Black excellence

Cahree Myrick, 12, becomes Baltimore’s first-ever national chess champion after honing his skills at local barbershop

CHECKMATE: Cahree Myrick

THIS IS 12-year-old Cahree Myrick who has made history by becoming Baltimore’s first-ever national youth chess champion.

Cahree honed his skills in local barbershop, its owner Sundiata Osagie also a skilled chess player.

“This is the chess champion of the country right here,” Sundiata often brags to customers.

Beginning chess in the first grade, Myrick has had formal chess training, and is also part of The Baltimore Kids Chess League.

His mother, Yuana Spears, brings him to the barbershop on a routine basis to grasp a rawness of the craft. “It’s a different style,” said Cahree. “When I play people in standard tournaments, I know what to expect. Here, they play more freestyle.”

Cahree went a remarkable 7-0 in Nashville two weeks ago to win his division at the United States Chess Federation SuperNationals, and Osagie and others have been bragging about his achievements ever since.

The Baltimore Kids Chess League, in which he plays, touted his victory as perfection.

Mayor Catherine Pugh honoured Cahree and his teammates at City Hall this week.

“The City of Baltimore wants you to know we are really proud of your accomplishments,” Mayor Catherine told Cahree before hanging a medal around his neck.

The Baltimore Kids Chess League is open only to the city’s public school students. Launched in 2003, the program has produced three national championship teams. But Cahree is the first player to win an individual title.

To do so, he had to outscore 249 players from 28 states in his division. Eighty-nine players from Maryland competed in more than 20 divisions. Cahree was the only player to finish in the top five in his division.

“I don’t brag about it as much as my relatives will,” Cahree says. “I only talk about it if someone asks about it.”



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