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MACA Chess Horizons Magazine Article
 An Interview with Mika Brattain
 Nathan Smolensky
  August 2014
Mika Brattain is having a moment. Though seeded only sixth, the fifteen-year-old worked his way to sole first at the 83rd Mass Open, beating the reigning co-champions, Robert Perez and GM Alexander Ivanov, in consecutive rounds. It was the first state championship in six years that GM Ivanov did not share first in, and it just might be the start of something. I spoke to the rising star about his big win and his future plans. 
Nathan Smolensky: So, you've just won the state chess championship. How do you feel?
Mika Brattain: I was ecstatic to win the MA championship. There are many strong players in our state who have not won it in recent years, so I am especially pleased that this was my year.

NS: What did you feel were your keys to success in the tournament?

MB: There were several factors. I think I made excellent opening choices in the critical games of the event, giving myself positions well suited to my style. But most of all, I simply made good moves at a relatively fast pace. Against both of the reigning champions, I found myself able to outplay them while keeping a time advantage of close to an hour, which proved to be enough to win both games. 

NS: Was it important to you to win by going through the reigning champions? Did that add meaning to the result?

MB: Beating the reigning champions was very important for me. In 2013, I lost to both of them. I feel like avenging both losses adds more meaning and closure to my tournament victory; last year they both beat me on their ways to winning the tournament, but this year it was the other way around. NS: Did you do anything to celebrate your victory?

MB: Burgers and fries on the way home.

NS: Where do you go from here? What are your major goals in chess at the moment?

MB: From here, I hope to break 2500 soon, earn IM norms, and win Cadet this year. Next year, I hope to protect my Spiegel and Mass Open titles and qualify for the US Junior Closed.

NS: When did you first learn the game of chess? At what point did it become a serious interest for you?

MB: I learned right before I turned 6 in 2004, and months later it became one of my serious interests.

NS: Alright, final question: we all know that great chess success, especially at a young age, doesn't come without some support. On the heels of your victory, are there any shout-outs you'd like to give?

MB: I would like to give a shout-out to my dad for all the help and support he has shown throughout my chess career. None of this would have happened if it weren't for him. And also to the Metrowest and Boylston chess clubs. They were a huge help in my ascent from where I was when I first started out, to where I am now. For a while, I played almost exclusively at these clubs, so I’d like to thank them for providing me the opportunity to play and study chess over the past several years.?

Photo credit: Tony Cortizas