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Cahree Myrick, a 7th Grader, is Baltimore’s First National Chess Champion

Cahree Myrick, a 7th Grader, is Baltimore’s First National Chess Champion

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There’s a barbershop in Baltimore’s Barclay neighborhood called Reflection Eternal (great name). In this barbershop, a young 12-year-old boy named Cahree Myrick can regularly be found playing chess with the shop’s owner Sundiata Osagie.

On the surface level, this might seem insignificant. Until you realize Myrick, who is still in the 7th grade, is a national chess champion, the first to come from Baltimore.

The Baltimore Sun did a wonderful profile on the boy the other day. In that story, the reporter stressed that Myrick learned how to be great in chess by playing in formal leagues. But he’s become a more versatile player because of his time playing in a place like Reflection Eternal.

Speaking about playing chess in the shop, Myrick says:

“It’s a different style…When I play people in standard tournaments, I know what to expect. Here, they play more freestyle.”

Part of that comes with the culture that Osagie has established at the shop. Reflection Eternal is a place where internationally ranked chess master William Morrison will pull up with his grandson to participate in games:

“Playing chess in this shop is a staple. It’s what we push…We call it mental calisthenics. A lot of older guys love it. They swear by the game. They were happy that a young kid from Baltimore won.”

Myrick is where he is, partially, because of a program started in 2003 called the Baltimore Kids Chess League. That program, which has been successful with nurturing young talent, is open only to public school students. Myrick is the first individual champion to come from the organization.

Steve Alpern is the commissioner of the Baltimore Kids Chess League, and he spoke about his program and Myrick’s amazing achievements:

“To win it with a perfect score is pretty incredible. People don’t think Baltimore City is producing these kind of achievements, but we are.”

Myrick’s life flipped two weeks ago when the teen won a United States Chess Federation national title in Nashville by going 7-0. The city has celebrated his achievement ever since. He will be honored by Mayor Catherine Pugh at City Hall. And later today, he’ll be celebrated by the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

He was also celebrated when he returned to Reflection Eternal, where everyone was bragging about his accomplishments and asking for pictures.

SOURCE: Baltimore Sun


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