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Darwin Yang: Solo at the Top Print E-mail
By WIM Dr. Alexey Root   
March 1, 2012
028.JPG "This hotel makes me nostalgic," said IM Darwin Yang.

"Seven years ago the Texas Scholastic Chess Championships were also here and I had lots of friends with me. My team, Skaggs Elementary (Plano, TX), finished second in the primary section. There were lots of kids I knew in the skittles room. Now most of them have quit chess and I'm here alone."

Not quite alone, as Darwin's mom, Kewei Wu, accompanied him on his return trip to the Sheraton Dallas for the 2012 Texas Scholastic Chess Championships. Darwin went 7-0 in the Texas Scholastic's high school championship section, securing a UT Dallas "Chess II" scholarship for finishing alone at the top.

Darwin is still at an age (15) where either his mom or his dad, Dujiu Yang, comes along to his tournaments. Next on his schedule is a norm tournament in Chicago over Spring Break, organized by Sevan Muradian. Darwin will also play in the 2012 National High School (K-12) Championship in Minneapolis, Minnesota. "I want to try to get the high school national title now, in ninth grade, so I don't have to worry about it later on."

007.JPGAt the National High School (K-12) Championship, Darwin will play with a team from his current school, St. Mark's School of Texas. Second highest rated on the St. Mark's team will be Jason Altschuler (2214). The other two players will be middle school student Akshay Malhotra (2054) and "a fourth grader who is 1850," Tianming Xie.

This spring, Darwin may also play in the Chicago Open and the Philadelphia Open. He has to be careful, however, not to miss too many school days as St. Mark's is academically demanding.

Balancing chess and academics is "a little bit tough. Sometimes I have too much schoolwork and can't look at chess for several days. Normally, though, I spend 2-3 hours on chess a day on weekdays and 5-6 hours a day on weekends."

For aspiring young masters to keep such a chess schedule, Darwin advised, "you can't lose motivation. Even I've had motivation problems before, after a bad result. Losses used to be an incredible low for me. But you have to keep working so you don't give up what you have already worked for. Inner motivation is important. Think about the other benefits of chess such as meeting new people and mental training." And, Darwin added, "I like winning."

Videos of Darwin Yang

From December 2010: This interview of Darwin Yang was conducted at the UT Dallas GM Invitational in December 2010. Darwin, then age 14, was trying for his third IM norm. He later got that norm in April 2011 at the Texas Tech SPICE Cup. Photos of him from his beginnings in tournament chess at age 7 through 2010 are shown.

From November 2009: US Chess Scoop from Chess Life Online interviewed Darwin when he was about 10 days short of age 13, at a tournament 11-29-09. 

Dr. Alexey Root, WIM, is the author of five books on chess in education
https://www.amazon.com/author/alexeyroot Her sixth book, Thinking with Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14, will be published by Mongoose Press http://www.mongoosepress.com/

Find out more about the National High School Championships and
other upcoming Nationals.