Majur Juac: Once a Lost Boy of Sudan, Now a U.S. Chess Master
The Former Security Guard Taught Himself How to Play and Now Teaches the Board Game to Students in New York City

Updated Nov. 24, 2014 9:06 p.m. ET

A couple of years ago, Majur Juac took time from his job as a security guard in suburban Washington to come to New York for a visit.

The soft-spoken Sudan native dropped by a chess tournament in Forest Hills, Queens, that a friend was competing in. He was encouraged to play as well.

“He won it,” said Michael Propper, the co-director of New York City Chess Inc., the organization that sponsored the tournament.

New York City Chess teaches the game to 6,000 students every year in private and public schools, chess camps and other events.

“I asked him if he ever taught chess. I gave him my card,” Mr. Propper recalled. “The next day he came in with his certificate to show us he’s a national master.”

Except for his chess pedigree and job, Mr. Propper didn’t know anything about Mr. Juac: “We just knew he shouldn’t be guarding a parking garage.”

New York City Chess hired Mr. Juac as an instructor, and one assignment took him to the Cathedral School on the Upper East Side.

That’s where Mr. Propper said Ted Kusulas, the head of school, put two and two together based on Mr. Juac’s age and his homeland.

Mr. Kusulas asked Mr. Juac if he was one of the Lost Boys of Sudan; Mr. Juac acknowledged that he was.

“He never told anybody.” Mr. Propper remembered.

The Lost Boys of Sudan were about 20,000 boys who were displaced or orphaned during the Sudanese Civil War that started in 1983.

They survived a brutal monthslong march to temporary safety in Ethiopia.

For Mr. Juac, chess proved much more than a game, or even a decent living, starting well before he began teaching it to children in the U.S.

Full article here.

Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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