The comeback kid
Last Updated: 1:02 AM, November 7, 2010
Posted: 9:28 PM, November 6, 2010

Every year, some talented youngster is called a “prodigy” — or worse, “the next Bobby Fischer” — because of his spectacular results in junior events. But we’re still waiting for the next Fischer, and the prodigies of yesteryear typically disappear from view when they fail to live up to their promise.

Steven Zierk of Los Gatos, Calif., disappeared on his own terms. He was called a prodigy when he was an 8-year-old rated 1500. But he played in few tournaments over the next five years while he pursued other interests, like math and tae kwan do.

However, Zierk’s rating steadily grew when he returned to chess, and he finally got national recognition in August when he won the Denker Tournament of High School Champions.

Last week he became internationally known when he was the surprise winner of the under-18 title in the World Youth Championship in Greece. Previous winners of the event include world-class players such as Vladimir Kramnik, Peter Svidler and Shakriyar Mamedyarov.

Zierk, now 17, was ranked 26th in the field when play began but won eight games, drew three, clinched the gold medal by a full point and earned a grandmaster norm.


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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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