12-year-old San Antonio chess player turns love of the game into charity

SAN ANTONIO – It’s a board game played by millions of people around the world, but little mastered.

A game of pawns, knights, bishops and rooks — a room that looks like a castle. The goal? Victory of course! Or simply put the opponent in a checkmate position.

For 12-year-old Nathan Adelstein, chess is more than a hobby. The game of tactical gambit became his passion.

“So my mom came out of the blue just to tell me about it, which was very shocking and life changing,” Adelstein said.

Chess requires more than just talent, as it involves critical and analytical skills that Nathan has brought to the board since he was just 6 years old.

“The parts of the game that captivate me the most? I like the thought processes, the mind, I like the fact that you have to think about your movements and that’s the part that caught my eye,” Adelstein said.

Jesse James Lozano is a National Chess Master and has coached Nathan for the past two years. He says Nathan is a natural with immeasurable potential.

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It is such a privilege to see the development of the students, and of Nathan in particular. It’s just that he’s very, very smart, very, very smart. But like most kids, or maybe unruly people, quick to react and get on with it, his patience level has increased so much,” Lozano said.

Lozano said much like in real life, chess is a fight. If you don’t prepare to play the game, you won’t get very far.

“I love that you have to think about what you do for a living; you can’t rush. And that’s also what chess taught me. Do not rush. It taught me to take my time and think,” Adelstein said.

Nathan will be hosting a chess tournament in March to raise money for cancer research and prevention.

“I decided I could help the people I love and love by doing something I love, because two people in my family got cancer,” Adelstein said.

As a chess coach and mentor, Lozano said it’s not just Nathan’s heart for the game that impresses him the most, but his desire to help others.

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Now, a lot of people want to take responsibility, and he does it to give back to others at such a young age. I mean, I can’t tell you how proud that makes me,” Lozano said.

Nathan’s tournament fundraiser will have listed and unlisted options and will take place at 16550 Huebner Road on March 20 from noon to 6 p.m. You can register by clicking here.

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