AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD chess prodigy from East Croydon is looking forward to a trip to Brazil after being selected to represent England in the World School Chess Championship.
Robert Akeya-Price, on a scholarship at Cumnor House School, in South Croydon, said he dreams of becoming a grandmaster before he turns 12 and is "really excited" about the prospect of competing in Brazil.
The tournament gets under way on November 26, and with 23 trophies to his name already, Robert will be hoping to add to his collection.
Asked why he loves the game so much, he said it was all down to mental focus, adding: "I just like to concentrate when I play - and I like to win!"
Robert, who is ranked among the top under-nine chess players in the UK, picked up chess at a very early age thanks to encouragement from his mum, Sholpan Namazbayeva.
"I showed him how to play when he was just four years old, because I wanted to distract him from the television," she said.
"Once he started showing an interest in chess, I started to take him to different tournaments, and it grew from there."
According to Sholpan the game runs in the family, since two of Robert's aunts are well-known grandmasters in her native Kazahkstan.
Robert joined Coulsdon Chess Club when he was five, and has since learned under the watchful eyes of grandmaster John Emms and chess manager Chris Ward.
He also represents the Kent Junior chess association under-nine, under-11, and under-13 teams, and last year in the County Chess Tournament his game was published on the English Chess Federation website as the best chess game.
Away from chess, he also sings three times a week as a choirboy at Croydon Minster.
Peter Clare-Hunt, headmaster at Cumnor House School, said everyone at the school was "extremely proud" of Robert's achievements in chess.
"We wish him the best of luck at the World School Chess Championship," he said.
The tournament costs £2,480 to take part. Any sponsors willing to help Robert's family to meet the costs of the trip should contact Cumnor House.