I lost last night to 11 year old Peng Yu Chen (rated 1624) in the U1600 NSW Grade Match playing on Board 2 v St George Saints.
We transposed into a French like position (I was White) and a mistake on my part allowed him to capitalise and break through on the Queenside. During the game, I felt that I should have created better counter chances and this is one game where I would have to slowly go back and look where I went wrong.
Chen's youth belies a strong maturity in his playing ability and I'm not ashamed to have lost to him. He played a great game from start to finish.
Peter played on Board 1 and drew while Roger lost and David won so that leaves our group with a 1.5-2.5 score.
Speaking of losing to kids, while talking to a few older chess players in the club, one of them remarked to me on how he takes a little bit of comfort that he once drew with an extremely strong kid some time back. The kid has since surpassed him by leaps and bounds.
One thing I do realise about kids' playing style is their fearlessness.
When I see some older players playing against kids, I find that some of them have a propensity to seek "safe" lines for fear of being caught short in tactical play. I'm not entirely certain if that is the way to go. I myself have held the belief that one should always play to one's own personal playing strength and style. I myself am more inclined towards tactical play and will not hesitate to resort to tactics or sacrifices (if the situation warrants it). It would be a mistake for me to play in a more conservative and positional style (building up slowly etc.) because I am just not accustomed to it. I am at the stage in my playing where I favour dynamic play and tactics over positional play and I love playing to the edge of my seat at times.
In addition, rather than facing them with apprehension, I've always advocated to play to the best of your playing ability and not be afraid to tackle them on. Some of the kids I've come across are very good tactical players and with the aid of coaches and more resources like time, they can often raise their game to a much higher level and more rapidly than mature adults like me can ever do in a comparative period.
I am indeed happy to see them improve because it is a good image for chess if more kids take up the royal game.
Speaking of child prodigies, here's a very interesting excerpt about Illya Nyzhnyk below. In the video, he was only 10 at the time and already had an ELO rating in excess of 2200!