Webster University the Netherlands is sponsoring 25-time Dutch championship chess player and recent European youth champion Anna Maja Kazarian as she competes in the World Youth Chess Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, Sept. 20 to Oct. 4.
Kazarian, 16, was born in Heerenveen, Friesland, the Netherlands, to parents who are originally from Georgia. At four, she taught herself to read and write and skipped a year of elementary school. She started playing chess at age six.
“When I was six years old, I spent my holidays in Georgia, where my grandfather taught me to play chess,” she said. Her grandfather, Kako (Simon) Lomsadze, actually taught her how to play checkers, chess, cards, and backgammon in one day, then asked her which game she liked best.
The answer, easily, was chess. From that day on, her chess career took off. To date, Kazarian has won the Dutch Chess Championship 25 times and has won 188 cups within seven years. Her progress has garnered her attention on Dutch TV over the past year.
Anna-Maja has received online coaching from Susan Polgar, the five-time Olympic Championship winner with 10 overall medals, who is Webster’s chess coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) at Webster University in St. Louis. The Netherlands campuses also helped Kazarian participate in Polgar’s SPICE Girls’ Invitational this past summer.
Webster the Netherlands will support and encourage Kazarian during the World Chess Federation Championships. To follow along, check out progress on Webster the Netherlands website and social media.
More information about the World Youth Chess championship can be found here.