A South Croydon teenager is on his way to Brazil to represent England in the international youth chess team.
Yang-Fan Zhou, 17, a student at Whitgift School, has practiced chess for hours every day since he was a little boy.
Now he is the highest ranked English competitor under 18, with 188 victories and three International Masters. His previous best finish was at last year’s tournament in Greece, where he came 13 out of 140 players.
All this knowledge will be tested the World Youth Chess Championship in Caldas Novas in Brazil, where more than 1,000 young people from 77 countries will come to battle.
Marie Gallagher, a representative for Richmond Junior Chess Club where Zhou used to play, said it was fantastic to see Zhou go international. She said: “All juniors who go outside England are a success.”
David Howse, President of the Southern Counties Chess Union, lives five minutes from Zhou and is a friend of the teenager.
Howse said that Zhou has taken a gap year to get his Grand Master Status and has already beaten one of England’s best Grandmasters, Nick Pert.
“Zhou has had a exceptional year with fantastic achievements,” Howse said.
In an interview with the Croydon Guardian on November 15, Zhou said “anything could happen”, at the Brazilian competition, but added that he felt quite confident. Should he succeed, he will be named World Youth Chess Champion.
The England team set off together this evening and will stay in Brazil until the 27 November, when the competition ends.
The WYCC 2011 Portal is now online and gives an overview of player’s games and live updates of all the action.