7-year-old boy beats WHNT News 19 anchor in chess…for charity

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The Madison City Chess League needed some funds, so as MCCL Executive Director Ranae Bartlett explains, "We invited and issued a challenge to the community."

The kids would play all comers.

Bartlett continues, "If the child won, then the adult would donate to the Madison City Chess League."

The students play black; the adults play white. WHNT News 19 Anchor David Kumbroch faced 7-year-old Simon Fellows.

Before the match, David asked Simon when he learned to play chess. Simon says, "A long time ago."

Bartlett warns before the games begin, "Adults, I'm going to tell you the same thing I tell my kids before every tournament and every match. Do your best. Don't hold back. We're ready."

She was right. Almost immediately, Fellows ganged up on Kumbroch.  He took his queen early. The game ended shortly afterward.

Kumbroch says he saw the loss coming, but not as early as Simon did.

Fellows remembers the moment, "When you lost your queen. You pushed the pawn next to your queen, and I thought, 'What?' You didn't guard your queen."

Simon and many of the others in the club attend Rainbow Elementary.

Bartlett points out, "Rainbow Elementary is the two-time state champions."

Simon says his rating is in the 500s, but he's working to improve. He notes his teammates, "Well, they all are up in like the 700s, 800s,900s. I'm trying to work my way up there very hard."

He's not lying. He and his teammates play together once a week, but Simon takes his turn on the pieces almost daily.  He just want to learn more about chess, more moves, more counters, but in that process, there's a lot more to gain.

"Chess teaches kids how to think," says Bartlett, "How to problem solve, how to use analysis and logic. It helps kids learn to persevere."

Simon says he started playing his brother in chess every day when he was just in kindergarten. His brother is a few years older. Simon can't beat him.  But he sits down to game after game after game.

Bartlett muses, "It's incredible the concentration and the focus and the exercise these kids get to use their brains."

This game takes logic, forethought, dedication.  David Kumbroch will tell you being a grown-up gives you no advantage.

Simon says he doesn't want to follow in Kumbroch's footsteps. We asked what he wants to do when he grows up. He told us, "Well, be very good at chess, of course. But I'm not actually sure. I haven't made up my mind yet."

But, it doesn't really matter what field he finds himself in, he's learning how to succeed.

Overall, the kids beat the adults 12-5.

To hear Kumbroch's account of the loss, watch the video at the top of the page!