Chess is a game that fosters greatness. With all its complexities and nuances, it requires patience and dedication. It not only demands constant self-improvement and vigor, but also depends on challenging opponents to the fullest extent possible. For IM Daniel Fernandez, it takes on another meaning as well. Born in Lima, Peru in 1985, Daniel was born into a family that loved chess and would play amongst themselves in intimate family gatherings. In 1986, Daniel and his family moved to America. Everything about the transition to what would become Daniel’s adopted country was extremely difficult. Daniel’s parents worked extremely hard to make ends meet, and poured everything they could to ensure the success of their children. These challenges embody the reasons why chess is more than just a game for Daniel. He recognizes how many people render their goals impotent through a timidity of effort. He knows the importance of learning from defeat to emerge a stronger player. Most importantly, he embraces the notion that a serious chess player can never allow doubt to cloud the vision they have set for themselves.
From a very young age, Daniel felt called to continue his family’s proud commitment to the game of chess. When he was 6 years old, Daniel learned the rules of the game by watching his father and older brother play. It didn’t take long for the future International Master to develop a sincere love of chess, and by the age of 7, he was competing regularly in tournaments. By age 10, Daniel became a USCF expert; the following year, he became the youngest National Master in the United States. At age 12, he represented the United States at the World Youth Chess Championship in Cannes, France. He would go on to represent the United States team in three additional international competitions.
Over the years, Daniel would achieve other successes in the game of chess; he earned the FIDE Master (FM) title in 1999 after winning the Pan American Championship, and became the youngest winner of the Florida State Championship at 16. After earning the International Master (IM) title in 2005, he became the US Junior Closed Champion. The following year, he finished in 6th place at the US Championship (ahead of 30 Grandmasters). In 2009, Daniel became the Texas State Champion.
In keeping with his deep appreciation for the game of chess, Daniel has been coaching since the age of 16. His students have won numerous state titles and national titles. He has helped produce over 15 expert level players (2000+) and three master level players (2200+). His current students are among the highest ranked in Houston.
Nellie Naidoo (Director of T.H.Rogers Chess Program)