The U.S. Masters Chess Championship is underway in Greensboro this weekend.
84 highly ranked players from around the world gathered for the 9-round tournament that stretches over two days.
Organizers and players say the centuries old game is still releveant today.Despite the quiet in the tournament room, it’s filled with intense competition.
Instead of extreme physicality like the Olympics, it’s mostly mental.
Kassa Korley is a player who representing the U.S. and Denmark, and has been playing chesse since he was 5.
People say in different sports, boxing and basketball, styles make fights, and it’s the same thing in chess, where everyone has a unique style,” said Korley. “You’re sort of playing against that style as well as playing the game.”
The intense concentration is reflected in the faces squared off across the chess boards.
The 23-year-old Korley has been playing chess since he was 5.
“I always loved games and competition, and chess was a really good way, environment to foster that interest,’’ said Korley.
84 highly-ranked players from over a dozen countries from around the world are competing in the U.S. Master’s Championship.
“Everybody here has obtained at least a Master’s Title, and you have to be quite good to get to that level,” said Walter High, the tournament organizer.
The championships consist of 9 rounds, played out over 5 days.
“The games can go to 5 to 6 hours apiece, so you can’t play more than 2 games in a day, because it just gets too exhausting,” said High.
While chess dates back to the 5th century, fans think it still has relevance today, even in the age of video games.
“It develops critical thinking,” said High. “You have to learn to plan ahead, you have to think about everything you do, and there are consequences for everything you do.”
Some 250 other players are competing in the N.C. Open.
While there are young and old faces, fans say it’s a skill you can continue to improve over the course of a lifetime.
“It’s really interesting to see your progress, and see how you develop,’’ said Korley. “I think that’s why people stick with it, because they see themselves as being better and everyone has a dream of becoming something more than what they already are.”
The Tournament runs through Sunday afternoon at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Greensboro.