Zimbabwe’s Farai Mandizha tied for first place in the strong Liberty Bell Open this past weekend. GM Alexander Shabalov, GM Sergey Kudrin and IM Marc Esserman also score atop the field with 5.5/7.
Mandizha earned his third IM norm last year and is still waiting on conferral of his title. In this tournament, he showed his strength by beating Kudrin in a critical fifth round bout. He then beat the famed blitz legend Yaacov Norowitz before taking a bye in the last round. Mandizha’s USCF rating is now approaching 2500.
There were a number of notable performances by 12-year old scholastic players Justus Williams and Josh Colas. Both played strong fields and with a respectable 3/7 in the Open section, were able to gain on their new-claimed Master’s ratings. It is interesting that both Justus and Josh played to a hard-fought draw in the last round. There is a bright future ahead for both of these players!