Muhammad gets last spot in U.S. Championship!

With four qualifying spots hanging in the balance, 658 players trekked to Las Vegas to compete in the North American Open December 26th-29th. IM-elect Stephen Muhammad made the trip and gained the last spot with a 4-2 score. Despite losing a last-round encounter against GM Jaan Ehlvest, he scored key wins over IMs James Rizzitano and Melikset Khachiyan to earn his third consecutive trip to the U.S. Championship.

Defending U.S. champion
GM Hikaru Nakamura won the tournament on 6-1 with a last-round win over GM Nikola Mitov. Muhammad made his initial appearance at the 2003 U.S. Championship turning in a stirring performance and clinching his 2nd IM norm. Muhammad will be looking to score a good result after a 4-5 showing in the 2005 U.S. Championship. Muhammad will join FM Emory Tate, who also qualified.

The U.S. Championship will be held in San Diego, California (USA), February 28th - March 12th.

Standings

FM Stephen Muhammad. Copyright  2003, Jerry Bibuld.

IM-elect Stephen Muhammad
(Photo by Jerry Bibuld)

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 1 January 2006