Diversity, But One Community: What Chess Taught Me

My name is Lucia. I have lots of hobbies, but one hobby that most describes me as an Asian American is chess. I started to play chess at the age of 4. I went to many cities for chess tournaments. At 6 years old, I won a FIDE title WCM in Canada, which made me the world’s youngest “Woman Candidate Master”. Last year, at 7, I was invited to the USA Team for the 2020 World Youth Championship. Now, I am 8, many people challenged me to a chess battle but I never got scared. You may be curious why I love chess so much?

I love chess because of its opportunities, everyone has a chance if you don’t give up. Even a little pawn has an opportunity to be promoted to a powerful queen if it keeps on pushing up to the end. It’s just like many Asian Americans, like my parents, who went to the US last century with no car, no house, no money. They work hard to succeed and build us a better life. The reason for them to pursue the American dream is they believe the land is full of opportunities, just like chess.

I love chess because it’s the fairest game. It doesn’t matter if you are boy or girl, man or woman, young or old, black or white, you always have the same pieces, same time control, same rules, same challenges. The different results depend on your effort and skill, not your age, height, accent, skin color, money, or looks. And no matter how good you are, you can always find more challenges. The US is a hope land for fairness and challenge for many Asian Americans too.

I love chess because of its diversity. My opponents, young and old, are from Russia, India, Brazil, Africa, China, etc. I once played with an old grandpa who couldn’t see, his wife whispered to him each move and helped him do the notation. He touched each piece when thinking, and I guided his hand for my every move. I finally won that long game, but won with my full respect, and I couldn’t forget his smile, a real smile. That’s true love for chess, I could feel. Sometimes I think for Asian Americans, the real solution for problems is love, love for our differences, and love for our similarities.

Last but not the least, I love chess because through diversity, it’s still one community, and you can’t achieve the best all by yourself. In one community, we learn, challenge, encourage, support each other, we could together, grow stronger, go further. Same for Asian Americans, we need to grow with our community, much broader community, together, to achieve our American dreams.

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