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Youth prevails again at the chessboard. Eddie Lu, who revived a sleeping and aging giant in local chess when he joined the Arlington Rooks, a former D.C. Chess League powerhouse that had fallen from grace as its players got old, has launched a successful solo career: Lu won the 71st Virginia Closed Chess Championship earlier this month.
Lu was only 15 years old when he signed up with the Rooks last year; everybody else on the squad, which from the 1980s through the early 1990s was the most powerful conglomeration in local chess history, was at least 30 years his senior. Some current Rooks had been on the team since before Lu’s father was born.
With the new kid winning every game in his first season, the Rooks went undefeated and captured their first league title in more than a decade. Then, to further prove that chess is a young man’s game, Lu put together a team of local high-school kids and won the D.C. Chess League’s summer championship.
The Fairfax County product—-he’s a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria—-made even more relative geezers cry uncle during the state championships, held over Labor Day. In winning his first state title, Lu, who earned an expert rating (the chess equivalent of a black belt) this year, topped second-place finisher Stan Fink, a local chess fixture who got his first expert rating in the late 1970s.