LOGAN, W.Va. -- Coach David Saville says the best skill to have as a chess player is the ability to "visualize the future" -- like the time his student, 9-year-old Advait Patel, promised his mom the National Elementary Chess Championship trophy for Mother's Day.
"My sister had made her a nice present, so I told her I'd win that trophy for her as a gift. It started just as a joke," said Advait, a fifth-grader at Logan Middle School.
It ended up as no joke. Advait took first place at the competition in Nashville over Mother's Day weekend, beating more than 2,200 students from across the country -- and snagging the gift he'd promised his mom.
Advait also received second place at the Queen City Classic in Cincinnati earlier this month, outscoring more than 800 kids.
His next goal is to reach expert level by his 10th birthday at the end of August -- then, to become world champion.
With the progress he's made in two years -- progress most people don't make in a lifetime -- that's not farfetched, Saville said.
"There is no doubt in my mind he will be one of the best players in the world one day," said Saville, 54, currently the second-ranked chess player in the state.
He said Advait has a natural talent to calculate and memorize moves, making his skills "computer-like."
"It's amazing for a 9-year-old to actually calculate his progression and compare it to the competition to see how he needs to improve. You can't get him unfocused," Saville said. "I have to come up with creative ways to test him now just so he can learn. He pushes me so hard to become better."
Advait learned how to play chess from his grandfather in India, and said more kids his age should pick up the game.
"It's fun to play, and there's no brawl in it -- no fighting physically," Advait said. "It helps me with school, too.
"Math is a lot easier now. I've had straight A's ever since I started playing, because it teaches you how to focus. There is a lot of thinking in chess."