|Torres Chess & Music Academy, Inc.||16691 Colonial Trail
Lathrop, CA 95330
Phone (661) 699-8348
|Contact: Chris Torres
Phone: (661) 699-8348
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2011
FIRST GRADER BEN ROOD BECOMES NATIONAL CHESS CHAMPION
WALNUT CREEK, CA, May 6-8, 2011: Walnut Creek seven year old Ben Rood was awarded the title of K-1 National Chess Champion at the 2011 United States Chess Federation National Elementary Chess Championships held in Dallas, Texas on May 6-8. Ben’s presence attracted interest in the section for kindergarten to first graders because he had the highest chess rating of all 294 contestants. Despite the tough competition, Ben won all seven of his games against the very best chess players his age in the country. The most challenging game for Ben came in round 5 when he was paired against last year’s K-1 champion, Praveer Sharan. It took Ben Rood 3 hours and 81 moves to finally defeat Praveer. He then had to continue his perfect record for two more rounds in order to be crowned a National Chess Champion.
Ben Rood’s path to becoming a National Chess Champion began at the age of three when he decided that 300 piece jigsaw puzzles were too easy and his mother decided to introduce him to the game of chess. When he entered school, Ben started attending chess classes run by the Berkeley Chess School. For one so young, Ben’s desire to improve was immense. His parents began signing him up for tournaments very regularly and taking him to the Friday Night Chess program run by the Berkeley Chess School. In spite of winning first place in the Kindergarten section at the 2010 Calchess Scholastic State Championships, Ben had reached the point of needing personal attention to draw out his natural talent. During the summer of 2010 Ben met chess coach Chris Torres, president of the Torres Chess & Music Academy, at a chess tournament. The two started training together a short while later. Chris has taught several other national chess champions. He immediately recognized Ben Rood’s remarkable talent. Chris then devised a plan to get Ben calculating more accurately while playing more aggressive openings that would better suit his personality and amazing tactical vision.
In December of 2010, Ben Rood traveled to Stockton for the Calchess Grade-level Chess Championships and used his newly found chess style very effectively. Ben won all his games easily and became the Grade One State Chess Champion. Over the next several months, Ben’s chess improved at a rate never before seen from a six year old chess player. By February of 2011, Ben was beating very strong chess players of all ages while taking care to record his games accurately for later review with his coach. In the first week of April, Ben Rood competed in the Calchess Scholastic State Championships K-3 division, held in Santa Clara. During this tournament, Ben once again achieved a perfect score and even defeated the reining second grade National Chess Champion, Josiah Stearman. For his remarkable performance, Ben Rood became a State Chess Champion for a third time.
According to his coach Chris Torres, Ben Rood is the only first grader in California history to win the State Grade Level Chess Championship, the State K-3 Chess Championship and the National Chess Championship in the same school year. Chris attributes Ben’s successes to his remarkable talent, love for the game, incredible work ethic and to the support that his parents Robin Hultgren and Lisa Rood provide.
Chris Torres had other Torres Chess & Music Academy students to make him proud in the K-1 section. Chris’ other students included Milind Maiti, from Cupertino, who placed third in the individual competition. Five members of the Mission San Jose Elementary School team, Rishith Susarla, Chenyi Zhao, Soorya Kuppam, Jeffrey Liu, and Amulya Harish also placed third in the school competition.