Eight Year Old Wins Grade 4-5 Chess Championship in California

Chess history was made on April 22, 2012. Ben Rood, while still only eight years old, won first place in the grade 4-5 section at the Calchess Scholastic State Chess Championship.
   California has been home to many youthful chess prodigies since I started attending the Calchess Scholastic State Chess Championship. A few that come to mind are Hikaru Nakamura, Samuel Shankland, Jordy Mont-Reynaud, Vinay Bhat, Daniel Naroditsky, Nicholas Nip and Samuel Sevian. Ben Rood’s performance at the 2012 Calchess State Scholastic Chess Championship is the best I have ever witnessed by a California chess prodigy under the age of ten.
   Ben’s victory this weekend was simply immense. Not only did he place first in the strongest 4-5 section in California history; he went through the tournament undefeated. Along the way, Ben Rood defeated talented up and coming players as well as one F.I.D.E. Master.
   As fantastic as his performance was, it was not unexpected. During the past two years, Ben has won many state and national titles. In fact, he is the first player in Calchess history to win the Kindergarten Championship, Grade 1-3 Championship and Grade 4-5 Championship in three consecutive years.
   Ben Rood’s success is truly a combination of talent and hard work. In fact, by the age of eight he has learned more about chess than many old veterans of the game. He began chess study with his mother at age three. 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 insatiable. 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 his current chess coach Chris Torres, president of the Torres Chess & Music Academy, at a chess tournament. Currently, Ben enjoys spending upwards of ten hours a week focusing on chess.

Published by chessmusings

Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. A chess professional since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Chris Torres served as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy from 2005-2020 and currently is recognized as a correspondence chess master with the United States Chess Federation. Since 1998 Chris Torres has taught 6 individual national champions as well as led multiple school teams to win national championship titles. In addition, Chris Torres has directed and taught at 10 different schools which have been California State Champions at chess. In 2011 and 2012, several former and current students of Chris Torres have been selected to represent the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.

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