Colas bags GM norm in Vegas!

God is good! When I least expected it, Josh surprised us. He earned his first GM and IM norm in The North American Open in Vegas.

~Guy Colas

Guy Colas will tell anyone within earshot that his son Josh Colas has always had the potential to excel at chess. An ardent advocate, he has looked for avenues to help Josh realize his dream to be an International Grandmaster. After thousands of games, some successes and some disappointments, Josh has never stopped in his pursuit of his chess goals.

“My parents constantly remind me that if I work hard
and believe in myself, nothing is impossible.”

Josh went to the North American Open coming off a strong performance at the Marshall Chess Club Championship getting +3. At the North American Chess Open in Las Vegas, he only lost to Gata Kamsky, but earned his best result scoring a GM norm with 6.5/9 against five GMs (+1), two IMs (+1), one WGM (+1) and one FM (+1). Thus, Josh had earned a GM norm after clinching the IM norm with two rounds to spare.

New York is buzzing after the sensational performance by White Plains native. The likable senior at White Plains High School is currently deciding on which university he will chose to further his ambitions. Not long ago we knew him as “JoshuKid” but the 17-year old has grown up! He has not only grown since the time he started chess at age 7, but he now boasts a USCF rating of 2487!

Here is Josh blitzing with his father (Guy Colas) at the 2006 World Open. This was the year he started playing. He’s all grown up now. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Josh Colas about to start his first international game against Ravishen Singh of Trinidad. The game was drawn.

Josh Colas about to start his first international game against former National Champion Ravishen Singh at the 2010 Caribbean Chess Carnival in Port of Spain, Trinidad. He scored 5½-3½ including a win over FM Ryan Harper. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Justus Williams, Josh Colas, Jehron Bryant, Nigel Bryant in action at the 2010 U.S. Amateur Team Championship. Don’t even try it! Photo by Elizabeth Vicary.

Josh has remained vigilant in his pursuit of chess excellence. Those who know Josh will understand how hard he works on his game, but in 2014, he fell into a mini-slump. After a dismal last-pace showing at the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed, Guy moved into action to repair his son’s confidence. “I got him the tools he needed,” stated the elder Colas.

It has also taken Josh to reel in his Dad not to lobby so hard in social media. Guy had developed a reputation for voicing his discontent at the lack of training opportunities and norm invitations. According to Guy, Josh told him, “Dad don’t say anything. What’s mine will come. We have to help ourselves.” Very prophetic words indeed.

It has been a gradual process and the Vegas result seems to be a breakthrough. Josh has been between 2350-2430 since first reaching 2400 in 2012. Josh appeared to be playing purely on talent until he established a more organized regiment of study and preparation.

The Colas Family at the 2011 World Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Open Section. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Josh Colas and James Black, Jr. conferring at 2012 World Open.
Always looking to improve!
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

What lies ahead for Josh Colas? Certainly, the recent loss of his loving grandmother Lia Colas was devastating and it appears that this result is a fitting tribute in her honor. Earlier this year, the Colas family launched a campaign to support his quest for the GM title and they are plotting a course which includes international activity.

Josh has always wanted to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), but of course a decision will have to be made on how he will reach his chess goals. After his graduation next spring, he will have time to compete in a number of norm tournaments. Since norms sometimes come in bunches, it will not be a surprise if Josh earns additional norms in 2016. He has the demeanor and the promise and this result is a glimpse of the future.

Kudos to Drum Major… FM Josh Colas!

FM Josh Colas (2245-USA)
# Player ELO Nation
1 GM Oliver Barbosa 2518 Philippines
2 FM Joshua Sheng 2423 USA
3 GM Gata Kamsky 2669 USA
4 WGM Jue Wang 2364 China
5 IM Denys Shmelov 2420 Ukraine
6 GM Jianchao Zhou 2606 China
7 GM Bai Jinshi 2502 China
8 IM Ruifeng Li 2460 USA
9 GM Jeffery Xiong 2575 USA
Score: 6½-2½ (GM NORM)


  1. Thank you Daaim! Imma repeat it, Josh can be discussed in the same breath as Naka, Caruana and Magnus. But because of who he is, the road to destiny is made to be more difficult. But, I believe, he’ll get to what is promised to him. Let’s continue to be patient. Hopefully, you will not be the only person who acknowledges that he’s a strange one for sure.

  2. I know Josh will try to press me on this but he’ll let me pass because deep inside he knows I speak from love for him and those coming behind him. Don’t expect folks to talk about his feat like they did for others.

