Young Chess Prodigy Brings Home Champion Title

By JESSICA GREENE
Updated 1:55 PM PST, Mon, Nov 30, 2009

Tanuj Vasudeva already has an impressive resume but he hasn’t even graduated from elementary school.

The 8-year-old recently got back home from Turkey, where he won a silver medal in the World Youth Championship chess tournament. He beat out 129 other players during a two-week-long tournament for the prestigious title. That means he had to sit still and focus on something other than a video game for many hours on end — a feat in itself for most any 8-year-old kid.

Being a chess champ is old hat for Newark boy, who plays mostly in adult tournaments in the San Francisco area. The World Chess Foundation named him FIDE Master after his perfect score at the Pan American Youth tournament. That makes him the youngest ever to officially be named a chess master. If that’s not impressive enough, figure this in: Bobby Fischer was 13 when he achieved the title and he was thought to be one of the greatest chess players of all time.

Tanuj says on his blog that he “fell in love with the mystical nature of the pieces and moves they can make,” when he was introduced to an old chess set that his mom had used.

Tanuj has been playing — and winning — chess for a relatively short time. But in just three years, he’s already made a name for himself. Here are some of his other accolades:

Calchess State Kindergarten Champion in 2007 & in 2008
US National Champion K-1 in 2008
Bronze medal winner at North American Championships in 2007
Calchess State K-5 co-champion in 2009

Next up for Tanuj is another shot at a state title in the Calchess Championships in Santa Clara in April. You can follow Tanuj’s progress on Twitter (lovechess, of course) and through his blog.

Good luck, Tanuj. May your future be filled with many “checkmates.”

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