Ethan Deshaies remembers the moment well.
An active video game player, Deshaies experienced an epiphany of sorts a couple of years ago during his daily routine.
“All of a sudden I thought, ‘I should be playing chess!’” said Deshaies, a 2017 graduate of San Marino High School.
Probably not the first time those words have been said, but it’s doubtful anyone has ever uttered them with more conviction because a little more than two years later, Deshaies is a champion.
Earlier this month, he tied for first place in the beginners/unrated section of the National Chess Open, a long-standing tournament that was held in Las Vegas. Because he is relatively new to the game, he had not yet earned a rating in the game but it’s doubtful he will be sneaking up on his opponents again. He also picked up a little spending money in Vegas, winning over $600 for his efforts.
It has been a unique process for Deshaies, who recently graduated from the University of Redlands. One day he realized he could play the game blindfolded, which has furthered his dedication to the “hobby.”
Deshaies is currently a chess instructor for an afterschool and summer camp program and a private chess tutor. He will be headed to Rancho Mirage soon for a two-week tournament. In fact, he is such a relative novice to the game that the Vegas tournament marked his first live competition as all his previous action had taken place online.