Trained At His Local Barbershop, This 12-Year-Old Is Baltimore's First-Ever National Chess Champion

7th grader Cahree Myrick killed the chess game with a perfect 7-0 score at the national tournament.

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| May 31 2017,

11:35 pm

Checkmate! Black boy joy wins again! 

Meet Cahree Myrick, a 12-year-old who has been crowned the first individual national youth chess champion in the entire history of Baltimore, according to the Baltimore Sun. Come through, black excellence!

Sundiata Osagie, the owner of Reflection Eternal Barbershop where Myrick often practices, and a skilled chest player in his own right, tips his hat to the 7th grade chess phenom. "This is the chess champion of the country right here," Osagie often brags to his customers, referring to Myrick. 

Beginning chess in the first grade, Myrick has had formal chess training, and is also part of The Baltimore Kids Chess League. His mother, Yuana Spears, brings him to the barbershop on a routine basis to grasp a rawness of the craft. "It's a different style," said Myrick. "When I play people in standard tournaments, I know what to expect. Here, they play more freestyle."

Myrick recently scored a perfect 7-0 at the United States Chess Federation SuperNationals in Nashville and has been the object of his city's honoring in various ways. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh honored Myrick and his teammates at City Hall, and the Baltimore Orioles invited Myrick to Camden Yards. 

"This is a big deal," says Steve Alpern, the commissioner of The Baltimore Kids Chess League. "To win it with a perfect score is pretty incredible. People don't think Baltimore City is producing these kind of achievements, but we are."

It's true! The league, which is only open to public school students in the city's school system, has produced three national championship teams. What makes Myrick special, though, is that he is the first to win an individual title. 

Outscoring 249 players from 28 states, Myrick certainly has a lot to brag about, but he remains humble. "I don't brag about it as much as my relatives will. I only talk about it if someone asks about it," he noted.

If that has you thinking that Myrick blazes through his opponents in his sleep, well, he says that's not at all the case. During his final championship game against a Texas opponent, things got a little rough. "It was my toughest game yet," he said. "The key to winning is not giving up. Keep thinking and pushing until you get there. And that's what I did."

Myrick certainly put in the work to get to where he is today, his mother said. "On the weekends he put in a full day's work, easily eight hours a day, getting ready for this tournament," Spears said. "He showed the dedication; he showed the drive; he showed the hunger for getting ready for this tournament and he was successful."

Along with closing the gap between generations by playing with the older gentleman at the barbershop, Myrick and his team's successes has attracted lot of interest. Many students in Baltimore now want to join his league, and it has even gotten to the point where private or school students are being enrolled in the public school system just so they can join the league. Super dope!

Shouts to Cahree Myrick for being the epitome of black excellence!

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