2012 Scholar-Chessplayer Award Recipient
Chess has certainly been an integral part of my life; however, the game itself is only a small portion of the overall experience. Garry Kasparov once said that “I find it hard to imagine my life without chess,” and at this juncture in my life, I could not find a statement more applicable. Ever since I moved my first pawn at age 6, chess has had some inexplicable hold over my life. In a way, it always had an ineffable presence, guiding me towards my future. This guidance first began to manifest itself as my skill grew and I began winning national and international tournaments.
With my abilities that I have honed through years of training, I started giving back to the community that supported my ascent in the chess world. I helped found a chess club at a local elementary school, volunteering my time every week to teach around 70 students. I have been with the chess club for over four years, and every season the number of children in the club increases. It is comforting to know that I am instilling a love for the ancient game in others, giving them the same opportunities that I had.
Although my success in chess has contributed significantly to my leadership abilities, I cannot thank the game enough for revealing to me a means to success. Few experience early on in their life such fulfilling accomplishments, and I consider myself fortunate to have achieved so much in chess. Since I started playing the game, I had to mold my work ethic into a model of efficiency, for competition at the higher levels requires a dedication of a significant amount of time and effort. Thankfully, this quality exhibited itself also in my academics – I realized that chess has had a strong correlation with the improvement of my problem-solving and logical faculties, essential traits for one who wishes to become an engineer.
On a more personal note, chess has allowed me to meet incredible new people that have assisted in my academic progress. One of these people, Jennifer Shahade, introduced me to the founder of the Adventures of the Mind program, Victoria Gray in 2009. At Princeton University, I had the opportunity to meet eleven Nobel Prize winners in the fields of chemistry and physics, the CEO of Mozilla Firefox, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and two former Poet Laureates of the United States. Such a contingency would have been impossible without the guiding hand of chess by my side, turning the handles towards opportunity in every direction.
For me, chess taught me invaluable qualities that had applications beyond the game itself. When examined in starkest terms, chess was originally meant to train the minds of kings who ruled over realms far larger than the three square feet to which chess players confine themselves, and this realization allowed me to view the whole world as my own giant chess board; an apt proving ground for my analytical abilities.
- 2008 Super Nationals Chess Tournament Scholarship ($500)
Member of the United States National Team at the 2009 World Youth Chess Championship in Turkey
- Will be a member of the United States National Team at the 2012 Pan American Chess Championship in Peru
- 2011 North American Chess Champion U18
- 5-time United States National Chess Champion
- Nationally Ranked Top 10 Chess Player for Age Group since 2005, currently ranked #2 in the nation for 16 year-olds
- Full 4-year college scholarship to the University of Maryland in Baltimore County and unrestricted $500 scholarship for winning the 2009 United States U16 Cadet Championship (valued at $79,480)
- 2011 United States Chess Federation Scholar-Chessplayer Award ($1,500)
- 2010 Rentscheler Foundation Chess Scholarship ($1,750)
- 2008-2010 Recipient of the Holly Heisman Foundation Scholarship ($1,500)
- 2009 National Denker Tournament of High School Champions Scholarship ($500)
- United States National Chess Master (Title)
- Member of the New Jersey Knockouts 2008-2011, a State Chess Team that competes in the United States Chess League
- 4-time New Jersey High School Chess Champion
- 6-time New Jersey Scholastic Chess Champion
- 6-time New York State Scholastic Chess Champion
- Represented New Jersey at the 2009 Denker High School Tournament of Chess Champions
- Has played in over 300 chess tournaments
- Keynote motivational speaker at the 2009 Chess Fest sponsored by Verizon Wireless in Asbury Park
- Promoted chess in Marlboro Memorial Middle School by creating a state competing Chess Team. Lead team to multiple New Jersey State Championships in 2006 2007 & 2008. MMMS won the NJ State Championship for 3 straight years. In 2008 MMMS won the NJ High School Booster Championship.
- Helped create a chess club at Lincroft Elementary School. Has taught the chess club since 2009 and continue to do so today; the current membership of the club is over 70 students.
- Volunteer to give simultaneous exhibitions at the annual Chess Fest sponsored by Prevention First held in Asbury Park, New Jersey since 2007
- Volunteer at the Monmouth County Chess School and Club, raising money for the local YMCA by giving simultaneous exhibitions
- Keynote motivational speaker at the 2009 Chess Fest sponsored by Verizon Wireless
- Self-employed Chess Coach
- Captain of school chess team for the last four years, have lead the chess team to various local championships such as the annual Knights of Columbus and Toms River Elks tournaments.
- Teacher’s assistant that the Stars Challenge program hosted at Monmouth University. This program is a science enrichment program for top middle school students throughout Monmouth University, and I have assisted in the marine biology and forensic courses offered by this program.
- Volunteering to teach at the chess club in Lincroft Elementary school as described in “Chess Service.”
- Entrepreneur and developer for the start-up Orchive, a company whose goal is to revolutionize the reporting of news around the world