This featured game was a very important game for FM Stephen Muhammad as he faced veteran GM Sergey Kudrin in the 5th round of the U.S. Championship. Below Muhammad reflects on his experience.* * *
"Seattle played host to the 2003 U. S. Closed Championship from January 8-20. What a thrill it was for me to compete with some of the top players in the country. I thank God for being able to play in such a prestigious event and for faring so well against such high-rated opponents.
I was undefeated until my eighth round encounter with last year's U.S. champion GM Christiansen. I finished the tournament with a score of five from a possible nine, which was good enough for my third and final International Master norm.
The following game was my best from the event and was a huge confidence booster for me. I really wanted to play well in this round-five encounter so that I could enter the rest day with a good score."