Meet 10-year-old Alec Pobanz, chess with a European flair!

Meet 10-year-old Alec Pobanz, chess with a European flair!



For over 300 years Germany has been one of Europe’s chess powers. Emanuel Lasker became World Chess Champion in 1894 and since then many chess stars have risen. 10-year-old Alec Pobanz, born in Germany of U.S. parents, is the latest to start studying to become a chess master. Before moving back to America his family spent a few years living in Switzerland, also known for great chess and chess players. People play chess everywhere: cafes and parks, anywhere there is room to set up a board. People walking by can stop and watch the games. Being exposed to all this chess, it didn’t take much to get Alec interested in learning the game.

He has spent this summer working with Coach Larry at the Steinitz Chess Academy, playing some tournaments and meeting other chess-playing kids. Alec also is looking forward attending Scholls Heights School, hoping to be part of the school’s chess team and playing in the upcoming Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation chess tournaments during the school year. Alec wants to be able to play in the Oregon State Class Championships in Seaside, Oregon.

When Alec is not working on his chess openings, chess tactics or playing online, he practices the piano and likes to read history books. Baseball is another favorite activity, whether it’s part of a little league team or just a bunch of guys in a pick-up game. Soccer is something else he learned in Europe and enjoys.

Europe’s loss is Beaverton’s gain. We are looking forward to Alec playing chess here for many years.


Game of the Month: Sicilian Defense, Dragon Variation (Havana 1893)

  • White: Emanuel Lasker
  • Black: C. Golmayo
  1. e4,  c5
  2. Nf3,  g6
  3. d4,  cxd4
  4. Nxd4,  Bg7
  5. Nc3,  Nc6
  6. Be3,  Nf6
  7. Be2, (Lasker was a pioneer in how to play against the Sicilian Dragon varition.)

7 …  00

  1. f4,  d6
  2. 00,  Ng4? (A better move was 9… Qb6!)
  3. Bxg4,  Bxd4 (The trap 10 … Bxg4? 11. Nc6! winning a piece.)
  4. Bxd4,  Bxg4 (11 … Nd4? loses a piece to
  5. Bxc8!)
  6. Qd4!,  Be6?
  7. f5!,  Bc4
  8. Rf3,  Nxd4
  9. Qxd4,  Ba6
  10. Nd5,  Rc8
  11. f6!,

(Threatening the capture on e7 as well as Qe3-h6.)

17 …  Rc4

  1. Qd2,  exf6
  2. Qh6,  f5
  3. Rh3  Black resigns


I’m sure we’ll see games like this from Alec Pobanz!


Why learn chess? Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun!

Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at