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Vincy boy so-so good at chess

Vincy boy so-so good at chess

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22.MAY.09

A Vincentian 10-year-old emerged champion, at the SuperNationals chess tournament held last month in Nashville, Tennesse, USA.{{more}}

Vaughn Soso, son of Michelle Soso and grandson of Joan Gonsalves, is a fifth grader who lives in Brooklyn, New York.

According to the New York Daily News, Vaughn’s win was a surprise to everyone, including his 42-year-old mother.

“I ran out of the room because it was dead quiet in there and kids were still playing… I was screaming in the hallway,” the Daily News quotes Michelle as saying.

Vaughn is a former student of the Sugar Mill Academy and left St. Vincent in 2004 to live in New York. He presently attends Public School 315 in Brooklyn, and according to the New York Daily News, struggles with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Staying focused on chess matches that could last for hours at a time is no small feat.

“It’s the kind of game where you can do 20, 30, 40 moves and make a mistake on the 41st that loses you everything,” said Christian Whitted, who coaches Vaughn and runs the New York Chess & Game Shop on Flatbush Ave.

Vaughn, who now has played in more than 50 tournaments, said his passion for the game has been strong ever since he was introduced to chess as a second-grader.

“It’s fun and exciting to think ahead and plan your attack,” he said.

All three of them traveled to Nashville for the U.S. Chess Federation’s SuperNationals, which is held every four years and combines the annual championships for elementary, junior high and high school students. This year’s event drew more than 5,000 young aficionados.

Given the stiff competition at the event, even Whitted, who started coaching Vaughn in February after PS 315’s chess team suddenly disbanded, thought a trophy was out of reach.

That was before Vaughn started winning match after match in the K-8 Under 750 category, emerging from each to give his mom and coach a thumbs up.

“You start to say, ‘Holy cow, we’re at the halfway mark,’” Whitted said.

Vaughn said he was unnerved only once, in his second-to-last match, when he realized his opponent could make a move that would tie the game, but didn’t take it.

In the seventh and final match, he stunned his opponent – who at first didn’t believe it when Vaughn checkmated him – and shocked his coach and mom even more.

Vaughn said he’s looking forward to his next big tournament in June, when he’ll head to the Las Vegas International Chess Festival.

“I’m going to play,” he said, “and I’m hoping for success.” (adapted from the New York Daily News)

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