Chess isnt the only game 13-year-old William Shuford plays at adult tournaments. He likes to keep his mother wondering whether he won.
Its been that way since he started playing in kindergarten. You can never really tell when he loses a match, said his mother, Marie Shuford of Charlotte. In fact, he tries to make me guess when he comes out whether he won or lost.
Thats the kind of natural calm that William, a Charlotte Preparatory School seventh-grader, displayed on the weekend of Oct. 26-28, when he took first place in two divisions and tied for second in another at the annual Lipkin-Pfefferkorn Open adult chess tournament in Charlotte. He won $250.
William -- shown at the K-6 U.S. Chess Federation National Tournament in May in Nashville -- finished first in the U1100 and U1250 divisions and tied for second in the U1400 division. The U rating system calculates the strength of a chess player based on performance versus other players in tournaments and matches. The higher the number, the stronger the player.
Hes ranked in the 73rd percentile among U.S. Chess Federation rated junior players and is already in the 59th percentile among all players rated in North Carolina.
William and his mother said everyone he played that weekend was an adult. Thats not unprecedented for a 13-year-old, but its pretty rare. He said hes won five or six championships since kindergarten but that the Charlotte event was a highlight for him so far.
Its the strategy and the thought to it, having to think through everything that draws William to chess, he said.