Detroit student heads to World Youth Chess Championship for second consecutive year

Posted at 5:57 PM, Sep 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-25 16:18:35-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Charisse Woods is getting ready to head to Mumbai, India to compete in the World Youth Chess Championship. The ninth-grader at Cass Technical High School first learned to play chess when she was just 7 years old.

She says she loves how the game keeps you thinking.

"There's like trillions of different positions," Woods said. "The game is so dynamic. It changes so often. I love the challenge, getting to travel and meeting new people."

She's heading to India on Sept. 28. Kevin Fite was the teen's first coach when she was a second-grader. He oversees all the chess programs in the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

According to the district, Woods is the only Detroiter ever to not only qualify but go to the world competition. This is also her second consecutive year doing so.

Fite says she's always been hungry and eager to excel at the game.

"She works when most people are probably sleeping or playing," he said.

Fite says he hopes she will continue to inspire others to play chess. And Charisse hopes her story will do just that.

"Patience, focus, mental endurance," Woods said. "No matter how good you get, stay humble. There are a lot of good qualities you can get from playing chess."

A GoFundMe has been set up to assist Woods with travel expenses. If you'd like to donate, click here.