Not long before he was to take on eight opponents during a simul chess match Sunday, Joshua Colas calmly watched television.
Colas and his friend, Scarsdale resident Maxwell Steinberg, challenged kids to a chess match fundraiser at the Scarsdale Teen Center so Colas, a seventh grade student at White Plains Middle School, could compete next October in the 2011 World Youth Chess Championships in Brazil.
Steinberg, the 2011 Westchester County Scholastic Chess Champion (Junior High School/Senior High School) and a member of the 2010 National High School Blitz Championship team, attends Solomon Schechter School.
Ray Ainsworth, White Plains Middle School volunteer chess coordinator, introduced the opponents and thanked the community for its support before Colas won seven games and tied the eighth with opponents Ruth Steinberg, Mitchell Quatinetz, Max Steinberg, Hannah Steinberg, Morgan Lawless, George Karounos, Justin Cooper and Guy Colas.
“We raised $225, which was great for the turnout,” said Ruth Steinberg, who helped organize the event. “Max is very happy, and everyone had a great time.”
Yesterday's simul was a piece of cake for Colas - named the youngest African-American national 7th Grade Champion by the United States Chess Foundation – who admitted to playing 15 to 20 chess opponents at one time.
“My son has played against Josh for the past few years,” Steinberg said. “We did a fundraiser after reading an article about him in the Journal News and raised more than $6,500 for that trip.”
“I wanted to help Josh, and we wanted to continue to help raise money with the simul,” Max said. “Two or more people will play against 20 people at one time. You walk around, and when you get to the board you move a chess piece.”
Professionals who play this way, said Max, “feel confident they’re going to win.”
During a simul, each player cannot move a chess piece until the opponent has moved to his table. “Even if you know the move you want to make, you have to wait,” Steinberg said.
Guy Colas said his son has been playing chess since age six or seven.
“He wanted to go to a tournament, and after I took him, he was hooked,” said the elder Colas. “He’s going to play in Columbus, Ohio in two weeks, and there will be 200 kids who want to beat him.”
Colas said his son is also musical.
“He picked it up like he picked up chess however as you get to a higher level of chess, there are different strategies,” Colas said. “We have chess books at home yet he doesn’t want to study them. He just wants to play chess.”
Colas smiled. “This is for the moment, Just for the moment,” he said.