Carissa Yip, Fifth-Grade Chess Prodigy, Ranks at Expert at Age 9

Carissa Yip, a 9-year-old chess prodigy from Chelmsford, Mass., has become the youngest American chess expert ever, but is already looking forward to her next challenge: the rank of chess master. She's only been playing for three years and is already better than 93 percent of U.S. Chess Federation players.

Carissa Yip's success at chess began with her father, Percy Yip, who began teaching her the basics at age six. Within a year, he could no longer beat her at chess, and within three years, she has reached the rank of 2,000, or expert. The fifth grader wants to be the youngest American chess master ever- the current record-holder is Irina Krush, who ascended to the lofty rank at age 12.

"Some never reach master level," Percy Yip told the Associated Press. "From expert to master, it's a huge jump." A master rank comes a 2,200.

Carissa Yip, who will be a fifth-grader at McCarthy Middle School in September, is top-ranked at the Wachusett Chess Club, in the top 7 percent of all 50,000 players registered to the U.S. Chess Federation and in the top 2 percent of all female players.

Yip also has even tougher goals, like being the first female to win the overall championship, instead of just the female category. Many of the players are teenagers, and most are boys, so the overall championship would be more competition for the young chess phenom.

"It's not like the rating matters," she said.

She's already competed Slovenia and plans to play at the World Youth Championships in the United Arab Emirates in December, according to the Associated Press.

For many others, it has taken much longer to master the intricate game of chess, but it seems Yip is a natural. The club where she plays was very excited to see her achieve the rank of expert.

"In my more than 50 years with the club, I had never witnessed such an exuberant outburst from club members," Mirijanian said. "They are really proud of Carissa and what she has accomplished."