tournament had approximately 160 participants with many scholastic players in the class sections.

Tournament Report

Robson promotes “Chess Child”

Daaim Shabazz with GM Ray Robson.

During the tournament, 15-year old Grandmaster Ray Robson came to the tournament to sign copies of his Dad’s new book on him titled, “Chess Child”. Dr. Gary Robson told The Chess Drum that the idea evolved over a five-year period as he began to watch Ray progress. The book is not a collection of games, but a story about Ray’s development and the challenges Dr. Robson faced raising a young child while also completing his doctoral studies.

The self-published book has gotten favorable reviews in the chess press. While it is much more difficult to move such a book, the Robsons have been making appearances. The book seems to provide lessons of life and parenting as much as how to raise a chess prodigy.

Ray told The Chess Drum that his next tournament will be the Spice Cup which will be held in November 5-7 at Texas Tech University.

GM Ray Robson with his father, Dr. Gary Robson.
For more information on the book, visit Nipa Hut Press.


  1. I played a blitz game with Ray who was trouncing everyone else. It was interesting as I couldn’t resist playing a gambit against his French. I got a good position, but took too long and flagged. He asked to see the position in a game I just played against Peter Dyson. It was an interesting analysis session as he has some fresh ideas. Hopefully, he’ll get support needed to determine how far he can go in chess.

    I remember riding back to the 2010 World Open at Valley Forge Convention Center with Norman “Pete” Rogers. we had just had lunch at a mall in between rounds. We saw two people walking and it was Gary and Ray Robson. Pete offered them a lift. We asked why they were walking and they said the hotel they booked was several blocks away and there was no shuttle so they walked each day! Ray was a very pleasant demeanor, but seems a bit shy at times.

  2. Jeremy,

    I love to play dashing attacks with sacrifices and nice mates, but I like to play these type of endgames. Many years ago, I read the book by John Nunn, John Watson and Jonathan Speelman called, ” The Encyclopedia of Chess Endings.” It was a thick book and it was fascinating to go through all of the different types of endings. No margin for error and so many nice subtleties. After that experience (when my rating was higher), I felt comfortable trading off and going into the ending to squeeze wins. When I was a junior player, all I wanted to do was sacrifice pieces and checkmate the opponent. I believe the study of positional chess and endings is a lost art.

    Thanks for your contribution!

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