A future Grandmaster

Faustino Oro is just eight years old: he’s a chess player and he’s the number one in the world in his category. The new kid on the block, his dad taught him to play during the pandemic. A boy whose goals are every bit as big as his talent.

Only two-and-a-half years ago, Faustino had no idea how to play chess. Now his dream is to be a Grandmaster. He’s currently the best in the world in the U-10 category. Although he didn’t fall into the game by chance, his prowess has been meteoric, quite literally, from one day to the next. In the first months of the pandemic, when we were all still getting used to the lockdown, Faustino used to play ball in his parents’ living room. There wasn’t a lot else to do, and the ball bounced ceaselessly off the walls and ceiling, not only endangering light fixtures and ornaments but also shattering his mother’s peace of mind: Romina Simondi, who is a Tecpetrol Tax Specialist, was doing her best to concentrate on work in the living room

The problem of Faustino’s source of entertainment was eventually solved thanks to chess. One Sunday, or to be more precise, on Sunday, May 31, 2020, Alejandro, Faustino's father, sat mother and son down to teach them the rudiments of the game and set up accounts for them on an online platform.

ConcentrationFausti weighs up his next move.

Romina and Alejandro's relationship is also connected to Tecpetrol, as they met many years ago in the Buenos Aires offices, but that's a story for another day. Back to that Sunday. Little Faustino, who had gotten so bored the other times his father had wanted to teach him, suddenly grasped the concept of the game and fell in love. Right there and then. “From that moment on, he began to show incredible talent and an unusual mastery and understanding of the game. Particularly as he’d hardly ever played and was so young: at that time he was just six years old,” recalls Romina. She adds, “He beat my husband, who’s been playing as an amateur since elementary school, for the first time barely six months later. He always says that wat Fausti learned in that time took him nearly thirty years.”

Faustino started attending classes at the local Torre Blanca Chess Club, training with some online teachers. By the time the pandemic started to taper off and people could go out again, he was able to compete in face-to-face tournaments. That was when he measured himself against the others, and to everyone’s shock and surprise, in 2021, he was crowned Argentine U-8 champion. In 2022, he won the Pan-American U-10 championships in Montevideo, Uruguay, earning him his first Master Candidate (CM) title.

Some more achievements:

> Number 1 in the world in the U-8 category

> First U-10 in the FIDE (International Chess Federation) ranking

> He’s the youngest player to achieve an ELO of 2104 (a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess)

> He’s competed in tournaments in Mar del Plata, Villa Constitución, Pérez, and Cipolletti, winning against FM (FIDE Masters), WIM (Women’s International Master) and players with a rating of over 2100 ELO

> This year he took part in his first Superior Absolute Argentine Championship: he achieved tables with four IM (International Masters)

> In August, he participated in a Closed International Title Tournament (ITT) as the youngest player in the history of Argentina and South America.

Faustino’s big dream is to be a Grandmaster, a long, difficult path that will bring emotion and joy as well as sacrifice, learning and patience. Romina is of course extremely proud. But what makes her even happier than her son’s accomplishment is “to see that Fausti, in all his innocence, has found joy: he loves playing chess and he chooses to do this, he likes going to tournaments, to the club, he likes playing online, as well as watching and streaming videos because it really entertains him. It fills me to the bottom of my heart with happiness to know that he’s found something that he enjoys so much.”

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