Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 2°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Woodbridge: Chess prodigy Justin aims to be a grandmaster

08:15 13 February 2014

Justin Tan is currently studying at Woodbridge School on a chess scholarship.

Justin Tan is currently studying at Woodbridge School on a chess scholarship.

While most teenage boys are undecided on their ambitions before leaving school, chess prodigy Justin Tan is sure of his intent – to become a grandmaster.

Already a World Chess Federation master, Justin needs to first become an international master before realising his ultimate dream of achieving the highest title and joining a list of illustrious names like Kasparov, Spassky and Fischer.

Originally from Wales, Justin moved to Melbourne, Australia, at seven but decided to study in the UK for his last two years of school.

So formidable were his chess-playing skills that he won a scholarship to attend Woodbridge School.

Justin, who boards at Woodbridge and has guardians in London, is currently working towards his AS-Levels in English, French, economics and maths.

“There is some correlation between maths and chess,” he said. “But there are a lot of other aspects to it – even an artistic side.

“I remember back in Wales my dad was teaching my sister to play. She was maybe six and I was about four, so my dad said I was too young.

“I was about seven and at primary school in Australia when I started learning.

“It’s a really interesting game. The rules are fairly simple but the games can become very complicated.

“It requires a lot of confidence and can be quite nerve-racking when you’re up against someone much stronger than you – say a grandmaster.”

Since the age of 10, Justin has played about 900 tournament games – winning most of them.

His longest encounter latest a gruelling five-and-a-half hours – a game he eventually won.

“Tournament games can go nine to 11 rounds,” he said. “It can be physically quite exhausting and mentally draining.”

Concentration should come easier to Justin than most young players.

Until recently he was a national gymnast for Australia, winning numerous awards while on a scholarship at a specialist school for gymnasts, dancers and musicians.

“I took gymnastics extremely seriously – as seriously as chess. But this year I gave it up to 
make time for more chess and school.”

There is no individual player Justin most admires, but his influences range from Kasparov and Fischer – who he calls “geniuses” – to Russian Alexander Morozevich and the legendary Anatoly Karpov.

“It’s a common misconception that chess is an old gentleman’s game,” he said. “Most of the world’s top 50 players became grandmasters at a relatively young age.”

0 comments

The Orwell Bridge.

Two breakdowns on the Orwell Bridge were reported to be causing delays for drivers this morning.

Police at the scene of the armed raid in Clacton

Detectives investigating a “very frightening” attempted armed robbery at a north Essex supermarket in which shots were fired have recovered a car used by the suspects.

Community leaders fear the park and ride will bring more traffic into Wickham Market. Credit: Mike Page

Park and ride proposals linked with Suffolk’s new nuclear power station are anticipated to more than double traffic volumes through parts of a village – causing “extreme concern” for residents.

The We Love Bury St Edmunds supporters photo bomb the statue of St Edmund celebrating over a year since the group was born - founder James Sheen

Andy Abbott reports on how Facebook group “We Love Bury St Edmunds” has brought thousands of people together from across the globe.

Emma King from Ipswich  died from leaukemia aged 17. Left to right, Emma's step-sister Jamie Green, her mother Kathy King and step-father Shaun Green.

The mother of a brave Ipswich teenager who died of a rare form of leukaemia at the age of 17 says she ‘always had a smile on her face’.

Ex Royal Air Force Serviceman Richard Philpotts, of Stowmarket, Suffolk was sentenced on 16 January 2017 to three years’ imprisonment following conviction in relation to a single victim of one offence of indecent assault on a child below the age of 14, committed between 1986 and 1987.

A former RAF corporal and scout master has been jailed at a court martial for three years for the sexual abuse of a boy scout more than 30 years ago in Germany.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday January 18, 2017. See PA story POLITICS PMQs May. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

People must take flood warnings seriously, the Prime Minister has said after the region was put on high alert over a tidal surge last week.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24