Monday, October 18, 2010

Awonder Liang

Awonder, one of the four chessplaying Liang children who hail from Madison, Wisconsin, will be representing the United States at the World Youth Chess Championships in Greece which start tomorrow.  Here is a recent newspaper article by Doug Moe about Awonder and his family. 

I had an opportunity to see the Liang children in action this past Saturday (October 16) at the Hales Corners Chess Challenge XII, and after I finished my last game and was decompressing at a table outside the playing room, I was introduced to Mr. Liang and enjoyed a chat with him.

Awonder, a very bright young man who is in the gifted program at his school, is good at lots of things according to his proud dad.  And he's a thoughtful young man, too, with a big heart.  He told his dad recently that if he gets money some day he wants to create a foundation to help other people.

At 7 years of age Awonder is already a national champion in his age group and is currently the top-rated player in the country in his age group.  Awonder has been playing chess since he was about 5 and has a USCF rating of 1807.  He is currently ranked 77th on the Wisconsin Top 200 Players List (no age restrictions on that list).

There are probably thousands of gifted young chessplayers in a similar position - they show great promise at an early age and would greatly benefit from instruction by a strong chess teacher.  The issue, as with other sports, is where do the funds come from to pay for needed training. Top Grandmaster instructors can charge between $80 to $100 per session, and as I understand it, typically there is one session a week.  The cost quickly adds up - a year's instruction would run between $4,000 to $6,000. 

Sponsorship - where does one find sponsorship for ongoing training expenses for a promising 7 year old chessplayer?

I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed for Awonder as he plays in the World Youth Chess Championships and will root for him to have a great tournament.  By the way, Awonder played in the Open section at HCCC XII and finished in 20th place (out of 40 players) with 2.0, and improved his rating to 1842.  Brothers Adream and Able played in the Reserve section and finished, respectively, in 3rd place with 3.5 and 35th with 1.0, out of 37 players (I finished in 37th place, LOL!) 

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