Kyan Washington

Chess King On the Road to Grand Master: Kyan Washington
Posted on 01/28/2022
K Washington photo

Kyan Washington, a fourth-grader at Lockeland Elementary School, developed his love for chess at a very early age. While he was a first-grader at Hull-Jackson Montessori School, he joined the chess club with his older sister, and he has never looked back. K Washington with chess trophies

Now Kyan plays against students who are five years older and competes in chess tournaments across the country.

When schools across the nation started going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kyan saw this as an opportunity to hone his skills by studying the game of chess and playing online.

“Even though I was good in school and made good grades, my mom thought putting me in Chess Club was a good way to help me think in different ways,” said Kyan, who is now 10.

Kyan’s mom, Lt. Bonita Blue De Vault with the Metro Nashville Police Department, was not wrong. He says that while in class, he used to always rush to finish his schoolwork. He credits his mother with helping him learn how to slow his thinking so that he doesn’t make rushed moves in the classroom or during his chess matches.

“The way I think depends on whether I have a 90-minute timer or a 5-minute timer,” Kyan says.

Todd Andrews, executive director of the Nashville Chess Center, works with Kyan and believes he is one of MNPS’s strongest elementary school competitors because of his personal dedication, the structure he receives from his parents and the support he has from the Nashville Chess Center.

“Kyan excels because he truly cares about his results, he out-thinks and outworks his opponents at the board and he loves the sport of chess,” Andrews said.

Andrews said Kyan was the first MNPS student to qualify for the prestigious 2021 Nashville City Championship in several years and the first MNPS student to finish in the top 10 in over 20 years. Kyan also qualified in the second qualifying events as a junior high student, playing above his level and competing against seventh- through ninth-grade students.

“The fact that he has reached the level that he has achieved is beyond amazing, but not surprising if you know his family,” Andrews added.

Kyan has won numerous trophies and medals for his rankings, competing every chance he gets to inch closer to becoming a chess Grand Master by the time he’s 15 years old. He has placed 15th in the 2021 Susan E. Kantor State Scholastic (elementary section), third in the 2021 Peter P. Lahde Tennessee Open, third in the 2021 Litton Scholastic (K-6 elementary section) and second in the 2021 K-12 Lipscomb Academy Scholastics (K-9 section).

Kyan believes two of the best things about playing chess are not necessarily about winning. He believes that it is okay not to be the best, although he believes you should always make it your goal, and you may not always win, but you can always learn from your mistakes.

While Kyan has not secured an official championship title in the chess world yet, he can rattle off the names of all the world champions he would like to compete against. He is laser-focused on his goals and is currently preparing to compete in Dallas in April.

The MNPS community is very excited to see Kyan and other students on their journeys to becoming Grand Masters in chess, and no one is prouder than his principal at Lockeland Elementary, Christie Lewis.

“I can’t begin to say enough amazing things about Kyan. He is such a bright star! Kyan rocks the chess world, but he also absolutely shines in all academic areas. He is beyond special to all the Lockeland teachers and staff.”

Featured News