White Plains’ Joshua Colas, 12, sets sights on chess world record
By Briggette Sayegh • October 20, 2010

WHITE PLAINS — Until a few weeks ago, 12-year-old Joshua Colas had three years to work on becoming the youngest African-American chess master in the world.

Now, he has three months.

The world record for youngest African-American chess master, which had been set last year by Kassa Korley of New York City at the age of 15 years and 2 months, has just been claimed by Justus Williams of the Bronx, just shy of 12 years and 4 months.

Joshua, who turned 12 on Sept. 5, has until early January to beat the record.

Joshua left Monday for Greece, where he will participate in the Boys 12 and Under level at the World Youth Chess Championship in Halkidiki. The tournament will begin today and conclude Oct. 30.

But no matter how well Joshua does in Greece, the tournament ratings will not affect his quest toward masterhood; they are separate.
Joshua, who called Justus’ accomplishment “really impressive,” has a current chess rating of 2155 and needs a 2200 to become a master.

He’s competed against Justus in the past and, although he admits that his opponent got the better of him, is eager to redeem himself.
“I’m looking forward to playing him again,” he said. “And beating him!”

Despite the increased pressure, Joshua, who plays more than two hours of chess a day, has remained confident and is focused on winning in Greece.

“I’m looking forward to playing my best chess ever and winning the tournament,” he said.

Fundraising efforts led by the White Plains school district and other supporters have been very successful. Enough money has been raised, with support from more than 150 donors, to fund Joshua’s trip to Greece and to hire a personal chess coach for him.

Joshua has been training with grandmaster Alexander Stripunsky since last month.

“It’s a gift to have a coach like him,” Joshua said. “This makes me feel special and blessed.”

His father, Guy Colas, said Joshua has been quite busy writing personal thank-you letters to every donor and is excited about the trip to Greece.

Radio personality Howard Stern, a chess aficionado, was among the supporters who donated to the Colas fund.

Source: http://www.lohud.com

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