Justus Williams earns 3rd IM norm!

Justus Williams, Webster University
Photo by Paul Truong (SPICE)

FIDE Master Justus Williams has had an interesting ride in his chess career. Coming from Bronx, New York, he became a National Master at 12, starred in “Brooklyn Castle” in 2013, won the Junior Open back later in the same year along with many state titles. Apart from his scholastic success (including championships in K6, K8, K12, Cadet), he is now completing his freshman year as an International Relations/Economics major at Webster University.

Chess Life (July 2012)

Last weekend earned his third and final International Master (IM) norm after tying for first place with FM Joel Banawa at the St. Louis Winter IM Invitational. Both scored 6.5/9 and Banawa earned a norm as well. A graduate of the Bronx School of Science and Technology, he earned his 1st norm at North American Youth Chess Championship, his second norm at the North American Youth Chess Championship, and is only required to get his FIDE rating over 2400 to have the title conferred.

Justus has long had the idea of becoming a Grandmaster, and his goal is within reach at Webster University. He won a scholarship to attend the University of Maryland-Baltimore County (UMBC), but chose Webster as a place to pursue his dream. He has appeared on TMZ and car commercials, but now has his eye on a lofty goal of becoming a Grandmaster. Webster’s SPICE organization has been a force in shaping his play and Susan Polgar told The Chess Drum that Justus has been proactive in improving his play and the results have paid off. They certainly have.

Webster University’s New York “Dream Team” FM Justus Williams, Shawn Swindell, FM Josh Colas at 2016 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

New Yorkers FM Justus Williams, Shawn Swindell, FM Josh Colas of Webster University at the 2016 World Open. Photo by Daaim Shabazz

Justus’ last norm received lots of congratulatory remarks and certainly a bit of celebration by his grandmother Pamela “Nana” Ballard and his mother Latisha Ballard-Williams. While St. Louis may be called the “capital city” of chess in America, New York can certainly put up a strong argument on the talent it has produced. Justus has made his presence felt in St. Louis and hopefully the Grandmaster title remains in his sights.

Congratulations Justus!

Official Website: https://www.uschesschamps.com/
Coverage: https://chess24.com/
Results (USCF): https://www.uschess.org/

2017 St. Louis Winter IM Invitational
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Final Standings (Overall)
Rank Name Fed. Rating 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Score
1 FM Banawa, Joel USA 2370 x 1  ½  ½  0  1  ½  1  1  1  6.5
2 FM Williams, Justus D USA 2333 0  x 1  ½  1  ½  1  1  1  ½  6.5
3 FM Gauri, Shankar IND 2306 ½  0  x ½  1  1  ½  ½  ½  ½  5.0
4 FM Colas, Joshua USA 2317 ½  ½  ½  x 1  0  ½  1  ½  0  4.5
5 Grabinsky, Aaron USA 2372 1  0  0  0  x 0  1  0  1  1  4.0
6 IM Neimer, Vitaly ISR 2356 0  ½  0  1  1  x ½  0  ½  ½  4.0
7 IM Young, Angelo PHI 2295 ½  0  ½  ½  0  ½  x ½  ½  1  4.0
8 IM Brooks, Michael A USA 2384 0  0  ½  0  1  1  ½  x 0  ½  3.5
9 FM Hua, Lefong CAN 2333 0  0  ½  ½  0  ½  ½  1  x ½  3.5
10 FM Eckert, Doug D. USA 2135 0  ½  ½  1  0  ½  0  ½  ½  x 3.5
View Games at chess24.com!


  1. I love this story, Justus KEEP up the good work and I believe your deam of becoming a GM will be reached in the next twelve months.

  2. In less than a year, the SPICE program at Webster University is showing that given the opportunity and proper training, black chess players will ascend. Congratulations Justus!

  3. Congrads Justus you are the man,and thank you Daaim for all the years you have provided us with a way to keep up with these young brotha, without you and your commitment I am not sure I would know how to keep up with us in the world of chess.

  4. Congrats!

    Looking at his FIDE card, what does it mean when it says his IM title has been applied for in Athens, Greece at the 1st quarter Presidential Board meeting?
    Is it normal to apply before the candidate crosses 2400?

  5. Congratulations from the Jamaican Chess community. We are rooting for you. Continue to be ambitious, believe in yourself, put your shoulder to the wheel (or pawns/pieces!) and the results, including the GM title, will come.

  6. I wonder if he got another norm with 6/9 on Monday 6-25. Not that he even needs another norm lol.
    I also wonder about Josh Colas with 5.5/9

    I don’t think either one of them captured any scalps this time though.

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