- Sekou Hendrickson
Chess-playing brothers win international designations
Two brothers have claimed international chess titles after winning more than 50 games apiece.
Odin Flanagan, 9, and his brother, Dylan, 8, were given the title of Arena Fide Masters after they faced off against competitors of all ages from around the globe in a virtual chess tournament.
There were only 800 Arena Fide Masters in the world last year.
Dylan said he was “amazed and happy” to be the title, bestowed for online chess mastery.
Odin added: “I’m proud that I’m one of the only people in Bermuda to have that chess title.”
The Flanagan brothers, from Warwick, took part in the international competition, hosted by the World Chess Federation, on October 31.
They faced off against 31 other competitors from around the world and of all ages, with Dylan placed eleventh and Odin in thirteenth place.
The boys explained that, to win the title of Arena Fide Master, a player must earn more than 1,400 points and stay above the score for 50 consecutive games.
Players earn or lose a point depending on whether or not the player wins or loses a match.
Half points are awarded to each player for a draw.
Dylan received three out of five points from the tournament, which took three hours to complete and Odin earned 2.5.
Odin said that the two were well-prepared for the tournament because they had played chess every day for as long as they could remember.
He added: “I was confident that a title like this would come someday.”
The Flanagan brothers were exposed to the game by their parents, Mark and Yasmin, both chess championship winners.
The brothers have competed in chess tournaments for several years and in 2019 became the champions in the under-8 category of the first Grace Church School and Brooklyn Fields School Chess Tournament.
They represented Warwick Academy when they were aged only 5 and 7, and went up against 30 children from the top chess-playing schools in Brooklyn.
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 to have competed in the tournament at the time, also finished fourth overall and Odin came sixth.
Dylan participated in the 2020 Fide Online Cadet and Youth Chess Championship last November in the under-10 age bracket, and came twentieth out of 40 participants.
Odin said that he would take part in the same competition next year in a different age bracket.
Mr Flanagan, who also coaches the boys, said chess was one of the few sports that transferred easily into the digital sphere, but that did not mean online chess was the same as a physical game.
He said: “It’s very different – it’s like playing online poker. Chess, like poker, is all about reading body language and non-verbal communication.
“As much as they can learn the move and strategies, that people element of reading your opponent isn’t part of that game online.”
The boys said that they hoped reach the level of Grandmaster one day.