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  • James Neal

Colorado Chess Talent

I was in such a good mood today I decided to visit a local chess club.

My original plan was recording some in-person blitz games but that did not materialize. Despite my original plan, I had a lot of fun talking and gauging the talent of some of these kids. I started the club by telling the host I was merely basking in the ambiance of chess. I am rated over 2200 and the toughest members in this club are a few irregular 1800s. The kids were a lot of fun.

I had 3 interesting interactions today. The first was during my composition time. I cannot believe it took me nearly 1 hour to solve this puzzle, it was hard. It was black to move just in case you have an overwhelming curiosity.



The kid’s name was Reza and I told him I would easily remember his name (Alireza). This kid is humble and thorough with calculating. He seemed to have a burning curiosity to find a solution but the host pulled him away after about 20 minutes of searching. I ended up solving the puzzle and showing him the solution about 5 minutes after he left.

The next interaction was a matchup I forced out of curiosity. I definitely keep my eyes open to strong players and the moment that kid walked into the club, he caught my attention. He had a maturity about him that did not have the slightest hint of cockiness. He had the aura of an academic. He was far from me in strength but I could see years into his future and he definitely had the makings of a master.


The funny thing about playing him was how methodical he was. He was naturally developing his pieces and even organizing them to attack my king. He was catching two moves tactics all the while singing… Yes singing. Im not sure what he was singing but I found it annoyingly hilarious. Losing to him would have stung but he has a lot of potential. If he keeps at it, I would be honored to take an loss from him some day. [I think he was telling his dad he played a master.]

Finally, the cherry on top was my third interaction. I brought a short clip of the matchup. I will give you a little background story. The first meeting I had at this club (months ago) I was playing a little girl with a lot of potential. It is unfortunate she hadn’t shown up since school went into session. She took advice with a determined look on her face.

During my game with the girl, this boy sat next to me and could not help but alerting me about the size of my head. I took it with grace and had a fun conversation with him but ever since then, he started giving me the nickname ‘Big Brain’ lol. I did not take any pleasure in beating him but I thought it kind of fun finally playing against him.


There are some great personalities at this chess club.

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