If there’s a 12-year-old kid out there that’s a national master at chess, that kid gets his own post. Justus Williams of the Bronx is such a youngster, but really, I’m just happy that people are still playing chess. It’s still the best context to make “beating the bishop” jokes.
Williams became the youngest-ever black US Master in chess last September (that’s about the equivalent of a second-degree black belt). They’re now calling him “The LeBron James of chess,” probably because calling him the “Tiger Woods of chess” would bring on a whole different connotation other than “He’s really good at chess and just so happens to be black.”
His chess skills have taken him to Brazil, Canada and Greece. It’s not uncommon to find him challenging and beating opponents four and five times his age.
Justus and his family hope his success in chess will help others experiment outside their comfort zones. They’re spreading the word through a campaign called “Dare to be Different.”
And that’s why, as you can see in the video, he’s “just like any other 12-year-old,” but I can’t remember the last time I saw a male sixth-grader with an earring, although it’s a lot harder to tell being 1,000 yards away from the nearest elementary school.