David Floeder is a chess aficionado with champion next to his name. No, he isn’t some middle aged man playing this strategy game for decades, he’s a 12 year-old who’s been playing for less than ten years. But his appearance and youthfulness shouldn’t deceive you, because Floeder can play.
In an Orlando based national tournament last year, Floeder took first place out of 95 seventh graders, beating many higher seeded players. In fact, of the final ten in the tournament, Floeder was the lowest ranked. With the victory in Orlando, he has put himself on the bottom levels working towards chess master status. The victory also gives him the chance to compete in the international tournament in Dubai. He has recently been working to improve his speed in decision making, something that has prevented him from second guessing himself.
Floeder’s prowess doesn’t simply come from playing, the middle schooler has also read dozens of chess books to educate his young mind on the tactics and strategy involved in the game at higher levels of competition.
Floeder isn’t only a good player, he’s working on being a good mentor as well. Years ago, as a fifth grader he joined the chess club at Ridgeview Elementary in Bloomington expecting to have competition against his peers. The coach Russ Erickson saw Floeder was so far advanced in his game, Erickson asked him to join the staff, to help mentor the learning chess players. He has volunteered there ever since, lending his gentle critiques to learning players, voicing where they missed opportunities and where they made mistakes.
The growing expertise of Floeder is complimented by his humility and desire to help others along their journeys to chess immortality. As he continues to grow, don’t be surprised in the future seeing his name in the upper ranks of the chess world.