A chess board with only two pawns moved forward, with a child's arms folder in waiting

Milo Kong: Chess Star in the Dark by Theodore Garfinkle, age 10


NEW YORK, NY— Milo Kong is a 10-year-old 5th grader living in New York City, in the Greenwich Village neighborhood. Milo goes to school, plays with friends in the yard, and plays Roblox. Oh,  and he is also a chess prodigy! You could describe Milo as a black star. He is there, shining bright, except that you can’t see him. To make his star shine brighter than it is now, people should know about this brilliant boy. 

Milo Kong has competed in around 125 chess tournaments in his life. He played a lot of these tournaments with people who are his same rating, or friends and rivals. He started playing when chess was a required specialty class in kindergarten, at his school, PS 41. He has been playing for six years now, so he is certainly no amateur. In fact, to call Milo an ametur  would be plainly incorrect. This very year, Milo ranked 20th in the national rankings! He says “I was very happy with myself because I just spent a year practicing, preparing for this tournament.”

The average chess rating for a ten year old is 1200. Milo’s rating is close to 1600 now with his highest rating ever being 1722. That is 522 above average for a child of his age. He really likes tricking his opponent into blundering pieces. This means he likes to get his opponent into making a bad move allowing him to take a piece or check the king. It’s his favorite tactic.

You may be wondering how this remarkable child got to be this 10 year old chess pro? Milo practices for two hours a day, every day. His mother signed him up for chess lessons at a great school called the Marshall Chess Club. This is the chess club that pops up on Google Chrome when you search “chess clubs NYC.”
Milo Kong is the most inspiring child because he went from a chess class at school all the way to the national league, persisted, and did not give up on his goal. He was able to beat opponents who outranked him, who towered over him. He came to do, and he did. Milo Kong, chess master, is just one of those ones who stands out and stands tall. He came, he saw, he won.

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