My Interview with IM Christopher Yoo: What I Learned from the 14 Year Old Prodigy

My Interview with IM Christopher Yoo: What I Learned from the 14 Year Old Prodigy


Hey guys!  Sorry for the lack of blog posts these past few months.  With my own chess, high school graduation, and other things going on in my personal life, there hasn't been a lot of time for me to write!

However, about a month ago I was blessed to have a chance to interview an outstanding player and human by the name of Christopher Yoo!  A little background on Christopher: this man is an absolute BEAST.  He was the youngest National Master and International Master in American history, and is soon to be a very strong GM; not to mention he is only 14 YEARS OLD!  Here's a game of his which I annotated of him taking down the Ginger GM, Simon Williams:

In this mini-interview, I asked Chris a few questions about his life and about chess.  He was understandably tired, as he had been playing hand and brain on a stream with GM Sam Shankland for hours prior to the interview.  But he answered all of my questions with enthusiasm!

I asked Chris first about his schooling; Chris is homeschooled, as he focuses mainly on chess.  There's no doubting Chris's incredible work ethic; his whole day consists of studying and playing as much chess as he can.  He also mentioned that he enjoys playing sports like tennis outside of chess.

I then inquired about any existential or internalized pressure that Chris feels being one of the world's youngest chess prodigies; However, Chris told me that although there is some pressure, he is able to ignore it and stay laser-focused on his chess and his main goal of becoming a GM, which I believe is an event that will come very soon.  We then talked chess, mainly about means of improvement (for I myself am an improving amateur player).  Chris was very adamant about increased ability through tactics; Chris has an insane puzzle rating of 3580 and a 3 minute puzzle rush of 50.  Chris spends hours each day on tactics, and is extremely sharp and fast, despite the fact that he does not use a mouse!  Here's a link to him scoring 49 on puzzle rush: PUZZLE RUSH - 12 year old scores 49 on! - YouTube

Anyways, it was awesome getting to meet Chris Yoo, and I will definitely be cheering for him in the future!  For any tournament chess fans out there, the 14 year old from California needs to be on your radar.


John Connelly