Joseph Levine receives IM Norm certificate.

Joseph Levine achieves third IM Norm

Congratulations to Washington State junior chess player Joseph Levine, who recently achieved the third and final norm required for the FIDE International Master (IM) title, at a tournament in Budapest, Hungary! He achieved the first two required norms last year and earlier this year at events in Los Angeles. Here’s a summary of the three events, with links to results:

Norm #1:

Norm #2:

Norm #3:

Joseph also has previous international tournament experience at the 2016 Intermat BC vs. WA (Vancouver, Canada) and at the 2017 Pan American (San Jose, Costa Rica).

His current US Chess rating is 2360 (with the National Master and Life Master titles – see, and his current FIDE rating is 2371 (with the FIDE Master title – see Note that his new IM title will take some time to be approved at the next FIDE council meeting.

Here are some photos from the Budapest tournament: (with commentary by Lisa Levine)

5.5/9 points were needed for an IM norm. Joseph had 4.5 points after round 7, so we felt pretty good. But then he lost round 8 playing black. For round 9 he got another black and was paired against the highest player in the 16-person Swiss, so we didn’t feel too hopeful. Charles (Joseph’s dad) messaged him the night before to ask what his strategy was going to be. Joseph texted back: “play relatively fast, complicate things, try to find a couple miracles.”

Well, we got the miracle!

The first picture shows the players adjusting the pieces and shows that there was a spacious place to play with the boards spread out on separate tables.

Levine before game starts.

The second picture shows when I peeked into the room and saw the opponent looking stressed, which made me think Joseph might have a chance.

Levine game in progress.

The third picture is the arbiter giving me a thumbs up after confirming the norm.  He was super nice and felt bad that Joseph got black against the top player for the final round but that’s what the pairing program gave. 

Levine: The arbiter gives a thumbs up!

The fourth picture is the organizer (GM Attila Czebe), Joseph holding the norm certificate, and the arbiter (IA David Bela). 

The organizer, Joseph Levine, and the arbiter.

It’s been a great experience coming to Budapest for chess. Everyone has been so nice, and Joseph has made a couple of new chess friends from other countries. The tournaments have been well run, but they are much tougher than I realized they’d be. Each tournament typically has three GMs and several FMs and IMs who are fighting hard to get norms, so it’s a very competitive, almost tense situation.