Robert Lau, 11, returned from a recent tournament in Atlanta as the 6th Grade National Chess Champion. Lau is seen here with his father, Brad, at the tournament awaiting the start of a round.

Mililani boy wins
U.S. chess title

Star-Bulletin staff

Robert Lau of Mililani recently returned from Atlanta with his third national title of the year, the 6th Grade National Chess Champion.

"No one in Hawaii history at any age level has ever come close to matching this feat," said Randy Prothero of the Hawaii Chess Federation.

Lau won the K-6 grade level in the National Scholastic K-12 Grade Championships, held Dec. 13-15. Lau topped the field of 238 players with the only perfect 6-0 score, Prothero said. Lau has also had one second place and one third place finishes in national competition.

Lau said his father, Dr. Bradley Lau, "taught me how to move the pieces when I was about 4 years old." By the age of 6, he was going to the Mililani Chess Club for lessons and entering tournaments. He was about 9 when he won his first tournament, he said.

Lau, who has been home-schooled with his two sisters, has been tutored for the last few years by Cornelius Rubsamen, a "master" who holds the current state open champion title. He practices every day playing against others on the Internet Chess Club and usually wins, he said.

His sisters, college-age Kate and older sister Emily, have also learned to play proficiently. Emily Lau, a former Hawaii intermediate school state champion, took 17th place in the 10th grade section of the recent Atlanta tournament.

She finished fourth overall in the Hawaii Winter Interscholastic Tournament in February 2002, an event Robert won in a field of 115 players, mostly high schoolers, Prothero said.

Robert is ranked 22nd in the country among 11-year-olds and was the K-3 state champion in 2000 and the 2001 4-6 state champion. Emily is ranked 29th in the nation for girls under 16.

Hawaii Chess Federation

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