Ray Robson is the youngest chess master in the history of the state of Florida. He was awarded the FIDE Master (FM) title in June of 2005 after tying for first place at the Pan American Youth Chess Championship in Brazil. He earned the US Chess Federation (USCF) National Master (NM) title in January of 2006 by raising his chess rating above 2200 (the minimum required for the title of National Master). In 2004, at the age of nine, Ray defeated his first National Master in tournament play. In 2005 he defeated his first International Master (IM), and in 2006 he defeated his first Grandmaster (GM). Ray earned his first IM norm on November 3, 2007, in Chicago, Illinois; he earned his second IM norm 24 days later in Antalya, Turkey; and he earned his third IM norm 13 days after that (December 10) in Dallas, Texas. After learning in March of 2008 that the Turkey norm would not be allowed, he earned a replacement norm at the Reykjavik Open in Iceland a few days later (March 12), making him the current youngest IM in the United States.
Ray has won seven national scholastic titles (including regulation events and blitz events) before retiring from national scholastic competition in 2006. He has represented the United States in international scholastic events since 2004. Ray has finished in the top ten at the World Youth Chess Championship every year that he has participated (2004 to present), and he tied for first place in the 2005 and 2006 Pan American Youth Chess Championships.
Ray also plays in some of the major open tournaments in the United States. He finished in the top ten both at the 2006 National Chess Congress in Philadelphia and at the 2006 North American Open in Las Vegas. Ray's performance at the former event qualified him for the 2007 U.S. Chess Championship, making him the youngest player in the history of the event to participate.
Now that he has secured the IM title, Ray’s plan is to earn the GM title. In order to do this, he will need play in more international events. We’re hoping that there will be more opportunities in the United States; however, we know that we’ll have to spend more time overseas for Ray to have the best chance of earning his three norms. I’ll use this blog (thanks, MonRoi!) to keep you updated on Ray’s progress and on other chess news as it relates to my son, Ray Robson.
Update (September 19, 2008):
Ray's had an upward surge. Ordinarily, he plays in only one event each month; however, there were two recent events in our home state that were relatively easy to attend. At the start of this month, Ray tied for first place with GM Julio Becerra at the Florida State Championship. Two weeks later, he tied for first with GM Darmen Sadvakasov of Kazakhstan at the Miami Open (Ray won the title - his first major title - by defeating Sadvakasov in an armageddon playoff). For his recent efforts, he's moved his USCF rating solidly into the 2500s.
P.s. If the first part of this entry reminds you of the Wikipedia article, that’s because I authored that part on the Wiki site. I stopped contributing when others continued to add items that were either inaccurate or poorly written. I’m happy to have some space to list actual facts, and I’m also going to encourage Ray to contribute as much as he can to this blog.