  3. He got an encouraging request from Columbia U , but he decided that he’ll go with Webster, He will major in Comp Science and pursuit his dream to be the first Black GM to dare to challenge the world best.

    1. That’s fine. Ivy League is not for everyone and I would not recommend them in all cases. What matters is whether the environment will result in a desired outcome. Of course MIT, Carnegie-Mellon and CalTech are the best computer science schools, but Josh has a supplementary goal. If one of the goals is chess-oriented then it is narrowed down to about a dozen competitive schools. Many of the highly-touted schools come with a price… particularly if you feel isolated. Very unfortunate cases exist at a number of campuses that are not sensitive to the needs of smaller ethnic segments. Not sure how Webster handles these issues.

      As a professor I always tell parents not to evaluate schools only based on names, facilities, Nobel laureates or prestige. Go where the student can feel comfortable and reach their potential. Webster has some benefits for Josh, namely the chess support system. Lindenwood and St. Louis University also have chess programs there so he will get plenty of competition. BTW, I have a family friend I want him to meet.

  4. From what I understand Webster is academically respected.

    I know their chess training facilities are absolutely top notch as Paul Truong was kind enough to give me a tour last time I was in St. Louis.

    1. Most definitely.

      My point is that good facilities and academic programs are one thing, but it does not always amount to a successful matriculation or pleasant experience. It is often the intangibles… city, extracurricular activities, informal support, etc. St. Louis is a decent city… but not too big, not too small. Of course, the support system at Webster will make a huge difference… and Susan is a nurturer. I’m sure Josh also knows that there is a familiar face in Shawn Swindell there. Susan and Paul have put together good systems at Texas Tech and Webster. It is hopeful that Josh will find a good fit at Webster. I will be visiting him if he decides to attend there.

  5. Congratulations from the Jamaica Chess fraternity. We are proud of Josh’s accomplishments and know that the sky truly is the limit. The talent is obviously present and once the ambition, hard work and determination are thrown in and the support (family, friends et al) remains in place he can became a part of the world elite! Nothing is impossible once the necessary resources can be found so that he can travel and play in Europe etc.! Best wishes for a magnificent 2016!

    1. Years ago, I had been trying to get our three Js (Josh, Justus and James) to come to Jamaica, but it is not always easy to pull such things off. Josh had a successful trip to Trinidad years back. Maybe one day he will return to the Caribbean. BTW, his ancestry is Haitian! 🙂

  6. Daaim,

    Perhaps they can target the Jamaica International Open for the second week of October, 2017. As currently planned it is going to be a nine-round event with norm possibilities as GMs and IMs will be participating. The fact that it is more than a year and a half away allows for proper planning.

  7. I can’t promise but, I’ll do my best to see if Josh can make it Ian! I am sure he wouldn’t mind mixing it up with the Jamaican brothers.

  8. Goodness!

    …And here I was waiting on your first IM norm and you blow it out of the water with a GM norm! Congrats!

  9. His FIDE rating is now a career high 2374. Is this the result of the Vegas event? That would be a 129 point jump in one event. Or did he play a tournament outside of USCF record-keeping?

    1. Dunno Patzer, havent practiced with the fide gms in any of their traditional events, just on the ICC with Dlugy and da boyz wonder if Phasor still on there learnin? dunno fides requirements , UM more into chess itself although i do see a few of them tryna learn some of my trickie knightmoves lol Buffaloians?

  10. Actually, I’ve seen it reported that he got his GM norm “…with room to spare…”. That means his TPR was well over 2600.

    1. oh good to know!. however in ULTRAMODERNISM we o concern ourselves primarily with the “Quality of Chess” not whether or not u can beat some dudes in a practice event but its nice to win a competition or 2 thats understood u still gotta do some real work to really be good at the game.

  11. Mikhail,
    Josh played in the Marshall Chess Club Championship (FIDE Rated) and then played in the North American Open. He did well in both tournaments, especially in the NAO open where his TPR was well over 2600.

  12. Well yeah clearly as talented a player as anyone out there, ive seen a some of Josh’s Chess, perhaps we may get our own playchess site for proper training so we can reach our COMPETITVE APEX!!!

  13. Adia , wei yi is 2700+ , josh is only a mere 2400? So what is all this Ultratalkin yall doin in NY and St. Louie? oh Nappy Hew Years drummas!

  14. Congratulations Josh on the GM norm! All this talk about school choices— please focus on your goals(chess+) and increase your options and flexibility. M.I.T. and other serious schools will be open to you for graduate school. Keep up your strong efforts! Keep it Fresh!! Best, Kimani A. Stancil

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