The Chess Club has a solid team of associates and instructors who possess exceptional skill, knowledge and teaching styles. One of these chess gurus is Jason Fredericks, who recently joined our staff over the summer. Fredericks, 30 years old, currently holds a rating of 1982 and is the the number-one chess player from the country of Guyana, and still represents the South American federation as such. The youngest of four children, Fredericks was born in Guyana and moved to the U.S. when he was two, finally settling in New Jersey for the remainder of his childhood. Last year, he moved his own young family to St. Louis.
Jason learned the rules of chess in eighth grade and took his game to the next level as a junior in high school. He began competing in high school tournaments, a chess forum that ultimately crossed his path with Grandmaster Alex Stripunsky. The GM analyzed one of Jason’s match games and the two struck up a rapport. Frederick’s parents took note of their son’s enthusiasm and coordinated private lessons with Stripunksy: To this day, even after interacting with several prominent chess figures, Jason still credits Stripunsky with the most meaningful teachings in chess he has ever received. Despite him still carrying his first mentor’s advice on technique and study habits, however, Frederick’s favorite player of all time is former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik.
Jason looks back on his journey thus far and is most satisfied with his accomplishment of gaining 1000 rated points within a three-year span. His most memorable moments in chess include a positive performance in the 6th New York International, competing in the NYC Marshall Chess Club’s FIDE events, and qualifying to compete in the New York Masters Tournament. Like many, much of Jason’s chess ambition came to a hiatus during college but, four years and one collegiate diploma later, Jason rekindled his competitive streak -- and luckily, he found his way to our Club. Today, his short term goal is to compete in two to three tournaments each month -- one major and one minor --, while his long-term goal is to reach a 2300 FIDE rating by the end of next year.
When he’s not busy being a chess boss, Jason’s other interests and hobbies include exercise -- specifically long-distance running. Earlier this year, he ran in a half-marathon and recently ran with his fiancé in the Chicago Marathon -- both runs were first experiences for Jason. He also has one child, an outrageously adorable two-year-old Sophia, who drops in at the Chess Club with Mom regularly to deliver a sandwich to Dad. And call it osmosis: He says his daughter sees him studying the board at home and will toddle over to play with her favorite piece, the “horsie.”
As one of the Chess Club’s fine instructors, Jason reflected upon what it means to him to be a working part of the U.S. Capital of Chess. He said that he most values the “impact chess can have on children’s lives,” and referred to himself as an example of this meaningful impact that endures in his own life. He believes that chess facilitates the development of important life skills, upholding ta key principle of thinking before you move. As an instructor, the most useful advice he offers his students is to not worry about losing. He urges his students to learn from those mistakes, and to work on avoiding those same mistakes a second time.
“Chess, and life, is about taking something negative and turning it into something positive,” he said.
Mr. Fredericks is greatly talented, beyond cool and kind, and is readily engaging with everyone at the Chess Club. We have certainly gained a brilliant addition to our staff, someone who offers yet another fascinating perspective to this game.