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10-year-old chess master competes in championship

U.S. Chess Championship in Madison this week

MADISON, Wis. - Hundreds of the country's best chess players are in Madison this week for the 114th U.S. Chess Championship.

Pawns, knights, bishops, queens and kings are being shuttled around boards at speeds faster than the vast majority of us can understand.

News 3 met Awonder Liang, a Madison 10-year-old, who is already a chess master.

You wouldn't know the squirming, fidgeting, yawning 10-year-old is anything other than a typical fifth-grader until you ask the grownups marveling at him.

"I can't put it in perspective because it never happened to me. I've never reached that level," said Mike Nietman, who helped bring the championship to the state for the first time since Joe McCarthy represented Wisconsin in Congress.

In the chess world, Liang is known as a master, the best player in the country at his age.

"If I beat opponents, it's sort of motivating," said Liang.

Liang has had a lot of motivation this week at the U.S. Chess Championships.

Nietman said Liang's often the best player. His chess rating is so good, outside of competitions like this; he has to find opponents online.

Liang has studied with some of the best chess players in the world including Garry Kasparove, a former world chess champion and Kasparove has said we need to watch this youngster.

Jim Hodina teaches chess to kids in Iowa but was schooled himself on Thursday by Liang.

"As an instructor for scholastic chess, that rating is more intimidating than the age," said Hodina.

Liang has been playing chess since he was 5, finds checkers boring, and his two brothers and sisters won't play him because they lose. It is hard at his age to express why he loves to play the game, so this will have to do.

"I guess it's just a cool game in general," said Liang.

10-year-old chess master competes in championship

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