Stephen PowellPennsylvania, United States
Hello! For all who are interested here's a little about me. I was born in Florida, but now I live on a farm with chickens, ponies, and cats in Pennsylvania. I have two brothers (snprook and His-Disciple) with me being the middle child. I really like making new friends and getting to know people :) Oh, I can be goofy sometimes too... you've been warned lol! :D
~Chess: A Love Story~
I was about 6 when I played my first game of chess. It was my chess fanatic older brother, snprook, who taught me how to play chess. Please don't send me hate mail for saying this but I hated chess! Whenever he wanted to play I would do whatever I could to avoid it. Mainly I wanted to keep my nose buried in a book. Unfortunately he usually managed to prevail and get me to play him. I guess I do owe him some gratitude... I probably would have never become decent at chess if he hadn't forced me to play and lose to him. You would have thought that I might have learned Scholar's Mate sooner than I did... :/ Kind of makes me wonder what was so fun defeating me over and over and over and over...? ;) Needless to say the chess school of hard knocks was very... um... painful.
My eventual love of chess was a slow process. It all began in the 7th grade when, to my horror, my older brother recruited me to join the local highschool club. As a 12 year old (who would rather be reading a book) with no interest in chess whatsoever this was not exactly my idea of fun, but my parents thought it was a great idea. My purpose was so the team could have an extra in case any of the 5 highschool players couldn't make a match... yeah, that never happened. For the first year I was mainly their team mascot who showed up in a too-big team shirt that was probably meant for a highschooler twice my size and girth. I always ended up playing whoever the other team had left over - extra players, coaches, trained monkeys (just kidding about the last one... that would made my day, though!). Needless to say, I never managed to win a single game my first year on the team. Still, I enjoyed being with the big highschoolers and going out to eat after the matches... even if it was always to Wendy's (not exactly sure why). So, I didn't consider all of that chess season to be horrible. In fact, I sort of looked forward to being on the team the next year.
The next year things were different chess-wise for me. Apparently I had improved (through osmosis?) and managed to obtain the team's Board 2 position. The coaches pulled some strings in order to let me play Varsity on the team. To make things even better some other 8th graders also joined the team... so I wasn't the only little guy :) Overall, I learned a lot that year! My 8th grade chess career became an excellent springboard for an eventful, and successful highschool chess career. To top things off, sometime in those following years on the team I managed to slowly develop a love for chess... took long enough! ;) So, though I may not be the team mascot anymore I still enjoy wearing the (now sometimes too small) team shirt as a walking advertisement and playing chess ;)
~Chess: The Story Continues~
Fastforwarding to the present, I am a Senior on the New Oxford High School chess team. I am surprisingly New Oxford's Board 1. Not bad for a mascot :) The team has grown and changed a lot since I first joined. In the OPEN section of my League's Biannual Tournaments I am the 3 time 1st place Champion (twice in 2011 with scores of 3.5 and 4.0, once in 2012 with a score of 3.5... each out of 4 games). The previous tournament, in 2010, I placed 3rd with a score of 3.0. Besides these league tournaments, I have entered a number of local scholastic quick tournaments. Ultimately I have placed 1st four times and 2nd once.
In 2011, the first year I was Board 1, our team won our League Title for the first time since 1984. Also, we won our section in the Scholastic State Tournament for the very first time. In 2012, my second year as Board 1, we again won our League Title. At States our team only placed 6th though. However, individually at States I won all 5 of my games and became the Scholastic State Champion in the U1000 7-12 section!!! :)
I do realize that I'm a bit underrated (due to lack of rated play), so I intend to eventually reach my true rating... Sadly, my days of playing for my school and for the League are over since the scholastic chess season has ended and I'll be graduating :( Hopefully though there will be a future for me in collegiate chess :) As for my online chess rating, my goal (as of March 14th) is to be rated consistently above 1800 by the end of the year.
I will play almost anyone who challenges me (unless it is a 1 day per move). In general, I prefer 3 day per move challenges, but 5 is ok too. Adaptability is a virtue. I want to improve and the only way that will happen is if I play more people. I used to never study chess or read chess books, but a couple of months ago I decided to take that plunge... and I have never regreted it! Slowly I am working on building a chess library... combining my two loves: Chess and Reading :)
I am a firm Christian and have been baptized. I like to help out with children's ministry whenever I am given the chance. This past summer, I was a volunteer camp counselor at a children's camp... lot's of fun! :) Great place to let out all that energy of mine ;) Currently I am a Sunday School teacher for 3rd-4th grade boys at my church. They keep me on my toes and are a joy to teach.
Also, I am a youth volunteer at the local Middle School YFC club. I really enjoy volunteering at the local Highschool 'Youth For Christ' (YFC) branch whenever they have opportunities for involved youth to help out. For a while, I even helped teach chess with one of their after-school programs. With this organization, I have helped out with a wide variety of events... ranging from national youth conferences to golf outings. Additionally, I have been on three mission trips with them, both in and out of country. I am really thankful for the opportunities YFC has given me to grow as an individual :)
My main interests include chess, reading, tutoring, acting, writing, drawing, soccer, and football. I really like spending time with and having fun with my awesome friends :) I have been to 49 of the 50 states (Alaska is still missing). Plus, I have traveled to Canada (numerous provinces... love poutine and fish & chips :D) and Jamaica. Yah mon!
I've been homeschooled since completing the sixth grade and I love it! Oh, and just because I'm homeschooled doesn't mean I don't have a life. In fact, I have a very comfortable cave thank you very much ;) Also, before you call social services, yes, they do let me talk to other people lol... you'd be surprised by some of the things people have asked me about homeschooling! Oh, and yes, I CAN go to school in my pajamas ;)
Besides teaching myself at home (I read the school book, I take the test, repeat until done... no help from anyone), I have also taken Effective Speaking, Microbiology, and English courses at my local community college. Yeah, 100% in all of those... really enjoyable professors and subjects :) My favorite subject is science. This is what led me to choose my username, which is a combination of my initials and DNA.
Well, college is my next "step." After spending a good amount of time applying to and comparing colleges I finally know where I will be attending. This Fall I will be a University of Rochester (in NY) Yellowjacket... fairly ironic actually - I dislike lots of snow and I'm afraid of yellowjackets lol ;) Nevertheless, I'm really excited to be going there and I know I'll fit in well :)
When I grow up I want to help people who are suffering. That is the main reason of why I want to be a doctor. Right now I'm thinking of becoming a missionary doctor and working in impoverished areas. However, I am also open to becoming a researcher... hopefully college will help me decide which is the better path for me.
One of my heroes is Benjamin Carson, M.D. If you don't know who he is here's a brief overview... Carson was born into a poor family in Chicago. Through sheer determination he overcame his many obstacles, went to Yale, and eventually became the lead World-renown neurosurgeon at John Hopkins Hospital. Not bad, eh? For more information look him up (or read Gifted Hands... yes... a book!). There is a lot we can learn from his story.
If anyone managed to keep interest and read all of the above, I thank you for the interest and I hope I didn't bore you! You must have a lot of time on your hands lol! Unfortunately for you I have the tendency to want to include everything, which leads to rambling... sorry! Send a friend request and/or challenge my way if you get the chance. I would love to talk to, and play, you! You could even let me know what you thought of my profile (good or bad)... it's a work that is never complete. Anyway, I love private messages. Enjoy life... every moment of every second. Have a GREAT day! :)