Darien native Jasmine Su has been finding her joy in the game of chess ever since she was seven years old.
“My dad introduced this game to me and I’ve been hooked since,” said Jasmine Su. And now at the age of 10, she’s not only making moves on the board but in the rankings, as she’s been named one of the top players in her age bracket in the country by the U.S. Chess Federation.
“I feel really happy and I did a lot of training at home and played in a lot of tournaments to get it,” Su said. “I think it’s really fun because it doesn’t matter about your age or gender or heritage or what language you speak. One time I was playing a 78-year-old gentlemen.”
But although many in-person tournaments have been canceled due to the coronavirus, it hasn’t stopped the 10-year-old from advancing her game.
”I have chess coaches and they teach me how to improve my chess and I also learn from books. I do training and problems to train my brain and that’s how I work my skills,” Su said.
Jan van de Mortel is the president of the Connecticut State Chess Association and he said the online chess community has actually been booming as a result of the pandemic. He said he's excited for so many to experience the benefits that come from the game.
“Chess is extremely good for children’s development. You learn to play with a strict set of rules which you have to stick by,” said the 40-year chess veteran.
He goes on to explain the unique bond that comes from playing the game.
“Chess immediately breaks down barriers, breaks the ice, and two people of completely different cultures, ages backgrounds can sit down and play a game of chess. They may not even speak the same language, but they can play chess and they start to create a bond and these relationships can last for a long time," van de Mortel said.