Jonah Romero, 13, is the highest-rated scholastic chess player in New Mexico. The local chess community believes he is the most promising player to come out of the state since, perhaps, grandmaster Jesse Kraai. On Sunday at Santa Fe Place Mall, he played 12 adults at once, winning 10 matches, losing one and tying another. SFR caught up with him moments after he secured his last checkmate.
How do you feel right now?
I feel pretty good. It was my first simul[taneous exhibition]. I mean, I wish I could have won them all, but you have to lose some. It’s pretty exhausting, but I think it’s more exhausting standing up this whole time.
How did you get into chess?
It was in third grade. I went to the chess club at my school. After that, my dad encouraged me to continue chess. I have been playing it for the past five years. It’s a really fun game. It takes a lot of hard work and strategy. And the feeling of winning is really rewarding.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to become a candidate master in December at the National Open in Las Vegas, and I hope to continue to grow in strength from then. You have to win five candidate master norms, so you would have to play at the level of master in five tournaments. Once you get those five candidate norms, you have to get above a rating. That’s when you become a candidate master.