IM Kassa Korley preparing for the Round 9 game against GM Tiger Hillarp Persson.
Photo by Dansk Skak Union.
Kassa Korley has been fiercely competing in norm tournaments in an attempt to earn his 3rd and final Grandmaster norm. The New York City (Harlem) native created a stir while earning his second GM norm at the Extracon with a brilliancy against Alexander Moiseenko. Most recently, he found himself at the Smuk Skak Invitational in Skanderborg, Denmark. There was a Twitter post about his 8th-round game.
Kassa Korley, trying to become the 2nd African American GM after Maurice Ashley, was THIS CLOSE to his final GM norm in Smuk Skak. What is the only winning move here?— Not GM Hammer (@NotGMHammer) August 21, 2022
Korley gets one more chance today, but he has to beat GM Tiger Hillarp Persson with Black.#chess @thechessdrum pic.twitter.com/PFdOGXGtoI
What is the winning continuation?
Many times in a hard-fought game, it is easy to miss these tactics when one can see this in seconds without the added pressure. The game against Ukrainian IM Yevgeniy Roshka could’ve ended with 48.Bg6+! winning after the black king is forced to take the g5-pawn (48…Kxg5 49.Bf7+ winning the rook or 48…Kh4 49.Rh8+ Kxg5 50.Rh5+ Kxg6 51.Rxd5 winning the exchange).
That was a near miss and would’ve put Kassa at 6/8 with only another 1/2-point needed for the norm. His last round game was a must-win for the norm against Swedish GM Tiger Hillarp-Persson. The “Killer Catalan” pioneered by the likes of Vladimir Kramnik was on the board. White’s 23.g4!? was a bold attempt to put black on his back foot and he appeared slightly better. Then 27.Nxg6! netted white a pawn and it was clear that black could only play for one result. The game ended in a draw.
Kassa has played in many norm tournaments at the Charlotte Chess Center and last month he played in Biel, Switzerland. His past few tournaments have resulted in a steady increase in his Elo and in this tournament he stands to gain close to 20 points. While he missed the norm by 1/2-point, he scored +1 against the three GMs including this win in the 5th round.