As world champions start to be crowned in Russia in the Winter Olympics, Marshalltown hosted a two-time world champion in a different type of competition Saturday.
Awonder Liang, a 10 year old chess prodigy, brought his skills to Marshalltown to compete for the $500 first prize in the Expert Open Saturday at The Salvation Army.
Liang, who is from Madison, Wisc., won the 2013 World Youth Chess Championships in the United Arab Emirates and is also a 2011 world champion. He is the youngest ever U.S. chess master and the 315th ranked player in the U.S. of any age.
T-R PHOTO BY ANDREW POTTER
Awonder Liang, 10, of Madison, Wisc., is a two-time world chess champion. He played in a chess tournament Saturday at The Salvation Army in Marshalltown.
"Some of that comes naturally and another part of it is he works at it," said Will Liang, Awonder's dad.
The event was hosted by the Marshalltown Chess Club and tournament director Hank Anzis. It brought in top level players from Iowa, Kansas, Wisconsin and Missouri.
Dan Brashaw, 23, from Iowa City, is a 2013 Iowa state chess champion and he also competed. He said it was nice to have a tournament which exclusively featured top level players. He also was able to witness Liang in action.
"He's probably destined to be a world class player," Brashaw said. "He probably works at it much harder than kids his age."
Awonder's dad said people in the community were very welcoming during their visit.
"The community is very nice and the people are very friendly," Will Liang said.
Anzis said a friend of his was able to find someone to donate money to put on this Expert Open in Marshalltown. Anzis said adding a world champion to the tournament, along with all of the other successful players, made the event unique.
"It is a privilege and an honor to have the world champion play in our chess tournament in Marshalltown," Anzis said.
The final winner of the tournament Saturday wasn't expected to be crowned until 11 p.m. Saturday night.