When Steven Breckenridge and his brother, David, start playing chess, the pawns start flying, literally.
“There’ve been no injuries,” their father, Michael says. “Only their egos.”
David, 17, a junior at Gresham High School, often stands up to make moves on the chess board as he plays his brother, a 15-year-old freshman at Gresham. Watching them play is more like watching two guys play a rough game of hockey rather than the genteel game of chess.
The two young men good-naturedly kid each other about one another’s flaws as players and both have taken home trophies in the past from chess tournaments. But David is humble enough to proudly point out that his younger sibling is now a national champion.
…His father points out that several universities dole out four-year scholarships to serious chess players, so Steven has set his sights on mastering the game. When asked whether this means he has to sacrifice his social life, Steven replies, with no trace of irony: “What do you mean, social life?”
This comment draws laughter from both dad and David.
“I hear him crying out ‘I’m lonely’ all night,” David says with a laugh.
“There are girls who play chess, you know,” Michael adds with a smile.
Returning to the game at hand, Steven offers a variety of tips to aspiring chess players. Don’t do drugs or drink to excess, he says, because substance abuse has destroyed many a great player’s mind. To improve your game, visit http://www.chessclub.com/, the site of the Internet Chess Club. The site offers a variety of live online events for members, including lectures, lessons and matches.
Steven himself has played, and once even beat, famed Grandmaster chess player Hikaru Nakumara, online. But the Gresham youth learns as much from his defeats as his victories, his father says.
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– GM Susan Polgar