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10-Year-Old Chess Master To Represent US At Youth World Championships

Davis Dunavin

Ten-year-old Max Lu, from Greenwich, Connecticut is going to Greece this week to represent the U.S. at the 2015 World Youth Chess Championship.

Lu started playing chess when he was six through an after-school program. He was drawn in by the strategy involved. He went to chess tournaments and played other serious players, including adults. Earlier this year, he realized he might be able to earn the title of Chess Master from the U.S. Chess Federation. It takes a lot of victories to earn that title. Less than two percent of all the chess players in America achieve it.

“I only started thinking about it in July,” he said. “That’s when I got sort of close. It was still a long shot.”

Lu became a Master with a victory in September- the youngest in history. Now he is representing his country for the first time in Greece. But he says he’s not nervous.

“In the tournament, I just play like I normally play, and the results come after.”

Whether he wins or loses in Greece, Master is a lifetime title. But Lu said he doesn’t think his record as the youngest Master ever will last.

“I’m sure someone will beat it,” he said. “There’s always someone younger. And it’ll probably keep going down over the years.”

Lu said he doesn’t want to be a professional chess player when he grows up because it’s too hard to make a living. He said he’s not sure what he wants to do, though. After all, he’s only in fourth grade.

Davis Dunavin loves telling stories, whether on the radio or around the campfire. He started in Missouri and ended up in Connecticut, which, he'd like to point out, is the same geographic trajectory taken by Mark Twain.