Chess whiz heads to Yale

By James Lu

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Yale is getting its own Bobby Fischer. Nineteen-year old chess grandmaster Robert Hess, who is heading to Yale come August, was the subject of a Bloomberg profile Thursday.

Hess’ plans to join the class of 2014 were put on hold when he won the $42,000 Samford Chess Fellowship, which paid for him to travel and compete in Russia, Greece, Spain and Ireland.

“Technically, chess is a job for this year,” Hess told Bloomberg. “If it becomes a chore, then it’s no longer fun, but I still love every game I play.”

Still, this is not the first serious job Hess has had — he worked at New York hedge fund Fortress Investment Group LLC in the summer of 2008, analyzing the entertainment industry in a way he said was analogous to predicting future moves in chess.

Following in the footsteps of chess grandmasters Kenneth Rogoff ’75 MA ’75 and Patrick Wolff, who was a member of the class of 1991 before transferring to Harvard, Hess said he hoped to study finance at Yale.

Hess is currently in the semi-finals of US Chess Championships, which conclude Apr. 28. Camp Yale will kick off for the class of 2015 on Aug. 26.


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