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  • Sekou Hendrickson

Checkmates: brothers take New York by storm

Two Bermudian brothers, aged 5 and 7, claimed glory in a chess tournament in New York.

Odin and Dylan Flanagan were crowned champions in the under-8 category in the first Grace Church School and Brooklyn Friends School Chess Tournament.

The youngsters represented Warwick Academy against 30 children from top chess-playing schools in Brooklyn on April 6.

Despite being the smallest team in the competition, the Flanagan brothers had the highest combined score of the tournament, with 5.5 out of 8.

Dylan, the youngest player in the tournament, finished fourth overall, and Odin was sixth.

The brothers practised for an hour every day to study tactics, positions and moves at different stages of a game.

They both starting playing chess when they were 2, and had been learning the game since they were babies.

Yasmin Flanagan, the boys’ mother, said: “My husband plays chess and would have played with them from the age of 1 by setting up the board and playing with the pieces.

“I think it was probably around the age of 4 when they really started to understand the concept of the game. Maybe even at the age of 3.”

Mark Flanagan, the father and coach of the two boys, and his wife were both chess championship winners and wanted to get their sons into the game.

He said: “I’m really proud of them. It’s very difficult, particularly with younger children, to get them to concentrate and take an interest.

“There are so many other things that they can be doing, whether it’s playing soccer or video games or anything else that can grab their attention.”

The Flanagan brothers will fly to Curaçao with nine other players to represent Bermuda in the Carifta Games next week.

The chess team will face off against 64 children in the under-12 and under-8 categories.

Dylan admitted that he was a bit nervous to play and explained: “It’s my first time there.”

Odin agreed with his brother, but added: “I’m really excited about what the hotel looks like.”

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