Illinois pre-schooler Evan "Rain" Dumas, a relative newcomer to chess, has won the National High School Blitz Championship in Atlanta, defeating players more than four times his age.

Playing exotic openings like the Sokolsky, the Grob, the Hippopotamus Defense and the Basman Counterattack, Evan won 11 of his twelve games while accepting a draw offer in the twelfth game. That match against the top-rated player in the event, a high school senior from New York city, secured the championship.

The four year old has only been playing chess about nine months and had never entered a formal tournament before. After learning the basics from his parents, Evan has been secretly taking lessons from three of Illinois' resident Grandmasters. 

Each of the GM dream team of coaches works on different aspects of the young lad's game.

Speaking with one of the GM's on condition of anonymity, "This kid has a photographic memory coupled with Fritz-like calculating ability. He just doesn't miss tactics at the board."

"His rating is over 3000 which is unheard of for an adult but even more amazing for a four year old."

"Each week I provided three dozen or so historic games from various world championships and by the following week, he'd have them memorized." 

"He had the entire Modern Chess Openings memorized by the age of 3 1/2, but still lacked the maturity to compete in tournaments until now."

"Unfortunately, it was the 13th edition Evan had been working with, so we've had to update some of the lines, but that was relatively easy given his computer-like ability to learn."

Away from the chessboard Evan is a normal kid and loves Legos, drawing pictures of the night sky and playing with his ever-expanding collection of stuffed Panda bears. "He's always loved bears but for some reason it's the Panda which really fascinates him. We once enjoyed a memorable trip to the National Zoo in DC and we think that's why. But he seems to like a lot of things with black and white color schemes."

Evan is not expected to be a factor in the main event because, according to his proud parents, he still likes to nap a couple times a day so the longer time controls are a challenge. He'll be taking a half-point bye in every other round.

Said his mom, "Besides, his handwriting isn't very good yet and notation is not in the cards for now. But he can usually play the game out from memory afterwards, and his father records the game when they review it ."

"We had no idea that he would do so well. We were hoping this would be a good family vacation and we'd enjoy the Coca Cola Tour here in Atlanta, but winning this tournament is amazing for our little boy."

Due to the happy dance Evan does whenever there are thundershowers, the family nickname for him is "Rain". They've even seen a little bit of his happy dance after each successful match, but the parents have tried to emphasize sportsmanship and humility to the tournament first-timer.

The parents are hopeful that Evan will be a fixture on the Illinois tournament circuit in the near future. There is also talk of a blindfold simultaneous exhibition.

If you would like to invite young Mr. Dumas to your event, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

PS Rearrange the letters "Evan Rain Dumas" and spell the name of a famous Illinois chess legend. Email the above editor if you figure it out.