"I started chess by playing with toy dinosaurs when I was a very young boy," Sarwer said over the weekend, "lining them all up. Then I found chess pieces. A lot of people get into games who are into math. And I got into chess because it was aesthetical. I just loved the way the pieces looked and that made me love the game."
Jeff Sarwer (born May 14, 1978 in Kingston, Ontario) is a Canadian-Finnish former child chess prodigy whose charismatic personality and chess talent made him a well known media figure. His chess career and his family's unconventional lifestyle were the subjects of many articles and TV shows. Jeff's attacking playing style was often compared to Bobby Fischer, and a tournament game drawn against him by another young chess player, Joshua Waitzkin, was the inspiration for the climax in the 1993 film Searching for Bobby Fischer.
Jeff Sarwer won the Under Ten World Youth Chess Championship in Puerto Rico in 1986 representing Canada. When he was eight, he was believed by many to be one of the strongest prodigies in the history of the game. Allen Kaufman, head of the American Chess Foundation, said, "Jeff at nine is stronger than Bobby was at 11." Bruce Pandolfini said, "Of the several thousand kids I've taught, Jeff is certainly the most amazing young player I've ever seen."
Given a tumultuous family situation which only got more complex, Sarwer was pushed away from chess as he grew older. Now in his late 30s, Sarwer says he's enticed to revisit his first love and take it to the next level.
See the full article, and 2010 interview.