Height isn’t normally an attribute one associates with playing chess well, but it’s come in handy for 16-year-old Daniel Naroditsky in recent years.
Naroditsky’s been a serious chess player for years, earning him the right to sit at the table across from other impressive players. Thankfully, the Foster City teen has grown a bit in the last few years which allows him to take on older players without the use of a booster seat. He laughed Monday while noting he’s grown a bit and no longer passes for a 10-year-old, which helps when he goes to play.
Playing on despite unique chess challenges has earned Naroditsky access into some wonderful tournaments. Later this month, for example, he’ll travel to St. Louis, Mo. to compete in the 2012 U.S. Jr. Chess Championships. A few days after, Naroditsky will head to Montreal to take part in an open tournament.
It’s the thrill of playing the game that’s kept the junior at Crystal Springs Uplands School interested.
"Chess is its own world,” Naroditsky said.
That world has allowed Naroditsky to travel internationally, play a host of players with different skill levels and backgrounds and review his own mistakes to improve upon his game.
Naroditsky was born in San Mateo and began playing chess at 6 and a half years old against his father Vladimir and his older brother Alan.
One year later, Naroditsky won his first tournament in Burlingame. Naroditsky soon realized he was pretty good at chess. He’s come a long way since that first tournament spending years as a number one rated player in the United States in his age category and a member of the All-America Chess Team — created in 1987 to honor the best chess players ages 18 and younger.
As with all challenges, continuing to improve takes dedication. It’s been harder to focus during the school year as school becomes more challenging. Now in high school, Naroditsky uses summer as a time to focus on chess.
Naroditsky began playing internationally in 2005. In France, he took fifth place in the boys under 10 division. The following year, Naroditsky won the bronze medal at the Pan-American Youth Chess Festival in Cuenca, Ecuador in the boys under 12 division. In 2007, he became the world champion in the boys under 12 division in Antalya, Turkey. The victory earned him the title of Federation Internationale des Echecs Master. Naroditsky earned two National Scholastic Championships, three California Scholastic Championships and, in 2007, won the High School Scholastic Championship of Northern California. In 2011, he earned an international master title. Naroditsky attributed the noteworthy title to studying from home freshman year and really focusing on chess. Now only one title alludes him — international grandmaster.
Along with his numerous trophies, which are proudly on display when you visit his home, Naroditsky is ranked as a national master — a title earned by U.S. players who have achieved a ranking over 2200. Naroditsky currently has a 2552 ranking in the United States Chess Federation.
Despite his big dreams, Naroditsky does not want to become a professional. He does plan to maintain chess as a hobby. Don’t worry, Naroditsky doesn’t spend all his free time staring at chess pieces. He enjoys getting out to hang out with friends and play basketball.
Heather Murtagh can be reached by email: email@example.com or by phone: (650) 344-5200 ext. 105.