Chess' rising young pawns

Talented Zi Han, Siddharth have their parents' support in their pursuit of the game's pinnacle

Above: Goh Zi Han, 11, is a candidate master of chess despite his tender age, and has played the game in 16 nations. Below: Singapore chess wunderkinds Zi Han and Siddharth Jagadeesh, 13, with their respective parents (back row, from left) Lo Li Wen
Goh Zi Han, 11, is a candidate master of chess despite his tender age, and has played the game in 16 nations. PHOTO COURTESY OF GOH WEE LIP
Above: Goh Zi Han, 11, is a candidate master of chess despite his tender age, and has played the game in 16 nations. Below: Singapore chess wunderkinds Zi Han and Siddharth Jagadeesh, 13, with their respective parents (back row, from left) Lo Li Wen
Singapore chess wunderkinds Zi Han and Siddharth Jagadeesh, 13, with their respective parents (back row, from left) Lo Li Wen and Goh Wee Lip, and Jagadeesh Balakrishnan.PHOTO COURTESY OF GOH WEE LIP

Goh Zi Han is 11, all of 1.45m, and needs the boost of a seat cushion on his chair to have a clear view of all the pieces on the chess board.

Yet the Maris Stella High School (Primary) pupil has already earned the title of candidate master in the game - three rungs below the highest title of grandmaster - and has travelled to 16 nations to hone his craft, going up against adults a half-century older.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 03, 2020, with the headline 'Chess' rising young pawns'. Subscribe