A young chess player defines a new strategy: “faith in myself” | News


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When 12-year-old Mountain View resident Ruiyang Yan narrowly qualified for the US Junior Girls Chess Championship, she set her expectations cautiously low.

However, as the grueling 10-day competition, hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club in Missouri from July 10-20, drew to a close, Ruiyang faced a surprising result. With five wins, two tied games and two losses, she placed third, taking home a prize of $ 1,500.

She said the experience had taught her “just to trust me more”.

Ruiyang first discovered the sport at the age of 4, when his parents bought him a chess set as a gift. Her parents had no knowledge of the game, so she signed up for a class to meet other competitors and learn about basic strategies and rules of the game.

This first experience piqued her interest, and Ruiyang said she dove deeper into the world of chess, studying strategy books to improve her skills and playing against other children through online communities such as ChessKid. com.

“It’s fun to beat everyone,” Ruiyang said.

Over the past five years, she has transformed her hobby into a competitive business. Ruiyang typically spends three hours a day training, wakes up at 6:30 a.m. to play chess online, and attends local competitions in Northern California three to four times a month, she said.

She also trains with Weilang Li, former head coach of the China National Chess Team. Even after 40 years of involvement in the sport, Li said he still found every game “magical”.

At the St. Louis tournament, Ruiyang faced an opponent each day of the competition, remembering his shortest match against Maggie Feng in Round 6 lasting two to three hours, the rest being much longer. .

Li, who traveled to St. Louis with Ruiyang, said his 6th round match was “perfect”, adding that Ruiyang was able to place his pieces in a winning position with just a few moves in the match.

“She was playing like a computer,” Li said proudly, through a translator.

As the second youngest in her cohort, with most players aged 15 or older, Ruiyang said she lacked self-confidence in many of her games, but sought to “do her best. “.

“It was really good,” said Ruiyang, describing the moment she learned her third place finish. “I did a lot better than I expected.”

Li attributed much of Ruiyang’s success to his personal motivation and his genuine interest in chess.

Ruiyang said she wants to save her prize of $ 1,500 for future tuition fees and hopes to maintain a lifelong love of the sport. In a week’s time, she’ll be heading to China for her next challenge, the Cadet World Chess Championship, before starting seventh grade at Egan High School.

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