In the battle of the cerebral war game known as chess, 14-year-old Daniel Naroditsky “is the real deal.”
Naroditsky became a master at age 11 and the Junior World Champion when he was 12. The teenager from Foster City, Calif., now ranks ninth in the United States among chess players 21 and younger.
This year, he also became the youngest person to write a book on chess with the release of “Mastering Positional Chess: Practical Lessons of a Junior World Champion.”
“I saw him play about a year ago and suddenly realized he’s the real deal,” said Sal Rosario, an assistant director at the annual Reno Far West Open tournament. Rosario asked Naroditsky to autograph his 240-page book before the Friday start of the chess tournament, which runs through Sunday at the Sands Regency Casino & Hotel.
“He’s someone who understands the game deeply,” he said. “There are a lot of players out there who base their strength on memorizing (moves). So, if you get them out of their book knowledge, you can sandbag them.”
That won’t work with Naroditsky.
“He truly understands the game, and not just from memorization,” Rosario said.
Short, shy, polite and sporting a head of curly hair, Naroditsky began learning chess when he was about 6 years old by playing family members.
His father, Vladimir, owns a San Francisco investment company, and his mother, Lena, is a classical pianist. Naroditsky’s only sibling — his older brother, Alan — is majoring in business economics at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Naroditsky said his role model in chess is Garry Kasparov, who was 22 when he became the youngest undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985.
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