Matt was originally from upstate New York, but spent most of his life in Vermont and North Carolina. He obtained his Bachelor's degree in Environmental Science from Saint Michael's College near Burlington, Vermont. His hobbies include chess, biking, hiking, reading, movies, and music. He first learned the moves when about 7 years old. He played in his first tournament when he was 14 and has been hooked ever since. He won the 1981 North Carolina Scholastic Championship, and obtained the title of Master in 1990. Matt also won the 1996 Vermont State Championship, the 2001 North Carolina Invitational, the 2001 US Amateur Team South, and the 2001 US Game/60 Championship. He was honored as the 2001 North Carolina Chess Association High School Coach of the Year, and was the co-champion of the 2003 North Carolina State Championship.

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