Korley bags 2nd GM norm @ Xtracon Open

IM Kassa Korley in Copenhagen
Photo by xtraconchessopen.dk

IM Kassa Korley has been charting a course to the coveted GM title since graduating from Duke University a few years ago. After earning his first GM norm last June, he has recently played in a series of tournaments and his hard work is beginning to pay off.

Today at the Xtracon Chess Open (Helsingør, Denmark), Korley was informed that he earned his second GM norm after a very strong 7/10 result. He played six Grandmasters (+1-1=4) including his win over GM Alexander Moiseenko creating a buzz in social media. Moiseenko was once #22 in the world and reached a peak rating of 2726.

Pontus Carlsson weighed in on the game… “Very nice game by Kassa.” Carlsson was amazed by what appears to be Moiseenko’s decline from the elite level. “Fifteen years as top 25 and all destroyed in a bad year. It’s too cruel.”

It is true of Moiseenko’s fall from grace, but nothing could damage the luster on Korley’s win. The Chess Drum first learned of Korley’s participation in the tournament through this admiring tweet by Norwegian Grandmaster Johan Salomon.

When asked about the game, Korley told The Chess Drum,

“There is another game I played in the database from earlier this year vs GM Tanguy Ringoir in this line. I drew that game, but it was the same until move 15 or so.”

Unbeknownst to Korley, there was another game (with a different move order) played in Russia back in 1997 through move 19! In Karpeshov-Meister, white played 19.e5 instead of Moiseeko’s 19.Rad1 and was met by 19…Rxe5! In this game, black had five pawns for the piece, but failed to cash in the point.

When Korley was made aware, he stated, “Wow didn’t know about the game.” What was interesting was he had calculated the variation (from Karpeshov-Meister) during his game. “23.Bxg4 is a mistake. Qxg4 is stronger to keep the queens on with the attack raging.”

Korley executed his plan in a similar fashion and scored a resounding victory. Social media exploded with news of the win and the game was retweeted and shared countless times. It would be Kassa’s “Mona Lisa” game and would put a stamp on his norm performance.


“I will never play a more beautiful game.”
~Kassa Korley


Korley added that he had found the ideas in the Moissenko game after studying the Carlsbad structure in depth. He also studied games of Alpha Zero, a current trend. Game Changer, the book on Alpha Zero, has been met with rave reviews and World Champion Magnus Carlsen has mentioned reading the book and studying some of the analysis. He found the book enlightening.

Korley played a series of dynamic games including a nice win over FM Stephan Buchal where he sacrificed a pawn with 16…Nc5!? for dynamic play. “I had to win so took some risks. If I get two bishops, I feel there is usually enough play. I’m good with bishops.” said Korley. However, he was critical of trading rooks after the queen trade, but the game was well in hand.

All in all, it was a good tournament for Korley who notched his first GM norm just over a year ago. Of course, he has family in Denmark and it could have been a source of comfort, but Korley has been working very hard to improve and this is the result. “Hard work pays off,” said Korley in a Facebook post. If it is true that he may not play a more beautiful game, then this would be one he can take immense pride in.

After playing six GMs (five over 2600 and one 2575), he was pleased with his 50% performance against strong opposition. At the Chicago Open, Korley was playing blitz and his friends were teasing him about his style saying that he likes to win long, strategic games. It appears that Korley has reassessed his chess and displayed the dynamism that may vault him to the next level.

IM Kassa Korley (2437-DEN)
2019 Xtracon Chess Open
Helsingør (Denmark)
# Title Player ELO Fed
Flag
Result
1 RASMUSSEN, Morten Fredsgaard 1882 Denmark
1
2 KARLSSON, Jorgen 2114 Sweden
1
3 SCHWARZ, Frank 2224 Spain
1
4 GM MOISEENKO, Alexander 2628 Ukraine
1
5 GM KARTHIKEYAN , Murali 2613 India
½
6 GM TARI , Aryan 2620 Norway
½
7 GM MADS, Andersen 2605 Denmark
0
8 FM BUCHAL, Stephan 2260 Germany
1
9 GM LYSYJ, Igor 2623 Russia
½
10 GM HANSEN, Sune Berg 2575 Denmark
½
Score: 7/10 – GM NORM (Standings, Site)

Daaim Shabazz

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and webmaster of The Chess Drum. He serves as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds an MBA in Marketing and a doctorate in International Affairs & Development. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

One Comment

  1. oh Congrats on the win! however the na6c7e6g5xh3 sac is an old idea from ICC fom the early 2000s ULTRAMODERNIST vs the traditional gms
    [right Short?], ive always thought this trick gave the game a bit more “FLAVOR” hahaha, anyways its ok ,keep workin!!! BUBBAFISHA.

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