By Yolanda Spivey
Watch out America—a new genius is on the loose and this time it’s in the field of chess. At only 12 years old, Diamond Shakoor is unstoppable. The young lady has already played in nearly 250 tournaments.
Diamond took an interest in the game at seven years old. Her father Abdul was teaching children how to play chess when a young Diamond expressed her desires to learn the game. “I asked him one day if I could play and he was like ‘Sure, if you stop getting in trouble in school.’ And so that’s how the journey started,” she says.
She won her first championship in 2009 when competed in the girl’s primary of the Susan Polgar National Open Chess Championship. And in 2011 at a different event with the same name, her peak rating was 1416. Diamond currently ranks 71st percentile nationwide and 73rd percentile in the state of Missouri. When it comes to female players, she has a high ranking and sits in the 90th percentile area.
Abdul has been raising Diamond as a single parent since the chess champ was a year old. He puts in a lot of work promoting Diamond’s brand and holding fundraisers to raise money for her to compete. Diamond is ecstatic to have her dad around not only for companionship, but also his guidance. She said, “We’ve been together for 11 years, like ever since I was little. He’s very over protective, and I love it. I love it. Some people don’t have their dads, and I actually take the good from it.”
For now, Diamond enjoys competing and isn’t afraid of competition. The advice that her father gives her, “grind now, shine later,” and “win with dignity, lose with grace,” keeps the young lady grounded.
Diamond states that in the future, she would like to teach chess or maybe open her own school. She also states that Oprah Winfrey is her idol because, “she’s a woman handling her business.”
When she is not playing chess or practicing to be the next grand master, the youngster sings, dances and spends time with her dad. She is also a straight A student.