K. K. Karanja
Kangugi "K. K." Karanja (born November 23, 1973) is a chess player regarded as the first African-American chess prodigy. He became a US Chess Federation Candidate Master at the age of 10, the youngest African-American to do so.
|Kangugi wa Karanja|
|Full name||Kangugi wa Karanja|
|Country||United States / Kenya|
|Born||November 23, 1973
New York, USA
|Title||USCF National Master|
Championships and Awards
In 1985 at the age of 11, he won the National Elementary Chess Championship with a perfect 7-0 score (seven wins and no losses), becoming the first African-American to win a national scholastic title and the second African-American to win a national chess championship (Frank Street, Jr. was the first, winning the 1965 US Amateur Championship).
In 1985, Karanja also received the Laura Aspis Prize, granted annually to the top USCF-rated player under the age of 13. Karanja qualified as the United States representative for the 1986 World Under-14 Chess Championship in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
In 1987, Karanja was selected to the inaugural All-America Chess Team, which recognizes the top 0.1-0.2 percent of chess players age 18 years and younger. He was the first African-American to make the team, with only four having qualified since: Shearwood McClelland III in 1995, Justus Williams and Josh Colas in 2010, and James Black, Jr. in 2011. Karanja also qualified for the 1987 U.S. Cadet Championship where only the top eight players under age 16 are invited to compete.
Other events and achievements
In 1988, Karanja was selected to participate in a simultaneous exhibition held by Grandmaster and World Champion Garry Kasparov in New York, during Kasparov's first visit to America. Of the 59 players to compete against Kasparov, only Karanja and fellow prodigy Josh Waitzkin held Kasparov to draws (the other 57 players lost).
In 1989, at the age of 15 years and 7 months, Karanja became a chess master, becoming the second youngest African-American at the time to achieve that feat behind Howard Daniels (15 years, 4 months). He subsequently attended Carleton College.
- "The Chess Drum's Historic Moments: Baraka Shabazz & K.K. Karanja"
- "NEW YORK DAY BY DAY: Titleholders on East Side" (broken link)
- List of Aspis Prize Winners 1980-1994 by chessworld.org.
- "KK Karanja"
- "School Mates" chess magazine, Fall 1987.
- The League: Black Ivy Alumni League: "Shearwood McClelland III"
- Young Titans in Blitz Battle!
- The Chess Drum: "A Friend Reflects on KK Karanja" July 26, 2003
- "People: Quints turning 18 Series", St. Petersburg Times, Feb 23, 1988, page 3A, reprinted at TampaBay.com
- Chess Champ Checks Out U.S. Opponents
- Reynolds, Maura, "Pupils No Match For Kasparov, Even Simultaneously", The New York Times, February 23, 1988.