7.29.2013

9-year-old becomes youngest U.S. chess expert

Skills. Think you're a pretty good chess player? Chances are, Carissa Yip can beat you. And she's only 9 years old: Mass. girl, 9, becomes youngest US chess expert.

Carissa, who will be a fifth grader at McCarthy Middle School in Massachussetts, is the youngest player ever to reach the expert level, and ranked higher that 93 percent of the players registered with the U.S. Chess Federation. But you know what's extra impressive? She only started playing three years ago.

She's also in the top two percent of all female players. But she has her sights set on eventually becoming the first female to win the overall championship. Get it, girl:

She first played competitively at the MetroWest Chess Club and Wachusett Chess Club, at the latter of which she's the top-ranked player. Last fall, she competed in an international competition in Slovenia, and in December, she'll play the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Carissa is hesitant when asked about her accomplishments, saying she doesn't spend much time thinking about them.

But she also set a goal for herself this year to reach 2,100; an expert is anyone over 2,000. Anyone at 2,200 is a master. She also wants to one day become the first female to win the overall championship - not just in the female category, her father said.
What were you doing at age 9? I certainly wasn't kicking ass at anything -- and definitely not chess.

Next step for Carissa, achieving the next level of master. Currently, the record for becoming the youngest U.S. chess master is held by five-time women's winner Irina Krush, who became a master at age 12. No problem, Carissa. More here: Meet the 9-Year-Old Chess Expert.