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Nine-year-old chess player coming to the UAE
Nine year old Carissa Yip waits for her father, Percy, to make a move during a chess match. Julia Malakie / AP Photo

Nine-year-old chess player coming to the UAE


Only three years after taking up the game, Carissa Yip has reached “expert” level and ranks higher than 93 per cent of the more than 51,000 players registered with the US Chess Federation.

She is only nine years old.

Her father, Percy, who taught her the game and was her playing partner until she began beating him regularly, expects her to reach the master level in the coming year. “Some never reach master level,” Percy said. “From expert to master, it’s a huge jump.”

Carissa has three years to become the US youngest woman to reach the master level, but she aspires to be the best player in the world.

Male or female.

“It’s not like the rating matters,” said Carissa, a fifth-grader who lives in Massachusetts.

She demonstrated her ability recently by playing with her back to the board, reading her moves to her father and keeping track of the whole board in her head.

She has been called an intimidating player in an ironic way, because she’s far short of even 5 feet tall (1.52 metres).

Her US Chess Federation ranking places her in the top seven per cent of all players registered with the group and the top two per cent of female players.

The youth players at her club are mostly in their teens and are male.

“Even they say they were nowhere near this strength when they were that young,” said Nathan Smolensky, president of the club.

Carissa will bring her game to the UAE later this year: she plans to compete in the World Youth Chess Championship, to be held December 17 to 29 in Al Ain.

– Associated Press