DVIDS – News – Moving On: Army recruiter aims for chess glory

QUEEN CREEK, Ariz. — It’s an obsession that started at a young age for the master sergeant. Derick Arellano – the art of chess and strategy, something he developed to perfection in his lifetime.

This level of performance allowed Arellano to become one of the highest ranked chess players in the United States Army.

Arellano plans to compete in the upcoming 63rd Annual United States Armed Forces Championship at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ, in October and cement his status as the best.

Getting to this point has not been an easy task.

Arellano, Station Commander, Queen Creek Recruiting Station, Tempe Recruiting Company, Phoenix Recruiting Battalion, was born in Vail, Colorado before his family moved to the small rural community of Penasco, NM

It was there that Arellano learned the art of chess, his father teaching him the basics and preparing him for further success.

“I started chess at the age of seven, that’s when I learned how the pieces worked and some beginner strategies from my father,” Arellano said. “After learning how to play and the objective of the game, I wanted to win against anyone and everyone I played against.”

“My first victory came when I made a bet against my father; if I won, I had to sleep over at a friend’s house, but if I lost, I had to mow the grass. With so much at stake, I wiped it out and secured my slumber party,” he recalled.

Arellano would compete for Penasco High School, helping them win five consecutive state championships from 2003 to 2007, as he became the team’s focal point after extensive training.

“I had money saved up during my time cleaning and asked my family members if they would help me pay for my lessons, which they agreed. I started contacting grandmasters and international masters from all over the world,” he said. “It took me about a week or two to find the right teacher with the right teaching style to lead me to my goals, but I found it; his name was Goran Vojinovic, an international master from Serbia. He had several students who became national champions under his guidance.

This allowed Arellano to improve his standing on his high school team and lead them to unprecedented success.

“At the age of 12 or 13, I worked my way up to 2nd board from 6th (which meant I was always playing against the 2nd best player in the team),” Arellano explained. “Sitting next to my cousin Andrew who was on board 1, the team coach noticed how easily and often I beat him.”

“Once I took over at 1st board, we were winning state championships and now I was the one teaching the team how to play like champions,” he added.

Arellano frequently participated in Internet games, which also helped to improve his performance.

“I started playing on a website called World Chess Network (WCN). It’s no longer in service, but at the time it was the go-to platform for chess players around the world. I started watching the Grand Masters, International Masters and Fide Masters play,” Arellano explained. “But they were playing one-minute games (ball chess). I was blown away by the speed and accuracy of their play. I started playing chess for several hours every day. By the age of 12, I had played over 100,000 matches.

Over the years, Arellano has participated in several Over the Board (OTB) tournaments, winning in his designated section, but he said that because the United States does not hold as many chess tournaments as Europe, his rating in person has never been higher. as did his note on the internet.

This did not deter Arellano and his chess career continued to flourish, even after he joined the military in 2009 as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division.

“As a young skydiver, it was hard to find the time to play like before,” Arellano continued. “But my love of the game never went away. I played in a few tournaments in Fort Bragg when I could find the time.

Arellano would eventually find himself on recruiting duty in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he would measure his performance against tough opposition.

“I’ve been in much tougher chess competitions there because Brownsville and Texas A&M are colleges that have masters on their respective teams,” Arellano said. “As a successful recruiter in the San Antonio Battalion, it was hard to find time for failures. But I excelled in recruiting where I finished the battalion’s top 10 recruiting year with 26 enlistments. in 2017.”

Arellano is now determined to prove that he is the best chess player in the various military branches in the next tournament.

“I’m ready to show the world who’s the best in the Armed Forces – that will be me,” Arellano said.







Date taken: 08.03.2022
Date posted: 08.03.2022 16:39
Story ID: 426464
Location: QUEEN CREEK, Arizona, USA






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