Like most brothers, Avery and Quinlan Hood share some common interests. They both like playing sports and spending time with their friends but they also share a common pastime that may surprise you. Both boys are avid and expert chess players.
In fact, 10 year-old Quinlan, a student at Anne Hutchinson, was recently named the Westchester County Chess Champion for the fifth-grade. He won all four of his games on March 23 competing against students from all over Westchester County. Quinlan is quite humble about the honor.
The competition was part of The National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) program that focuses on the benefits of chess education for students.
Both Quinlan and his brother Avery are self-taught, learning how to play chess from an app on their I-pads.
Avery, a 12 year-old eighth-grader at Eastchester Middle School, discovered the game when he was four years-old and he entered his first tournament at five. He started competing against adults at age seven.
Games at Avery's level can last between five and six hours. He has attended the Nationals several times, traveling to Dallas, Tennessee, and Florida. He is the only middle school student in the high school's newly formed Chess Club.
"Avery is a natural. I would not be surprised if he reaches the Grandmaster level one day," said Chess Coach Robert Ross. "Most importantly, Avery is very humble and genuinely likes helping other chess club members."
Avery's advice, "Know some basic moves to begin, during the middle of the game - you are on your own, and at the end-game - that is where the strategy comes into play."
Neither of the boys' parents are chess players but they are proud of their sons'accomplishments.
Their mother, Julie Meyers, an EHS Guidance Counselor, observes how the game instills some valuable lessons to her sons. "Chess teaches thinking skills but also perseverance and character. It is humbling when you lose but sometimes, if you don't give up, the game may end in a draw instead."