A few weeks ago, while the U.S. Junior Closed was taking place upstairs in the tournament hall, we had our eye on another up-and-coming young player. Since 2012, 12-year-old Ronit Kirumaki and his father, Ashok, have been regular faces at the CCSCSL. From his humble beginnings as an enthusiastic amateur, Ronit has vaulted up through the classes and now sits on the cusp of Expert. Ronit is riding an outstanding hot streak, tying for first earlier this month in Open section of the Amateur and Premiere tournament with IM Levan Bregadze, and winning the Summer Slam Bash.
Ronit quickly admits that he wouldn’t be where he is today without his dad. Ashok Kirumaki, an A-player himself, taught his son the ropes, and for many years enjoyed beating him regularly. Today, Ronit says that while he can’t defeat his dad 100% of the time, he wins more than he loses. Fortunately, Ashok is very supportive, and is thrilled that his son has become so strong rather than being annoyed when he doesn’t win*
His favorite part of the game of chess? “I like tactics, mainly -- puzzles.” Which is not surprising, since tactics and puzzles are not only the most immediately engaging way to study chess, but also one of the most effective ways to improve your game.
Ronit wants to apply his logical acumen to a career as a computer engineer when he gets older, but for now his goal is to make National Master before he turns 14. With that date still over a year away, this goal seems completely within his reach. At the rate he’s been going, don’t be surprised if you see him playing in the U.S. Junior Closed soon!
The Kirumakis will be moving to Dallas, Texas soon, but Ronit intends to keep up with his chess. He quickly adds that despite strong players, the local chess facility in Dallas doesn’t quite match up to Saint Louis, and he plans to come back to the Lou for big tournaments.
We at the Chess Club would like to wish Ronit, Ashok, and the entire Kirumaki family good luck on their move, and we hope to see them back in Saint Louis often!
Current USCF rating: 1877
Favorite piece: Knight
Favorite opening for white: Giuoco Piano
Favorite rotating GM: Var Akobian
*On the date of this interview, Ashok defeated Ronit in the Friday Action Quads, which just goes to show that you should respect your elders!