Chevannes’ U.S. tour a smash… eclipses 2200

WIM-elect Sabrina Chevannes
Photo by WIM Ioana Smaranda Padurariu.

WFM Sabrina Chevannes was on tour this summer in the U.S. and capped off her visit by attending the historic Sinquefield Cup in St. Louis. Prior to that she had visited Susan Polgar’s Webster Academy, stopped by the iconic and famed Marshall Chess Club in New York, trekked across the country to the Bay area in San Francisco, tested her skills in several tournaments (including the U.S. Masters and the Washington International) and then capped off her trip with a final appearance in St. Louis.

Apart from her successful tour, the British national gained an incredible 142 rating points in the U.S. Masters where she earned her final WIM norm. She eclipsed the 2200-barrier on the United States Chess Federation rating system. This accomplishment may seem a bit anti-climatic since she vaulted over 2200 (2134 to 2276) in one tournament, but she scored her best career result. She has played in a total of eight USCF tournaments and her first provisional rating was 2048. Her FIDE rating will also eclipse 2200 after gaining 46 ELO points.

Sabrina Chevannes with The Chess Drum’s Daaim Shabazz at the St. Louis Chess Club during the 2013 Sinquefield Cup.

She had a much better playing experience than in last year’s Washington International where she was involved in controversy in her game against phenom FM Awonder Liang. After battling an illness throughout, she had to make repeated trips to the bathroom after which Liang’s father accused her of cheating. It created a small controversy in which she burst into tears. She won the the game, but it was a low point in that trip. This trip was certainly more fortuitous.

Chevannes stated that she is weighing her various options now and is continuing her projects with ChessBase and released a children’s chess book. She also has rebranded her academy which has helped to produce an 11-year old who was joint first in British Ladies Championship! In the future, she hopes to visit her ancestral home of Jamaica, but she will return to the U.S. in October to continue cementing her ties and hopefully will establish herself as a fixture on the U.S. chess scene.

Interview with Sabrina Chevannes


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  2. Welcome, Ms. Sabrina Chevannes to the U.S. and the U.S. Chess scene and congratulations to Mr. Shabazz on your continued support and open media coverage of Chess in America and the World.

  3. Her opponent tree was a murder! Only one opponent was under 2400 and she beat him of course. All the others were 2500+ or close to 2500 except for a 2449!. She deserves hazard pay. Josh had all 2500+ and 2400+ opponents except for 2 that were actually under 2300. He beat them both. His tourney was not quite the mine field that Sabrina faced.

    1. Well… not sure if that proves cheating, but someone needs to have some tangible evidence. Some people are booked up 30 moves into an opening. You can do a lot with databases these days.

  4. Without any concrete proof, I would give her the benefit of doubt. Just the fact that there is a suspicion of double-dealing, it will cause her to be under a more than usual surveillance in the next go round. It’s very likely that anyone who is cheating and continues to do so will eventually get caught! But, it’s not a good idea to start pelting stones without verifiable evidence of culpability.

  5. Sabrina told me Awonder Liang’s father accused her of cheating because she was going to the bathroom. She was sick at the time and when she was confronted she literally came to tears at the accusation. Why can’t they believe she is playing strongly? It would be a travesty if she is cheating, but having the same engine moves means little. I have played many games with as many engine moves.

  6. 40 consecutive #1 engine moves would certainly raise an eyebrow, but 40 random fritz move during an entire chess game seems very typical for such a strong player like her. Of course it is understood that the game went well beyond 40 moves.

  7. Cheating must be proved and harassment must be eliminated. USCF and FIDE should establish a tournament policy that forces
    spectators and players to properly (by an established procedure) convey accusations of any type to tournament officials. The only exception I believe is when 1st hand witnessing of the cheating is observed. I do not know Ms. Chevannes but I sympathize as I have been accused by a father before of intimidating his son, a young junior when playing. That parent interrupted our game by putting his hand in the middle of the board. Fortunately for him, I do not lose my cool, and the other juniors on either side of us were key witnesses. This was key for enduring civility in the situation, because their parents(based on speaking with their kids) told the father very clearly that they had not seen me do anything outside the rules or equal to ‘intimidation’ since they were paying attention to the game as I was about to finish a nice attack which was analyzed by GM Bisguier in a nearby open session later. Unfortunately, after resuming the game, I lost enough focus to resolve the game as a perpetual check draw with the winning move still available. A solution to this kind of situation must be found as all people can not be expected to internalize the pain of a misplaced accusation, nor can they be expected to carry the burden of maintaining their cool. ‘Innocent until proven guilty’ should at least equal caution and the semblance of respect with the help of procedure and its enforcement.

    Kimani A. Stancil

    1. I have never been in this situation. I suppose my moves are not always strong enough to warrant suspicion. However, the situation with Sabrina and Awonder’s Dad was pathetic. She had to go to the bathroom repeatedly during her illness and thereby they suspected something. With the new accusations, I’m not sure what the GMs have seen to make them suspect her. I suppose there is a little of discrimination as GMs believe they are the only ones who can know openings and play good moves over the board.

      It’s pathetic that parents have to resort to such tactics to “protect” their child, but they end up setting a bad example.

  8. Sabrina is currently struggling to beat 1900’s at the British champs
    interesting in light of the above comments

    1. oh thanks John! wasnt aware that the event was going on , ill take a look! sounds like fun and should be interestin! Sup Drummas UM at the Buffalo Public Library checkin out some of the chessbooks the traditionalist are writing now , the library showin my how they changing their moves, the traditionalist seems to like playin the funny knight moves!!! LOL, OH why she strugglin? anyone KNOW?

  9. Just checked out her games on chessbomb a few moments ago and her chess seems typical of a Traditional Player trying to adjust to the NEW STYLE CHESS it looks no different to me than if she was playin some 2800 guy so Um not sure what u mean John Perhaps u can clarify ur observations later! Peace.

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