How can we explain what makes a great chess player?

This page explores some of the junior games played by today's champions


Thumbs up  Read  this Australian article which explores what makes a champion

Hou Yifan

Hou Yifan (China) - Elo 2662

Hou Yifan (born 1994) is a Chinese chess grandmaster and three-time Women's World Chess Champion . She is the youngest female player ever to qualify for the title of grandmaster and the youngest ever to win the Women's World Chess Championship. Her talent was clear from an early age - at 3 years old was was beating her father and grandmother; at 5 she was working with a professional coach.

Play  this game with a decisive fork to win (2004)

Play  this game with an unstoppable passed pawn (2003)

Play  this game with queen & rook dominating (2005)

Video  blitz game v Tommy Tan (12) rom Singapore

Video  analysis of an impressive game with damaging bishops

Levon Aronian

Levon Aronian (Armenia) - Elo rating 2765

Aronian was born on 6 October 1982 in Yerevan, Armenia (then part of the Soviet Union), to Seda Avagyan, an Armenian mining engineer, and Grigory Leontievich Aronov, a Russian Jewish physicist. Talking about his background, Aronian stated in an interview, "I feel much more Armenian than Jewish, although there are sides to me which are more Jewish culturally, involving the arts and music." He was taught to play chess by his sister, Lilit, at the age of nine. Aronian played for Armenia in the Chess Olympiads of 1996, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Viswanathan Anand called Aronian "a very gifted tactician",and said that "He's always looking for various little tricks to solve technical tasks." In 2012, together with Gabriel Sargissian, Aronian founded a chess school in Yerevan, where the most talented chess players between the ages of 10 and 18 can study.

Play   this game with an impressive tactical finish to win another piece (1993)

Play   this game where Black seeks to exchange queens but ... (1994)

Video  a good humoured interview from a tournament in India (2018)



Irina Krush

Irina Krush (USA) - Elo rating 2417 

Irina Krush was born (1983) in Odessa, USSR (now Ukraine). She learned to play chess at age five, emigrating with her parents to Brooklyn USA that same year (1989).

At age 14 she won the 1998 U.S. Women's Chess Championship to become the youngest U.S. Women's Champion ever. She has won the U.S. Championship on six other occasions. In 2013 she was awarded the Grandmaster title.

Thumbs up  Play  this game from the New York Open in 1996, age 13

Thumbs up  Play  this game from the U14 Girls World Championship in Cannes (1997)

Thumbs up  Play  this game from the USA Junior Championships in San Francisco (1999)

Whistle  Think tactics        Solution        Play the game

{#smileys123.tonqueout}  Video - Irina Krush plays Brian (6 yrs old) in a friendly blitz game (2017)

Lawrence Trent

Lawrence Trent (UK) - Elo rating 2440

Lawrence Trent (born 1986) showed an early talent for chess, winning the British championship for Under 11, Under 12, and Under 13. He was awarded the IM title in 2005. He took time off from chess to attend Lancaster University. He returned to competitive play for a bit and then moved to Mexico to teach chess to children. Trent then took another break from chess in favour of fulltime employment. He reconnected with chess again by way of live commentary on major events such as London Chess Classic (2009), World Cup (2013), and Anand - Carlsen World Championship (2013). He has achieved his highest rating in blitz chess.

Thumbs up  Play  this game with a very unusual ending (2002)

Thumbs up  Play  this game which ends in a flurry of exchanges (2001)

Thumbs up  Play  this game with an impressive mating net (2001)

Wow  Video - Lawrence commentates on one of his blitz games

{#smileys123.tonqueout}  New in Chess  interview - When were you happiest ? ...