In rapid succession five young upstarts from New York have made waves in the chess scene by making National Master. Kassa Korley, Justus Williams, Josh Colas and James Black Jr. will welcome the newest African-American Master in the New York area, Jehron Bryant. Just last January Jehron celebrated breaking the coveted 2000 rating barrier.
Jehron was born on June 24, 1996 to Derrick Bryant and Belinda Pura and is a current student at VS Central High School in Long Island, New York. He is 20 minutes younger than his twin and best friend, Nigel Bryant. When asked what he did to make the push to make National Master, he stated that he had no special training plans, but his father had set up a study plan for him. Jehron took that plan, followed it and still executes it to this day.
When it came to studying, I stuck to my schedule and I followed my coach’s (GM Giorgi Kacheishvili) instructions to study classical games and going over old games from world champions. By doing so I would adapt to their style of play, and get a better understanding of piece placement.
This is something that may be missing in the training of today’s youth. There is an emphasis on openings and blitz chess and not the total package. This addiction to “fast food chess” is what stunts development and causes players to rise quickly but to hit a plateau. Given the amount of information that can be absorbed with databases, it is no matter that younger players are content with rifling through hundreds of games in a short time.
Nigel and Jehron Bryant at 2009 World Open.
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Jehron had mentioned that his motivation is close to home. Obviously his parents are two of his biggest fans, but it is Nigel who he credits with motivating him in his chess pursuits.
Nigel, is the one that I can go to for everything. He inspires me more and more each day, even now that I’m a master he is still inspiring me and motivating me to strive farther and telling me that 2200 is not the farthest I’ll go. I think I made Master more for him.
When I got my 2200 rating he was probably more happy than me. He immediately came to me and told me how proud he was of me, and how much I deserved it; and out of everything I will get from this (the title, the certificate, the recognition) those words from him is probably the greatest.
He also credits inspiration being drawn from the James Black Day Celebration. Already approaching 2200, this celebratory event honored Justus Williams, Josh Colas and James Black, each making National Master before their 13th birthday.
Several nicknames have been floating around for these five players. Whether they are the “Big Five”, “Fab Five”, “Young Lions” or “Young Masters”, these young talents are the new wave of chess in the Black community. Pictured are: NM Justus Williams, Expert Nigel Bryant, NM Josh Colas, NM Jehron Bryant and NM James Black, Jr. Photo by Derrick Bryant.
The formation of the ‘Young Master’s Club’ was an initiative formed by Adia Onyango and Sean Miller as a way of honoring excellence and motivating others to achieve higher heights. Members of this club have made master before the age of 16. To make the event even more special, GM Maurice Ashley was on hand to induct the first three members. Nigel Bryant also made some remarks.
Jehron admires his older brother Nigel who is next in line to reach the National Master title. Nigel will get plenty of encouragement, but none will be more important than Jehron’s. Calling his brother by his nickname, “Nige”, he gives these words.
“Keep, your head up high Nige. You will be there very soon with the support from the community and your family. Like I always say ‘better late than never, never late is better.’ Keep your head up high and everyone is here to help you.”