Tuesday, July 14, 2015

IM Justin Sarkar Obtains Third GM Norm

In 2009, I wrote about International Master Justin Sarkar's "perfect game." IM Sarkar has been pursuing the Grandmaster title for several years, capturing his first GM norm in the 2006 Marshall Chess Club Championship and earning his second GM norm in the 2013 U.S. Masters Championship. IM Sarkar obtained his third and final required GM norm in the May 2015 UTB Grandmaster Norm tournament, so he will receive the GM title once he pushes his FIDE rating to the 2500 level.

IM Sarkar wrote an article for Chess Life Online about his excellent performance in the May 2015 UTB Grandmaster Norm tournament and that article included his round four win against GM Holden Hernandez. In the fifth round, IM Sarkar polished off IM Joshua Ruiz from the black side of the Caro-Kann. The Ruiz game is interesting not only because of how smoothly IM Sarkar defeated IM Ruiz without allowing any counterplay but also because of some thoughts that IM Sarkar shared with me about the etiquette of making draw offers during tournament play. As a strong club player (2100+ USCF), I have noticed that in local events (and even in some larger regional events), players either do not know the correct draw offer etiquette or else they disregard it. The proper method for a player to offer a draw is to make a move, say "I offer a draw" and then hit the clock, enabling the opponent to consider the draw offer undisturbed on his own time. If the opponent declines the draw offer, it is inappropriate to offer a draw again unless you have subsequently declined a draw offer or unless the position has substantially changed since you made your first offer. It is unacceptable to offer a draw (or communicate with your opponent in any way, other than to say "I resign") when your opponent's clock is running and it is unacceptable to harass your opponent with repeated draw offers.

IM Sarkar submitted these comments about his game versus IM Ruiz:

Here's my round 5 game as black against IM Joshua Ruiz. It was played just after my fine win round 4 against GM Holden Hernandez. As hinted in the (CLO) article, I felt it was also a "convincing win" by me.

On move 23 (after playing 23.Rh3), he offered me a draw. This might have bothered me slightly, because I knew that my position was better, possibly significantly better as I correctly realized (and I think there was no extenuating factor to justify the offer, such as me being significantly down on time). However, since it was made just after making his move (and just that one time), I didn't really have a problem nor read much into it.  

As for draw offers, unfortunately there have been players who violate the basic etiquette involved in offering, especially by offering during my thinking time (even a professional GM did that to me in the last year, from a position where I was much better but not yet clearly winning, while taking a long time to decide on my move). While I prefer to be shown proper respect in when to offer me a draw, especially by lower rated opponents (such as, not offering in a situation where I'm likely to decline), by far most important to me is for proper protocol to be followed. "Proper respect" in this context means different things depending on rating level: lower rated players should generally not offer draws unless they have a better, risk-free type of position (but are content with a draw) or they have a significant advantage on the clock and they consider their position at least acceptable, while equally rated players and higher rated players should not offer draws from a clearly worse position, except perhaps if they enjoy a big time advantage.

Regarding proper protocol, generally, offering in the midst of my thinking time is a no-no (except, maybe in a situation where I'm virtually certain to accept, such as when it's clear the opponent is the one pressing me), as is offering more than once before receiving one (except, again, maybe in a situation where I'm almost certain to accept the second one, such as my position being clearly worse or me being on the worse side of a drawn ending). As for the draw offer timing, if on a given move I'm taking a "long think" (as with that GM), getting impatient for me to move is not an excuse for offering a draw while I'm thinking. It's very distracting (except, maybe if I'm thinking for a long time on how to try and defend a worse or lost position; however such offers have usually come when my position is equal or better, including by lower rated players). Offering during their thinking time is also improper but not as bad, as I always have the option to just say nothing and let their clock run (or simply tell them to first make a move), while having the option to consider after their move on that turn.
IM Joshua Ruiz - IM Justin Sarkar [B12]
UTB Grandmaster Norm Tournament 5/15/13 (5)

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 Bf5 4.h4 h5 5.c4 e6 6.Nc3 Ne7 7.Nge2 Nd7 8.Ng3 Bg6 9.Be2 dc4 10.Nxh5 Nxe5 11.de5 Qxd1+ 12.Kxd1 Bxh5 13.g4 Bg6 14.Bxc4 0-0-0+ 15.Ke1 Rd4 16.Be2 Nd5 17.Nxd5 Rxd5 18.Bf4 Bb4+ 19.Kf1 Bd2 20.Bg3 Rc5 21.b3 Rc2 22.Bd1 Rb2 23.Rh3 Rd8 24.Bh2 Rd3 25.Rxd3 Bxd3+ 26.Kg2 Bc3 27.Rc1 Bd2 28.Ra1 Bc3 29.Rc1 Bd4 30.Bg3 Rxa2 31.Bf3 Rb2 32.Bd1 a5 33.h5 Kd7 34.g5 Be3 0-1

IM Sarkar adds that 10.Nxh5 is "dubious, though a consistent follow-up, and his 9.Be2 was a slightly dubious novelty, maybe decided upon at the board." 

No comments: