Jeffery Xiong has been engrossed in chess more than half his life - since he was 4, says his mother Jenny Li.
“At a birthday party, he saw a 4-year-old playing chess,” Li said. “He got so fascinated by the moves and he asked my husband to buy him a set of chess.”
Within a year, Jeffery learned to play. By the time he was 7, he was competing.
Only now, after seven years of competing, and playing up to 20 matches a year, he sees value in every match, even when he loses.
“When I was younger,” Jeffery says, “of course I enjoyed winning much more than when I lost. Now, when I lose a game, I want to improve more, because I learn more from losing than winning.”
Jeffery and his family are now so committed to chess that the teen is home-schooled. He takes classes online and gets help from his mom, a financial advisor who works at home. That lets him spend three to five hours a day studying chess, but his mom worries he might become too isolated.
“I think it’s just an absolutely fantastic experience to be playing people much older than me,” Jeffery says. “I just think it’s great for what I’m doing. In a way it makes me feel good about myself that I can keep up with older players.”
See the one-year old article. Jeffery just won the Chicago open, pocketed the third GM norm, and became the first Chinese-American GM (pending FIDE approval).