Photo credit: Amy Davis/ Baltimore Sun, Pictured: Cahree Myrick playing chess with his younger brother, Lohgan Spears (left).
There’s a new king of chess in town and he’s already made history.
About two weeks ago, 12-year-old Cahree Myrick beat out 249 players from 28 states to become Baltimore’s first ever individual national youth chess champion. The 7th grader finished the United States Chess Federation SuperNationals with a perfect score of 7-0.
Cahree, who’s been playing the game of chess since the first grade, is a member of the Baltimore Kids Chess League, where he receives formal training. However, it’s the Reflection Eternal Barbershop where Cahree gets to play against its owner Sundiata Osagie and test his skills on a different level.
“It’s a different style,” said Cahree. “When I play people in standard tournaments, I know what to expect. Here, they play more freestyle.”
Photo credit: Amy Davis/ Baltimore Sun, Pictured left to right: Sundiata Osagie and Cahree Myrick
Nevertheless, Cahree’s amazingly keen eye for chess combinations allows him to challenge skilled chess players like, Osagie, who can’t help but to brag about Cahree’s recent historic win.
As a straight-A student, Cahree has learned to balance schoolwork with his two passions: chess and track. His mother Yuana Spears, who takes him to the barbershop to expose him to the rawness of the game, watches her son faithfully hone his skills on a daily basis.
“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.”
The Baltimore Kids Chess League has been so successful, in fact, that some students who attend private or county schools enroll into Baltimore’s public school system so they can join. The league, exclusively open to the city’s public school students, has produced three national championship teams, and now Baltimore’s first individual national youth chess champion.
“This is a big deal,” said Steve Alpern, 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.”
That’s what we call a checkmate! Cahree, thank you for blazing a trail and inspiring other young kids, who look like you, to play chess.