11-year-old Seattle chess prodigy wins national title
by Dana Rebik
Q13 FOX News reporter
SEATTLE — Chess is a game of concentration, strategy and memory. It can take a lifetime to master, but at only 11 years old, Marcell Szabo is one of the best chess players in the country.
In December, he took home two first-place trophies at the National Grade Level Championship in Orlando, Fla. It’s not just kids Marcell beats, though. He’s won competitions against people five times his age.
“At first they didn’t take him serious, but then he won some games and then they said, ‘Oh hey. I have to pay attention,’” said Marcell’s father, Csaba Szabo.
Marcell’s father, a medical physicist, introduced the game to his son, after realizing he had a special gift.
“When he was four years old we started playing the memory game with the two cards you have to flip around (and) match and what we noticed when other people were playing and turning one card after the other, Marcell would observe them for a few minutes and then come over and flip and match all of them at once,” said Szabo.
While Marcell has natural talent, he works at it, too. He spends up to 20 hours a week either playing chess, reading books on chess, or working with his coach online. In his free time, he enjoys soccer, skiing, math and Spanish.
Marcell’s next big competition is the World Chess Championship in the United Arab Emirates next summer.