Muhammad to compete in U.S. Championship

Stephen Muhammad will begin his quest for a national title and a possible GM norm next week for the 2005 U.S. Championship.  The 64-player field will include a number of marquee players including Gata Kamsky who will make his return to serious competition. Muhammad is making his second  trip to U.S. championship having qualified in the 2004 World Open.

Muhammad had a successful debut in the 2003 championships, winning his 3rd IM norm with three rounds to spare and barely missing a GM norm.  Preparation paid off for the Columbus-based master and there was an air of excitement. However, for this year's competition he  told The Chess Drum, "I'm trying to stay relaxed about it." 

Both Muhammad and
GM Maurice Ashley made history in 2003 by being the first Black players to ever to qualify for and play in the U.S. Championship.

IM Stephen Muhammad

IM-elect Stephen Muhammad
(photo by Daaim Shabazz)

"My game plan is different but not because of norms.
It's different because I'm different."

~ Stephen Muhammad speaking about his tournament game plan.~

Having gained a new perspective and increased focus on his spiritual grounding, Muhammad expressed his views about his game plan. "My game plan is different but not because of norms. It's different because I'm different," stated Muhammad. His success in the past few years highlights the transformation he has made as a top 100 player in the U.S. , but more importantly, striving to be upright in his personal life. He attributes much of his success to the teachings of The Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Muhammad commented that there are so many great players that it is hard to make predictions. Of course many in the chess world are going to be watching
Hikaru Nakamura as well as Kamsky's return. San Diego hopes to put U.S. chess back on solid footing. With a revamped format, the 2004 U.S. Championship promises to be exciting and The Chess Drum will be providing coverage. The action begins November 24th in San Diego, California!

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Posted by The Chess Drum: 15 November 2004