Brazilian student Jorge de Oliveira Neto, a junior from San Paulo studying financial economics, said he has been playing chess for 23 years and seen success throughout his career.
During school, he said his dad encouraged him to focus elsewhere when he first started playing chess.
“We had the option to go to a computer or chess class,” Oliveira said. “I had played chess once, so my father told me to go with computer. I didn’t like it. Then I went to chess and fell in love with it instantly.”
Oliveira said he saw success quickly at a young age.
“I played very seriously in my teens and very young adulthood,” he said. “From age 11 to 18, I was the best under 18 in my county. I won all the championships in my school, city and county.”
The best chess player in the world has a ranking of a 2,800 skill set, Oliveira said.
He said his best skill set ranking is a 2,000, which qualifies him to be called a chess expert, according to the US Chess Federation.
One of Oliveira’s favorite chess memories was placing third in the Brazilian high school national tournament and beating the best under-18 player in America.
“I’ve beaten the two-time Pan-American champ,” Oliveira said. “I beat him and got him out of the finals. I was 18 at the time.”
He said his chess success has not taken him away from what is important to him.
“I’m still single,” Oliveira said. “I’m working on that though.”
He said his family is back in Brazil and he hopes to go back and see them either next summer or the summer after.
Oliveira said he plays for the chess club at BYU-Idaho and online.
Oliveira said he has seen a lot of growth in different aspects of his life from playing chess.
“When I started playing chess, I fell in love with the game itself,” Oliveira said. “As a child, it challenged my intellect. It gave me something to think about. It improves your concentration, math, writing, reading and social skills.”
He also said he has made friends through playing chess.
“Personally, in my life, not only those things improved, but I made friends, life-long friends, that I talk to still,” he said. “They’re from all sorts of races, ethnicities, economic status. It became part of my life.”
Austin Eberle, a fellow chess mate, manager of the chess club and a sophomore studying electrical engineering, said people should come out and join this free club.
“There are infinite reasons to come to the chess club,” he said.
Eberle said there will be a tournament at the end of the year to participate in. Information about the tournament is on the BYU-I activities Web page.
“It’s super laid back,” Eberle said. “We just get together for fun. It’s open to everyone. It’s a fun game to play. It’s a nice test of how well you can think.”