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.
Sign up for my free email chess course for Beginners and Club Players. In this free course, I focus on helping beginner chess players see the entire board. You will learn how to attack your opponent from move 1 and create a new threat with every single move! I’ve created this series of lessons designed to help beginner and club level players understand the game at a deeper level so that you can start beating higher rated players immediately. Start getting free tips from me directly to your inbox!
– GM Susan Polgar