Shout Out: Aren Emrikian, kid chess champion
Aren Emrikian won't celebrate his 8th birthday until January, but the son of Wilmette couple Ani and Armen Emrikian can already claim a monumental accomplishment. Last month, he won the World Chess Federation's Cadet Championship gold medal for male players younger than 8. His victory came after 11 rounds of play in the Brazilian city of Pocos de Caldas. With mom Ani Emrikian looking on, he spoke with Pioneer Press Sept. 6.
Q: When did you first play chess, and who taught you?
A: My mom taught me. I'm not sure when my first game was, it was such a long time ago, maybe two years ago. I think my mom wanted me to be exceptional and she thought it was a good logic game.
Q: What do you like about chess?
A: There's nothing not to like. And it's fun if you play correctly, and you don't cheat. I think the best part is the learning and the logic you have to use.
Q: How do you train?
A: I practice every week with my coach (Glenview resident Mesgen Amanov) for one hour and 30 minutes. He goes over openings, puzzles and game analysis.
Q: What kind of player are you?
A: I'm usually an offensive player. I can think four or five moves ahead if I try hard … I'm not so good at defense. When I play defense, I crash out in a horrible way ... I have to be calm.
Q: Do you play chess with anyone in your family?
A: No. My mom's not good at all! I sometimes play with my dad, if I give away my queen (play with fewer pieces than his opponent).
Q: How did you feel about going to Brazil, and about winning the championship?
A: I was excited to go, but I was excited in a good and bad way because I was nervous. I didn't expect to win, not at all.
Q: What do you like to do besides play chess?
A: I like reading. I like the Harry Potter books and movies, and I've read every single Percy Jackson book. I like pizza a lot, plain cheese with nothing on it, and I like sushi.
Shout Out is a weekly feature in which we get to know and introduce our readers to their fellow community members and local visitors throughout suburban Chicago. Check out more online at ChicagoTribune.com/ShoutOut.