Clearwater chess grandmaster conquers game he grew up with
By Drew Harwell, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Tuesday, June 15, 2010

CLEARWATER — Ray Robson was 3 when his dad, Gary, brought home a checkers-chess set. He had bought it for a few dollars at a Sarasota Kmart, thinking he and his son could leave the chess part for later.

Ray was drawn instantly to the chess pieces, Gary wrote, the “horses and castles and teepee-shaped objects” that slid in funny ways across the board. Ray would squat flat-footed on the tiled floor in their condo, moving the pieces, playing games he made himself.

“Every single afternoon, I’d walk through the door and my 3-year-old son would look up from the kitchen floor,” Gary wrote in his self-published book, Chess Child.

“Baba,” Ray asked, “do you want to play chess?”

• • •

Ray Robson has taken that passion for chess and run with it like nobody else in Florida or the United States. Ever. Two weeks before his 15th birthday, Ray became America’s youngest grandmaster, beating a record once set by Bobby Fischer.

I went to check out this child prodigy last week. When I met the Robsons, much of their home was out of place. Gary, 45, his wife, Yee-chen, 43, and Ray, 15, had just moved from Largo to a home on Anna Avenue, closer to Yee-chen’s Chinese classes at Safety Harbor Middle School.

Here is the full article.

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