Always worth a visit: The US Masters

by Sabrina Chevannes
9/11/2014 – Sabrina Chevannes, WIM from England, is a fan of the US Masters. Last year she obtained her title in this tournament and she was keen to come back this year. So, at the end of August she traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina, to try for more norms and prizes. And was again impressed by a strong field, a superb organisation and an amazing hospitality.

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Norms, hospitality and fun: The US Masters 2014

The US Masters, which this year took place from from August 28th to September 1, again proved to be a great tournament to get those precious title norms. Held in the Embassy Suites, Greensboro, NC, the US Masters qualified again as a "Super Swiss" since it had entries from over 20 countries meaning that players did not need to worry about being paired against certain countries to qualify for a norm.

Last year the tournament saw a record-breaking amount of IM and GM norms, including one for myself and a performance that tipped me over the level needed for my WIM title. So I was excited to come back and try to repeat the performance.

Sabrina Chevannes

It was a pretty impressive line-up with 18 GMs and 9 IMs and a bunch of under-rated juniors. In fact, after the first four rounds, there was a junior with a perfect score - Kayden Troff, one of America's newest GMs and the current US Junior Chess Champion. In round five he was paired against GM Niclas Huschenbeth of Germany, who was also on a perfect score.

Kayden Troff

GM Niclas Huschenbeth from Germany studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

The pair drew a very interesting game and led the field at the halfway-mark. However, in the end the top Grandmasters with 2600+ worked their way to the top. After nine round the $5000 top prize was taken by GM Bartlomiej Macieja from Poland who is currently residing in the US as a coach at University of Texas at Brownsville.

Tournament winner Bartlomiej Macieja

Second place and $3000 went to GM Yaroslav Zherebukh from Ukraine, who studies at the Texas Tech University.

Yaroslav Zherebukh

On places three to eight followed six-players with 6.5/9, each winning $850. These were GMs Lenderman, Huschenbeth, Troff and Hernandez, IM Enkbhat (who narrowly missed out on a GM norm but did also pick up the U2400 prize) and FM Razvan Preotu, a junior from Canada. Razvan had an amazing performance and achieved a well-deserved IM norm.

Alex Lenderman

Razvan was not the only one with an outstanding performance. Michael Corallo started with a 2200 rating, but achieved an IM norm with two rounds to spare and perhaps could have even pushed to a GM norm.

Michael Corallo

Juniors David Hua and Kesav Viswanadha also obtained IM norms.

No norm this time but still amazingly strong: Akshat Chandra

The US Masters has always been an extremely generous tournament that gets better and stronger, year to year. Many players go to Europe to find good quality, strong chess tournaments that offer norm prospects, but with tournaments like this, the Washington International, Bay Area International and Michigan Fall Festival, America is catching up with the quality that Europe provides.

I have personally played in all of these events and have been impressed with the organisation of them all. However, the US Masters was extremely impressive in many ways. Not only was the venue great, but the level of conditions given out to players was possibly the highest I have seen in any tournament.

The organisers were lucky enough to get sponsorship from High Point University in Greensboro and without this, the tournament would not have been able to run, but the organisers also make a severe dent in their own pocket to provide us with a great tournament. I am sure I speak for everyone if I say we are all extremely grateful for this.

One special feature of the the US Masters is, of course, the infamous hospitality room; perhaps the highlight of the tournament for most players, especially those who were not doing so well! This room provided snacks in the form of chips and salsa, cookies, Oreos and free flowing beer and soda! Definitely not a bad place to spend your time after a depressing loss (or even a great win!)

There was a great atmosphere and it helps to be at the top of one's game when playing conditions are as great as this. There must be a reason why players come from all over the world for this event. I very much look forward to next year's tournament and see what further improvements are waiting for us!


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Born in 1986 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, England, Sabrina now lives in London where she is managing director of the London Academy of Chess and Education. With over 300 members of the academy, she has one of the largest following of students in the UK. Sabrina is a Women International Master and an active chess player.


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