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Katy ISD 5-year-old chess prodigy headed to nationals, school considers to adding chess program

November 30, 2018

Officials at Nottingham Country Elementary School are considering offering a chess program after a 5-year-old kindergartner placed first place in a state tournament this November.

Principal Tracy Stroud said she was impressed when she heard the news that Ryan Mecham, a student at “the small neighborhood school,” had earned a perfect score at the 22nd Annual North/Central Texas Grade Championship in early November, taking with him a trophy nearly as tall as he was.

“It’s really awesome. Nottingham Country is a small neighborhood school and we have lots of great things that happen hear,” Stroud said. “It’s really nice to have somebody so advanced. We’ve had gymnasts and things of that nature, but never a chess champion. To be so young is really impressive.”

The elementary school used to have a chess club years ago, Stroud said, but the staff member who used to run the program retired.

“It’s about finding somebody with a passion for chess to be able to give it the attention and the due diligence that it needs, but it is something we’re going to talk about in January,” Stroud said.

Ryan Mecham won every round at a state competition on Nov. 2-4 through the United States Chess Federation. In two weeks, the 5-year-old chess prodigy, who has beat high school students and adults, will head to nationals in Orlando, Fla.

His mother, Mary Mecham, said Ryan will be playing with a bunch of other children—some older, some his age — at nationals on Dec. 14-16.

Ryan’s journey began when he picked up a chess board about a year and half ago, she said. She thought it was just a phase, like dinosaurs.

“He started at the library playing just a couple of other kids and he started beating everybody,” she said. “And so he started reading all these chest books and teaching himself strategy… He started competing in tournaments three months ago.”

When asked who he planned on beating next in chess, Ryan said, “Everybody.”

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