Carissa Yip ’21 was first seed at the 2018 United States Girls Chess Championship when she lost an important match. Suddenly, Yip’s dream of winning seemed further away. But with determination and years of chess experience, Yip eventually placed first and took home the championship.
Yip competed at the U.S. Girls Chess Championship that took place in St. Louis, Mo. last July. The invitation-only tournament selected the nation’s top ten young female chess players to compete round-robin style for up to 6,000 dollars. As the winner, Yip also received a spot in the U.S. Women’s Championship for the following year.
“I just kept winning games, and then the other people just couldn’t really keep up. I was feeling pretty excited about winning [the tournament] because I played that tournament for four or five years without doing really well,” said Yip.
Yip has broken countless world records since she started playing in her elementary school chess club at age seven. At nine, she became the youngest person to become a chess “Expert,” a title given by the United States Chess Federation. Two years later, Yip became the youngest girl to earn the title of “National Master” in chess.
This year wasn’t the first time Yip has been invited to the competition. It was, however, the first time she was invited as the highest ranked player.
“The first time I was [at the tournament], I wasn’t that good. I don’t really think I had a chance of winning it, but now I was the top seed,” said Yip.
Although Yip now has the prize money from the championship, she isn’t sure what to do with it.
“[I] split half of the money I win from my chess tournaments into my college fund. Then I don’t know what I’m going to do with the other half. Just probably buy random stuff,” said Yip.
While Kip may be a nationally ranked chess player, her friends at Andover know Kip best as a student. They say, however, that their new knowledge doesn’t change their opinions of her.
“She’s super nice and… humble. When I first met her, I didn’t know that she was a chess prodigy. But now that I’ve figured that out, I’m super impressed, and I’m so glad to be her friend,” said Kennedy Everson ’21.
Now at Andover, Yip has relaxed her playing schedule. Although she is a member of Andover’s chess club, she is not a regular attendee due to time constraints.
“Ever since I started at [Andover], I don’t really have time to work on chess. But during the summers I just review my games, look where I went wrong, try to improve on them,” said Yip.
According to Yip, the next item on her agenda is attending the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in St. Louis next summer.