Portrait of Jason Cao at his home in Victoria, B.C. January 11, 2011.
Photograph by: Adrian Lam, Times Colonist

B.C. boy crowned chess champ after upset win

By Jeff Bell, Postmedia News January 23, 2011

VICTORIA — Victoria’s newest world champion was a virtual unknown a few months ago.

But in Greece last November, Jason Cao shocked a string of highly touted opponents from countries including Spain, the United States, Italy and Belarus at the World Youth Chess Championships to emerge as the best under-10 chess player on the planet.

Despite being ranked 89th out of 156 in his age group, the Canadian upstart earned nine of 11 possible points on his way to the title with eight wins, two draws and just one defeat.

Last month, he was named the 2010 Canadian Chess Player of the Year. Jason has also received a $1,000 award from the Chess’n Math Association — a national group that promotes chess and academics.

Jason’s proud father, Yunxu Cao, said his son is a very confident boy, but he went into the world championship with no real expectations. Although Jason had done well locally, the world stage was a big unknown, Yunxu said.

“We were really encouraged by other people to send him to Greece because initially we didn’t want to go. We didn’t know how good he was.”

So the family set out — Jason, his father and his mother, Huicui Yao — and the rest is Canadian chess history. Jason emerged as the first Canadian to win an international chess title since siblings Jeff and Julie Sarwer both accomplished the feat in 1986.

During the world event, someone on a discussion board at chesstalk.com took to calling the Victoria chess whiz “The Crusher” for his impressive performance. But Yunxu said it was all about the experience and having fun for his son.

“We could feel the pressure on the other kids. Jason was really relaxed all the time,” Yunxu said.

Full article here.

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