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Checkmate champion

Junior Danny Soong is an internationally ranked chess player, currently holding the title national master.

Pawn to E4. Unbeknown to his opponent, junior Danny Soong has seen this move hundreds of times. With over 200 competition’s worth of experience, Soong moves pawn to C5, Sicilian Defense.

After discovering this 1,500-year-old strategic board game back in 2010, Soong began developing and pursuing his newfound interest  He recently achieved a rating of over 2,200 to gain the title national master, a rank held by less than one percent of rated chess players, on the United States Chess Federation’s elo scale, a ranking system based on the player’s performance in competitions.

“It was really relieving after I broke through. During my chess career I would always have these milestones where I would be stuck at a certain elo or rating. I was stuck at 2,100 for 2 to 3 years. I was proud of the work I was putting in all those years and it just felt like a huge accomplishment to me,” Soong said.

At the age of 5, Soong had already defeated people twice his age at his afterschool. Realizing his talent, he would hone his skills for the next several years. Finally, in 2013 at eight years old, Soong accepted an invitation to participate in his first Super States competition, where he finished fifth out of 100 contenders. He was also chosen to represent the United States in a Pan American competition in Chile, where he finished 11th.

“I think it’s a beautiful game with a lot of strategy, and I have been just good at those types of games. It keeps me alert and refreshed since everyone else is preparing, so I have to work hard to outdo them if I want to win. [During] the tournaments I was really nervous but after them, I felt pretty confident,” Soong said.

Due to the impact it has had on his personal life, Soong has also reestablished the chess club at WHS. He hopes to spread interest and encourage people to learn chess and hopefully compete in competitions.

“I am just trying to get people interested in chess because of the strategies. I think chess applies to a lot of aspects in life such as timing, patience, responsibility and organization,” Soong said. “It has helped me in a lot of things such as logical thinking. When I plan to do my work, it really helps me organize my thoughts.”

Pawn to E4. Unbeknown to his opponent, junior Danny Soong has seen this move hundreds of times. With over 200 competition’s worth of experience, Soong moves pawn to C5, Sicilian Defense.

After discovering this 1,500-year-old strategic board game, Soong began developing and pursuing his newfound interest back in 2010. He recently achieved a rating of over 2,200 gaining the title national master, a rank held by less than one percent of rated chess players, on the United States Chess Federation’s elo scale, a ranking system based on the player’s performance in competitions.

“It was really relieving after I broke through. During my chess career I would always have these milestones where I would be stuck at a certain elo or rating. I was stuck at 2,100 for 2 to 3 years. I was proud of the work I was putting in all those years and it just felt like a huge accomplishment to me,” Soong said.

At the age of 5, Soong had already defeated people twice his age at his afterschool. Realizing his talent, he would hone his skills for the next several years. Finally, in 2013 at eight years old, Soong had accepted an invitation to participate in his first Super States competition where he finished fifth out of 100 contenders. He was also chosen to represent the United States in a Pan American competition in Chile where he finished 11th.

“I think it’s a beautiful game with a lot of strategy, and I have been just good at those types of games. It keeps me alert and refreshed since everyone else is preparing, so I have to work hard to outdo them if I want to win. [During] the tournaments I was really nervous but after them, I felt pretty confident,” Soong said.

Due to the impact it has had on his personal life, Soong has also reestablished the chess club. He hopes to spread interest and encourage people to attempt chess and hopefully compete in competitions.

“I am just trying to get people interested in chess because of the strategies. I think chess applies to a lot of aspects in life such as timing, patience, responsibility and organization,” Soong said. “It has helped me in a lot of things such as logical thinking. When I plan to do my work, it really helps me organize my thoughts.”

By Philbert Loekman, Manager
Photo courtesy of International Chess Federation