World-ranked local chess champ - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

World-ranked local chess champ

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – Battling against some of the best young chess players in the world, a local youngster has gained a global reputation.

It's 3:45 at Jerabek Elementary. Most of the students have gone home for the day. In one of the portable classrooms, the youngest members of the academic chess club are learning some classic moves. Out on the playground, more experienced players are going head to head. And then there's Alex Costello. At age 10, he's in a league of his own.

"I was doing really well against them. High ranked kids. Low ranked kids. I was beating everybody," Alex said.

Alex's mother Molly says he learned chess at age six from a babysitter.

"I was leaving Chutes and Ladders and Candyland out for the babysitter and the babysitter is like, 'Yeah, come on. He needs more,'" Molly said.

Alex joined Jerabek's acamedic chess club under the tutelage of coach C.J. Coldwell.

"Alex has always showed a tremendous focus and patience for the game," Coldwell said.

By age 8, he was competing in tournaments and gaining points, locally and nationally. Last year, he represented the us at the World Youth Chess Championships in Abu Dhabi.

"I did pretty well there. I had a plus record, won six games and lost five games. So, it was a good experience for me," Alex said.

Good enough for Alex to become one of the top 70 under 10 chess players in the world. And now he's got his focus is on becoming the best in the U.S. at next weekend's nationals.

"I'm going to try and get there," he said.

Alex has plenty of encouragement.

"I think it's a lot of work. He thinks it's a lot of fun. That's why we do it," Molly said. "He was an all-star from the beginning."

While this 10-year-old dreams of becoming the next Gary Kasparov, these Jerabek chess players may be hoping to become the next Alex Costello.

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