You Write It Contest Winners

Congratulations to the winners of our You Write It Contest in the February 11, 2013, issue. We couldn’t have written these articles better ourselves!

Click here to read the You Write It interview that inspired these articles.

Check out the winning entries below:

“Keep Your Eyes on the Board”

Aparna R.
Bensalem, PA

“Your opponent will try to distract you, doing little things like staring at the ceiling or rolling up their sleeves as if to say, ‘I’m ready for battle!’ The key is to keep your eyes on the board. In a tough match, I have to focus on the game and nothing else.”

These are the inspirational words of the 14-year-old chess champion Joshua Colas. He applies this effective strategy to defeat his opponents. After zoning out the other distractions, he locks his eyes upon the chessboard and concentrates only on the game. There’s nothing else but him and the chessboard.

At the age of 7, Joshua’s father took him to a chess tournament. Afterwards, he taught Joshua the basics of the game. The more he played, the more he desired to become better at this engrossing game. “When I was 8,” he says, “I realized I was pretty good. I kept winning!”

Improving at something takes hard work, determination, and practice. This young champion developed multiple strategies that helped him become such a successful chess player. First off, he concentrates and avoids other distractions. He remains confident and calm throughout an intense game.

Joshua also tries to determine his opponent’s moves. “I can tell by my opponent’s eyes what they’re going to do next. If they look scared, it makes me more aggressive attacking their king.”

At the same time, Joshua has to be careful and has to control his own facial expressions—especially when he makes a bad move. Something also of vital importance during this game is concentration. Joshua states, “I play the cello. I also play video games, which can be great practice for strategic thinking.” He works on improving his concentration skills, which help him become such a superior player.

In order to perfect his skills, Joshua plays chess almost every day—online and in local tournaments. About twice a year, he attends national tournaments.

At the age of 12, Joshua earned the title of “chess master.” A year later, he moved to the title “life master.” Joshua’s goal is to reach the highest level, “grand master,” before graduating from high school. He plans to play chess professionally in the future.

Shaping your abilities can only be done with practice. Joshua has gone far because of practice, dedication, and determination. If you have a motive or goal, work hard to achieve it like this young champion. To get better at something, all you have to do is a practice, practice, practice!

Brian L.
Houston, TX

There are plenty of chess players out in this world. There are also plenty of professional adults that play competitively. However, rarely do you see a young boy who has already attained a respectable title like “life master” in chess and who has already made a permanent mark on the wall of history by being one of the youngest chess masters in history. His name is Joshua Colas.

Going to an ordinary chess tournament—what seemed to be a casual event— turned out to be a life-changing experience for Joshua. After being introduced to the basic fundamentals of chess, he realized his extreme passion for the game. “After my dad taught me to play, I grew to love the challenge,” stated Joshua. At the same time, he also excavated a hidden talent; he dominated on the chessboard. “I kept winning!” Joshua told Scope.

Joshua Colas, as a chess prodigy, can contrive inventive strategies at lightning speed and can foresee what moves he will make next. However, his range of skills does not stop there. What makes this young chess master so extraordinary is his ability to see other important factors of winning, including the hefty value of concentration. He knows that focusing during an intense chess match is critical to his game performance. Joshua is aware of his opponents’ crafty artifices of distraction, such as “rolling up their sleeves” and “staring at the ceiling.” Nonetheless, he does not allow those distractions to serve as blockades on his road to success. He presents an ingenious solution to Scope: “The key is to keep your eyes on the board.”

Joshua is not only a mastermind in chess but beyond the game too. Always maintaining your eyes on the board during gameplay can be a daunting task. When Joshua’s eyes are not on the board, his eyes focus on his opponent’s eyes. Through a weakness comes strength. He utilizes his opponent’s eyes as a weapon to his success. “I can tell by my opponent’s eyes what they’re going to do next,” comments Joshua in the interview.

Joshua Colas recognizes that concentration and focus are crucial elements in deciding who the trophy will go to. Not only that, he is able to think outside the box; he uses other resources as tools during gameplay, rather than as distractions. “I want to reach the highest level, ‘grandmaster,’ before I graduate from high school,” says Joshua. His glowing ambitions and his open-mindedness will pave the way for his future success. And that is what makes Joshua a living legend.

Sharayu S.
O’Fallon, MO

Joshua Colas is a 14-year-old chess prodigy and one of the youngest chess “masters” in history. Joshua’s ambition to become a professional chess player may well become reality after looking back at his methods. But, the strategies aren’t just for chess.

It all started when Joshua’s dad took him to a chess tournament at the age of 7. Soon, Joshua’s dad taught him how to play chess. The game caught Joshua’s interest and he made it his target to become a master. Only at the age of 8 did Joshua realize his talent.

Joshua also has his hardships and struggles. Scope interviewed Joshua and asked him what a chess tournament is like. Joshua replied, “The key is to keep your eyes on the board. In a tough match, I have to focus on the game and nothing else.” Joshua can tell if his opponent is scared or not. Also, Joshua has to be careful not to show expressions in any circumstances. When Joshua takes the wrong action, then he can’t show any disappointment or anxiety. If he does, his opponent might notice and find out the mistake.

Joshua also keeps himself busy with other things. Joshua plays the cello and strategic video games to warm up his mind for better concentration. Joshua goes to the national tournament about twice a year.

Joshua is one of the 13 people in the U.S. under 14 years old and considered a chess “master.” “I became a master when I was 12 and a ‘life master’ at 13. I want to reach the highest level, ‘grandmaster,’ before I graduate from high school. I’d like to play chess professionally,” said Joshua.

Joshua has techniques that he uses for chess that he uses outside of the game, as well. He has applied all of his methods throughout his life. Not only should you keep your eyes on a game board, but on your life. This way you can pass hurdles with ease!


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