COQUILLE — Local chess wiz from Coquille High School, Joshua Grabinsky, recently earned a National Master ranking at a chess tournament in Reno, Nevada.
Furthermore, he won a different tournament in Seaside last weekend and will be representing the state of Oregon in the Denker tournament for High School Chess Champions in Wisconsin this summer.
According to 13-year-old Grabinsky, there are only around 20 other kids in the nation that have achieved a National Master ranking.
Grabinsky practices playing chess every day by playing online at chess.com. He also reads books on chess strategy to improve his game.
“I read books to work on concrete openings so I don’t get messed up on my openings. There are also middle game and end game books to learn from. I also do tactics trainer on chess.com, where it has different positions and you have to try and solve it,” Grabinsky said.
At the tournament in Reno, Grabinsky played in an open session with several people who were rated higher then him. Grabinsky scored five draws and a loss which gave him enough points to move up in rank to National Master.
Competitive players earn points for winning chess matches in competition. The amount of points a player has determines their rank National Master is the second highest rank in the U.S, and Senior Master is the highest. Those with a higher ranking than that compete on a global scale.
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“If you win the game, you get a full point, and the other person who lost gets a zero point. If it’s a draw then you each get a half a point. So I had five half points and a loss,” Grabinsky said.
Last weekend, Grabinsky played in another tournament up north in Seaside, for elite high school players. The tournament ended in a four-way tie, so to choose a winner the four players played speed chess.
“I won first place. This was a qualifier, so now I get to go to Wisconsin in August for the Denker tournament of High School Champions. I’m going to represent Oregon high school chess players. For that tournament, each state sends one player,” Grabinsky said.
When Grabinsky was five, his mother rented a video on chess for him and his brother from the library. The video sparked the interest of both Grabinsky and his older brother. After two years of practice, seven year-old Grabinsky played in his first tournament.
His brother is also a great young chess player, who earned a full scholarship to St. Louis’ Webster University, which has one of the best collegiate chess programs in country. Grabinsky also hopes to go to Webster and continue to peruse his love of chess.
“I like the strategy and tactics of it. It’s challenging so you always want to do better and not make any mistakes. You always want to win more,” Grabinsky said.