The Andover sixth-grader doesn’t need a board, no stoic chessmen at the ready. In her mind, she can lead a kingdom into a war of wits and strategy, visualizing each move. And several that will follow.
That helps explain how, in February, the 11-year-old became the youngest female in the United States to earn the title of chess master. When she beat Alexander Ivanov last fall at the New England Open, Carissa became the youngest female ever to defeat a grandmaster.
“It’s a challenging game and I like that about it,” she says. “I prefer to play with someone who’s actually good … and I also like the pretty pieces.”
When Carissa knows she’s winning, her eyes narrow and a look of glee floods her face. A sideways grin forms. Her opponents don’t always see it coming, but that face symbolizes the end is near. Her focus is always two, four, six, 10 moves ahead of her opponent.
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