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WKBW 7 News Buffalo

Local student wins NYS chess competition

By Imani Clement, Mikayla Hyman,


A local Amherst student won the 55th Annual New York State Scholastic Championship, becoming the state's elementary champion.

11-year-old Bryan Lin beat out 1500 students from across the state and is now the top chess elementary-aged player in New York.

90% of the contestants were from New York City, where school districts are able to support chess extensively. However, Bryan was able to beat this majority, being one of only 20 students from the Western New York area.

Director of Operations at Buffalo Chess Association John Hanni said Bryan started playing chess with the Association in 2020 - when the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Lin was a beginner at first, went to immediate, and "moved up very quickly to advanced level. It was very quickly apparent he was good at chess," Hanni said.

Hanni said an indicator that a player can move up to the advanced level is when they start giving him trouble in games. Hanni says Lin started giving him trouble after only four to five months of instruction.

After a year, Hanni could not beat Bryan anymore.

According to Hanni, it is very unusual for a Western New York player to show up like this in a tournament that is dominated by New York City players.

Bryan is currently in the top 1% of chess players worldwide.

To sign up for the Buffalo Chess Association, you can send an email to the association or sign up on their website, here .

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