Logan County can now boast it is home to a 9-year-old national chess champion.
Advait “Adi” Patel competed July 13-15 in the 2012 U.S. Junior Open championships in Houston, Texas, where he won first place in the Blitz U11 and 2nd place Individual in the Under 11 sections.
There were 300 competitors from across the country in the Under 11 section, but Advait was the only competitor from West Virginia.
“He played in two tournaments,” said Ruhi Patel, Adi’s mother. “One was the Blitz which is a speed chess. There he was the clear winner, winning 8-0. He won all of them.”
Mrs. Patel said in the Individual match, Adi tied with another competitor.
“They were both like co-champions,” said Mrs. Patel. “There were six matches and they both won six matches and they tied for it.
Adi, a Logan Middle School student, says he likes chess because he is good at it and it is fun. But he also prepares himself for a match.
“There is preparation … openings and tactics,” said Adi. “I practice by playing matches online. I read books and analyze games.”
Adi’s opponents online are anonymous, known only by a screenname. They can be a male or female of any age and with any level of proficiency in chess.
In the U.S. Chess Federation, Adi, prior to this championship, was rated at 1821, putting him in Class A. His rating now is 1921. When his rate reaches 2000, he will become a rated as an Expert. The highest level in chess is a Grandmaster.
“Two weeks ago there was a state action championship,” said Mrs. Patel. “All of the older top players from West Virginia played against him. He was the only kid, and he won that championship.”
The 2012 WV Action Chess Tournament website lists two winners for the matches held June 30, Advait and Mark Hathaway, both scoring 5-1.
“Last year he went for the same tournament and he was low rated. He didn’t manage to win anything,” said Mrs. Patel.
Mrs. Patel said that while in Houston, Adi played against a Grandmaster (GM) from Russia.
“A GM came around and played against 15 kids,” said Mrs. Patel. “The other 14 lost to him, but Adi drew with him. He signed the chess board for Adi.”
Adi doesn’t have any financial sponsors yet. His tournament attendance is financed by using the family’s income and monetary help from generous donors like Denise Queen, the Dahill family, customers who come to the Subway where Adi’s parents are managers, and fellow church members.
“Before we went to Houston, the Logan County Commission helped us and I want to thank them,” said Mrs. Patel.
Tournament entrance fees are relative low. The 2012 Junior Open fee was $35 if you preregistered or $50 after deadline or paid on site. The family — father, Rupal, mother Ruhi, Adi and younger sister, Aditi, 4, traveled to Houston by automobile. According to Google Maps, the trip from Logan to Houston was 1,176 miles and would take almost 20 hours. After arriving in Houston, the family had the opportunity to rent a motel room in the Marriott Houston South, where the tournament was being held, at a tournament rate of $79 per night with only a courtesy meal. All other meals the family had to purchase.
“When we traveled to Houston, we traveled almost 24 hours straight,” said Mr. Patel. “We travel somewhere with Adi just about every weekend.”
“If anyone would like to sponsor Adi, we would be really grateful,” said Mrs. Patel.
Anyone willing to help financially in Adi’s chess tournaments can visit the family at the Subway restaurant on Stratton Street.
“Adi isn’t interested in sports… when I ask him what he wants to play with, he says ‘get me a chess board,’” said Mr. Patel. “Of course, if I could, I would get him a diamond chess set.”
Adi became interested in chess following a trip to India where he was taught to play by his grandfather almost two years ago.