Born in The Gambia to a Gambian father and a Lebanese mother, Mathew Aziz was taught the rules of chess by his father when he was just five years old. By seven, he became well accustomed with the way pieces moved on board and kept practicing the game on a regular basis. “Chess is a fun game, not just to move the pieces and win, it’s also a fun-thinking game, “Mathew tells The Chronicle. My dream is to become a grandmaster.”
It was time to set bigger goals and Mathew started taking on lessons online. This furthered his knowledge in middle games and openings. “Lessons and games I do online really helped me to grow, “he said. It intensively broadened my knowledge and understanding for the game.”
Things started to move rapidly and in the right direction for Mathew as only in few years, he started competing in national championships. Now, at 11, Mathew is a very special talent in Gambian Chess today.
Mathew maintains a reputation as a lightning fast player. He is always a favorite to win any competition at a fast time control. He’s a double national junior championship winner, a feat he credited to attention to game detail. “I paid attention to the moves and also made sure if there is any space behind my pieces when I play, “he said. I was so relaxed and ready to play.”
For his mother, Mathew has proven that when kids want something as a career, they should be supported. “I felt like whatever I missed as a kid, I should provide opportunities like these to my kids, “said Vivian Aziz. “I expose him to the game by providing chess boards and his father also helped him with the beginning lessons. I had to make sure I provide chess videos that he would watch and also chess books to read. “I will support him to reach his dreams of a grandmaster.”
Mathew works hard to stay focused and think deeper in his pursuit to become a chess grandmaster. “My dream is to become a grandmaster. I also want to be competing outside of Gambia. I am also working on progressing my game every day.”