William Morrison bags 3rd IM norm!

William Morrison
FM William Morrison
Photo by Daaim Shabazz

FM William Morrison has been on the chess scene for decades and is a veritable legend in both New York’s Black Bear tradition and in the Baltimore/DC area. He has been as active as his family life will allow and is about as proud and personable of a man as they come. These days he is committed to earning the coveted GM title and was fortunate to notch his third IM norm at the 2016 World Open. Without offering any bad puns, he capped off the tournament was a resounding win over GM Irina Krush. He ended on 6.5/9 with losses to eventual winner Hungary’s GM Gabor Papp and UCLA student Luke Harmon-Vellotti.

With a moniker of “Exterminator” he did some of this by uncorking some of his home preparation, particularly in his game against GM Ashwin Jayaram, a relatively new GM from India. Here is the game:

After this thrilling draw, Morrison was 3.5/5, but was disappointed at not getting the win. Immediately after the game, he mentioned that he saw the winning continuation, but also saw a fortress where white could not make progress. However, the adage goes, “even if you see the best line, make sure the opponent sees it too.” This game may have taken some of the energy out of Morrison as the missed opportunity lingered. He lost to Harmon-Vellotti before rattling off three consecutive wins against a 2100 player, IM Yury Lapshun and the aforementioned game with Krush.

In this game, Morrison trotted out the c3 Sicilian (combined with the Kopec) and Krush opted for a solid position that resembled the French Defense. However, Morrison got a big advantage in space and was able to position his pieces in an aggressive fashion. After optimizing his pieces came a venomous knight sacrifice with 29.Nf5! After leaving the board, Morrison continued calculating lines other than 29…exf5 which he though gave white an overwhelming attack. When he returned to the board he saw that Krush had indeed accepted the sack and after 30.e6! the black king came under heavy fire. Take a look.

Analyzing the win over six-time women’s champion GM Irina Krush.

The game came to an abrupt ending after 29.Nf5! exf5.
The Exterminator was pleasantly surprised!
Photos by Daaim Shabazz.

After the game, Morrison went to the skittles room to take a look and the analysis proved to be correct. However there was one other matter that needed attention. Did he earn his final norm? The arbiters stated that they were 95% certain, but of course he wanted to be sure. Upon calculation, it appears that an average 2320 opposition results in a 6.5-point IM norm. Thus, Morrison will have earned his third and only needs to breach the 2400 rating barrier. His high FIDE rating has been 2390 and high USCF rating has been 2535.

In an interview with The Chess Drum, Morrison stated that he will seek the GM title in the next couple of years to fulfill a lifelong dream.

Interview with FM William Morrison (5:58 minutes)

FM William Morrison (2295-USA)

# Player ELO Nation
1 Harshita Guddanti 2051 India
2 GM Gabor Papp 2596 Hungary
3 Siddharth G Banik 2181 USA
4 Brandon Nydick 2159 USA
5 GM Ashwin Jayaram 2460 India
6 IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti 2409 USA
7 Sanjay Ghatti 2150 USA
8 IM Yury Lapshun 2438 USA
9 GM Irina Krush 2443 USA
Score: 6½-2½ IM NORM


  1. LOL! Morrison back! Congrats to the brotha on his Norm accomplishment, but what is lil Krushie/ Krushie doin with my beautiful knight trick? haha ULTRAMODERNIST

  2. Nice Game from the “Exterminator” i just check it out at the Buffalo Public Library! lol just noticed the Na3c2d4!!! trick! hahaha funny stuff, the Buffalonians tellin me the traditional Gms still practicin my funny knight trick on ICC since i left there back in 2008 after i crushed them with that same trick from 1998-2008. I ran over to chess.com like UM Susan Polgar!!! hehe. Daaim ya wanna hear something funny? they dont call me ktazy anymore in buffalo for my knight idea, they used to tell me UM movin the knight too much and wasting time with it in the opening!!! hahahaha. i guess they impressed cuz anand and some of theses other dudes practicin my old knight idea! hahaha. anyways good to see William ULTRAINVOLVED!!! hahaha ULTRAMODERNIST.

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