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Maidenhead boy to compete in European chess championship

Soham Kumar has a lot of hobbies, but for one he ranks top in England for his age.

This year, Soham will represent England in two chess championships after being selected by the English Chess Federation (ECF).

The first is the World School Chess Championship in Antalya, Turkey, in April 17-27 and then the European School Chess Championship in Mamaia, Romania, in May 30 – June 9.

Soham, eight, of Harvest Hill Road, Maidenhead, a pupil of

Lowbrook Academy, trains almost daily and was selected by the federation after competing in chess tournaments around the country most weekends.

His mother Sachi Shreya said: “It’s quite a proud moment when he plays. We really enjoy it as well. It’s a bit hectic because both of us are working Monday to Friday as well. We are just supporting him as much as we can.”

Pitting his strategic wits against children, and adults, who have similar chess capabilities Soham has climbed the national rankings to be rated at 110 – and number one for his age.

Sachi said: “We don’t ever have to push him or anything. He’s really passionate about playing chess and he just loves it.”

Soham was introduced to the chequered board by his dad

Abhijit Kumar when he was five-and-a-half. When he was six ‘he started showing signs that he could play, he could see more on the board than a child of that age’.

From here Soham joined Maidenhead Chess Club, for beginners and intermediate players, and now he has weekly one-to-one coaching.

Far from being a one trick pony, Soham is a good all-rounder academically and ‘absolutely loves sport’ including football, tennis, badminton and swimming.

Speaking about chess, Soham said: “I like it because it exercises your brain and it’s fun.”

He said he is ‘very excited’ about competing at the championships in Turkey and Romania.

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