State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

State High Student Wins Chess Championship

by and on May 06, 2018 5:00 AM

State College Area High School saw a state champion crowned in March.

In March, Emily Hu, a 10th-grade student at State College Area High School, became the high school champion during the Pennsylvania State Chess Federation's scholastic championships in Gettysburg. She managed an upset win over a chess expert in the fourth round.
She will play in the U.S. Chess Federation's national tournament in July.

Emily was born in Northhampton, Mass., and lived there for the first few years of her life. When her family moved to Columbus, Ohio, she began playing chess under the tutelage of her father. “Until I got too good,” Hu said, smiling. 

She now works with a new coach, who is in Macedonia. The lessons and coaching are done via Skype.

Emily entered her first tournament at the age of 7, progressing into playing in chess organizations and scholastic tournaments. “We could tell by her face if she had won or lost," said her father, Xiaochuan Hu. "But within a few months of her playing, we could no longer tell the outcome by her face.”

She also plays with a chess club that meets Saturdays at Schlow Library, takes piano lessons and participates in Future Business Leaders of America.

“I don’t have much free time,” she said. “I come home from school, do homework a while, maybe go for a run. I don’t do any organized team sports, but I exercise every day. Then it might be time to eat. After dinner, I usually play the piano and do homework again.”

“In our eyes, Emily is a responsible, independent, well-organized and hard-working girl," said Hu. "She knows what she wants with clear goals in mind. Emily always tries her best and never gives up easily.”

The Hu family enjoys all typical activities — board and card games, watching sports on TV, exercising, cooking, movie nights — but unlike most families, also spends time going to major chess tournaments. According to Emily's father, each Thanksgiving break, they travel to Philadelphia to support Emily while she plays in the annual National Chess Congress. And, her parents and 11-year-old brother will all travel to Madison, Wisc., in July to cheer her on.


This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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