Huaracino’s son to become chess grandmaster

O n September the 26th 2017, Peruvian chess player José Martinez Alcántara won the World Youth Chess Championship for the U18 bracket, beating Russian Alexandr Triapishko in a tie-break. The tournament was held in Montevideo, Uruguay, and featured competitors from chess heavyweight nations such as India, Russia, Azerbaijan China, Kazakhstan, and Germany.

The young man, who won the U13 Worldwide Junior Title in 2012, now has the three standards required to move up to the level of grandmaster. He will become Peru’s sixth active and youngest grandmaster, and is sure to move up from his current world ranking of 1167, and his national ranking of seventh.

His mother, Violeta Alcántara Cerna, from Huaraz, took to Facebook to show her delight at her sons accomplishments, thanking family, friends, and his old school, for their support, ‘without which Jose could not have participated’.

The World Chess Federation (FIDE) is recognised by the International Sports Federation but not by the International Olympic Committee, and Latin America has an unexpected interest in the cerebral ‘game’, traditionally championed in Eastern Europe and Asia. According to the 1998 Pan Latin American Kids study, 19% of Latin American kids between the ages of 7 and 11 have a chess set at home. Most popular in Argentina, Mexico and Chile, chess board ownership highly correlates with affluence and educational level, it is also, currently, a more male pursuit.

Peru, however, now boasts 5 grandmasters under the age of 26, most notably 22 year old Jorge Cori, ranked 111th in the world, and his sister, the highest ranked female in Peru, and winner of the American Continental Women’s Championship. José Martinez Alcántara, clearly with a bright future ahead of him, will surely be setting his sights on a Senior World Chess Championship in the years to come.

Author: Frederick Clayton
Photo: Violeta Alcántara Cerna and her son, the World Champion, José

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