There’s a chess prodigy in Midwest City


I have a theory that one of the reasons the Thunder players like playing in Oklahoma so much is because of all the jock perks they get. Functionally, the whole state is like a high school that never grew up, and there are tons of women that totally want to bone down with the star athlete, as well as a whole slew of bros who totally want to high five them. While this is probably great for people like Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, it makes it hard for people like me. You know, the people who spent the majority of their high school career with a hoodie on over their head in the back row of the class, and that was only on the days they actually attended class. It makes it really, really hard for the nerds.

That’s why I was pretty surprised to read about the chess prodigy from Midwest City. According to

MIDWEST CITY — Advait Patel might be the best young chess player in all of Oklahoma, and at just 11 years old, he’s only going to get better.

His family recently moved to Oklahoma from West Virginia. He brings with him a No. 2 ranking nationally in his age group. He has held that ranking for about six months. He is a three-time elementary school national champion and recently won the Oklahoma Chess Association state championship.

His interest in chess was piqued during a visit to India when he was 7. He spent two months playing the game with his grandfather.

“There wasn’t much else to do,” Patel said.

He has played the No. 1-ranked player three times, with each game ending in a draw. The most recent game was last month in New York.

Fun fact: When I was 11, I was kind of busy renting The Craft from Cox Video on Danforth and Kelly as well as convincing my friends to come over and play “light as a feather, stiff as a board.” When we weren’t doing that, we were playing truth or dare and talking about which boys we totally wanted to date. Downside: zero prestige in my activities. Upside: got invited to one popular girl’s slumber party.

I find it really interesting that this kid lives in Midwest City. Call me an Edmond snob (because I totally am—I own that), but aren’t the majority of little boys in Midwest City named Diesel and Kenny Wayne, and don’t they all want to grow up to be pro wrestlers or MMA fighters? My data could be a little skewed, admittedly. But I’m just saying, a kid named Advait Patel who is extremely good at chess has to really stand out on the playground over there, right? And this is coming from someone who stood out on the playground in Edmond, what with my olive skin and Persian name.

Anyway, kudos to Patel. Go forth and be good at something. It totally won’t get easier on the playground as you get older. And I know from experience that when you’re featured in a local newspaper, the kids at school do not get nicer. But, on the plus side—once Diesel and Kenny Wayne drop out of school to pursue careers in meth, you can breathe a sigh of relief.