The name "Tal" has a magical quality in the world of chess. For another player to bear the same name must be as much a burden as an honor.

When that person shows signs of living up to that name, that magical quality is all the more evident.


Tal Shaked learned to play chess ate age seven. That was in 1985. He was born on Feb. 5, 1978.

After playing for 1 year, he became the Arizona Primary Champion and National Primary co-Champion the following year.

After having played only 4 years, winning the Arizona Elementary title for 2 years, Tal Shaked became the youngest Arizona expert with a rating of 2004. In 1990 he won the National Elementary title and tied for 1st place in the National Junior High Championship the following year. That same year he took his first GM scalp and attained a 2200 rating. In 1992, Tal was the Cadet Champion. Then, in 1995, he co-won the US Junior Chamionship and tied for first in the National Open. 

And in 1996 earned his GM title.

In 1997 he won the US Junior Championship and in a tense battle in Zagan, Poland, in which he scored even with Vigen Mirumian, he won the tie-break to secure the World Junior Champion title.

Tal Shaked quit playing competitive chess in 1999.

He talks about himself at 


Here are two well-known former Junior champions, both of whom retired from chess, battling it out to a draw.