Pedro Luis Alonso
Friday, 26 May 2023, 13:07
The local chess community has been taken aback by the talent of Lorenzo Perea Fruet, a 14-year-old Malaga player who has become the latest Andalusian chess champion. Records from the Andalusian Chess Federation show that he is the youngest winner to date.
Lorenzo Perea is part of El Caballo chess club in Casabermeja. "My father taught me to play. He would just use pawns while I had all of the pieces," he recalls. He started competing aged six, surpassed the level of his father at 11, and has become the best in Andalucía at the age of 14.
He plays out of enjoyment, not obligation. "I have always liked chess and had a passion for it," said the teenager, who has a Elo score of 2,268. Elo is a chess rating system that measures a player's ability relative to others.
Lorenzo's chess skills give him a necessary upper hand regarding his future, as, despite being gifted and talented, his grades in school are not outstanding, perhaps through demotivation.
"We are interested in chess as a teaching tool, as it doesn't impose limits which perhaps is the case in school. It's like teaching music. If you learn faster they won't hold you back. I like how in chess someone aged eight can beat someone aged 70," said Lorenzo's father, Francisco Javier.
So, what is next for Lorenzo Perea? "My first goal is to become a FIDE master (which is the third -highest title a player can receive), and then we'll see, but in the meantime I want to keep focusing on school," he said.
To reach Grandmaster level, an Elo score of 2,500 is required. as well as experience playing against titled players. There are only around 500 chess players in the world with this title. Around 50 of them are in Spain, but fewer than five are in Andalucía.
"I would say that talent, hard-work, passion and family support are essential for success in chess, he has all of this," said José Carlos Ibarra, Lorenzo's mentor.
"His strong point is that he plays with speed, which puts pressure on his rivals," he added.
Few Spanish chess players can live off playing chess professionally, and if they do, the money often comes from other projects, such as streaming.
Lorenzo's family understands the importance of being realistic. "I don't think the Andalusian championship is a turning point. Betting everything on chess could be risky," his father says.
Lorenzo does not spend excessive amounts of time practising, just ten hours a week. Nevertheless chess remains very important to this 14-year-old, who remembers by heart the moves of the game in which he won the Andalusian title.
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