At chess tourney, young masters make right moves
By James Sullivan, Globe Correspondent September 9, 2007

To Peabody’s Max Enkin, a tennis court is really just an oversized chess board.

“My coach always said I was the best thinker on the court,” said the recent St. John’s Prep graduate, who is starting classes this fall at Brandeis University. “It’s very hard to get the ball by me.”

His first love, however, is chess. “My grandfather taught me at 4, and I got hooked,” he said one night last month, sitting in the lobby of the Holiday Inn in Peabody.

Having played tournament chess since he was 10, the 18-year-old Enkin was set to meet some of the toughest competition of his young life, right here in his own backyard. It was opening night of the New England Masters Chess Tournament (, with 30 outstanding players, including four grandmasters (one of them the current US champion), settling in for a week of matches in a function room at the hotel on Route 1.

Enkin was one of several up-and-coming players competing for “norms” toward either international master or grandmaster status. New England Masters, organized by Peabody resident Chris Bird, is a relative rarity in American tournament chess, designed primarily for the possibility of awarding norms recognized by FIDE, the ruling body of chess.

“It’s a unique tournament, all master strength and stronger,” said Eugene Perelshteyn, a grandmaster from Swampscott whose father, Michael, was Enkin’s chess coach. “In a regular tournament, there’s everyone from grandmaster to beginner. Here, it’s one section. It’s the elite. There are no obvious weak players. Everyone is good enough to give a good game.”

Here is the full article.

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