Muhammad Earns IM Title
By Jennifer Shahade   
March 21, 2007
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Photo H.Rumph

Stephen Muhammad, with all three IM norms approved, was conditionally awarded the title in 2003, but was having trouble earning the 2400 minimum rating. After a solid performance at the 2006 World Open, Stephen broke the 2400 barrier(although his rating was never officially published over 2400). Because of the confusion, FIDE only just awarded Stephen the title, a couple months after recognizing the titles of American players Smith, Tate and Bercys. ( John Bartholomew's title also got caught in some bureaucratic confusion, but he too is now officially recognized as an IM by FIDE.)

Stephen was born January 24, 1962 in San Antonio, Texas but grew up and now lives in the Columbus, Georgia area. He says: "I thank God because were it not for Him, I would never have even attempted to become an IM, let alone a GM. I am pursuing the GM title and I believe I will obtain it." Muhammad describes his style as positional, and plans to improve his sacrificial attacking skills in his quest for the GM title. A known blitz specialist and recovering ICC junkie, Stephen jokes: "I got some help and I'm well now." One of his favorite games is this win against Sergei Kudrin in the 2003 U.S. Championship: