MANILA, Philippines - Boys at seven spend most of their time with their PS3s or PCs and tabs voraciously playing Candy Crush or Temple Run. But not youthful Fide Master Alekhine Nouri, who allocates a huge majority of his day handling chess pieces and mastering moves and immersing in chess books.
“Our daily routine features 10 hours of training; no computer games, no TV. We only ease up on Sundays,” the chess prodigy’s father and personal coach Hamed Nouri said in Filipino.
Only two years since first picking up the chess pieces, Alekhine bore the fruit of his perseverance by earning an outright FM title with his victory in the Open 8-under category of the recent 14th ASEAN + Age Group Chess Championships 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Alekhine, who was named after the great Russian world titlist Alexander Alekhine, thus became the youngest Filipino FM
Fide Master at seven (in comparison, GM Wesley So became an FM when he was 11, although it took him three years to get a GM title).
“Siya ang youngest Fide Master in the world ngayon (He’s the youngest FM in the world today, actually),” said GM Jayson Gonzales, the National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director, when the delegation paid Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia a courtesy call yesterday.
“Pangarap ko po maging Super Grand Master at world champion (It’s my dream to reach super GM status and be a world champion),” said Alekhine, who accounted for four of the 24 gold medals Phl won in Chiang Mai.The Pinoy chessers brought home a total of 65 medals.
Like Nouri, Allaney Jia Doroy (girls’ 12-U) , Samantha Glo Revita (girls’14-U) and Shania Mae Mendoza (girls’ 16-U) also gained their outright Woman Fide Master (WFM) titles.
Alekhine used to tag along his father Hamed to a chess club in their province, Escalante, Negros Occidental, when he was five years old. The boy liked the game very much that it was him who asked Hamed, a Fide Master himself, to go to the club.
He scored a big fat egg in his first three tournaments but that didn’t deter the incoming Grade 1 pupil at FEU-FERN from pursuing his dreams. By 2012, Alekhine, now based in Taguig, was already winning both local and international age group chessfests.
After the Thailand meet, Alekhine is set to vie in the Asian Youth Chess Championships 2013 in Sari, Iran from June 19-27.
“If he sustains his focus and train hard continuously, I think he has a chance of winning in Iran),” said Hamed, who quit his job to give his son’s chess career his full attention, in Filipino.