Baltimore’s 12 year old Chess Champ
Twelve-year-old Cahree Myrick made his community proud when he won the national chess championship. The 7th-grade chess champion isn’t just a regular chess champion *though that’s hardly regular). Cahree’s perfect scores makes him Baltimore’s first individual chess champion.
“This is a big deal,” says Steve Alpern, commissioner of the Baltimore Kids Chess League. “To win it with a perfect score is pretty incredible. People don’t think Baltimore City is producing these kind of achievements, but we are.”
Currently a 7th-grade student at Roland Park Elementary school, Carhee is granted access to the Chess League that admits only the public school children of the city. Parents of students enrolled in private and county schools often inquire about the league known for its exceptional play, even before Cahree’s big win.
“I tell them, ‘Sorry, you can transfer to the public schools’ — and some of them do,” Alpern said.
“It was my toughest game yet,” Cahree said of his final matchup. “The key to winning is not giving up. Keep thinking and pushing until you get there. And that’s what I did.”
This win is a major leap from his 24th place standing in last year’s competition. Though not expecting a trophy, Cahree grew better in his game and more confident each time he won. Given the intense mental
Given the intense mental pressure, chess can bring, a skill that surely helped him excel in his game is Cahree’s neutral expression during games, making it harder to guess his next move.
“They call him the poker-faced player,” said his mother, Yuana Spears. “You don’t know whether he’s winning or losing when he’s playing. Cahree’s facial expression never changes.”
Opponents often dress formally, though this chess star competed with comfort in an Underarmor teeshirt and Nike shorts for the competition.
Since his major victory, Cahree has been praised by the mayor of Baltimore, Cathorine Pugh, the Baltimore Orioles and crowds of people in a barbershop, watching and supporting his unconventional styles of playing to better sharpen his skills in the game.
“The culture of chess in Baltimore is bigger than people know. It flies under the radar,” said Sundiata Osagie, owner of the Reflection Eternal Barbershop. “Cahree’s victory and his performance in the national tournament proves that guys have been putting in work, 24-7.”
Cahree is an outstanding chess player winning a major victory. Not only for himself, but for his league, his support, and the entire city of Baltimore.
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